Iodine for Cipro and Levaquin Damage

Recently I’ve been reading about how fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Cipro and Levaquin, poison us with fluoride. One primary avenue for damage centers on impairing thyroid function, because fluoride binds to iodine receptors, and so even when adequate iodine is present in the diet it can create a functional deficiency, leaving the thyroid without enough for good health.  The symptoms of low thyroid are many and varied, and I’ve had most  — ever since being “floxed” with Cipro back in the early 1990s. Things got even worse after Levaquin, just a few years ago.

It turns out not only can aggressive supplementation boost the bioavailable iodine (some doctors urge caution, others say to avoid the practice entirely), but iodine also has the ability to remove fluoride from the body, to free up its receptors from toxins, making them available (in my case, perhaps for the first time in 20 years) for proper thyroid function. It turns out quite a few doctors are on board with this approach, and for now I’m following their lead.

Boccetta contagocce

Here’s the bottom line: could it be possible for iodine to reverse some of the damage done by Cipro and Levaquin? I think it’s very likely.

The thyroid plays a vital role in energy, warmth, and immune function, and iodine is also a powerful antifungal. This is useful for someone like me who has been anxious and sleep deprived, suffering from cold hands and feet, wracked with chills in the winter when outside, often bundled with clothing on warm days, constipated, and… overwhelmed by fungal overgrowth in recent months. Is a picture of low thyroid emerging yet? Indeed.

Lufenuron was a great diagnostic tool for me. The first dose was quite effective, nearly magical, and showed me how much of my ill health, both mental and physical, could be attributed to candida, but subsequent doses were not as effective, so I needed to find an alternative. I also wondered why my immune system couldn’t pick up where the antifungals left off.

Needless to say, after my research into antifungal iodine, which could give me back my energy and immunity, I saw a potential missing link, and really wanted to try it.

For the last 8 days I’ve been doing a protocol, which typically starts at 12.5 mg iodine and slowly titrates up to 50 or even 100 mg. Some people take many months to go this high. If that sounds like a lot, it sure is, compared to what most mainstream doctors believe to be healthy, safe amounts.

Iodine supplementation is a very controversial subject, and since this blog is primarily a diary of my progress I’ll side-step the debate right now. Instead, I’ll reference a few texts for further reading, such as “The Iodine Crisis” by Lynne Farrow, or David Brownstein’s work, plus others in the medical community, like Chris Kresser, who once was enthusiastic about high doses of iodine and has since taken a more conservative stance, and you can try to make up your own minds.

My thyroid tests have been ambiguous. I’m borderline hypo, and can’t rule out Hashimoto’s, despite my antibodies test saying otherwise. I didn’t want to jump directly into taking 12.5 mg of iodine a day, which is the standard low-end of most protocols, and Iodoral, a common pill-form is this exact 12.5 mg  dose, so instead I began with Lugol’s 2%, only one drop per day, which supplies 2.5 mg (2,500 mcg). The only advantage of Iodoral pills is no gastric upset, which is an uncommon side effect of Lugol’s drops, but I figured by the time I was up to 12.5 mg of Lugol’s I’d switch to Iodoral if I felt the need. Onward.

My one drop, 2.5 mg, is about 3X times what most people would get in an iodine-rich Western diet. Some argue the Japanese routinely ingest about 13.5 mg due to higher seafood and seaweed consumption. This is a point of much debate, but relative to 50 mg or 100 mg I felt quite safe taking 1 drop of Lugol’s and this form is far cheaper than Iodoral, too, so the decision was easy.

Any health practitioner would agree, iodine supplementation isn’t to be done casually, and must be part of an exact protocol which includes vital co-supplements, like selenium (200 mcg per day appears to be optimal, but certainly no more than 400 mcg), plus ample amounts of magnesium, B-vitamins (especially B-2 and B-3), plus vitamin C, and fish oil for omega 3s. Zinc and/or copper can also be added, depending on nutritional status.

People are also encouraged to do an iodine loading test to establish how deficient they may be before getting started. This requires a large dose, to determine how much the body retains. I think it’s potentially harmful to people damaged by Cipro and Levaquin. There’s also plenty of controversy about the value of such tests. Some contend there’s no way iodine in urine can accurately show how much someone needs; others swear by it. I urge caution.

My caveat to anyone at this point is understand the disclaimer on my blog, and realize I’m not giving medical advice. I’m only relaying my own self-guided protocol for informational purposes. Please consult your physician before trying any new treatment.

