Radioactive Iodine Therapy

Since iodine is used in the production of thyroid hormones, a significant part of the iodine taken into the body is retained by our thyroid gland and some tumors originating from the thyroid gland. The mechanism of action of radioactive iodine therapy (atom therapy) applied with I-131 is based on this basis. After the operation, radioactive iodine taken into the normal thyroid cell remnants and tumor cells destroys the cells with the effect of radiation.

Although iodine contained in foods, mainly iodized salt, and iodine-131 used in radioactive iodine treatment are different molecules, they cannot be distinguished by thyroid tissue and tumor cells. Since our body cannot distinguish between radioactive and non-radioactive iodine, tissues capture both at the same level. In this case, the two types of iodine compete with each other for retention in normal thyroid tissue or tumors. If the level of non-radioactive iodine in the blood is high and the thyroid cells and the blood pool are saturated with iodine, the radioactive iodine will not be adequately retained, and in this case, the effectiveness of the treatment will decrease. In order to increase the rate of radioactive iodine uptake into the cell and to increase the effectiveness of treatment, non-radioactive iodine intake in our daily diet should be restricted as much as possible.

A daily dose of drugs containing thyroid hormone contains approximately 10 times as much non-radioactive iodine as the radioactive iodine we use for treatment. Since they have a long life in the blood, these drugs should be discontinued 4 weeks before treatment. Since the thyroid hormone in the drug called Tiromel is shorter-lived, it is sufficient to leave it for 15 days.

In our country, iodized table salt is used to prevent diseases related to iodine deficiency. The first thing to consider in the iodine-restricted diet period is to use non-iodized table salt. You should not forget that all the foods you will eat in restaurants and outside the home, except for the foods you prepare at home, will contain iodized salt. Similarly, all ready-processed foods will also be high in iodine. Many natural foods contain iodine in their own structure. The diet list in the appendix has been prepared by taking into account the foods containing the highest level of iodine.

This diet will only be applied for 15 days before radioactive iodine treatment or I-131 scanning scintigraphy. It certainly does not need to be applied in periods other than this temporary period of your life.

Hair dyes and henna contain high levels of iodine and its effect lasts up to 6 weeks. For this reason, our patients should not dye their hair after the detection of a thyroid tumor until the treatment process is completed.

I wish you healthy days.

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