Iodine for Hypothyroidism: Crucial Nutrient or Harmful Toxin?

iodizedsalt

This article is part of a special report on Thyroid Disorders. To see the other articles in this series, click here.

In a previous article I showed why, when used alone, thyroid hormone replacement often fails. In this post I’ll explain why optimizing your iodine intake is so crucial, and why both too little and too much iodine can be harmful.

Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide. Once researchers realized this, health authorities around the world began adding iodine to table salt.

This strategy was effective in correcting iodine deficiency. But it had an unanticipated—and undesired—effect. In countries where iodine has been added to table salt, the rates of autoimmune thyroid disease have risen. The following is just a sample of studies around the world demonstrating this effect:

Why does this happen? Because increased iodine intake, especially in supplement form, can increase the autoimmune attack on the thyroid. Iodine reduces the activity of an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase (TPO). TPO is required for proper thyroid hormone production.

On the other hand, restricting intake of iodine can reverse hypothyroidism. In one study, 78% of patients with Hashimoto’s regained normal thyroid function with iodine restriction alone.

However—and this is a big “however”— it appears that iodine may only pose a problem for people with Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune thyroid diseases in the presence of concurrent selenium deficiency. In the study above where rats developed goiter while receiving excess iodine, when they were given adequate selenium they did not develop the goiter.

Other studies have shown that selenium protects against the effects of iodine toxicity and prevents the triggering and flaring of autoimmune disease that excess iodine without selenium can cause.

In my practice I always test for both iodine deficiency and Hashimoto’s when a patient presents with hypothyroid symptoms. If they are iodine deficient, I will start them on a trial of iodine and selenium together. In most cases, patients see a significant improvement. In a minority of cases, they cannot tolerate supplemental iodine even with adequate selenium intake.

Unfortunately, the blood test for iodine that your doctor might run is not very accurate. The best way to determine iodine status is with a 24-hour urine loading test. This involves taking a large dose of iodine and collecting your urine for 24 hours afterward. If you are iodine deficient, you’ll retain more of the ingested iodine than you should and the level of iodine excreted in the urine will be lower than expected. The two labs I recommend for this test are Doctor’s Data and Hakala.

That said, if your doctor or health care practitioner won’t order these tests, you can simply begin an iodine protocol. This involves starting with a low dose of iodine (I start my patients with kelp tablets that contain 325 mcg of iodine per tablet) and increasing very slowly over time. As I’ve described in this article, it’s crucial that you also take 200 mcg of selenium per day during this protocol to protect against the potentially adverse effects of iodine supplementation, especially if you have autoimmune thyroid disease.

Physicians that specialize in treating hypothyroidism with iodine (such as Dr. Abraham and Dr. Brownstein) suggest doses as high as 50 mg per day may be necessary to restore iodine levels in those that are deficient. I have used doses this high in my practice, but it’s imperative that patients build up to such high doses very slowly, and I don’t recommend doing it without the supervision of a clinician experienced with iodine treatment. Be aware that high doses of iodine can lead to a transient increase in TSH levels, which can be mistakenly interpreted as a sign of hypothyroidism.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that a minority of patients with Hashimoto’s confirmed by biopsy (the gold standard) never test positive for thyroid antibodies. This is probably because their immune systems are so depressed they can no longer produce antibodies. If you have a combination of hyper- and hypothyroid symptoms, I would still suspect Hashimoto’s even if your thyroid antibody tests are normal. It’s wise to be cautious with iodine if you have any signs of autoimmune thyroid disease, even without a confirmed diagnosis.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. qualia says

    how does hashimoto, as an auto-immune disease, respond to high-dose vitamin D treatment? my neurodermatitis simply went away at 5’000IU D3, which speaks for a strong immuno-modulatory effect i assume..  could hashimoto maybe just be another symptom of D deficiency? are there any studies correlating H. and D levels? just a thought.

    • faye Geary says

      i have hashimotoe and take 10,000 iu of vitamin d have been taking it for 6 months . i’m not getting any better also have a low serum blood calcium. anything you could suggest as far as testing?

          • Charla Shamhart says

            Most people are now deficient in magnesium, without which calcium cannot be used. The best way to get magnesium without the diarrhea often associated with it is through soaks using Epsom salt and/or magnesium chloride (magnesium oil). Low magnesium leads to calcium deficiency, osteoporosis, assorted body pains and heart palpitations, among other dis-eases.

      • Dilly says

        Make sure you get a blood test to make sure you do not have excessive D. Your D intake seems a little high. D is not water soluble as B and C.

    • Sarah says

      I am new to all that’s going on here, I just found out I have thyroid issues, last week, I’m ignorant to the whole thing and am trying to learn more.. Please be kind when responding to my questions.. I have symptoms of both.. My thyroid is all over the place and totally confused as to what it’s supposed to do, I gain weight, then drop weight, I get so depressed I cry for a week then everything is fine, I gave a goiter on the right side of my thyroid, but waiting for a few more tests for the Dr to decide what to do.. I’m interested in home remedies.. Is there something I can do to start on my way to a healthier me.. I don’t over indulge in junk food, but I’m not a health nut either, and reading about seed oils, vitamin D, kelp pills, truly my brain is fizzled.. I’m a average person with below average knowledge of thyroid or thyroid disease.. Can any one in plain simple words help me out.. LOL (just trying to figure out what to do and no one to go to)

      • jackie says

        You may want to study selenium. 200 mcg should not be a dangerous level, since it is recommended up to 400 mcg. Take a good high potency B Complex, and 4000 mg of easy to break down vitamin C daily, and
        lemon Cod liver oil made by Carlson. Just a starter. See if anything starts balancing. Check with chiropractors in your area what their experience is in your particular disorder. Sometimes they have amazing contacts. Have you had blood testing for TSH, T4, T3?.

      • mike carney says

        Sarah take it slow adding iodine and the essential minerals . I use Iosol liquid for everyday use with a daily use of liquid minerals from bodybio . There web has a video that explains why and how to use ….there are many bad schools of thought on use but playing it safe and slow is my suggestion …. keep learning and looking

      • Mohamed says

        Hi.. I don’t have physical symptoms of Hashmito’s disease or hypothyroidism. however I used to suffer from a huge anxiety, irritability, panic, depression and ADD.
        My symptoms had improved since I started taking iodine in form of kelp capsules. But that wasn’t enough. I felt like I’m missing something crucial. So I came across
        L-tyrosine, which is a natural hormone that our bodies produce to handle stress. Oh and I take also selenium. things looks like it is going well. hope this information is helpful…. take care

  2. Chris Kresser says

    Yes.  Vitamin D is one of the therapies for Hashimoto’s I’ll be covering.  Most Hashimoto’s patients have vitamin D receptor polymorphisms that impair absorption and metabolisms of D.

  3. Mario says

    Chris,
     
    I was wondering when you would cite “Dr.” Kharrazian!
     
    But, anyway, you have to be congruent! If you theory about iodine is right, Drs. Abraham and Brownstein could not have “sucessfully” treated hypo patients with iodine!!
     
    On the link above, on item IV, Dr. Abraham propose a explanation about salt iodinization and incidence of Hashimoto:
     
    http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/IOD-05/IOD_05.html
     
    I, for one, will keep my daily intake of 50mg of Lugol’s. Unless my blood tests, that I have every 2 or 3 months, says otherwise. Until now, they didn’t.
     
     

    • Chris Kresser says

      Mario,

      The human body isn’t a machine. It’s a complex web of interrelated connections. It may be possible for some Hashimoto’s patients to improve with iodine. I can’t rule that out. But that doesn’t mean most will, and it doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for the majority of patients.

      Why did you put “Dr” in quotation marks? Because Dr. Kharrazian is a chiropractor? Does that somehow make him less intelligent, able and qualified to evaluate the research? I assure you it does not. He has Harvard MDs and PhDs coming to his Mastering Thyroid course. I was at the last one, and spoke with an MD that said it was by far the most comprehensive and cutting-edge course on thyroid treatment he had ever attended.

      Should we listen to all the MDs that tell us heart disease is caused by cholesterol, in spite of mountains of evidence to the contrary? That we should take antidepressants for depression, even though the evidence clearly shows they are no better than placebo in most cases? Heck, they’re MDs, so they must be right!

      That’s exactly the attitude that motivated me to start the blog.

      The weight of the evidence suggests that iodine is not a good choice for Hashimoto’s patients. You’re free to disagree, and I know that you do.

      • Anonymous says

        i haven’t managed to wade through all you wrote (i could feel my stress hormones rising as i read what i did), but what i have leads me to believe that you treat “Hashimotos” — not “hypothyroidism”. perhaps you should label your articles more specifically…?

        i was apparently born thyroid deficient, 55 years ago. i have a mountain of experience of BAD treatment. the first sight of light at the end of MY tunnel was Iodoral. since the proliferation of the internet, i have made a good deal of progress in self-treatment, through education on things the medical establishment has theoretically “known” for decades, but never helped me with — things like getting enough good saturated fats, protein and trace minerals, dumping seed-oils and grains, and managing stress by steering clear of mainstream thinking on my condition.

        if your articles have anything helpful to tell me and others in the same boat, i’d like to know exactly where. reading about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is not constructive.

        • Ruva says

          We need all good fats including the seed oils. We need the mono s , the poly s as well as the well saturated. We just don’t need animal FATS. Flax is good. Chia is good. Olive is good. Macadamias are good. Coconut oil is good. All these contain “acids” that are good for us. Its a matter of “how much” and “when” to consume them. Grains are GOOD. very good.

          The above is in response to anonymous.

          • Ironphoenix says

            We do not need seed oils! They are indisputable evidence that they are extremely pro inflammatory and the excessive use of seed and vegetable oils in this country massively unbalance the 3:6 ratios. Animal fats are stable and saturated fats are essential to good grain health. I suggest you do more research in this area and be very careful about where you get your information from, especially if it’s from pro vegan sources etc!

            • says

              Yes, but it seems they are trendy. A segment of the population seems to jump on alternative products. Soy is just one example of a potentially harmful alternative.

          • Charla says

            We actually DO NEED grass fed saturated animal fats. They react very differently in the body from fats from feed lot animals. Virtually ALL seed and grain oils are RANCID, including the organic ones. As Ironphoenix pointed out, they are VERY unstable and toxic. Butter, ghee, coconut oil or saturated animal fats are good for cooking and good quality olive oil (most is mixed with junk vegetable oils) for salads or very low heat only. Good quality eggs from chickens raised with non-GMO feed that are really free range are worth the money, as they are very healthy, complete food. Find more information from Weston A. Price Foundation.

            • Allison says

              Charla is correct on all points. One mention is that independent testing done on olive oil (UC Davis, CA) showed that vast maj. of olive oil produced in USA truly is olive oil. Sadly, many imported brands are mixed w/ unhealthy (& cheaper) seed & veg. oils. For legit brands, a succinct article is at: lifehacker.com ‘The Most (and Least) Fake Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands’. Links are provided to see detailed analysis of study.

        • Mandy says

          I don’t understand everyone getting upset. If this info is good for you, use it. He’s trying to show a different side on treating a disease that does work for people. That’s why they call it praying medicine. It’s not black & white. :)

      • Jeremiah says

        Can nascent iodine help me?
        My hypothyroidism was brought on by radiation treatment targeted at the head and neck area. I had nasophareangeal carcinoma. I was put on .175 mcg of levothyroxine which was raised to .200 mcg. I simply quit taking them because I felt no different, and I don’t like to use synthetic medicine blends.

        • Charla says

          Nascent iodine, to my knowledge, has never been shown to raise iodine-iodide levels substantially. Lugol’s liquid or Optimox tablets work better, but you MUST use selenium, magnesium, B vitamins and occasionally other nutrients to have it work properly, as well as doing a careful bromine detox with natural salt like Celtic salt. Synthetic thyroid cannot work right, either, without certain supplements like the above being used. So many people neglect clearing out toxic bromine that prevents absorption of iodine-iodide.

          • mike carney says

            One thing I use but have yet to see is BORON , this mineral is used by the oarathyroid and is as important as Iodine I also use a liquid mineral mix from bodybio I use iodine plus 2 , lugols Iosol and sski in different ways . I never had any issues with herx or illness sinse using iodine in 5 years DROPPED all antibiotics , synthetic and use organic glutenfree, no sugar … had symptoms of lyme with the ticks but never tested positive , They need a new test …

            • Charla Shamhart says

              Boron is ESSENTIAL for preventing arthritis. In areas of the world where there is much boron (or borax) in the soil, virtually NOBODY has arthritis. In areas where there is none in the soil, even small children have joint pain. I use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. daily.

          • PJ says

            Best form of detoxified elemental iodine you can find is the liquid form I use and I get it from Phil Thomas at iodine source.com Nascent learned how to make it from Phil but he changed it up and it is no longer what it should be and is NOT as good as Phil’s. I have been using it (13 -15 drops per day at 200mcg per drop) for 7 years and it has changed my life. It helped my thyroid enough to significantly abate my severe psoriatic arthritis and keep me from a wheel chair and pain that was so unbearable I wanted to die for almost 3 years. Soooooo many diseases can be traced back to the thyroid and parathyroid it isn’t even funny! I am not 100% and likely never will be (went un-diagnosed/misdiagnosed for 9 years getting worse every year) but I lead a pretty normal life now and have the pain and disfiguring arthritis in good enough control that I feel lucky!!! Phil’s iodine is based on Edgar Cayce’s recommendations on how to produce it and I thank God ever day that I stumbled upon Phil’s website when I was doing tons of research to try to save myself. It literally saved my life!

          • JACKIE says

            How do you clean out toxic bromine levels? I really want to know this answer.

            And on a different track, hoping you might know….For those with visual goiter, but blood testing resulting normal, how do we test to be more accurate?

            • Charla Shamhart says

              Jackie, a high quality unrefined salt such as Celtic salt or SEA-90, and some use Himalayan salt but it is not as medicinal as the other two, helps the kidneys remove bromine/bromide and fluorine/fluoride from our bodies. Both bromine and fluorine displace iodine/iodide so it cannot get into the cells. Bromine is in practically EVERYTHING: dough conditioner, fabric protectors, pesticides, flame retardants, medications, soft drinks like Mountain Dew, computer plastics, some pool and spa sterilization systems. Fluoride is in toothpastes, medications, drinking water and much more.

