Posted on: September 16, 2015 at 6:39 am
Last updated: September 23, 2017 at 12:32 am

This post was originally published on My Health Maven. Elisha is deeply passionate about educating people and empowering them to lead healthier lives. I encourage you to check out her blog.


The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, normally weighing less than one ounce, and it is located at the front base of the neck. The thyroid secretes hormones that act throughout the body influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. Its proper function is dependent on two trace minerals: iodine and manganese. Of the two, iodine is the most essential for proper thyroid function and health.

One such way of measuring iodine has become popular over the Internet known as the iodine patch test – but question is does it really work?


The Iodine Patch Test

Let’s start by looking at what the test is.

With iodine tincture, simply paint a postage size stamp on the inside of your wrist. The theory is that if the brown stain fades in 24 hours or less, it might indicate that there is not sufficient iodine to normalize thyroid secretion to the cells.


1. It’s best to do this test in the morning after showering but it is not required. You can start anytime.

2. Use Tincture of Iodine to paint a postage square size stamp on the inside of your wrist.


Note:  Tincture of Iodine is available from any drugstore or pharmacy. Be sure it’s the original orange colored solution and not the clear solution.

3. Write down the time you painted your wrist.

4. Observe the coloration of the patch over the next 24 hours.


The hypothesis is that the faster the body draws in the iodine, the greater the iodine need is likely to be.
1. Patch begins to slightly lighten after 24 hours – NORMAL

2. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 18-24 hours – MILD

3. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 12-18 hours – MODERATE

4. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 6-12 hours – SEVERE

5. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in under 6 hours – VERY SEVERE

The patch may also fade because you accidentally brushed your wrist somewhere during an activity or it may rub onto your sleeve, so your results might not be accurate.

Is The Iodine Patch Test Reliable?

Currently this test is not proven to be reliable by scientific research, meaning that it might not work every time or it might not work at all for some people. Here’s the reason why: 

  1. There’s no strong consensus about how to interpret the results. While we’ve provided one of the strongest guides here, there are many other sources that use different time frames to interpret an iodine deficiency (the difference can be up to several hours!).
  2. As explained by Dr. Guy Abraham, it actually hasn’t been 100% proven that iodine can fully pass through your skin (the evidence isn’t consistent because studies were performed on animal subjects, not humans).
  3. Dr. Abraham also explains that your environment can alter the results of the patch test. For example, if you’re performing the test on a hot day, the iodine will actually evaporate much faster than it would be absorbed.

If you experience common symptoms associated with thyroid problems such as fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness, or joint pain and you’re worried about your thyroid, make an appointment with your medical care provider to get more accurate results based on lab work.

Guidelines for Supplementing with Iodine

After receiving your blood work if it turns our you have an iodine deficiency, I highly recommend using whole food supplements whenever possible. You may wish to discuss Standard Process or Medi Herb options; for reference I have listed the amounts of iodine in the Standard Process and Medi Herb supplements listed below:

 Prolamine Iodine—3mg

 Thyroid Complex (MH)—600mcg

 Iodomere—200mcg

 Trace Minerals B12—145mcg

 Organically Bound Minerals—250mcg

 Min Chex—300mcg

 Min Tran—50mcg

 Cataplex F (tablets)—95mcg

This article was republished with permission from

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Elisha McFarland
Doctor of Naturopathy
Elisha McFarland, N.D. is the founder of My Health Maven. She turned her debilitating illness from mercury poisoning into a dedicated passion for helping people.

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