Okay, with that said, let’s get started. 🙂


I began 8 days ago in the morning with one drop of Lugol’s 2% in about 6 oz of distilled water, with a splash of apple cider vinegar, since combining iodine with a weak acid aids in absorption. With this I took 200 mcg Selenium Complex (this brand claims a blend of 3 forms) , 800 mg magnesium citrate, a B-Complex, some additional B-2 and B-3 as ATP Cofactors, and vitamin C. All are critical, especially selenium, as this can protect the thyroid as iodine doses are increased, and magnesium is critical for detoxing.

How did I do on Day 1 of my iodine protocol? Within the first hour after my first drop of Lugol’s I felt clearer-headed, more upbeat and energetic. My gut began moving in a pleasant way, and by nightfall I was wonderfully sleepy, which is unusual when I have my worst CFS symptoms. Usually I am “wired but tired”.

Around 930pm I went to sleep quickly, slept deeply, remembered a few semi-vivid dreams as I woke, which has always been a sign of good health for me, and realized I was experiencing a powerful libido, for the first time in a few years, out of nowhere. Indeed, fairly surprising!

That entire next Day 2, before and after I took my next one-drop dose (2.5mg or 2,500 mcg) I continued to feel really good. I noticed my sinuses were clearing (no more fungal overgrowth?), my muscles felt limber, and all the usual aches and pains were missing. My prostatitis was gone, I felt light on my feet, and was able to stand for extended periods. I found myself moving around the house straightening up, and cleaning. Similar improvements happened with my initial dose of Lufenuron, then various problems returned as it lost efficacy. Could I finally be getting the upper hand on a systemic fungal infection? All in all, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Here’s something else quite remarkable: by this point it was clear SIBO had also healed. I noticed I could eat larger portions of resistant starch with no upper gut fermentation, and my migrating motor complex was fully active. How could this happen so quickly? Is SIBO an iodine deficiency? In my case, I would say the answer is an emphatic yes, and this make me wonder if antibiotics (prescription or herbal) are even necessary for healing it. Perhaps the MMC just needs to sweep that colonic flora out of the small intestine, and back where it belongs.

Day 3 I boosted my dose by one drop, two drops total, so I was now taking 5 mg iodine, and this is where I began to get detox symptoms, which are quite common and can be uncomfortable. Bromide and fluoride, plus mercury (my levels are very high due to past fish consumption) are all liberated by iodine, and my body began to get overwhelmed. Headache, nausea, a feeling of being in another world, darker thoughts, sneezing, heavy fatigue, diarrhea, and prickly sensations in my limbs were the worst of it. I started salt loading, and within 30 minues I felt much better.

Between Days 4 and 8 I carefully boosted my dose to 12.5 mg, which again is usually the starting dose for most protocols. I’m quite glad I didn’t go to this level immediately, or I may have been horribly ill. I cannot stress enough, if you’re someone like me, with a history of fluoride poisoning from Cipro, Levaquin, or other fluoroquinolone antibiotics, please start any iodine protocol low and slow.

Even with my conservative pacing, and at levels well beneath the 12.5 mg dose, I had moments of confustion, visual disturbances, and cognitive problems. At one point I was unable to find words as I tried chatting with a friend. It took about 20 minutes of salt loading before this subsided.

If the detox sounds horrendous, it was, but the benefits once the storm passed were amazing. Today, Day 8, I discovered strength in my legs I haven’t felt in a few years. Walking is effortless, my sinuses are clear, my mood is balanced, my mind is sharp. My sense of smell has returned, my hair is much softer. My stool volume has increased. No more constipation, and virtually gone also is the tinnitus that has plagued me since Levaquin. It’s barely audible in the mornings, and silent an hour or so after I wake.

The burning hot sensation in my abdomen (likely a vagal nerve issue known as POTS) is gone, and now my belly is cool to the touch. Another sign of POTS healing: my blood pressure is low, I can tolerate any temperature, and I can perspire again, which tells me my parasympathetic nervous system is working.

Speaking of neurological issues, the FDA has started warning the public about the dangers of Cipro and Levaquin, and permanent nerve damage is the primary adverse reaction listed. While he would probably urge a lower dose than I’m taking, people like Jack Kruse see a role for iodine in correcting neuropathy, and I aim to find out if higher therapeutic levels can remove enough fluoride to create a cure.

Another area where iodine may help is with metabolic problems, where some claim it reduces the need for insulin among diabetics, so I’m also looking forward to checking my fasting glucose levels in a few weeks, which began creeping into the low 90s range, after Levaquin.