              Detox the bromine and fluorine (toxic halides) with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of good salt in a glass of water followed by more water until you begin to urinate. The unrefined chlorine in the salt kicks out the toxic halides (bromide and fluoride) so your cells can begin absorbing iodine-iodide. You can use it daily for a few weeks. Once you start on the iodine supplement, if at ANY point you feel ‘bad’ do the salt detox. It is often recommended to start on selenium, zinc, B-Vites and occasionally other nutrients a few WEEKS before introducing the iodine. Also use magnesium. Many use soak baths of Epsom salt or magnesium chloride or magnesium oil spray. These all help your body prepare to receive the iodine without feeling sick from the ‘bad guy’ toxics.

              Also, kick the commercial refined salt and the foods that are loaded with it. 1/2 to 1 tsp. of good salt a day is life-giving, but not the over-refined junk salt. Most ‘sea salt’ is super refined. The legal definition of ‘sea salt’ is having all but 2% of the natural minerals removed and magnesium is the first to be removed.

      • Tammy Kowalski says

        Hello, I have Hashimoto’s, my blood test showed antibodies. I currently take about 60 mg of Naturethroid daily.I have tried iodine from Dr Brownstein, he is my mother’s Doctor. I saw him one time and he helped my thyroid symptoms by discovering that I had allergies to casein and gluten which were causing further inflammation to my thyroid. When I was on the Iodine after 6wks I developed a goiter, had horrible heart palpitations and my normally very regular menstrual cycle became erratic, I also developed painful and swollen breasts and worsening PMS symptoms, the worst part was my heart feeling like it was skipping a beat and then thumping really hard on the next beat. I also developed insomnia. After stopping the Iodine on my own suspicions everything went away after about a week or so. I have been fine on the Naturethroid now and my allergen free diet. However 2 months ago I switched my multi vitamin to one with 300 mcg of iodine in it without thinking. I missed a period, and had horrible cramping and painful swollen breasts, and started to develop bad heart palpitations and anxiety symptoms in my chest, also tightness in my chest, they kept getting worse, skipped beats and thumping about 3xs per minute all day, very scary. I finally figured out that it was the iodine in the vitamins. I also noticed my thyroid gland looked larger in my neck. I have been off the vitamins now for 3 weeks and I am back to normal. So now I know for sure that I need to stay away from iodine except for what I receive naturally in sea salt, that seems to be okay, I take a teaspoon daily of sea salt.

        • Charla says

          Progesterone helps regulate heart. You should consider getting your female hormones tested. If you use supplemental progesterone, make sure it is bio-identical as the synthetic Progest does NOT link into the hormone receptors properly. Sounds like you may possibly be detoxing bromine and, if so, it may be throwing everything out of balance. Testing can show more accurately than speculation. Bromine testing can help.

          • Kathy says

            Hi, I’ve been on natural sublingual progesterone for 4 months now and taking iodine but no selenium. Also taking ashwagandha, vit d, and magnesium. Has relieved very tender breasts and cramping post ovulation but still very irritable post ovulation with mild depression. It is terrible and lasts a solid 2 weeks of every month. Plus headaches last week before period. Any suggestions? Should I stop the progesterone? I just moved and no longer have a doctor so don’t know what to do. At the point of just opting for some antidepressant. Thanks!

            • Charla Shamhart says

              Start the selenium, 200-400 mcg YESTERDAY. Also, the salt detoxing that I have described above. It will help with headaches, which can be either detox or hormone imbalance. Do NOT stop the progesterone. Without it your heart cannot beat regularly (men, too). Are you taking the sublingual progesterone from Bill Peat? His is very good. I use a compounded form vaginally where the body just drinks it in. The ADRENALS control almost all hormone production in the body. Ashwaganda is great for them. Start taking time to meditate or do deep relaxation and also deep, slow breathing exercises. Your adrenals MUST be repaired to get all the hormones, including thyroid, working right again. Dr. Lam (look him up) has excellent material on adrenal issues. Dr. John Bergman (youtube lectures) talks in-depth about how the adrenals control hormone production.

            • Jackie says

              I would recommend testing hormones more often. If you add things like selenium, etc. it could change how your hormones metabolize. Then there may be a need to change dosage. The other thing I would recommend is to find a good chiropractor that studies several techniques, has some Asian meridian understanding, and is not just a crick crack one. A subluxation can really throw off hormone balance. When nerves that message are pinched, they can shut down normal activity, and cause post menstrual symptoms instead of pms. So check that out.

      • Kara says

        I couldn’t agree with you any more Chris! People learn or read a blip of something and run with their egos. We can’t be egoistical if we want to grow and learn. Nobody has all the answers, but Chris you have some excellent research you share with the public at no change. Thank you.

        • Charla Shamhart says

          I especially appreciate your cautions to GO SLOWLY and use caution. Many jump into way too much iodine and end up damaging their kidneys or immune systems and feeling worse.

  4. says

    I wanted to add a few comments about the concern over negative effects of iodine and hashimotos. 

    I run the IODINE group on Yahoo groups where there are over 3,900 members.  Many of these members have hashimotos and are taking iodine sucessfuly to treat it.  There are key nutrients that need to be taken with iodine to put the thyroid in balance.  These include Vitamin C (heals the NIS – sodium iodine symporters), unrefined salt (used in the symporters as well), magnesium (involved in enzyme reactions), and selenium (works in the oxidation process). 

    In the oxidation process where hydrogen peroxide is increased and interacts with TPO to reduce iodine to iodide for the creation of MIT & DIT (precursors to T3 & T4 hormone) another process comes into place when enough oxidizining has occured.  This is done by the δ- Iodolactone  (an iodolipid) – a liped that puts the “brakes” on the oxidizing (burning) process.  Intracellular calcium levels are also important in this process in not letting things get out of balance as occurs in a hashimotos situation.  This iodolipid is only created when iodine is supplied in amounts larger than RDA recommendations.  For many on my group this is 50 mgs or more.  Many with hashimotos have issues with swelling or painful glands at low iodine supplementing levels yet have the symptoms resolve at higher dosing. 

    Hashimotos also seems to accompany high levels of bromide toxicity.  The iodine saturation level as well as the bromide toxicity level can be obtained by ordering a 24 hour iodine loading test with bromide levels from http://www.hakalalabs.com  

    It is dicouraging to see posts warning against the supplementation of iodine with hashimotos when there is no evidence to show harm when all the appropriate supporting nutrients accompanied with detoxification are in place. 

    The Jod-Basedow Phenomenon seems to only be applicable in cases of autonomic functioning thyroid nodules.  Not in a normal goiter situation.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Stephanie,

      As I said at the end of the article, I realize this is a controversial subject. And I’m open to hearing conflicting points of view.

      You mention that there is no evidence that iodine causes harm when all appropriate nutrients accompanied with detoxification are in place. Is there any evidence that it does not, or that it actually provides benefit? In the article I linked to studies demonstrating that iodine increases autoimmune activity, and that restricting iodine alone can induce a euthyroid state in Hashimoto’s patients. What is your explanation for these phenomena? Also, I have yet to read a convincing explanation of why iodine increases the incidence of Hashimoto’s rises so significantly in places where iodine is added to salt. If you claim that this happens because the dose is too low, or because these populations are deficient in co-factors like selenium, magnesium and vitamin C, I’d like to see evidence supporting that.

      There’s also the question of how iodine interacts with thyroglobulin polymorphisms commonly found in Hashimoto’s. From a study in Thyroid in 2004:

      “It is conceivable that Tg polymorphisms, combined with the explosive mix of iodine, TPO and H2O2 necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis, inadvertently provide the trigger for the autoimmune thyroid response.”

    • Suzie E says

      Hello Stephanie B. I saw a post you made about Hashimoto’s disease in 2010 at chriskresser.com and I’m hoping you have a moment to read and reply to this message. I have had Hashimoto’s and am only recently using iodine / kelp 100mg a day. This article about iodine being bad for autoimmune disease frightened me. It spoke about Peroxidase being an enzyme but when I was diagnosed, the test was for peroxidase antibodies and that number was off the charts. Can you direct me to a place where I can get some meaty info on how to self treat Hashimotos? I’m flying in the dark and stopped taking the thyroid medication about a year ago with no out of range TSH so far.

      • Lucia says

        Suzie, you may want to request to join the IODINE yahoo group (go to yahoo.com, find the “groups” link and then search for IODINE) and also the NaturalThyroidHormones group, if you are looking for additional dialogue, discussion and archives of other user questions and comments. It could be of interest to you. Best!

        • Kelly says

          I would avoid that group at all costs — the “Natural Thyroid Hormones” group that is. They promote the dangerous use of hydrocortisone for low adrenal function which has ruined a lot of people’s lives.

          The former moderator (Valerie) doesn’t even post there anymore as she can barely type or write coherently anymore.

          Don’t believe me? Join the group and check out some of Valerie’s old posts. Very scary…

    • AlisonJ says

      I was taking Iodoral for my Hypo symptoms and was doing fine on 50 mgs per day for about 3 months then I got suddenly very Hypo so stopped taking the iodine. Each time I try to start supplementing with iodine I get really sick so have not taken it for months. I am using sea salt about 3/4 tsp a day high silica water selenium magnesium kelp oil vit b complex D you name it what can I do?

  5. Catherine says

    I am on Stephanie’s Iodine group and have employed the recommendations she cites here with MUCH success, not only with myself, but, with my clients as well.
    I must say that I have not as of yet read Dr. K’s book, so I am not familiar with the totality of what is written therein, but I would think if you have not read and implemented Dr. Brownstein’s recommendations, with Stephanie’s thoughts in mind, you’d be limited in your perspective greatly.
     

  6. Susan says

    I’m no expert like the others who have responded here, but I am a practicing herbalist and also have hypo/Hashi’s. I’m very interested to learn more about the iodine “controversy” as it relates to healthy thyroid function.
    From my perspective as a practitioner, the one huge hole I see in your logic is that the vast majority of my clients with hypothyroidism have been eating sea salt for years, and that is exactly why they are iodine deficient. In addition, many are “recovering” vegetarians, another category suffering from high levels of iodine deficiency. I think that you are missing a huge chunk of the hypothyroid crowd who are BOTH autoimmune and iodine deficient. Look forward to hearing your perspective on this idea!   -Susan

    • Chris Kresser says

      There’s no hole in the logic. The relevant question is, how much iodine does the thyroid need to perform its function? That amount is very small. It’s roughly equivalent to the head of a pin per day or one teaspoon per year. Iodine deficiency must be very severe to cause Hashimoto’s. If someone is very deficient in iodine, it’s likely they’ll have a goiter. It’s certainly possible to have both Hashimoto’s and iodine deficiency, but that doesn’t necessarily mean iodine deficiency is the cause. Correlation is not causation.

      • Anonymous says

        don’t forget that it isn’t just the thyroid which requires iodine — breast tissue, for example, requires a LOT of iodine. indeed, every cell in the body has receptors, from what i understand. the problem of deficiency gets worse when these sites are filled with fluoride, chlorine and bromine, iodine’s truly toxic competitors. i suspect that a lot of “bad reactions” from iodine supplementation are actually detoxification symptoms.

  7. says

    Hi Chris
    Could you please comment on what level of iodine intake you feel becomes excessive in terms of what you have outlined.  New Zealand has soils very low in iodine and goitres are on the comeback following less use of iodised salt at the table, non-iodisation of salt in food processing, and the discontinuation of iodophors as disinfectants in the dairy industry.  And it would seem that the cleaner one eats, the less iodine they get.
    I am picking that some level of iodine intake is required to meet physiologic function.  Do you feel 150ug daily to be ‘excessive’ in the group you have written about above?
     
    Cheers.

  8. says

    Unfortunately this is a complex subject to comment on a blog and autoimmune conditions are not related to iodine deficency alone.  Have you read Dr. David Brownstein’s book on Iodine?  http://www.drbrownstein.com  He is my doctor and friend.  We research Iodine in thyroid conditions.  I think his book will answer many of the questions you have posed (above).  Iodine is more than just the thyroid gland.  Every gland and mucosal lining needs and uses iodine. 

    The thyroid gland when totally saturated holds approximately 50 mgs of iodine.  It needs approximately 6 mgs of Iodine / day to create sufficient thyroid hormones.  Dr Abraham believes that daily requirements are 13 mgs for the total body.  However, with the increase in toxic halides more and more are needed to overcome the barage of toxins (perchlorate, bromide, fluoride and mercury).  When deficient the body attempts to use the halides in place of the iodine.  It is not clear the mechanism by which this occurs. 

    When I started to use 50 mgs of Iodine for thyroid cancer (after 3 failed RAI’s – read my story on my website @ http://www.naturalthyroidchoices.com – blog) I was pushing out 24 ug/L of bromide.  But when I started to use 100 mgs of Iodoral and then tested my levels they rose to 66 ug/L.  My son when 9 yrs old was sending out 45 ug/L when on 12.5 mgs / day.  It’s the toxins that seem to be the biggest issue in autoimmune thyroid conditions – combined with low iodine (which is cancer protective – research the P53 gene and its needs for iodine – Book: Minerals For The Genetic Code). 

    Consuming sea veggies is problematic.  They have been found to be high in toxic halides and arsenic.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070406140955.htm

    Finally – how is euthyroid defined?  Many times this is defined as a TSH lab value that is within the “almighty” TSH range (.5 – 5.0).  This is NOT how euthyroid should be determined.  All the research I have read regarding this has been a TSH value.  When supplementing with iodine it is very common to see TSH values rise to levels as high as 75 for up to 6 mos without any clinical signs of hypothyroidism.  The body is doing what it should do as increased iodine increases TSH to stimulate the production of thyroglobulin to bind to more iodine in the hormone creation process.  High thyroglobulin levels are actually an indication of iodine deficiency.  It is best to use Free T3 and Free T4 lab values to determine thyroid status since these represent the unbound proteins that are available for usage by the body.  In 99% of the cases I have seen on my group where the TSH increases but the free’s remain in a normal range.  TSH does not increase to high levels in all cases though.

