Internal Iodine Blister

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Internal Iodine Blister

Postby DougA. » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:51 pm

I have always had great results from using an internal iodine blister given via intramuscular and subq injections. It was often common operating procedure back in the old days to inject a 2% iodine solution into sore race horses. McKay's Maxlin Injection was a common over-the-counter veterinarry injectable carried in many tack shops back in the 1980s and earlier. I would often inject two 50cc bottles of the medicine into a horse's rearend. One bottle on each side and separating the injections over a large area with about 1-2cc per site. It could also be injected in the stifle area along side the patellar ligaments.

's Maxlin injection.jpg
's Maxlin injection.jpg (9.36 KiB) Viewed 2559 times

It is no longer made as the FDA took it off the market in the 1980s, but may be special formulated at various compounding pharmacies. It was sold for sprains and strains of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in horses. It was made of 2% iodine in Almond oil.

Dr. Borthwick writes about using a similar injection for a bad stifle:

"First, I palpate the three patellar ligaments: the medial, the middle and the lateral patellar ligaments. I inject 5cc at the site where these ligaments meet over the tibeal tuberosity. I then inject 5cc at each of the three sites where the ligaments originate from the patella. The 15cc (from each of the three injections sites) over the patella are concentrated at the site of origin but some is infiltrated over the surfaces of the patella. I then infiltrate 5cc at the site of the lateral femoro-tibial ligament over the lateral femoral condyle. The remaining 20cc I use to infiltrate the muscle mass around the stifle. I use 4cc per site in five sites starting a few inches above the point of the stifle and make an arc over the lateral side and above the stifle joint. I then take another 50cc vial and repeat this procedure on the other leg. Following the injection, the horse should then be worked. This would be a four or five mile jog for a standard-bred or even a training mile. A riding horse should be saddled and ridden for 25-30 minutes with intermittent walk and trot, depending on the horse's condition."
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Re: Internal Iodine Blister

Postby DougA. » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:09 pm

Here are some interesting insights into iodine as it is available to us, This piece deals with Lugol's solution, but would equally be of merit and hold true to all iodine products.

From: ... ugols.html

There are two widely-available grades of iodine: "crude" and "resublimed," the latter of which is crude iodine that has been further refined via a vaporization/crystalization process. ACS-grade iodine is resublimed iodine which satisfies the ACS requirements. The following quotations are included to support these statements:

Commercial-grade crude iodine normally has a minimum purity of 99.5% I2: the main impurities are water, sulfuric acid, iron, and insoluble materials (Lyday 1999 [see excerpt below]). Specifications of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia [USP] XVII call for crude iodine to be not less than 99.8% I2. Resublimed iodine is usually 99.9% pure, and American Chemical Society (ACS) specifications call for not more than 0.005% total bromine and 0.020% nonvolatile materials (Anon. 1971).

from Industrial Minerals & Rocks, 7th edition, By Jessica Elzea Kogel p 549

Commercial crude iodine normally has a minimum purity of 99.5%. Impurities are chiefly water, sulfuric acid, iron, and insoluble materials. The USP XVII specifies iodine content of not less than 99.8%. The Committee on Analytical Reagents of the American Chemical Society allows a maximum of 0.005% total bromine and chlorine and 0.010% nonvolatile matter.

from Iodine By Phyllis A. Lyday

So, there's really only one grade of non-crude, refined ("resublimed") iodine which is widely available, and that is ACS-grade. After a batch is refined, it is tested for compliance to the ACS specification , which limits total impurities to 0.01%, or 100 ppm, implying a purity requirement of 99.99%. Considering that the quantity used for dietary purposes is on the order of 5 mg per day typically, total impurities would be on the order of 500 nanograms, or 0.5 micrograms. You probably get more in the air you breathe on a daily basis.

Potassium Iodide

Besides water and iodine, Lugol's solution contains potassium iodide, and the ACS grade is typically used. The spec for Potassium Iodide, ACS includes a list of impurities and the maximum permissible level for each. Those that aren't listed specifically would fall into the category of "insoluble matter," which is limited to 0.005%, i.e. 50 parts per million. Soluble matter would have been removed by the manufacturing process, so the spec covers everything that could be present, including residues of chemicals used in the manufacturing process. My main concerns would be the heavy metals, which are low to begin with (again, in the single-digit nanogram range), and which Lugol's solution helps the body to expel.