So far, given all my subjective improvements, I see plenty of reason for optimism. To be continued! 🙂

If you’re on an iodine protocol, or have experienced damage from fluoroquinolones and are considering this type of therapy, please be in touch in the comments section. I’d love to hear from anyone taking 12.5 mg or more, to find out if this dose has helped with fluoride or mercury detoxification.

Also, if anyone would like to join us on Facebook, here’s a new group, entirely focused on the use of iodine for healing Cipro and Levaquin damage. Hope to see you there.


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19 thoughts on “Iodine for Cipro and Levaquin Damage

  1. This is a great article and helped confirm my initial self-medication with iodine for my early floxing symptoms. I believe it helped with the “mental fog” as well as the tinnitus, and the overall lessening of gut related issues and sleeplessness. I’m still working on the tendonosis. 😦


    • Hi, Melinda – I’m really glad if iodine has been helping you, too! Let’s spread the word to all our floxie friends. As far as the tendonitis goes, maybe that will just take a longer time to resolve. Most I know with FQ damage struggled for 4 years or so, then started to really bounce back. Hope you feel fully recovered soon. 🙂


    • Hi, Elise – I have heard great things about supplementing with seaweed, which means lower doses may be just as effective as the mega doses some are doing in iodine protocols. The one area where I’m not sure is with fluoride detoxing, but it may be superior, in that it’s gentle, and less likely to cause issues with Hashimoto’s. Make sure you take 200 mcg per day of selenium also. 🙂


  2. Thanks Terry, I was floxed with Levaquin 5 years ago for bronchitis and also given prednisone and narcotic cough syrup and have not been the same since. You are right about the 4 year mark, I feel like I’m finally starting to get my life back! Furthermore, I have taken cipro a number of times in the past, not sure how many and in hindsight think it may have been the cause for my anxiety/depression issues. Nothing hit me like the 10 days of Levaquin in 2009 though.. thanks for all you do!


  3. Thanks for your blog post. I read it with interest. I am treating SIBO with herbs and still not feeling great. I took Cipro for a time last year for Lyme treatment but it was the Bactrim that created all these GI symptoms along with anxiety , depression and insomnia. As I was healing, I took a well regarded d-lactate free probiotic in July and have been sick + mentally crazy ever since. I’ve shied away from iodine because of Hashimoto’s. Do you have any resources that have the pros and cons of iodine supplementation with Hashi’s? Thanks again.


    • Hello, Meredith – I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles after Lyme treatment. The issue you had with the probiotic may stem from a decrease in activity in the migrating motor complex, which is what happens in SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). If the probiotics didn’t pass through your upper gut quickly, they may have been able to set up shop in your small intestine, where fermentation leads to a lot of the symptoms you’re describing.

      I think candida is a very underdiagnosed cause for SIBO. This pathogen emits a lot of chemicals that are neurotoxic and probably decrease peristalsis. When the gut isn’t moving, it gets to eat more of our food, so my theory is candida has evolved an ability to create cravings in the host, for the sugary foods it needs, and it also appears to manipulate fasting glucose levels to create a systemic environment for colonizing.

      Whether the fermentation is happening in your gut or systemically, these same toxic candida byproducts probably contribute to lower thyroid activity, which in turn mutes the immune response, and allows fungal overgrowth to spread even further. ‘Autoimmunity’ may just be a fancy word for a body struggling to fight an entrenched systemic infection — in your case Lyme + candida. This is why I think iodine has some real promise. Boosting thyroid activity will improve immunity and stimulate gut transport.

      So, back to that question: iodine with Hashi’s? The prevailing pro-iodine attitude is if you supplement selenium (no more than 400 mcg), you can probably add iodine without making the Hashi’s worse. Here are some sources, pro and con:

      Am wishing you very good healing, and I hope you can keep us posted!


  4. my wife is 9mos out form cipro ingestion.. our ND did a load test and looks like her fluoride was 2x over the baseline in our region. she suggested 40mg iodine. the 40mg dose made her extremely ill.. she backed it down and tried ramping it up again 4days on. 2 days off. same thing happened… it was extremely difficult to tolerate the 40mg dose and this went on for 2mos… THEN we learned about coffee enema’s.. and the symptom relief was immediate!!! Coffee enema’s might be worth investigating for those who are trying to ramp up their iodine intake.


    • Keith, thanks very much for this feedback. 40 mg of iodine is a huge starting dose, and I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I’d started that high. This is why I think load testing is dangerous for people with metals toxicity, FQ antibiotic histories, etc.

      But it’s great to hear of your wife’s recovery. What do you think coffee enemas did that helped her, perhaps a liver detox, and what iodine dose is she on now?