    When many of the members begin higher supplementing of Iodine they experience detoxing symptoms – for those that can test they are finding it is bromide.  What was once considered to be iodism is now being linked to bromism as they share the same symptoms. 

    • Chris Kresser says

      Jamie,

      I agree this is a complex subject. I hesitated to even begin writing this series for that reason.

      I’ve read Dr. Brownstein’s Overcoming Thyroid Disorders book, but I haven’t read his iodine book. But he does talk about bromides and other toxins in that book and I’m aware of those mechanisms.

      For now we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

      • Fred Demeter says

        My wife has been suffering for 2 years. On armor thyriod from canada and even tried acela brand.
        We now think at age 50 that her hormones are causing some of the hypo symptomes . We went to body logic for help a week ago. Was told to try a lotof things. First she was told to take kelp 1000 mcg. Playing it safe she only took 600mcg. She got much worse taking this and nearly passed out. Severe hypo and even more hot flashes every hour.

        • Steve says

          Fred,

          You probably won’t see this reply since it was two months ago that you wrote your question, but try anyway. You may want to have your wife have a RT3 (reverse T3) blood test done along with a Free T3 and look for “High T3 Ratio”.

          This can be a cause of persistent hypothyroidism in the presence of large or adequate amounts of T4 or even T3/T4(Armour) supplementation.

          Google up “RT3 ratio converter or calculator” with your wife’s test results with their lab specific “units” to get this ratio. A reading greater than 20 indicates a high RT3 ratio.

          Causes of High RT3 are usually “low iron”, “low or high cortisol”, “Low B12″ and “Extreme dieting”.

          One needs to do a “T3 only” protocol, to “push out” or move the Reverse T3 off or through the thyroid hormone receptors.

          No T4 supplementation should be used, or else the problem will continue. This protocol takes roughly 12 weeks, and you will know when the RT3 clears out. You can feel the hypo symptoms go away with it.

          The receptors do not know the difference between RT3 and straight T3.

          RT3 will take up space or plug up the receptors, allowing very little active T3 to attach to the receptor sites.

    • Naomi says

      How do you test if you are excreting Bromine when you are detoxing? I am one of the people who just cannot tolerate taking Iodine, even when mixed with methylating co-factors. I kept trying to push upwards and never made it past 50mg as I got too sick. If I could be sure it was just a detox it would give me hope to keep pushing. For now I am down to 15mg.

  9. Belinda says

    According to my rheumatologist, a one time positive TPO/ TG result is not a true indication of Hashimoto’s. He says one must be tested repeatedly over time and if antibody levels are steadily increasing over time then Hashimoto’s is indeed present. Having never heard this before, I’m not sure what to believe. What do you think?
     

    • Chris Kresser says

      I’ve heard that before, and I don’t understand the logic behind it. Once the immune system tags a tissue (by producing antibodies), it never forgets. This is a benefit in the case of foreign invaders, but a liability when it’s our own tissue being tagged. A positive TPO/TG test indicates the body is attacking those enzymes and proteins, and that’s Hashimoto’s.

      On the other hand, a negative TPO/TG antibody test doesn’t rule out Hashimoto’s. Nor does it indicate a clinical improvement or remission. Why? Because Hashimoto’s is a Th1 dominant condition. When the Th1 system is dominant, the Th2 system is suppressed. The Th2 system is involved in antibody production. So, if the Th1 system is out of control, we could see low antibody levels because the Th2 system is so depressed it can’t produce them. This is hardly a good thing – but it could be interpreted that way if someone believed that low antibody levels were a reflection of improvement.

      • Lynae Greene says

        I read this post and I also read your post about selenium supplementation. So my question is this: I have hashimoto’s and at this point it is poorly treated. If I want to try taking Selenium and Iodine together what should the ratio be? I have to get better, most days the only reason I get out of bed is my 2 year old daughter, and then I spend most of my day on the couch. I have to get better starting now, or I won’t be able to finish school, get a job, support my family, and save my marriage.

        • Judy says

          Lynae, I hope you have found some answers by now. I would strongly recommend that you join & read in the Yahoo group, Iodine, if you have not yet.
          It’s not a matter of ratio with selenium & iodine. Maximum of selenium is 400 mcg. With the iodine, different people take different approaches. Some start low & work up & some jump in higher. In addition to selenium, you need to take magnesium, Vit c, and unrefined salt to support the process. Much more info & answers to your questions to be had on the Iodine group.

  10. Sarah says

    “The relevant question is, how much iodine does the thyroid need to perform its function? That amount is very small. It’s roughly equivalent to the head of a pin per day or one teaspoon per year”
     
    Exactly!  I am a Nuclear Medicine Technologist and we do thyroid uptake scans which test the function of the thyroid by giving the patient a small amount of radioactive iodine (the amount of iodine is equivalent to 1/2 of a single grain of table salt).  IF the patient consumes ANY iodine (from vitamins, food or medication sources) in the 3 weeks previous to their scan, their uptake value goes from a normal 15-30 % to nearly zero or very often less than 5%.  This is because the thyroid stores iodine so well and it needs VERY little iodine daily.  And these are normal thyroids….

  11. Belinda says

    If I understand him correctly he believess the antibodies can be present for a variety of reasons but simply not active unless shown to be so  over time by rising lab levels.
    He does seem to be very concerned about reducing inflammation though, but only has prednisone in his arsenal. Will you be blogging more on this topic?

  12. Chris Kresser says

    If you mean will I be talking more about reducing inflammation, the answer is yes.  I will also explain the immune system disruption in more detail.

  13. Elaine says

    Thank you for starting this much needed topic. I too would like to see the evidence that iodine is effective in treating Hashimoto’s. Dr. Kharrazian’s new article at http://drknews.com addresses this topic in more depth.
    It is not enough to check antibodies. You need to check cytokine levels and the ratio between T-suppressor and T-helper cells to see whether iodine is truly dampening the autoimmune effect.
    Like Chris, I am open to the possibility of iodine being effective with the cofactors as so many believe, but I would like to see the evidence. There is plenty of evidence from around the world on the other side. Testing antibodies alone is not sufficient.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Exactly. I briefly explained why antibody levels are poor indicators of the disease state below in comment #19. Antibodies may be low because the condition has improved, or they may be low because the Th2 system is so depressed it can’t produce antibodies anymore. This is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the thyroid world.

  14. Catherine says

    Chris,
    Stephanie gave you lots of information to consider as well as recommending Dr. Brownstein’s book, and, if you didn’t notice, she also is a patient of his as well. If you truly wanted to get to foundational information, you would AT LEAST read Dr. B’s book on Iodine and/or take full opportunity to seriously consider Stephanie’s personal success and that of MANY others on her forum. Until then, your credibility as a journalist or informed consumer is compromised. Any further engaging of the discussion of this topic is futile when all relevant data is not considered, by you or anyone else.

    • Chris Kresser says

      From Dr. K’s most recent article:

      This also explains why the use of iodine can produce a negative antibody panel in Hashimoto’s. Iodine has been shown to stimulate the autoimmune attack against the thyroid, which increases inflammation, a TH-1 response. In a TH-1 dominant person—statistically most people with Hashimoto’s—this further stimulates TH-1 while suppressing TH-2, again producing negative antibody results and giving many the impression the Hashimoto’s has been “cured.” Also, high doses of iodine can stimulate the production of TPO, the enzyme that is the target of autoimmune attack, to the point that it becomes inactive and the autoimmune attack ceases. However TPO is necessary for thyroid function and this is not a desirable approach when we have other methods that work better.

  15. Chris Kresser says

    I’ve read Dr. Brownstein’s other book, I’ve read Dr. Abraham’s online information, and I’ve read the Williams Textbook of Endocrinology chapter on iodine as well as several other sources.

    I already mentioned that Dr. Brownstein has treated hypothyroid patients successfully with iodine in the article.

    I’m not a journalist, nor did I ever claim to be.  I’m presenting a point of view on this blog. If you don’t like it, you’re not required to read it or participate here.

    Please consider the possibility that others including myself have considered the relevant data and reached a different conclusion.

  16. Elaine says

    I have read Dr. Brownstein’s book on iodine and talked to Dr. Abraham on the phone several years ago. I have done iodine loading myself and used to frequent the iodine group when it first started. (Even with the cofactors and the detoxing, i could never hack higher doses of iodine so i stopped.)
    I’m familiar with the oxidation explanations, i have seen it described many times (although i confess i wish someone could use lay language to explain it more simply). I’m  just personally curious about before and after immune panels, to see whether the cytokines are at normal levels and in balance. There are a lot of negative stories concerning Hashimoto’s and iodine too — it has really harmed some people, but there seems to be little tolerance for that information. So why does it work for some and not others? I’m not saying we need clinical trials, but it would be interesting to see some before-and-after immune panels on folks.

  17. Elaine says

    I just reread Stephanie’s post. Is this saying that high levels of iodine suppress TPO? If so, that is what Dr. Kharrazian says. Because TPO is attacked by the immune system for most people with Hashi’s, suppressing TPO  would suppress the autoimmune attack. Is this the approach that is favored? If so, Dr. Kharrazian personally does not support suppressing TPO as a means to manage Hashimoto’s, but rather to address immune imbalances instead.

  18. Becky says

    Question (if it’s not to off topic):

    What would Lithium do to a person with Hashi’s/Hypothyroidism?

    Just curious. I’ve been off all psych meds since 9/2008 but in 2007 Lithium was added to the cocktail of drugs I was on (Cymbalta, Lamictal & Vyvanse). 

    Or, what would a cocktail of drugs like that and withdrawaling from them do? I got off 3 of those drugs around 4/08 and tapered Lamictal thu 9/08. My TSH went haywire for quiet some time afterwords. Part of this (after 9/08) was due to changing thyroid meds, I’m sure. Thankfully, its closer to 1. something now.

    Mar-07
    Apr-08
    Jul-08
    Sep-08
    Jan-09
    May-09
    Sep-09
    Oct-09

    0.249
    4.599
    0.11
    21.78
    5.18
    0.066
    22.77
    7.58

  19. Elaine says

    Lithium is known to depress thyroid function. When your TSH is all over it means your autoimmune thyroid condition is acting up, perhaps in response to getting off the meds. The book at thyroidbook.com addresses this autoimmune issue and what to do.

  20. Uncle Herniation says

    “Why does this happen? Because increased iodine intake, especially in supplement form, increases the autoimmune attack on the thyroid.”

    This citation links to an article titled Drugs and Thyroid Function published in 1995 in NEJM. It is a review article, not an empirical study. Within the article, I could not find any references to original sources that provide empirical support for the claim that increased (increased relative to what?) iodine (not iodide) in supplement form (e.g., not a side-effect of another medication) increases the autoimmune attack on the thyroid (how measured?).
    Since this is the crux of your argument, I’m sure your readers would prefer reference to randomized controlled trials rather than reviews that don’t cite original sources.

    • Chris Kresser says

      “Iodine might exert influence on the level of CD4/CD8, and thus the production of thyroid antibodies might directly or indirectly take part in the process of thyroid autoimmunity. Both low iodine and 100 times normal iodine intakes might activate the immune state on some degrees.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16620592

      “It is conceivable that Tg polymorphisms, combined with the explosive mix of iodine, TPO and H2O2 necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis, inadvertently provide the trigger for the autoimmune thyroid response.”
      http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/1050725041517057

      Also consider the study linked to indicating iodine restriction alone can induce a euthyroid state.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Here are a few more, some more conclusive than others:

      “In genetically predisposed individuals the iodine intake modulates autoimmune thyroid reactions. Especially with acute or chronic increase of iodine intake it leads to a significant increase in the incidence and intensity of autoimmune thyroid disease.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15255317

      “Thyroid antibodies, both thyroglobulin (TgAb) and peroxidase (TpAb) or microsomal, were not detected in serum from patients with endemic goiter, but became positive in 43% of subjects three and six months after therapy with iodized oil, and there developed transient hyperthyroidism. Similarly, the addition of iodine to the diet or the administration of iodine-containing medications increases the frequency of ATD and the severity of existing autoimmune thyroiditis. Furthermore, autoimmune thyroiditis has been induced by the administration of excess iodide to strains of chickens and rats that are genetically predetermined to develop the disease.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1345585

      “The best-established environmental factor is excess dietary iodine. Increased iodine consumption is strongly implicated as a trigger for thyroiditis, but only in genetically susceptible individuals.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19818584

      “High iodine intake, selenium deficiency, pollutants such as tobacco smoke, infectious diseases such as chronic hepatitis C, and certain drugs are implicated in the development of autoimmune thyroiditis, primarily in genetically predisposed people.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18607401

      “In our investigations, we have shown directly that T cells from humans with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis proliferate in the presence of iodinated but not in the presence of noniodinated human thyroglobulin… if iodine is added to the drinking water, the prevalence and severity of the thyroid lesions increase markedly. The immune response is specific for thyroglobulin, both in terms of the antibody response and T-cell proliferation.”

      “A body of clinical and epidemiologic evidence points to excessive ingestion of iodine as an environmental agent. In genetically determined thyroiditis in animals, iodine enrichment has been shown to increase the incidence and severity of disease.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12849065

      “Autoimmune thyroiditis, a model of organ-specific autoimmune disease, is associated with iodine as a precipitating environmental factor. T cells from patients with chronic thyroiditis proliferate in response to normal human thyroglobulin, but fail to react with non-iodinated thyroglobulin.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9419438

      “A causative relationship between dietary iodine and thyroiditis has been clearly established in animal models of thyroiditis, including the NOD.H2(h4) mouse strain, which develops enhanced thyroiditis spontaneously after supplementation of drinking water with sodium iodide.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16232211

  21. Markus says

    Chris, you are doing an excellent job handling the comments – especially those that disagree. Polite, factual and concise. Thumbs up!

    • says

      I think its important to realize and appreciate that there can be different perspectives and every body, every study, every variable is and can be different. Chris has done research as have others and I for one am thankful for the time and research. No need to get undiplomatic about Chris’ research, his perspective and or his blog. What if you or I are the 1 millionth (just an example!) person to BENEFIT from his findings. We only get more powerful with more knowledge. Thank you Chris for sharing your views.