Putting "USP grade" into context

USP-grade ingredients, which are typically ACS (or lower) grade ingredients which have passed certain tests related to their suitability to be used in or on the human body, are also available. In order to legally sell Lugol's solution for human consumption, the ingredients must pass these USP-mandated tests, and certain USP-approved manufacturing standards must be met. I gather that the designation "lab grade Lugol's solution" is Lugol's solution that was made with ACS-grade materials and wasn't subjected to the USP tests. However, I would check the manufacturer's specification to be certain that ACS-grade materials were used.

It is my understanding that J Crow's (, one of the major suppliers of USP-grade Lugol's solution to consumers, uses ACS grade ingredients. They indicate that their product is "USP grade or higher," which is true of anything that exceeds the relevant USP requirements. Considering the high purity of ASC-grade materials, it would seem that the USP testing is a formality which must be performed in order to be absolutely certain that a product is safe for human consumption. However, CHANCES ARE that "lab grade" Lugol's solution made from ACS-grade materials by a reputable company (such as those who manufacture aquarium chemicals) would be essentially identical to the typical USP-grade Lugol's solution.

Considering A) the purity of the widely-used ACS-grade ingredients; B) the simplicity of manufacturing Lugol's solution; C) the fact that manufacturers and resellers probably make reasonable efforts to ensure that they don't contaminate their product (because the purer it is, the better it will work for lab procedures); D) the fact that Lugol's solution is a germicidal; and E) that it helps the body to rid itself of various toxic substances such as heavy metals, I would be willing to use the lab-grade version if it is made of ACS-grade ingredients and manufactured and rebottled by reputable companies. As of this writing, I had been using Clarkson Labs' non-USP Lugol's solution for about two years, and I hadn't noticed any ill effects. Most "lab grade Lugol's solution" is probably quite similar. (Unfortunately, Clarkson's no longer sells to individuals due to the new DEA regulations, which require anyone who purchases more than one ounce at a time to be registered with the DEA. This status is not available to individuals, and even if it were, it would be absurd to register just to save a few bucks on Lugol's solution.)

A readily available form of Lugol's solution is "lab grade" product for aquariums. Kent Marine's product appears to be the most prevalent of these, and according to their Material Safety Data Sheet, it, unlike some lab-grade "Lugol's solution," contains the proper 5% iodine/10% potassium iodide mixture required to be considered genuine full-strength Lugol's solution. (However, I haven't investigated all of the available brands of "lab grade" LS for aquariums - it's possible that they all have this desirable balance of ingredients.) Considering their emphasis on maintaining water purity, I assume that their Lugol's solution consists of ACS-grade materials. (As far as I know, the only ingredients readily available for use in chemical mixtures are ACS-grade. I suppose they could use crude iodine, or go out of their way to find resublimed iodine that doesn't quite meet the ACS spec, but it's highly doubtful.) However, I don't know what grade they use, and I doubt that Kent Marine will supply the documentation required to prove it one way or the other. But because they have a competitor (Warner Marine Research) who touts their product as USP-grade, I'd be willing to bet that they do use ACS-grade materials. If KM's Lugol's solution were made of inferior ingredients, this competitor could steal the market by performing an analysis of the KM product and publicizing it, which I doubt Kent Marine would want to risk. They would also be risking their reputation and the rest of their business. The fact that the competitor hasn't done this might mean that both products are made of ACS-grade materials, so the only advantage the competitor has is the aura of greater purity by means of USP certification. The bottom line is that I would be willing to risk using KM's product, but you will have to evaluate the information and decide whether to take the risk before using it as a dietary supplement.

On their website as of 12/29/07, Warner Marine (WM) made the following claim about their Lugol's solution: "ReefPure Lugol's Solution is the original Iodine tool for the aquarists' toolbox. It is produced entirely from Pharmaceutical Grade (U.S.P.) Potassium Iodide and Iodine Crystals, the highest quality raw material in the hobby. Inferior competing products are produced using poor quality raw materials containing up to 10x the heavy metals and impurities compared to Warner Marine products." However, in light of the information I have provided above, this sounds like sales hype. If they had any data, they would probably present it. But it is a way to get reasonably-priced Lugol's solution, USP, and if it's available locally, it would be the logical choice.

You might be able to find suitable Lugol's solution at laboratory supply outlets that are willing to sell to private individuals and to provide details on their product. I found a couple of such places through Yahoo Shopping, but upon examination of the relevant Material Safety Data Sheets, I realized that their products do not contain the proper proportion of ingredients, or are so loosely specified that the specs are useless.