  5. Wow interesting. I have. Lyme candida. Lots of parasites. Not certain what to do. Thyroids and adrenals r shot. Was given iodine. One drop n water increasing to 45 drops. Havent started. AFRAID
    I was also give vit D 50 k mg one x a week. And lots of ax but not doing abx. AFRAID
    WHERE SHOULD I START. I DONT TRUST DOCTORS ANYMORE. was n hosp for dangerous white blood count he said. Was on cipro 24 hrs for 5 days. He never told me cipro as i knew it was on blk list with FDA. GRRRRRR


    • hi, Judie – i think it’s time to find a new dr. one drop of iodine might be fine, 45 drops is insanity. that’s 112.5 mg of iodine, which would probably would put most people with fluoroquinolone toxicity in the hospital.

      i’m finding iodine to be very helpful, but low and slow is the only way to go.


    • hi, Judie – am glad to see you joined our Iodine for Fluoroquinolone Toxicity group on Facebook. i wish i had known about iodine 20 years ago, when i was first given several courses of cipro.

      i re-read your first post and see you didn’t mention the strength of the iodine solution you were given by your dr. even so, i would be careful taking 45 drops of any iodine, even if it’s a weak solution.

      if you’re frightened and confused by what’s happening, i’d say that’s another indication you need a new dr. they don’t seem to be communicating very well with you, and given the issues you’re describing, i’d say you need some focused attention right now by a sharp physician. hang in there.


  6. Hello
    I am 28 year old just browsing and came accross this place. I have cold hands and feet most of the time, ibs problems, foggy head feeling, ringing in the ears, sinus problems, shortness of breath (anxiety) I do stress easily but niticed i have been stressed a lot more.. like feel it happening for no reason.. Ive been moody espically around what i eat, ive been craving sugar and salt, i am mostly constipated or have the runs, also i cant stand hot days.. its like im over heated and when its cold im freeeezzzziiinngggg lol since ive gotten older i have noticed iam getting more tired and sick.. if that makes sense. I am usually happy exercising playing sports. I have been told i have anxiety, depression and ptsd as well as ocd lol but i cant shake this feeling its more.. like inflamed.. my stomach will just inflame out when i eat or drink then sinus and tight sor throat and neck. I was wondering where i should start looking? bloods, hormones??? any suggestions would be great 🙂


    • hi, alinta – this sounds really familiar, and i’m sorry you’re struggling like so many others. did you ever take antibiotics like cipro or levaquin? this sounds like it could be thyroid-related, but i’m not a dr., i’m just a person like you who is trying to figure it all out.

      craving sugar is what happens with a lot of people when they have yeast overgrowth, another symptom of gut flora damage.

      craving salt tends to happen with people who have adrenal weakness. i’ve had that also, and sometimes just a little salt will perk me up.

      constipation and the runs? chris kresser has a term “constarrhea” because even when our stools are loose, if the gut isn’t moving it’s a toxic situation for the liver and the body as a whole.

      if you have reactions like you’ve described to foods, keep track of what you’re eating. if it’s sugary things that cause this, again you may have some sort of fungal overgrowth, which can change all sorts of hormonal aspects of your body, impair your sleep, and affect your mood throughout the day.

      i would urge you to seek a dr’s advice who is able to look at the big picture – especially diet and gut health. you could probably benefit from taking some probiotics, although you’d have to experiment to see which ones help you the most. we’re all different and depending on what your gut is lacking, some could help and others create other problems.

      getting back to the thyroid, you may be iodine deficient and taking some would help boost your immune system, allow you to fight any chronic infections you have and sort out some mood and metabolic things, too. however, you don’t want to launch into taking high doses of iodine. getting just a tiny amount — 150 mcg per day — is probably going to make a difference if you’re low in it.


  7. Ohh and the last time i went to the doctors they said my white blood count was a little down “probably just a virus” it will pass.. ohh and my hair is thinning 😦 ive had my bloods done just the other day and its been a week with no reply.


    • i’ve also had a low white count at times. candida (i have read) can kill our white blood cells, but — and this is interesting — poor iodine status may also affect that. and “neutropenia” as it’s called can also be an autoimmune condition. hair loss can be a sign of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal issues. heal the gut, decrease overall stress (which is tough when you’re sick!) and this will probably correct itself. again, i think a really sharp doctor is in order, but there’s a lot you can do on your own, with their guidance and advice, to heal up. i appreciate your reaching out. please keep us posted on how you’re doing. 😉


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