  22. Uncle Herniation says

    Thanks for the reply.
     
    As you quoted from the first article, “Both low iodine and 100 times normal iodine intakes might activate the immune state on some degrees.”

    This study was conducted in rats. Since you apparently feel comfortable generalizing these findings to humans, do the results apply to those who are euthyroid or those with thyroid dysfunction (e.g., Hashimoto’s)? And if a person’s diet is iodine deficient, supplemental iodine in normal dosages is likely to be beneficial, correct? It would seem, based on these results, that adequate iodine in the diet is necessary, just not 100x normal amounts. But again, we are talking about a study in rats. We don’t know how this can be applied to humans, and whether we can use the results to make recommendations to those with Hashimoto’s based on this one animal study.

    Also, I noticed that the first article was in Chinese. Were you able to read the entire article, or just the abstract? I often find it necessary to review the methods and results in greater depth to accurately understand the strengths and weaknesses of the research. Unfortunately, I can’t read Chinese.

    The second article you cited is also a review article that does not provide any citations to randomized controlled trials in humans that support the statement you quoted.

    So, we are back where we started.

  23. Elaine says

    Uncle, so where are the studies to the contrary? Also, how do you account for the anecdotal evidence, of humans, of iodine making Hashimoto’s worse in people? Also, are the high doses of iodine suppressing TPO and hence the autoimmune reaction in people with Hashimoto’s? Is that how it is working? If so (because i’m not sure i totally understand the oxidation thing) then there is no argument.Also, how do you account for the study, on humans, of an iodine-restricted diet resolving Hashimoto’s symptoms in the majority of subjects? Where is the evidence that high iodine for Hashimoto’s brings cytokine and CD/CD8 levels to normal?

  24. Uncle Herniation says

    Thanks for the additional citations. I am not arguing for or against a particular point, per se. I am simply asking that all crucial points be backed up by rigorous science. I’m happy to review these studies and form my own opinion, rather than just accept something.

  25. Chris Kresser says

    Uncle,

    That’s exactly what I advocate.  I’m happy to provide the citations.  I don’t include them all in the original articles because I don’t want to overwhelm people.

  26. Chris Kresser says

    Another issue with using iodine to shut down TPO is that it doesn’t address the overall immune imbalance present in Hashimoto’s.  Studies show Hashimoto’s patients often have antibodies to other tissues in addition to the thyroid.  The best approach is to regulate the immune system so that all affected tissues are protected.

    • David Trindle says

      Thank you for all your work, Chris. I seem to have hypothyroid, because of a whole slew of symptoms that eased when I was prescribed Synthroid. I’m trying to learn what I can. Would you be so kind as to forward me your citations via email davetrindle at gmail dot com? I have also compiled a large collection of citations, and perhaps I can provide you the ones I have that are not on your list…best regards, Dave Trindle

  27. labrat says

    Interesting but very confusing. If you don’t mind giving your opinion (and anyone else as well) what do you make of my daughter’s case. I am trying to make sense of it.

    16 y/o female. Likes to sleep a lot, is always cold (today was over 90 and she wore a light weight long sleeve  shirt, a long skirt and knee high boots and was comfortable – I was hot just looking at her) and is photophobic, she really hates bright light and sunshine.

    She’s been tested several times in the past year or so and her results are pretty stable.
    TSH 1.0 +/- 0.5, FT4 1.0 +/- 0.2, TG Ab negative TPO Ab 54-107.

    We’ve decided to just keep our eye on her TSH going forward – should I be worried about the low level of anti-TPO? Do you think restricting iodine would resolve it?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Your daughter has elevated TPO antibodies. That suggests autoimmune thyroid disease.

      Her TSH is normal from a conventional perspective (0.5 – 5.0), but low from a functional perspective (1.8 – 3.0). FT4 is also low from a functional perspective when it drops below zero. Positive TPOAbs combined with low TSH and low T4 suggests autoimmune hypothyroidism secondary to pituitary hypofunction. Chronic stress is at the root of this pattern. Stress taxes the pituitary until it can’t release enough TSH to trigger thyroid hormone production. Stress management and supporting healthy pituitary function are essential to working with this pattern.

      Keep in mind that it’s impossible to provide a diagnosis on the internet with something as complex as a thyroid condition. These are just a few ideas to consider.

    • Steve says

      labrat,

      Your daughters light sensitivity(photophobic) can be a sign of low aldosterone, an adrenal hormone. She may also be low cortisol as well. When the adrenals are not right, the thyroid often follows, or vice-versa.

  28. says

    Chris much respect! Keep up the awesome work.
    Quick question in all your studies on Iodine, do you believe an iodine deficiency plays a role in inadequate stomach HCL levels?
    I don’t have any thyroid issues, however among a host of guy dysbiosis problems (SIBO, yeast) I’m correcting I have low stomach acid. I’ve been supplementing with betaine HCL for over 6 months hoping that it would correct the problem (no luck) and in some of Pro-Iodine camp literature I was reading that the parietal cells need iodine to collect chloride to make HCL.  I started supplementing with Iodine this month in hopes this might help me restore my stomach acid levels however I can’t seem to find any medical literature/studies explaining/confirming this hypothesis.  Thoughts?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Physiologically it’s plausible, though it isn’t discussed much in the literature. More typically hypochlorhydria is caused by bacterial overgrowth in general, and H. pylori in particular. Have you ruled out H. pylori with a urea breath test? H. pylori suppresses stomach acid production in order to create a more hospitable environment for itself.

    • Jennie says

      Steve I had low stomach acid and have found adding One tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar (organic, with mother), in one cup or so of water, fixed me up very fast, before I could even get to the store to buy betaine HCL. I didn’t believe it would work and put it off for a while until the symptoms got so bad I couldn’t ignore them. The ACV should help with the yeast too.

    • Steve says

      Steve,

      Salt supplementation 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt twice a day, in water or food will help produce more stomach acid. Additionally, supplementing with large amounts of the amino-acid; “L-Glutamine” (powder preferred) is extremely helpful in healing the gut lining, stomach and intestines. Stay with a very low-carb diet with lots of cooked vegetables, bone broths, meats and organ meats too!

  29. says

    I just had a Genova CDSA done a month ago and had them check for H. pylori, test results were negative.  Is it smart to get a urea breath test as well to confirm?  After being on the SCD diet for over 6 months (amazing turnaround) and with the confirmation of the CDSA test my bacteria levels seem to be under control besides a very small level of Candida.  Am I missing another link in the stomach acid puzzle (nutrient deficiency, signaling pathway)?  Or after several years of SIBO I should just be patient?  Thanks!

    • Chris Kresser says

      Hard to say, Steve, without actually doing a full intake and exam. Sometimes H. pylori shows up on the stool test, sometimes not – and the same for the urea breath test. If I strongly suspected it, I’d do both. How do you know your stomach acid is still low? Have you had it tested, or are you going by your response to HCL?

  30. says

    Chris, thanks for starting this great discussion. I tried iodine last year and made it to three Idoral drops per day, but I just couldn’t take the swelling. I kept telling myself that if I continued with the regimen, the swelling would subside. At one time, I belonged to the iodine FB group and did read success stories from other thyroid patients. I tried again, and again my thyroid swelled to the point that it was difficult to swallow food.
    During my third attempt to introduce Idoral’s drops into my diet, my friend told me to stop the drops and read Dr. K’s book. I did, and decided maybe Dr. K. was right about iodine. I then gave up gluten and I am now seeing a doctor who practices Dr. K’s methods. I am taking supplements to balance my TH1 dominance. I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in a very long time.
    Neither have I read Dr. Brownstein’s book, nor have I been able to work up to 50 mgs per day. Therefore, I cannot fully comment on Dr. Brownstein’s methods. I can only comment on my limited experience with iodine and with my alternative wellness program.
    I do have a concern about lack of iodine in my diet, not for my thyroid, but for the rest of my body, especially since my grandmother died of breast cancer. I have read that iodine supplementation cuts down the risk of breast cancer.
    Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks!
    :) Tamra
     

    • Chris Kresser says

      Perhaps you could try obtaining small amounts of iodine through seafood. That may not be enough to trigger an immune response, but could meet your systemic needs.

      • kimberly says

        I took a supplement with Kelp and Alfalfa and it gave me terrible heart palps at bedtime and my face was even twitching.
        Also, after a small dose of Lithium Orotate (which increases Iodine and decreases T4/T3) I had severe anxiety and nightmares for days. Can these be hyper symptoms due to possible Hashi’s? I haven’t been diagnosed, but I have TSH .550 and normal T4/T3 with severe Hypo Symptoms. Ab neg TPO 27 ( 3 yrs ago)

  31. Alice says

    I’ve read Dr. Brownsteins Iodine book and as a hashimoto’s patient I tried Iodoral in the hopes it could help….this was before I read Dr. K’s book. When I first tried Iodoral at 12.5mgs I had side effects of metallic tast in my mouth and salty feeling eyes (hard to explain) When I raised to a higher dose of 50mgs this went away. I only tried this for a couple of weeks and never felt any better but no worse either….then I stopped when i started reading Dr. K’s book. I’m curious  since as you mention most hashi’s are TH1 Dominant if this could have anything to do with how some hashi’s react to iodine supplementation. I’m TH2 dominant and as I said I had no negative reaction. don’t know if there’s any correlation at all but thought i’d put it out there. Also wondering about any connection between  Gluten free diet being so important and without consuming bromide containing breads and products perhaps this helps prevent iodine from being displaced in the body? Not sure if GF products contain bromides…i’ll have to check some labels….

    • Chris Kresser says

      In some of the studies indicating increased autoimmune activity with iodine, the authors claim that it is more prevalent in people with a “genetic predisposition”. They’re not referring to Th1/Th2 dominance, and I can’t think of a mechanism where that would influence iodine’s effect on TPO, but I can’t rule it out either.

  32. Elaine says

    labrat, whenever you see positive TPO antibodies you are looking at Hashimoto’s, which is primarily an immune disease more so than a thyroid disease. Does her TSH fluctuate? It can swing from low to high with Hashimoto’s.
    The most important first step your daughter can take is to completely eliminate gluten from her diet. There are strong links between gluten and Hashimoto’s in many studies. A gluten-free diet is paramount. If not, she is at risk of developing autoimmune diseases against other tissues. For instance, Type I diabetes is also correlated with gluten.
    For more information, you can learn more from the book at http://www.thyroidbook.com.

  33. labrat says

    Chris and Elaine

    Thank you for your input. From my perspective – stress makes sense to me as I have always felt her symptoms were more related to psycho-social issues. She is also an asynchratic gifted child. Very high intellect with suppressed emotional and social developement. She is quite eccentric and does not have much in common with her peers. I have her in counselling for executive function issues and with a gifted and talented counsellor. We have also been through a very contentious divorce in the past 4 yrs. Can you elaborate on how to support healthy pituitary function?

    Elaine – no. I’m a lab tech – I have checked her TSH regularly over the past year and it has basically remained stable. I have actually considered gluten-free but have hesitated as it would be a very difficult thing to implement. She is a very picky eater and it’s hard to find things that she will eat as it is. I did check her for anti-gliadin ab and it was negative.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Unfortunately the standard lab tests for gluten intolerance are insufficient.

      The literature is so clear on the connection between gluten intolerance and autoimmune thyroid that I recommend all patients with thyroid disorders avoid gluten – regardless of test results. If you want an accurate test, get the full profile from http://www.enterolab.com. Dr. Fine is a gluten researcher that has pioneered the latest, most specific methods.

      • Brooke Isbell says

        When you say “gluten intolerance” I assume you are referring to celiac disease? I have hashi/hypo and had an intestinal biopsy but tested negative for celiac disease. I have always felt however, that while I might not be intolerant per se, that maybe I am gluten sensitive at least. What are your thoughts on gluten intolerance vs. gluten sensitivity? Same thing for all intents and purposes? Is it possible to be gluten sensitive even if you are not clinically gluten intolerant? Thanks.

    • Allison says

      Labrat, Have you had your daughter evaluated for Asperger’s Syndrome? : Red flag words include asynchratic gifted child, suppressed emotional and social development, eccentric, not much in common with her peers, executive function issues. If you haven’t tested her, the starting point is a developmental/ behavioral pediatrician or you can google Asperger’s psychologist in your area. (They do “psycho educational” testing, which we found to be Invaluable when dealing with school, & understanding strengths & weaknesses in our Asperger’s son. The foremost researcher in the world for Asperger’s Syndrome is Tony Atwood. He has a website & books, so if you check out his website, you will get a better idea if you should pursue testing. Many of these kids respond well to a GFCFSF diet (Gluten, casein, & soy free). I have also read about good results with a Paleo/ Primal diet. The stool test (Enterolabs) is the most accurate way to be sure if she really may have gliadin/ gluten sensitivity. Yes, big adjustment, but worth trying gluten… free.

  34. Mario says

    Bromide exposition does not come only from bread. Far from that. Is all around any modern city, but, due it’s flammability laws, it is specially high in USA. Californian citizens have the highest exposures in the world. Bromide is in the dust, carpets, textiles, foams, electronics and plastics:
     
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621072114.htm
     
    And, for those of us in a high fat paleo diet, in USA, fat from red meat and pultry is a possible source too:
     
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714213957.htm
     
    For those on a low sodium diet, elimination of bromine, at least in rats, is dependent of sodium intake:
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15717853
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15695847
     
    Again, at least in rats, bromide can affect iodine absorption in thyroid and mammals glands:
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15119938
     
    It can also decrease body temperature and body weight:
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4060147
     

    Greenpeace, Chemical Footprints in Blood:
     
    http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/chemical-footprints-in-human-b.pdf
     
    The question is: does a good and balanced immune system is enough to get ride of all this bromide?

    A diet low in iodine, that showed to normalize TSH in that China study, will work in USA or other country with high bromide contamination?
     
    Dr. Datis Kharrazian doesn’t mention bromide, fluoride nor bisphenol-a on his book. At same time, Drs. Brownstein and Abraham never mention how one can improve the immune system. And neither of them mentions LDN, which is one of the best things (after a paleo diet) you can use to improve your immune system.
     
