What Is Povidone Iodine and How Is It Different From Nascent Iodine?

Written by Nikki Lyn Pugh

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You probably know that iodine is a must-have for hormonal health and the health of your entire body. But you may still be confused about the different types of iodine and what they can do. To help you determine the best type of iodine supplement for your needs, let’s dive into two common types of iodine – povidone iodine and nascent iodine – and discuss the difference between them.

What Is Povidone Iodine Solution?

Remember that bright yellowish-brown stuff your mom or the school nurse used to slather on your arm or knee whenever you got a cut? It stained your skin for days but putting the “yellow stuff” on prevented you from getting an infection! That’s because povidone iodine is effective at killing a wide range of harmful and pathogenic microorganisms.

Povidone iodine is sometimes known commercially as Betadine or Aerodine and it can come as povidone iodine solution, povidone iodine ointment, or as a powder [1].

Iodine Tinctures Contain Alcohol

It is different than iodine tincture, often called weak iodine solution, though. Although both are used as antiseptics, povidone iodine does not contain alcohol as tincture of iodine does.

Sometimes individuals will choose to use tincture of iodine instead of povidone iodine when time is of the essence because the alcohol in it makes the solution dry quickly. It is also used for sanitation. In most other commercial settings, however, povidone iodine is used.

Common Uses of Povidone Iodine

Povidone iodine is one of the oldest man-made antiseptics for the skin and has been around since the mid-1950s. It is also used in some shampoos, vegetable washes, soaps, dyes, and some eyewashes. It is commonly used as a disinfectant by surgeons to prevent infections and as an antibacterial by dentists [2].

Don’t Swallow Povidone Iodine!

Povidone iodine is always used externally (never ingested) and is made up mostly of iodine and povidone. Povidone is a synthetic, highly dissolvable substance used to transport and carry other medicinals. A container of povidone iodine usually contains about 10% iodine and 90% povidone.

You can get topical povidone iodine solution at most drug stores and pharmacies. Povidone iodine is tolerated by most people, although side effects do exist for some individuals and in some cases. Certain people may be allergic to povidone iodine and can develop a rash or experience other side effects. Also, according to studies, using povidone iodine in large quantities can result in kidney issues, high serum blood sugar levels, and other serious side effects [3].

Some Povidone Iodine Will be Absorbed Through the Skin

Of course, povidone iodine is still iodine and your skin is one of your biggest organs. The iodine in povidone iodine will absorb into your bloodstream to some extent. This is something to keep in mind for people who have been advised by their doctor not to ingest iodine or pregnant women [4].

How is Povidone Iodine Different From Nascent Iodine?

While povidone iodine is used externally only, nascent iodine can be used both externally and internally. It is sometimes called monatomic, atomic iodine, or just simply “atomidine.” According to many experts, it is also the best form of iodine supplement out there today.

You may have heard of potassium iodide or iodine obtained from kelp or from other sources. Unlike these products, nascent iodine does not need a carrier mineral. Thus it does not require extra energy from the body to be “converted” into a useable substance.

“Nascent” means “coming into being.” This form of iodine is incomplete at the atomic level (and thus waiting to “come into being”), but this is by no means is a bad thing. It simply means that it contains an odd number of electrons and carries an electromagnetic charge.

So what does all this translate to for your health? Simply put, nascent iodine is many times more absorbable than other kinds of iodine. It works quickly in the body but is also safe and requires less energy to do its job. When it comes to the thyroid and endocrine health, taking nascent iodine as an internal supplement can help your endocrine system stay in more consistent balance. This is beneficial for your hormones as well!

Nascent Iodine Has Been in Use Longer Than Povidone Iodine

Another difference between nascent and povidone iodine is that the nascent form of iodine has actually been around a lot longer. It was the “go-to” form of pre and post-surgery antiseptic iodine used by surgeons from when it was first developed in the 1920s until the reign of pharmaceutical companies began in earnest a few decades later.

iodine supplementation

Nascent iodine can still be used in all the external ways that povidone iodine and tincture of iodine can be used. Because it is not made using synthetic substances and manufacturing practices and does not contain alcohol, nascent iodine is less likely to cause a reaction.