Conclusion and disclaimer

So, as far as I can tell, "lab grade Lugol's solution," (assuming it's made with ACS ingredients by a reputable manufacturer, and rebottled by a reputable reseller) is fine to consume, just as Lewis Ford claims in his article Iodide/Iodine (also posted below). But I'm not an expert, and I might have missed something, so I cannot guarantee that it is. It's up to you to determine whether I've covered all the bases, to weigh the evidence, (including the fact that the manufacturing facilities and process, and the rebottling facilities, are not USP-certified), and decide whether you want to take the risk of consuming it. If you get sick from it, you will have only yourself to blame. If you die from it, you won't even be able to blame yourself. But if Warner Marine's Lugol's solution, USP is available locally and competitively priced, it's the logical choice, although if you were to analyze the various brands used for aquaria, I suspect they'd all yield similar results.


Rev B:

Was: Considering the high purity of ASC-grade materials, it would seem that the USP testing is a formality which must be performed in order to guarantee that a product is safe for human consumption. With modern test gear, these tests are probably easy to perform.
Is: Considering the high purity of ASC-grade materials, it would seem that the USP testing is a formality which must be performed in order to be absolutely certain that a product is safe for human consumption. However, CHANCES ARE that "lab grade" Lugol's solution made from ACS-grade materials by a reputable company (such as those who manufacture aquarium chemicals) would be essentially identical to the typical USP-grade Lugol's solution.


Lugol's Solution (1%) formula:


Postassium Iodide.....................2g

distilled water....................... filled to the 100 ml mark

(do not simply add 100 ml, but add water to reach the 100 ml mark after adding iodine and postassium iodide crystals.)


Iodine dissolves very rapidly in strong potassium iodide solutions, but only very slowly in weak ones. For that reason, first add potassium iodide into approximately 5 ml of the water (for a 100ml batch), then the iodine. The iodine should dissolve in a few seconds in this strong potassium iodide solution. When it has, add the remaining water to make a 100 ml batch. Adding all of the water at the beginning causes the iodine to slowly dissolve over about 24-48 hours. If you happen to have an ultrasonic cleaner around, putting your jar of newly formulated lugol's in this machine and letting it sonicate for a while, helps along with the process as well. You may run this solution through a coffee filter for final bottling to filter out particulates, but not necessary.

To make a 5% Lugol's solution:


Postassium Iodide.....................10g

distilled water....................... amount filled to the 100 ml mark
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Re: Internal Iodine Blister

Postby DougA. » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:10 pm

I would like it be noted that Lugol's solution can be used as an injectable counterirritant. Here is an excerpt from the Merck Manual on exactly that:

Trochanteric bursitis is an inflammation of the tendon of the middle gluteal muscle, of the bursa between this tendon and the trochanter major, or of the cartilage of the trochanter major. It is most common in Standardbreds, in which bursitis and gluteal myositis are secondary to hock problems.

The weight is placed on the medial wall of the foot so that it is worn more than the lateral wall. The stride of the affected leg is shorter, and the leg is rotated inward. The horse tends to carry the hindquarters toward the sound side. In chronic cases, the muscles between the external and internal angles of the ilium are atrophied, giving the croup a flat appearance. Pressure over the greater trochanter results in evidence of pain.

If the inflammation is acute, the horse should be rested and hot packs applied over the affected area. Injection of corticosteroid into the bursa temporarily relieves the inflammation. In chronic cases, the injection of 1 mL of 5% Lugol’s solution diluted with equal parts of distilled water into or around the bursa as a counterirritant has been recommended.

Even though Merck suggests using 5% diluted in half, I would be more inclined to injecting a 2% iodine solution more on the lines of McKay's etc. Because Lugol's is an aqueous solution, it may be a bit easier to formulate than a McKay's substitute that uses an oil base. I would make an injectable 2% Lugol"s solution like this and inject without the need for diluting:

USP or ACS Iodine......................................2g

USP or ACS Potassium Iodide.........................4g

USP sterile injectable water.......................amount added with above to make 100 ml


Combine the iodine and potassium iodide, then add 5 mL of the water. The iodine should dissolve in a few seconds. When it has, add the remaining water and filter with around a .4 micron sterile filter. The use of a ultrasonic bath may aid in more easily and effectively dispersing the iodine in water before filtering, if you own such a unit. Use sterile technique throughout.
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