    So, no one have all the answers nor is 100% correct all the time.
     
     
     

    • says

      That’s just what I was thinking. Perhaps all these great minds should hook up and listen to each other a little more. Put everything on the table? But even then, there’s bound to be some other variable that’s hiding in the shadows…

      • Rachel says

        Just wanted to say I so agree too Mario. Wish I could hold a party and invite them all along to meet. You’d be invited too Chris, might need to mediate!

        I have read Dr B’s and Dr K’s books and also Dr Derry’s Iodine and breast cancer book and they are all very compelling. I swam a lot in chlorinated pools as a child so assume it must have effected me to some degree. I have also tried taking Lugols but couldn’t get up to 50, probably 20 without the area around my thyroid becoming swollen and tender and feeling like I had a huge lump in my throat. I still use Lugols topically for fibrocystic breast which works wonders (note: use a barrier oil first to stop skin irritation) but don’t know how much or how often……basically I’m dithering until the research catches up and we have more answers.

  35. Elaine says

    Mario i have heard Dr. Kharrazian mention LDN as being effective. As a functional medicine practitioner, however, he largely does not go the pharmaceutical route if he doesn’t have to.
    Labrat, the teens is indeed a difficult time to introduce a gluten-free diet. However i have heard many moms say their children are less picky once they get through the transition. Picky eating is actually a symptom of food intolerances in children. I saw my own daughter’s palate really widen after we kicked dairy and gluten. It’s not easy, but many people see profound improvements as a result, so it’s worth the effort. I highly recommend you read up on pubmed or elsewhere on the connections between Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance. Blood screens for gliadin have a very high false negative rate.

  36. BillS says

    Here’s one data point: me. I’ve been severely hypothyroid for years, and diagnosed with Hashimoto’s based on antibody tests. When I supplemented with iodine (initially via daily iodine-rich sea vegetable consumption and later via 12.5 mg Ioderal daily), my requirement for thyroid hormone supplementation decreased dramatically: so far, from 165 ug T4 per day to 100 ug T4 per day and still, apparently, dropping. These dose reductions were made by my endocrinologist based on both routine TSH and Free T4 lab tests and my subjective feelings of wellness. There’s no doubt I need far less T4 medication than I did before beginning iodine.
    None of my doctors has ever seen anyone reduce their required T4 dose like this, and all agree this has to be considered a sign of improvement my illness. My endocrinologist, who did not encourage me to try iodine but reassured me it could not cause harm at these doses, is so impressed that he is considering trying iodine supplementation with other patients.
    As far as I can tell, my experience is quite consistent with what the docs most experienced with iodine supplementation (Abraham, Brownstein, and Flechas) have observed for a number of years now. They indicate that about a third of their hypothyroid patients can reduce their T4 dose, often by about half, with adequate iodine supplementation. The rest, apparently, cannot do so for some reason but stabilize and do not experience the typical need for ever-increasing doses, as I did before starting iodine. I don’t recall these docs citing any cases where autoimmune hypothyroidism got worse with iodine. And they’ve been giving iodine for years, sometimes at doses an order of magnitude greater than mine.

  37. Alice says

    Bill, had you done a salt loading Iodine test to see if you had a deficiency?

     I wonder how many of these people who’ve experienced good results with Iodine confirmed an iodine deficiency. I’ve always asked this question….what if a hashimoto’s patient has an iodine deficiency?? Then wouldn’t they obviously need iodine supplements just as they would need vit D supps if they were vit. D deficient!?

  38. BillS says

    “Bill, had you done a salt loading Iodine test to see if you had a deficiency?’

    No, I didn’t do any iodine lab testing before beginning my supplementation (though I’m not sure exactly what you mean by a “salt loading Iodine test”). Since I began with simply increasing my sea vegetable consumption and now take no more iodine via Iodoral than Japanese people have been eating for eons, I didn’t see much risk, and neither did any of my doctors. Plus, Drs. Abraham, Brownstein,and Flechas pretty well convinced me that, as with Vitamin D, iodine deficiency is almost universal, at least where I live, and quite possibly just as dangerous.

    Since I’ve had such excellent results, my docs agree with me that there’s no compelling reason to do any iodine lab testing now. It seems pretty clear I needed the iodine and that I’m taking enough to begin repleting my stores of it. At some point, perhaps when my T4 dose finally levels out, I plan to do a 24-hour urinary iodine loading test to get a sense of whether I’ve achieved whole-body sufficiency. Based on that, I may change my Iodoral dose up or down.

  39. Roswitha says

    This has all been very interesting reading, though a bit confusing.  I have Hasimoto’s (10 yrs). Started taking Nascent Iodine about 6 weeks ago.  Did not do iodine deficiency testing as the cost made it unafordable.  Have purchased Dr Brownstien books.  Hope it works for me. I also have started using Transdermay Magnesium. For some time now I have been using barley greeens, and vit B, D, C and omega’s.  Since taking the Nascent Iodine and Magnesuim I have improved.  My muscle aches and pains and anxiety etc are so much better.  My endochronologist knows I am doing this but he is not sure wether it will be of benifit.  My antibody level was very low (under 100)  for about 6 years, until I broke my foot in Dec 09.  They skyrocketed up by over 1,000 in the Jan 2010 when symptoms escalated.  My next appointment and antidbody test is  27 June 2010, so I am interested to see the results. After reading the above article am feeling worried that I am agrivating my antibodies.  It is difficult to decide what to do.  Thanks to all. Roswitha

  40. says

    As a person with diagnosed with and treated for hypothyroidism for 4+ years, I’m always interested in increasing my understanding of the origin and the best options for treatment of the condition.  It’s been a slow and uncertain road, especially within my HMO options: as a result I’ve had to consult with a number of doctors both within and outside my HMO in an effort to find my best treatment options.
    In addition to diet and lifestyle modifications, I have been on Synthroid or Levoxyl only, Levoxyl with compounded natural thyroid extract, Levoxyl with Cytomel, and the new formulation of Armour and now Naturethroid only (some variation of T4/T3 therapy seems to give me the best results when the dose is right).
    Earlier this year I became aware of Dr. Kharrazian and his book, which I’m partway through reading.  It’s quite different from the many other books I have read on hypothyroidism and its treatment.
    I was interested to note that Dr. Kharrazian is located in my area, in fact, there is an address listed in my town, however there is no practice at that address.  I can find little evidence that he actually sees patients currently. Does anyone else know anything about him and his practice? Most of the info I have found about Dr. Kharrazian relates to the training seminars he conducts all over the country for other practitioners.  Many of the testimonials of his “students” (typically chiropractors and alternative health practitioners) refer to how his seminars have assisted in growing their practice and increasing revenue.

    Despite the inability to find out enough information about Dr. Kharrazian and his practice,  I was curious, and I made an appt with a “graduate” of Dr. Kharrazian’s seminars,  a San Diego chiropractric doctor who claims to be an expert at treating hypothyroidism and diabetes with Dr. Kharrazian’s methods (I also am glucose intolerant/prediabetic, so this had some appeal).

    I can’t comment on the treatment protocol, though, because I ran for the hills after the first appt (which was free, pending “acceptance” as a patient).

    I have no idea if  Dr. Kharrazian suggests the “patient recruiting” methods this arrogant “graduate of his seminar” uses, but my “radar” was on high alert when he wouldn’t tell me anything about the treatment he would propose for me; would only schedule the next appt (after some blood test results were in) to outline the recommended treatment protocol IF my husband also attended; and insisted it wasn’t up to me if I would be his patient, it was up to him to accept me as a patient IF I met his qualifications.

    Frankly, it felt like eerily one of those hard-sell home improvement and time-share salespeople who insist on both spouses being present at the pitch for the “one time only” sales “opportunity”. I can understand encouraging the support and participation of spouses (support and understanding is always a good thing), but I question the “requirement” that the spouse also attend the appt.  My past experience with this sort of requirement is that there is a large cost involved and the salesperson wants to head off objections to the sale.   It simply didn’t feel right for medical treatment.

    Has anyone else experienced this approach with thyroid treatment?  Frankly, it was far more arrogant and off-putting than the HMO docs who provided such abysmal care early in my hypothyroidism treatment.

  41. Elaine says

    The unfortunate thing about Dr. Kharrazian’s work is he has no control over how practitioners choose to practice. I’m sorry about your experience, i would have run too. That approach in no way represents Dr. Kharrazian or his work, it’s just that one individual’s approach. I sure am glad it was free at least! I have talked to Dr. K’s patients and know he doesn’t work that way.
    Yes Dr. K is real and he practices and teaches. He has a clinic phone number on his site.
    I would say try a different practitioner, or email your concerns to the thyroidbook.com site.

  42. Alice says

    There are a group of us at the “Hashimoto’s 411″ group on facebook that are currently using Dr. Kharazian’s protocol usng drs. who have trained with him and we’re having great success. Feel free to join us there….we’re all tracking our progress there and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

  43. Chris Kresser says

    I’ve treated a few patients (including my wife) with Dr. K’s protocols and they work very well. Certainly much better than the care they had received before.

    I’m sorry you didn’t have a great experience with the practitioner in San Diego. I wouldn’t, however, write off the idea of a treatment plan altogether.  The reason these plans are offered is that making a commitment to care and sticking with that commitment is an important variable in determining whether that treatment succeeds or fails. This is even more true with a condition as complex as hypothyroidism.  It takes between 4-6 months on average to address all of the mechanisms and bring a Hashimoto’s patient into a more stable and higher functioning state.

    Many practitioners have found that when patients commit to their course of treatment up front, they are more likely to receive the care they need, and thus more likely to get well.

    The reason he/she asked for your spouse to be present is probably exactly why you suspected: treatment plans for Hashimoto’s generally won’t be cheap.  Depending on the type of practitioner, they may include acupuncture, herbs, supplements and lab tests over a 4-6 month period.  Many people who are married have agreements to make larger financial decisions together.  Thus the doc wanted your spouse to be present to save another step in the process.

    What concerns me is that the doc wouldn’t tell you about the treatment.  That’s strange, and I can’t think of any reason why he/she would not explain their protocols.  It doesn’t make sense.

    I believe Dr. K is accepting new patients, but he’s selective about it.  At this point he specializes in difficult-to-treat cases and has patients flying to see him from around the world. These are usually people with mysterious, rare or intractable conditions that haven’t been able to find help elsewhere.  He only sees 8 new patients in a month, because he spends so much time on their cases and because he also needs time to research, write and teach.

    Dr. K is  master diagnostician, and he’s approaching autoimmune disease in particular with a rare level of specificity and sophistication.  I have referred people who’ve contacted me with the kind of conditions I described above for this reason.  But because of his focus, he’s not the right practitioner for everyone.

  44. Elaine says

    One thing i do know about Dr. K is he won’t treat someone who doesn’t have the support of the spouse and family. He has just seen too many failures otherwise.

  45. julianne says

    Interesting articles and discussion, it is great to hear so many perspectives. I am a nutritionist and was last year diagnosed with Hashimotos. I have been strict paleo and gluten free for a few months now. Paleo fixed my other niggling auto-immune issues (joint inflammation) and menstrual issues – pms and severe menstrual pain, and constipation – so it is highly likely I had an issue with gluten – undiagnosed but responsive to removing it.
    I tried iodine – but my thryroid started to swell and TSH increased very quickly, and I started to gain weight, even with paleo eating. So I stopped it and my swelling has reduced, and weight dropped back down.
    I actually have very few symptoms and am not on medication, I’m hoping to manage it by using paleo diet plus supplements like Vit D, C, selenium, zinc, and omega 3.
     

  46. Bernadette says

    Interesting topic.  I myself was diagnosed in 2007 with “thyroiditis”…no one would call it Hashimoto’s.  I also went under-treated.  However I did try a holistic doctor at the time who told me to take iodine. (I used Iodoral).  I felt AMAZING after taking it for just a few days…felt no need for the tiny Armour dose I had been trying to take.  However it turned bad when I started to have a terrible metal taste, cycstic acne, horrid mood swings and exhaustion.  The doctor told me she had never heard of anyone having that reaction.  I emailed Dr. Guy Abraham having read some of his iodine info on the internet…he told me it was iodism and to cut my dose.  I had to to stop all together for the symptoms to go away.  I tried again another time and the same thing happened.  Now I notice they have info on bromide toxicity..and that taking iodine can cause you to detox from this.  I believe ( as Stephanie wrote about earlier) this was my case.
    I am now trying to recover from a severe flare up of Hashi’s after having a baby.  I am not seeing a Dr. K doctor, but instead a functional medicine doctor.  She is treating my immune system (I go weekly for IV infusions), healing my gut and also balancing my hormones.  So far it’s working for me and I have seen drastic improvement.  It’s a huge lifestyle change and costly due to all the supplements & visits, but well worth it.
    I am still curious though about my previous experience with iodine & how great I felt for a little while anyway.  Could be worth looking into to test for bromide…maybe this is a link to my autoimmune problems.  I don’t know.
    My doctor of good friends with Dr. Browstein’s associates (I’m in Michigan).  I suppose I will have to ask her take on iodine as well!
     

  47. tinks2cents says

    I’ve been having a hard time getting my thyroid regulated after the armour reformulation. I went to a doctor that recommended I take the Iodoral. I told her I have Hashimotos, but she assured me that all the information I had read about how bad this is for Hashimotos was old information, that they have proven Iodine will help your thyroid problems. She also told my she was hypothyroid until taking Iodoral, and she doesn’t have to take any thyroid medication now. So I decided to give it a try, at that point I was desperate for anything. WOW! Wish I could go back in time and listen to my gut instinct instead of her. It make my Hashimotos flare up, I had SEVERE pain in my legs, feet, arms, hands. I had been taking it for a few weeks when all this happened. It also seemed to make me feel hyperthyroid, yet at the same time I had a lot of my hypo symtoms come back. I immediately stopped taking it and after time started feeling better. I swore I would never take that stuff again. So about a month ago I ran out of vitamins and grabbed some centrum vitamins. I didn’t think to look to see if they contained iodine in them. While I was taking them I noticed my hypo symtoms were really coming back with a vengence….and the Iodine in the vitamins is a lot lower then the amount of Iodoral I was taking. I grabbed the bottle the other day because I was wondering how much selenium was they contained, and noticed the iodine in them. I can’t believe I made that mistake again, but I have stopped those vitamins, found some w/out iodine and will be anxiously awaiting the day it is all out of my system. If you are planning on taking Iodine and you have Hashis, you really are taking a gamble.