When used internally, it can be both safe and extremely effective at:

  • fighting infections
  • raising immune system function
  • balancing hormones
  • helping the thyroid
  • helping to maintain cardiovascular health
  • increasing brain health
  • and so much more [5]

Experts also claim that it contains chelating properties and is able to remove both heavy metals and toxic halides such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromide from the body [6].

When choosing an iodine supplement why not choose an “all-in-one” that is safe, effective and fast working for your health? Add Organixx all-organic, cleanly produced nascent iodine supplement to your toolbox for both internal and external use… and you will be well-prepared for whatever cut, scrape, or health challenge comes your way!

When your organs are working hard to detoxify, you want the purest form of iodine possible to help them work more efficiently. It only makes sense to use an organic form that’s totally natural and free of chemicals. Organixx Iodine is one of the only formulas that is USDA Certified Organic. It’s a pure, nascent form of iodine which your thyroid can use immediately.

Organic Iodine
Nikki Lyn Pugh
Nikki Lyn Pugh, MFA, INHC is a natural health researcher and writer. She is also an integrative nutritional health coach specializing in autoimmune conditions, chronic stress, and energy medicine. She loves to inspire people to become empowered with their health through education and gentle guidance. Nikki lives and works in Cottonwood, AZ, with her bunny "Mr. Dot."

Article Summary

  • Two common types of iodine are povidone iodine and nascent iodine.

  • Povidone iodine is sometimes known commercially as Betadine or Aerodine and it can come as povidone iodine solution, povidone iodine ointment, or as a powder.

  • Povidone iodine is effective at killing a wide range of harmful and pathogenic microorganisms and is always used externally (never ingested).

  • Nascent iodine can be used both externally and internally. It is sometimes called monatomic, atomic iodine, or just simply “atomidine.”

  • Nascent iodine is many times more absorbable than other kinds of iodine. It works quickly in the body but is also safe and requires less energy to do its job.

  • When used internally, nascent iodine can be both safe and extremely effective at fighting infections, raising immune system function, balancing hormones, helping the thyroid, helping to maintain cardiovascular health, increasing brain health, and more.

  • Look for a quality source of organic nascent iodine such as Organixx Organic Iodine for both internal and external uses.


    • Thanks for your question, Mary. We cannot provide the side effects of the other Nascent Iodine brands, but we are happy to share from our very own Organixx Nascent Iodine.

      Initially, you may feel worse when taking iodine, as the accumulation of toxic material must be processed and removed from the body. This is typically referred to as a "healing crisis", which a temporary worsening of symptoms which occur when the body is going through the process of healing itself through the elimination of toxins.This process can include physical effects as the toxins in your body are metabolized. The most common side effects include fatigue, headache, minor rash, lack of mental clarity, joint or muscle ache, irritability, difficulty sleeping, sleeping too much, or mood swings.

      We highly advice that you have a consultation with your trusted medical specialist in order to learn if taking Nascent Iodine supplements are beneficial for you and your current health condition/s. We wish you the best in your wellness journey!

      You may read more about it by using the following links:



      We hope this helped and we wish you a great day!

  1. Terrible explanation!! You take the time to dirt if explain what providing iodine is, but never explain nascent iodine. Just repeating how great it is.

    What a bunch of marketing giberish !

    What is nascent iodine??? You still have not explained it.

      • Good article but how is Detoxadine different from the above? I have been taking 2 drops of Detoxadine n thought I was taking the best of the best .

        • Elizabeth, I can't vouch for either, but after thoroughly reading and comparing both brands, both organic Nascent Iodine products look like they are top notch, exactly same ingredients, quality and potency. I guess you just try both?

  2. I wish you would have added SSKI to the discussion. I have used it in the past but I'm still confused about it's strength & uses.

    • Hi Alice, thanks for your suggestion. We appreciate it and we will consider this topic for our future posts. Have a great day ahead!

  3. So many articles discuss recommendation for HYPOthyroid but little to nothing deals with Hyperthyroid. I have Hyperthyroid. Will iodine help me?

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