Can Iodine Pills Protect You from Radiation Exposure?

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Can Iodine Pills Protect You from Radiation Exposure?

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The devastating earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan has shocked the world and dominated the news with heart-rending scenes of destruction and suffering. More recently a related crisis—leakage of radiation resulting from damage to nuclear reactors—has created widespread concern as far away as the United States, especially on the West Coast. I live in central Oregon, some 250 miles away from the Oregon coast, so it is sobering to hear newscasters single out "those of you living in the West" in their opening greetings.

Despite the reassurance of virtually all scientific authorities that there is absolutely no danger to anyone in the United States, many citizens are taking precautions that they think will save them from harm in the event that radiation exposure becomes an issue here.

Limitations of iodine pills

Will iodine pills save you from harm if you should be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation?

On March 21, the WebMD website posted this information in an article titled, "Potassium Iodide Pills, Can They Protect You from Radiation Exposure":

"In the wake of the nuclear plant meltdown in Japan, Americans are buying up potassium iodide pills—also called iodine pills. Potassium iodide helps prevent some of the damaging effects of radiation. The thyroid gland in the neck is one of the most sensitive organs in the body to radiation. Exposure to high levels of radiation—as occurs during a nuclear plant meltdown—can lead to thyroid cancer.

So how does potassium iodide help?

The thyroid uses iodine normally to make thyroid hormone. The radiation from a nuclear event releases radioactive iodine into the air. When the radioactive iodine enters the body, the thyroid quickly scoops it up.

Taking potassium iodide pills temporarily stops the thyroid. If taken prior to radiation exposure, the iodine pills counter the effect of the radioactive iodine on the thyroid. This helps prevent the development of thyroid cancer down the road" (

However, the article also points out that, "It's important to note that potassium iodide pills protect only the thyroid. They don't prevent your body from taking in the radiation and don't help prevent radiation damage to other parts of the body."

Despite the reassurances from the scientific community, many stores carrying iodine pills have sold out their entire inventory to frightened consumers who are seeking protection in case the authorities are either wrong or withholding the truth.

This reaction is reminiscent of the widespread purchase of fallout shelters and stockpiling of food during the Cold War of the 1950s.

Greater earthquakes and nuclear dangers foretold

What can you do to protect yourself? Should you even be concerned?

In His famous Olivet prophecy, Jesus warned of mind-numbing tragedies that would take place at the time of the end, including earthquakes, tsunamis and major wars that would result in the annihilation of all humanity were it not for God's intervention (Luke 21:11, 25; Matthew 24:21-22). The term "apocalyptic" that is often used to describe large scale disasters stems from the Greek word apokalupsis (revelation) in the title of the final book of the Bible. The book of Revelation offers frightening details of this coming time of massive devastation and death.

Imagine the devastation in northern Japan on a worldwide scale! Massive earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear warfare will exact a massive toll of human suffering and death on an unprecedented scale. Iodine pills, fallout shelters, stockpiled food or any other human efforts will not afford protection from this great time of trouble.

Jesus warns that most living in the end-time world will be complacent, apathetic and blissfully unaware of the impending devastation, as was the case in the world that perished in the great Flood of Noah's day.

The only source of real protection

The good news is that God offers protection to His people who remain vigilant and faithful. Jesus expresses this promise and exhortation: "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36).

Find out more about the times that are coming and what you can do to be assured of God's protection by requesting or downloading our free booklets, Are We Living in the Time of the End? and The Book of Revelation Unveiled.