  48. BillS says

    tinks2cents: Symptoms of overdosing and underdosing with thyroid hormone can be very similar and hard to tell apart. There’s a good chance what happened to you was what happened to me and many others after taking milligram level doses of iodine: a reduced need for thyroid hormone medication. Did you try reducing your thyroid hormone dose? That might have made you feel better.
    My dose has deceased 40% since starting Iodoral. My endocrinologist is so impressed with this progress that he and his medical partner have both started Iodoral themselves, and they are using it with patients. So far, he believes many patients are having the same great results as me. He’s advising them to try reducing their thyroid hormone dose on their own a little if they begin to feel poorly after a few weeks. The results have been good so far. A year from now, after he’s done this with more patients, the patterns will be clear.
    I don’t see how these results are consistent with the theory that taking iodine is pouring fuel on the fire of autoimmune thyroid disease, at least not for me and apparently for most people who experiment with Iodoral.
    By the way, I also don’t see how the insignificant amount of iodine in a multivitamin could make you sick. I don’t doubt you had the experiences you describe, but I wouldn’t be so quick to blame iodine.

    • Lisa says

      Bill,

      Want ot experiment with reducing synthroid and supplementing with Iodine/Iodide.
      Am very intereste in your experience and how this has worked for you over time.

      Would you be willing to dialogue with me about this? I have done much research, and have tried many many things for my thryroid health, but am new to the iodine aspect of this.
      Thanks!
      Lisa

      • Bill says

        Hi Lisa,

        Sure, be glad to share experiences. By supplementing with iodine (initially cooked kelp, then Iodoral @ 50mg/day) I was able to reduce my thyroid medications for Hashimoto’s by almost half. I did the entire Abraham iodine protocol including all the “companion supplements.”

        An initial iodine loading test by Dr. Flechas’s lab showed my extraordinarily toxic in bromine and, as expected, deficient in iodine. Dr. Flechas recommended 1 teaspoon of Celtic salt a day (as per the Abraham iodine protocol) to help drive the bromine out in urine. A followup loading test showed substantial improvement in the bromine toxicity as well as iodine saturation. My need for thyroid meds gradually decreased over this time period, lasting perhaps a year.

        At some point my need for thyroid meds increased slowly again, as shown by standard lab work as well as how I felt. The reason seemed mysterious until I had another loading test. This one showed even higher bromine toxicity than the initial one. I then realized I had become complacent and gradually slacked off on the Celtic salt while continuing the 50 mg Iodoral and the rest of the protocol.

        My bad. I resumed the daily salt supplement and the increasing need for thyroid meds halted. My doses leveled off. It remains to be seen if my requirement for supplemental thyroid hormone starts to go back down. I believe it will, up to a point at least. My Hashimoto’s is very sever (I take as much T4 as many thyroidless people), so the chance of a complete recovery seems remote. As you know, people at earlier stages frequently do stop requiring any meds via the iodine protocol. I’ll take what I can get!

        I plan to try LDN in the near future to see how far that can take me as well.

        Good luck. Based on my experiences, I suggest trying to find a friendly, knowledgeable doc to help you with all this and to monitor yourself via loading tests if you can. And don’t forget the salt!

        Let me know if I can help further.

        Bill

        • Lisa says

          Bill,
          Thanks for taking the time to write.

          I am curious how you were diagnosed as having Hashimotos. Was it through antibody testing? My endo says I have Hashimotos, but my thyroid antibody tests have come out negative twice, so I am not sure that my problem is autoimmune and why it would be called Hashimotos if it is not.
          My TSH is not high, but it has just increased after several daysof eating loads of dried seaweed. Interesting….

          I just found some relevant and interesting material that helps to balance some of the controversy regarding the camps that are proponents for iodine therapy and those that are not. It also helps with dosages.
          Take care,
          Lisa

          • Bill says

            Hi Lisa,

            Yes, I was diagnosed on the basis of both an extremely high TSH (>30) and high antibodies. Not sure about your case, but I suspect that Hashimoto’s is often simply assumed with primary hypothyroidism if there is no other obvious cause. Mainstream docs treat it the same way regardless, so in their minds perhaps it doesn’t matter very much.

            As you may know, TSH often rises with iodine supplementation (via seaweed in your case perhaps). It seems to be generally benign, though it may scare the bejesus out of your doctor. The experienced iodine docs believe this is a healthy physiological adaptation to the amelioration of iodine deficiency, since TSH up regulates the thyroid’s ability to absorb iodine now that it is more available. Usually it is not associated with actual hypothyroidism, as shown by free T4 levels or symptoms. I did not experience this TSH rise, but many do. It can take months to resolve. It would not have bothered me if it had happened as long as I did not feel like I was truly going hypothyroid.

            You are probably aware that seaweed can be very high in heavy metal toxins. Something to think about and one reason I switched to Iodoral.

            Bill

        • Jonathan says

          You might want to check out Stop the Thyroid Madness. It talks about people using natural dessicated Thyroid hormone to great effect where T4 only synthetic hormones didn’t do much of anything for them.

          The website with the same name has quite a bit of the information. Its a great read. I think it might be an improvement if you switched to a dessicated Thyroid instead of T4 only.

          Dessicated Thyroid has T1, T2, T3, T4, and Calcitonin all of the things the Thyroid naturally produces rather than just one of them.

  49. says

    Truly impressed! All the things is quite open and very clear explanation of issues. It contains certainly information. Your website is very helpful. Thanks for sharing. Searching ahead to far more!

  50. Terri says

    What is the best way to detox to get rid of the toxins that are previously stated way above, causing
    hypo thyroid problems, or that add to the problem?

    • Lisa says

      Terri,
      I take lots of Vit D3, drops or capsules, and my lab levels are still only 43 which is too low.
      I have recently read that D3, which is fat soluble only, must be taken with an oil to be absorbed, so now i will take it with food/oils to see if this helps with absorption.I am hypothryroid and I took about 5000 IU but will up it to 20,000 IU for awhile then back down to 10,000 IU. As long as it’s D3,( not D2 -the artificial form and not safe in high doses).

  51. TexasDeb says

    In Nov 2010, after I finally reached menopause (yay!), my routine well-woman Lab Corp lab tests showed I was on the high end of their normal range (5.5) and my panicky doctor immediately wrote an Rx for Synthroid, which I declined. I was certain they made a mistake. My hair was not falling out, my nails are hard as nails, my eyebrows are full, I have plenty of energy, and I’m not constipated, among other things. A month later, my independent Quest Diagnostics test results showed I was in their normal range so I made the right call to decline the Rx. Then I read a Brownstein article that claimed that daily supplementation with 12.5 mg iodine, based on Japanese health statistics, would be good for nearly everyone. (This article made only passing mention of selenium. But why be so specific about iodine amounts yet leave the reader to guess how much of anything else to use alongside?) So for 18 months, I conservatively took 6.25 mg iodine daily, expecting my 2012 well-woman lab tests to put me well within the new normal range. NOT! My initial results of TSH 5.5 in 2010 shot up to TSH 16.5 in 2012 after 1.5 years of taking that daily half dose of Iodoral. Thank goodness I didn’t take the full 12.5 mg all that time. So I immediately stopped the 6.25 iodine daily supplement; 30 days later, my TSH was back down to 5.13…but the full thyroid panel shows I have excessive thyroid antibodies. So here I am, out of the frying pan and into the FIRE. Thanks, Brownstein (NOT). Nevertheless, my hair is full, my nails are gorgeous, I have plenty of energy – e.g., I still have no hypothyroid symptoms. The only way I can figure out how to get out of this lab test mess is to take 200-400 mcg of selenium supplements daily as an “antidote” for the next 6 months, hope for the best and re-test.

    • Lisa says

      Deb,
      Did you have an iodine load test done (before beginning supplementaion) to see if you were actually deficient in iodine? I am curious, as I just had one myself.

      I understand your frustration:)!
      Menopause (I am there, too) can raise your TSH levels, and make them fluctuate, so I have read.

      Perhaps the Iodoral did help you, and it would be great to know if your were actually deficient which can be done with iodine load test about ($130).

      Dr. Flechas, a colleague of Dr. Brownstein, has written that with Iodoral supplementation, the TSH level sometime increases, but the person is asymptomatic/feels great and so he believes that on a cellular level the Iodoral supplemetn is helping the body systemically. Who knows for sure?

      I have had a TSH level of 2.6 and have felt AWEFUL with all the Hypo symptoms that fortunately you did not have at TSH 5.5. Going on synthroid helped me greatly, at times, but there is no exact science to this, and this is so very, very frustrating.

      Also, there seems to be BIG holes in the “research” both for and against iodine/iodide/iodoral supplementation. Also, if the Rx medications for thyroid “disease” worked consistently, and medical professionals had true and absolute answers to the cause and cure for thyroid and other related issues, then we “suffering” patients would not be left to basically figure this out on our own.

      Good luck to all of us.

      • TexasDeb says

        Hello Lisa,

        Until recently I was unaware that an iodine load test was possible, so no, I have not had one done yet. That is the point at which I probably should have started, rather than plunging right in with mega-doses of Iodoral based on reading an article. It’s possible I was not iodine deficient to begin with. My new doctor is not quite as panicky as my previous one, he recommends that I re-test in 6 months, and he understands my reluctance to take Rx without having any symptoms as it could possibly cause those very symptoms if it’s unneeded. In the meantime, I’ve come across articles that suggest that either selenium alone or selenium taken with the iodine supplement may place TSH readings in a normal range. But careful, they say selenium can be toxic over 400 mcg / day. I do have mild allergies, plus the newly diagnosed thyroid antibodies, so there may be some kind of autoimmune process going on. I just came across a book in the library about how breathing correctly could help alleviate allergies, asthma, emphysema, and, get this, thyroid problems (among many other ailments), see http://www.buteyko.com/. It has to do with the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance and the immune system. I’ll pursue that angle a bit not just on my own behalf but for loved ones with allergies and lung problems, hope it’s not a false lead. Maybe it takes a combination of a few approaches to tackle a health problem, we’re all different.

  52. Lisa says

    I am confused by certaining terminology regarding “iodine” as I research this topic and here’s why:

    It seems that the word “iodine” is loosely used to refer to both iodine and iodide as well as the combination of the 2 like that which is found in Iodoral.

    Since the articles/research Optimox site, etc. has indicated that the thryoid needs “iodide” and that the breast (FBD) needs “iodine”? how does one take a combination product that uses each of its 2 component to address 2 different health issues? The con cern is that the Iodide is needed for thryroid, but that the Iodine (the amount needed) is controversial, still.)

    I have negative thryroid antibodies (tested twice), have FBD, am hypothryroid( with sometimes hyper symptoms while on Rx meds).

    Not looking for medical advice but a way to understand the terminology when distinguishing between iodine, iodide, elemental iodine. (Is elemental iodine the combination of iodine and iodide?)

    • Jonathan says

      Read Iodine by David Brownstein, The Iodine Crisis, and Stop the Thyroid Madness. That should give a more complete understanding of Iodine, Thyroid, and Adrenals.

  53. Lisa says

    I am interested in hearing from people who are diagnosed Hypothyroid (I currently test negative for antibodies)and who are successfully using Iodoral or other iodine/iodine supplements as a replacement for or in supplement to their Rx thyroid meds.
    Since Rx thyroid meds do not work consistently for me, I wish to eliminate or reduce the dosage and supplement with Iodine/iodide which I am certain i am deficient in and will found out for sure this week with results from and iodine load test. I am not sure this will work for me, but i am willing to try.

    (Unmedicated, my TSH is not that high-2.5-4.3-and sometimes it is even this without synthroid),but I am highly symptomatic for Hypothyroidism, no eyebrows, constipation, tired, 30 lb weight gain, which is helped sometimes on meds. I am a mess without them. I am menopausal on biodentical hormones, eat zero sugar, and take many supplements and as I siad above my thyroid antibodies have been negative, tested twice, so i am just assuming that I do not have Hashimotos immune disease)

    Anyone who has weaned off meds and who takes supplements insteads, please share amounts taken, any tips, etc. I am not looking for medical advice just some real life results to use as a guide in deciding what next step to take for myself. Thank you.

    • Mickey Mouse says

      Go to http://www.iodine4health.com and read the research there. I got to the point where I couldn’t swallow without choking due to my thyroid being inflamed and went on iodine supplementation. It has helped, but I have been unable as of yet to wean myself off of the medication. I take armour thyroid which is better (according to my doctor) than synthroid along with 50 mg of iodoral a day. I am considering upping my intake to 75 mg to see if I can make faster progress. Who did your iodine load test? Is it something a medical lab will do?

  54. dalia says

    Hello
    I wanted to know what is the recommended iodine dose for hypothyroidism
    And what is maximum dose
    I also want to know what are hashimoto treatments how is gland inflammation treated
    And immune sys regulated
    I have elevated tsh and I’m still doing the antibodies test

    • Mona says

      hi dalia :

      are you from Egypt? if so i have collected some good information about thyroid contradictions,
      hope it will help you,
      Thanks

  55. Greg says

    Chris,

    I am struggling with the issue of balancing all the positive nutritional benefits of cruciferous vegetables vs the negative effects of the goitrogens for someone with hypothyroidism. I have read everything I can find on the reduction in goitrogens from cooking, but they all focus on steaming or boiling. Can you comment on whether roasting at high temp (425 for 45 mins) has any effect? How about satueeing? Also are there some choices that are better than others? Broccoli or cauliflower? Spinach or kale? Brussel sprouts or cabbage?

    Thank you so much for the wonderful contributions you are making to help shed light on the truth about real nutrition and health. You have made a tremendous impact on our family and so many others.

    Greg

  56. usman says

    Hey Chris

    Great articles! Good work.. I was wondering if you (or anyone else for that matter) could guide me as to what I should do.. The thing is I had my thyroid tests done 3 times over the past year.. All 3 times, my T3 and T4 results were within range, however, the TSH fluctuated quite a bit. The first time, my TSH came at 9 (tht was really high!).. I didn’t go to a doc but someone recommended I have fish oil so I had that continuously. After 3 or 4 months, my TSH dropped to normal range and was at 4.0. I stopped having fish oil after that and in the recent test that I got done (4 months later), my TSH came in at 4.628. I’m 27 years old and as per the reports, the normal band for TSH at my age is 0.4-4.2

    Can you or anyone please guide as to what I should do? I don’t want to go to the docs cause my friends were saying they’ll prolly give me a medicine for life :/ Also, is and can one’s TSH level fluctuate this much within a year? And did the fish oil actually benefit or was it mere coincidence?

  57. shelly says

    I have hypothyroidism and started supplementing with 500 mcg iodine (had also been eating Brazil nuts). Started having strange things happening with my heart (skipped beats, pounding, racing). Decreased to 300 mcg, still had heart symptoms. Stopped supplementing and two weeks later had elevated tsh, but normal t4 and t3. Heart symptoms went away at that time. Now, if I have more than 2 pinches of sea salt a day my heart symptoms come back. Any idea of what might be happening?

    • anje says

      Hi shelly, Did you figure out what was happenning, I had the same thing happenning to me, but it was because of 150mcg iodine in a prenatal supplement, I previously could use iodized salt, but after the supplement I had increased heart rate and other symptoms, I stopped supplement and iodized salt and the problem fixed, after a few weeks if I try using iodized salt the same symptoms are coming back.

      Can you please tell me if you have figured out something, as I want to travel overseas and they don’t have anything but iodised salt there.

      • anje says

        I am not sure, I consulted many doctors, my TSH levels are normal, but I don’t feel normal anymore. I am suffering from horrible insomnia even after I have stopped the iodised salt. I was never like this before. Sometimes I still get heart racing, but don’t know why. This could be biggest mistake of my life taking an iodine supplement and it was in a prenatal supplement, it was no mistake of mine, I feel horrible now.

        Keep me updated of how you’re going.

        • Irene says

          Hello.

          What happend to me was: My doctor gave me thyroxine because of elevated TSH, but I soon stopped the medication, after 3 weeks perhaps. I Didnt feel well, quite bad actually. After That I have Been having increased heart rate and heart palps at times, increased hair loss and other symptoms, so I found out it was due to iodine in the foods: egg yolks, yoghurt, fish and seafood, sushi, etc. I stopped eating everything That contains iodine. I felt much much better! I also dont use salt on My food, the response to salt isnt as bad as before but there are still some increased heart rate. I tried 50 mcg iodine with selenium two days ago, it did not go well! It was only 50 mcg and I got the heart palps back plus some increased heart rate but it will go away in some days. During these days I have also Been having insomnia, and not so cheerful as usual, more anxious and cranky :/ :-) but not too bad.

          My thyroid hormones are all within range but they show a puituitary pattern, low tsh and low t4 and t3, chronic stress. Both T4 and t3 was higher before and I Didnt have these symptoms. I am following K. Datiz Protocol now… I think it helps :-)

          Is your hormones at the same level as before ? Because I think i have always Been sensitive to iodine, but now since ny hormones are low(but within range) they are more sensitive to iodine. I think I am on the border so it’s easy to give me hypothyroid symptoms.

          Kind regards

          Irene

          • anje says

            So are you hypothyroid or hyperthyroid now, because increased heart rate and all those are symptoms of hyperthyroidism, so if you stop salt and everything do you become hypo. What sort of treatment are you going to take now?

            So does it mean you can’ t take iodine or iodine rich products all your life now?

            • Irene says

              I had elevated TSH before, in Feb. Because I took iodine 400mcg everyday. I believe. I was only drowsy, and cold, did not have any other symptoms. Both t3 and t4 were in upper ranges.
              I dont believe I was hyperthyroid because I Didnt Get warm, or Anything like That. I was dizzy, I Get dizzy everytime .. probably lower blood pressure. I have already low blood pressure, but I dont usually have any dizziness. With lower blood pressure, your heart rate increases. Iam on no treatment, only better lifestyle. Trying to fix whatever with supplements etc.

              Kind regards

              Irene

    • Eveline says

      Maybe your calcium and/or magnesium are to low now. It’s described in the book The iodine crisis. Take e Calcium-magnesium supplement with the iodine and hopefully it will go better

    • jackie says

      It may be the Brazil nuts. All you need is two. Are you sure you don’t mean mg for iodine? You would be taking too much if mg. I wonder if you could be detoxing Bromine. You might want to take Methamazole from physician while working on your nutrient program. What did your doctor say?

  58. Sean Carson, L.Ac. says

    Your articles on the thyroid are excellent and informative. I find the “iodine controversy” interesting. Articles with “anti-iodine” sentiment inevitably refer to Hashimoto’s, but not everyone who is hypothyroid has Hashimoto’s or any other autoimmune condition.

    It’s also common to reference older studies or look at epidemiological studies, but rarely does someone acknowledge how much the clinical landscape has changed over the last 30-50 years.

    Rarely do I hear anyone acknowledge how much chronic halogen exposure from ubiquitous toxic chlorine and fluoride might play a role in thyroid issues and necessitate higher iodine intake to compensate for it.

    While many people believe that vegetables are “universally good for us,” Americans, especially health conscious Americans, probably eat more goitrogenic vegetables and soy than Americans from a few generations ago: broccoli, cabbage, arugula, kale, etc, not to mention lacto-fermented vegetables that don’t alter their goitrogenic tendencies. These anti-nutrients block iodine usage by the thyroid, so another interesting question is how eating a “super healthy” or vegan/vegetarian diet with high amount of goitrogenic anti-nutrients might necessitate more compensatory iodine intake.

    Finally, I never hear practitioner’s discuss the real issue of global nuclear meltdown events like Fukushima on the thyroid health of their patients. UC Berkeley reports on radioactive elements found in rainwater, dairy milk, vegetables, etc found massive increases in the level of these toxic elements in our water and food supply post-Fukushima. This means that west coast populations like San Francisco and Berkeley were exposed to very high levels of nuclear fallout. How do these kind of events change our need for healthy forms of iodine? The reactors are still putting out significant amounts of radiation to this day – largely ignored by our politicians and global media.

    So, with all of the above taken into consideration, what constitutes healthy and adequate iodine intake??

    If a typical American consumes between 2-6mg of fluoride a day – a toxic halogen that will bind to iodine receptors – can 150mcg of iodine be adequate to compensate for that? What is a therapeutic iodine dose for someone who is hypothyroid or borderline hypothyroid, but is not suffering from an autoimmune thyroid condition?

    Given the substantially different clinical landscape that exists today, I think it is a bit knee-jerk to be paranoid about iodine consumption, given our modern chronic exposure to other toxic halogens, as well as radioactive iodine. Surely some people do poorly with even small amounts of iodine, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It may be that some people do need substantially more iodine while others (Hashimoto’s patients, etc) do not.

    Sean Carson, L.Ac.

    • Allison says

      GLOBAL /CONCERN for CHILDREN…: If Fluoride is a toxic halogen that binds to iodine receptors, and chlorine may play a role in thyroid issues, it sounds like nearly everyone in industrialized countries is at risk for Hypothyroidism from the water supply alone. Can children have Hypothyroidism? If so, are the possible symptoms different than you might see in adults? We have been considering a reverse osmosis system for drinking water. Now I’m convinced it is a must. If anyone knows how young someone can be to have hypothyroidism, please comment! Thanks.

  59. John says

    Chris:

    Very good post as always. Thank you.

    In those individuals with deiodinase deficiencies, like me, are characterized with very high FT4, low FT3, low TSH and high RT3. Adding a small 500 mcg dose of iodine raised my T4 even higher (above normal range) and made me feel even worse than without iodine supplementation. My theory is that the excess FT4 produced from iodine supplementation is dumped as RT3 as it cannot convert to FT3 and only further exaggerates my hypothyroid symptoms. Are theses dots connected in a logical sequence?

    The only treatment that is helped me is Cytomel.

  60. Denise says

    I was recently told that I am hypothyroid. I am researching to figure out everything that is happening to me – if that is even possible! I had 2 CT Scans with iodine contrast over a 4 month period – each time I would get 2 golf ball size knots on each side at the front of my neck. It did not happen immediately but 1-2 days after the scans and they were painful. I have had CT Scans with iodine contrast in the past with no reaction afterwards.

  61. sheila says

    I have had hashimoto’s since 1987 and have always taken Levoxyl. I had been vegetarian since 1982, until a year and a half ago, when I started eating fish because I stopped eating grains, soy and dairy. I ate so much fish! A couple of months ago, I began to have heart palpitations unless I stopped my Levoxyl. After a month of no Levoxyl, my TSH was 100. Now I’m back on Levoxyl, but if I eat fish regularly, I have irregular, racing and pounding heartbeats again. I also had a chest rash after a scan using iodine contrast and I had red streaks up my arm after taking an iodine supplement about a year ago. This was prescribed by a dr after an iodine loading test. Do I need to just avoid fish and all iodine forever?
    Thank you

    • Bill says

      Have you tried unrefined salt supplementation as recommended in Dr. Guy Abraham’s Iodine Protocol? You could be very toxic in bromine, as I was, in which case the salt would be needed to eliminate the bromide driven out off tissues by the iodine. You might even need the more aggressive salt loading procedure in addition to the normal salt supplement.

      Did your loading test include a bromide test?

      The salt resolved my own bromine toxicity very nicely.

    • Lisa says

      Excellent article, Zach. Thanks for posting.

      I will offer here what I have found to be true, as one with hypothryroidism, and after years of self-directed research, many many lab tests, and trial and error with different meds and modalities.

      I believe and have found that iodine supplementation in far higher doses than the RDA , but somewhat lesser quantities than Brownstein suggests, can be safe and healing for the entire system.

      As an example, blood work shows that I do not have Hashimotos/autoimmune hypothyroidism, though my thyroid is inflamed and I have higher than normal TSH levels. I have tried everything under the sun to cure and heal my low thryroid “naturally,” including Armour and Naturethroid, which were a bomb for me because the balance of t3 and t4 in them is known to be incompatible with the t3/t4 levels in humans, which can cause rapid heart rate.
      Without a low-dose of non-generic Synthroid, my body just shuts down. I must take this.
      Yet, this is still not enough to restore overall wellness.
      I have been diagnosed by urine analysis to be BORDERLINE low iodine, and this result coincides with the fact that my hypothyroidism is, by lab numbers, mild, even though I become ill and non-functional without thryroid medication.
      When I add 6.25 milligrams of combination iodine (Tri-iodine), everything changes for the better-sleep, weight, mood, overall health. Just iodine, which I have tried, is not enough, and neither are thyroid meds alone. I believe that I could take up to about 10mg, and still see good results without consequence.
      I do believe the doses of iodine that Brownstein suggests may be too much for some people, and here’s why. If a person takes “too much” iodine, it can actually sweep the “good T4″ out of the system, along with the toxins. Perhaps this is why people who take the higher doses-12.5-50mg. of iodine that Brownstein suggests- sometimes have elevated TSH and increased hypo symtoms.
      Edgar Cayce sugggests taking iodine for hypothyroidism, and he also recommended (in my words) that taking iodine in a cycled pattern is the key to treatment, as it allows the body to increase T4 and T3 production, and to rest (on no iodine days) to absorb and retain it.
      This has absolutely worked for me, without fail or side effects.

  62. Mickey Mouse says

    I started having swallowing issues last spring and went to my doctor telling him it was my thyroid. He poo-pooed the idea since I was already on 60 mg of armour thyroid. After getting to the point where I couldn’t swallow anything without choking, my chiropractor suggested using iodine supplementation. Within 3 days my symptoms were almost gone. I currently take 50 mg per day just to be able to swallow without choking. You need to re-examine your supposed facts on iodine. A good website is http://www.iodine4health.com.

    • says

      I developed an under active thyroid from only taking 12.5 mg of iodral for a year. Prior to that my thyroid was fine. There is a wealth of evidence that supports the onset of hashimotos with taking too much iodine and I am living proof. It over stimulates hydrogen peroxide in the thyroid cell causing inflammation. Please be cautious.

  63. Linda says

    Hello Dr.Chris :
    I hope you are well ,
    I am a female ( 48 years old ) , I have thyroid problems that
    The doctor removed a part of the thyroid & asked me to go with radioactive iodine
    Therapy , but I find it very terrible consequences , &I did not want to proceed with it ,
    I read about Nascent iodine , my question is :
    Is this Nascent iodine compensate or equivalent to the Radioactive Iodine ?
    Also I have read about that taking Iodine without Selenium is not correct,
    Have a nice day ,
    Linda,

  64. Evon says

    My God!….reading all this makes me wonder how extremely difficult it is to try to balance this curse! I might as well just give it up. There’s gotta be something simpler than this. I vote for a find the cure for thyroid disease cause….it’s hell!! Someone’s gotta figure this darn thing out!

    • Dara says

      Evon, my sentiments exactly! I haven’t found one person where I live (Wash DC area) who comes remotely close to a true understanding of the thyroid and immune system. I have Graves and Hashi’s and a multi-nodule goiter, plus chronic Lyme disease. The online blogs, books, studies and doctors all say something different from each other. Elaborate testing is referred to but then I try to get my doctors to do it and they are clueless. Then even with the standard thyroid tests there are different opinions in how to interpret them. Who is right? How do you know which direction to head in? One person says you’ll never get well without iodine, another says it’s the worst thing you could take. I’ve had the greatest improvements in how I feel by simply following a Paleo/GAPS type diet and detoxing. So, when in doubt, heal the gut and eat the way the body was designed to eat. The rest of this is crazy-making.

  65. TK Swiss says

    Hi Chris,
    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s during my 1st pregnancy, that was 17 years ago. I was on Levoxyl for 13 years + antidepressants and suffered from terrible PMS. My vit D levels were low as well as B12 and cortisol was very low. I have now been on Naturethroid the past 4 years and lots of vitamins. I know my gut is messed up have been gluten free for 4 years but now going Paleo. I am taking a vitamin pack supplement called Propax with NT factor. The ingredients say it contains 18.75 mcg of iodine. Should I stop taking this supplement because of the iodine?

    Thanks. I love your website and the wealth of information.

  66. says

    Hello,

    Is it possible to reverse hypothyroidism from taking too high a dose of iodine for too long?
    I took iodoral 12.5 mg daily for a year and have now developed an under active thyroid.
    I don’t want to go down the lifetime medication road unless absolutely no other option. Please help!!
    I also suffer from adrenal fatigue due to suffering 2 deaths in a year and various other stressors. I am taking an adrenal support for this.

    Thank you

    Heather

    • Marcus says

      The problem might have been you were taking iodine without the required accompanying nutrients (selenium, magnessiu and Vit C)

  67. J.michael Carney says

    http://www.bodybio.com I watched that video and its obvious that the balance of all minerals are needed to heal the body. Too much of any one will get the body out of balance. Selenium is the balance that is most mentioned but it still seems we are looking at the most misunderstood part of medicine. The problem is experts run the show and they will kill us are proving there POINT !!!

  68. Lael says

    Heather, are you sure that it is the iodine that caused your thyroid to go hyper? Could be other causes. Also, for those who struggle with bromide detox, there is a salt loading protocol that one can follow to help address this. I’ve found some interesting and helpful iodine info on the ‘Breast Cancer Choices’ site. The info there is harmonious with everything Chris relates regarding the taking of iodine. For those who struggle with thyroid, I understand that managing it can seem like running the gauntlet. I have Hashimotos and have been finding my way too.

  69. PIT says

    Hi Dr. Chris . I have a question regarding to gliadin and its role in causing autoimmune disease ( thyroid hypothyroidism). We already know that gluten causes leaky gut syndrome and in consequences thyroid dysfunction . As You mention in article (http://chriskresser.com/the-gluten-thyroid-connection ) once this gluten protein enters bloodstream through the leaky gut lining antibodies starts to attack thyroid. My question is ; can we expect ours antibodies to stop attacking the thyroid once the gut lining is healed and on condition that we will be gluten free for more than 6 months even if we eat a little bit of gluten ? or if antibodies will still attack thyroid due to( antibodies memory of that particular protein ) even if some gluten is consumed but the gut lining is well healed ?

    • Honora says

      Hi PIT

      No one’s answered your question but since gluten causes leaky gut through the action of zonulin, it would be pointless consuming gluten to any degree I suspect. I envisage eating a bit of gluten will rark up the thyroid antibodies as well as other anti-gluten antibodies.

  70. Fiona Miller says

    Hello,
    I must admit that I have not read all posts in this discussion which is fascinating. I confess that I have very little experience or knowledge compare to many here.
    I was given a herbal tincture containing a herb called Ashwaganda which I took over a period of time. I noted that intially I began to lose hair, after time most of my facial hair dissappeared too. I beleive that I went Hyper due to the supplements (Solgar VM75 which containes potassium iodide) and the herbal tincture. My body went through some trauma- I feel my thyroid enlarging when I take simple herbal teas, I can’t tolerate vitamin D, or iron, or indeed any medication.
    My hair is fine and is still falling out, eyebrows are barely exisitent. Please can someone please explain what happened to my thyroid, I believe I damaged it by consuming supplements and more importantly Ashwaganda known to cause Thyroidoxicosis. (I did not know this at the time).
    Will I ever recover, please can someone tell me why I can’t tolerate essential Vitiamin D and iron which I so badly need. (My thyroid enlarges, the result is dreadful ear pain, extreme heat, I feel as though my head could explode). No doctor will believe me when I tell them this and I am told that I have nothing wrong with me. Blood tests are always normal but I am ill!
    Apologies for posting this here, I just wondered if some kindly soul could advise.
    It’s been a pretty frightening experience!
    Supplements have to be treated with caution!
    Kind Regards

  71. Pete says

    In the study quoted I think that saying 78% of Hashimotos hypothyroid patients were returned to a normal state from reduction in iodine intake is an inaccurate conclusion. Consider that 55% of the controls (who did not change their Iodine intake) also saw their hypothyroid condition returned to normal . Would not this indicate that only 23% actually got any benefit from reduction of Iodine? Considering this and the very small size of this study it would appear that more research needs to be done before drawing any concrete conclusions..

    The more important question would be WHY did those 55% spontaneously recover? Something must have changed . If someone had looked closer into all details of diet, exercise, and lifestyle perhaps something more important could have been discovered.

  72. Kim says

    I have hashimotos and when I took iodine drops my goiter swelled, endo informed me only option surgical removal of thyroid. I quit taking iodine, quit glutin and my thyroid shunk, it’s almost been a year and my goiter is gone

    • Pete says

      My blood test showed 6.5 TSH.. I quit all grains and currently take 50 mgs of lugos per day. i have no hypothyroid symptoms whatsoever.

  73. Kim says

    Their are different types of iodine. I believe salt company use low quality iodine in their products, also salt is chemically and heat treated, very low quality. Today many quality salts are available if you take the time to look for them, and yes they cost more. But their much healthier and they taste better, and I like pink Himalayan salt.

  74. Robert says

    Based upon the findings of research found in the following link
    http://drsircus.com/medicine/iodine/iodine-rescue
    this article and the title are somewhat misleading . To use a photo of table salt containing Iodide does not address the successful use of other forms of Iodine, especially the atomic (Nascent) form rather than the molecular form.
    Robert

  75. William Eichman says

    Hi Chris,
    I have Hashimoto’s disease and just started taking Iodine from a recommendation by Dr. Brownstein’s newsletter saying Americans don’t have enough iodine in their diet and the lack of iodine can cause cancer. If I take selenium with the iodine will that solve the problem? What if I continue to take Iodine what might happen?

  76. Rachel says

    I just want to say that I am one person that was very much adversely affected by taking Iodoral. I have lost my thyroid gland because of taking 12.5 mg/day of that supplement.

    I test negative to all the usual antibodies that most doctors test for, i.e., TPO, TgAb, etc. Little did I and my doctor know that II was hypothyroid due to the TSH Receptor antibodies (TRAb). He put me on Iodoral to help with my hypothyroidism. Within a month, my FT4 and FT3 starting climbing and kept on climbing. When I saw an endocrinologist, I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. I now know that I’ve had TRAb all along.

    The TSH Receptor Antibodies (TRAb) can be BLOCKING (TSBAb) causing hypothyroidism or STIMULATING (TSAb/TSI) causing hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease) and it can switch between the two.

    WARNING TO HYPOTHYROID PATIENTS CONSIDERING TAKING AN IODINE SUPPLEMENT: At the very least, you should get tested for the TSBAb via the TBII test. If you are positive, don’t take the iodine/iodide, it’s NOT worth the risk, believe me, it’s been hell having Graves’ disease.

  77. Chrysta says

    I’m not a doctor, nor an expert. But I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s six years ago (age 16) and I have been on Levoythyroxin that whole time. And I still feel terrible. Now, I don’t know if I feel bad from some other undiagnosed problem (I’ve been going to doctors for years trying to get a diagnosis for severe fatigue, being unrefreshed after excessive amounts of sleep, severe night sweats, and thin, weak hair.) Or if maybe my thyroid is not being treated properly. I am on a Vitamin D supplement, even though my deficiency was not brought to my attention for a couple years after my diagnosis, nor that it could be connected to my thyroid.. But I have never heard from any doctor to take other supplements as well, like Selenium. I just recently was looking for causes for my adult acne and found out that iodine can cause acne and that increased my desire to found out if I am taking an unhelpful medication. I also read that even if my thyroid levels are normal, with Hashimoto’s it doesn’t really matter if I am still feeling bad and have unresolved symptoms. So, I can’t make comment on what facts are true or false or any of that, but I can say that I have been taking a medication to fix my thyroid symptoms that happens to have iodine and that I can say 100 percent that I don’t feel well or that my thyroid problem has been helped at all!

    Also, if these two sentences are true, I am flabbergasted as to why in the hell I am being treated with a medication that can do the exact opposite of what I was taking it for: ” Because increased iodine intake, especially in supplement form, increases the autoimmune attack on the thyroid.

    Iodine reduces the activity of an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase (TPO). TPO is required for proper thyroid hormone production.”

    Also, I have found through the years and numerous doctors (some even at Mayo clinic) that doctors are very uninformative and do not share valuable information with their patient about their health or how to make themselves feel better.

    • Jonathan says

      I really think it would go a long way to helping you restore your health if you read Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe, Iodine by David Brownstein, and/or The Iodine Crisis by Lynn Farrow. I really enjoyed both the last two, but its up to you.

      There may be people that actually feel wonderful on T4 only treatment like Levoythyroxin, but I haven’t seen those stories. Janie’s book is filled with patient stories where they used T4 only treatment exclusively and never felt a significant improvement. Their tests were better. The TSH test “improved”, but they still felt like crap.

      Some other resources that may be useful in case you decide to supplement Iodine are at the following websites.

      http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/iodine/files/01%20NEW%20MEMBERS%20-%20READ%20FIRST/

      This may require membership to get to the page though I don’t think so.

      http://home.comcast.net/~jocy1/junk/The%20Guide%20to%20Supplementing%20with%20Iodine.pdf

      In case it is the membership is free by the way you just have to request it. Great discussion group on Iodine.

      tinyurl.com/iodine-references.com

      This is also great.

      Good luck
      Jonathan

  78. Fed up with 30+ years of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis! says

    Hi,
    I’ve had diagnosed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis since I was 12 years old. There is a strong belief that I likely had this from birth or developed it much earlier than my diagnosis and it was only found at that time because I stopped growing at the size of a typical 6-8 year old or show any beginning signs of entering puberty. Once I started thyroid hormone replacement therapy I rapidly grew to a height commensurate with the other females in my family and after the growth slowed I went through puberty. I am now 41 and had been stable on the same dose of Levothyroxine since the time I was diagnosed, but now my labs are going crazy. On that stable dose of Levothyroxine, I have been undergoing testing nearly every two months due to these radical fluctuations. One test is severely underactive (TSH 49), the next test is severely overactive (TSH 0.001), the next severely underactive (TSH 66), the next severely overactive (TSH 0.004), etc. I take my Levothyroxine at the same time every morning, on an empty stomach and do not eat for at least 30 minutes. I take no other medications at the same time as my Levothyroxine and have always taken the same multivitamins in the evening after dinner. I was told by a reproductive endocrinologist, that I was seeing for fertility issues at one point, that eventually the antibodies associated with Hashimoto’s will kill off the thyroid all together. However, towards the end, the thyroid will fight for it’s life. In his explanation, he likened this to a car running out of gas. The car will go downhill, where it can contact small amounts of gasoline left in the tank and sputter back to life giving the car the ability to run again, meaning the thyroid will come back to life to certain extent, as it temporarily wins this tug of war for it’s life and kick out massive amounts of thyroid hormone, causing you to be overactive. Once the car starts going uphill, it cannot access the small amounts of gasoline in the tank and it will slow down or stop, meaning the antibodies start to win again, so it slows down and the thyroid hormones become inaccessible again causing you to be underactive. He said that this will usually continue until the thyroid dies off on it’s own and then a stable dose of thyroid replacement hormone can once again be found. Other patients undergo radioactive iodine treatment or surgical removal of the thyroid under a doctor’s recommendation or through the patients urging because the process is taking too long and the ups and downs get to be too much for the person or for the person’s system to handle and then a stable dose of thyroid replacement can once again be found. He said that most patients don’t reach this point in the course of Hashimoto’s because they don’t develop Hashimoto’s antibodies until later in their lives so they don’t have active Hashimoto’s for 30+ years. My regular endocrinologist did not disagree with any of these things or the reproductive endocrinologist’s explanation of it, but he refuses to suggest or let me undergo radioactive iodine treatment or surgical thyroid removal. My problem with this is that I don’t feel that I can continue to go through these rapid and extreme fluctuations for much longer. They are causing other health issues for me due to the fatigue, insomnia, hot and cold fluctuations and too many other things to mention. I have constant heart palpitations and recently had an abnormal EKG, which I need to have repeated as it is very different from my previous EKG’s performed before these fluctuations began. I believe this may be connected to the abnormal issues with my thyroid, as well. What could cause such radical shifts in TSH while on the same dosage, taken under the same conditions throughout the testing period? What are your experiences with patients who’ve had long term Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and hormone antibodies? Does the explanation that the reproductive endocrinologist gave sound accurate? How does someone in my condition find a stable dose of thyroid replacement hormone? Have you heard of Hashimoto’s patients undergoing radioactive iodine treatment or surgical thyroid removal? What impact can long term, radical shifts in thyroid hormone have on the body or systems of a Hashimoto’s patient?
    Thank you for any help you can offer in this area,
    Fed up with 30+ years of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis!

  79. Annie says

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Hi
    I enjoy researching alternative healing as a hobby and many times I run into your articles. I recently read your article on iodine and thyroids. My first question would be, is doing an iodine deficiency test on the skin an effective test to see if a person is low on iodine? I’ve done a lot of research on iodine and I realize that taking too much or taking it without selenium could harm the thyroid. I’m making 5% Lugol’s Iodine. So here is the dosage I’m running by you to see if its ok…If I the iodine on my skin is gone in less then 4-6 hours and I’m low on iodine then i’ll take 1-4 drops of iodine (4 drops is 25mg of iodine) once a day with 200 mcg of selenium and 500 mg of tyrosine…is that a safe dosage for thyroid problems?

    Thank-you

  80. says

    Hi Chris, I was very happy to find this series of articles! I have had Grave’s disease since January, and your article “The Gluten-Thyroid Connection” was one of the first things I found. I immediately stopped eating gluten, because gluten intolerance runs in my family and I figured it would help. After reading Dr. Brownstein’s book I also started taking iodine at a very low level (150mcg), and began to build up slowly. However, now that I’m up to 600mcg I have started to feel worse again, and now I’ve read this article I wonder if it’s the same for Grave’s disease as it is for Hashimoto’s? Got my lab results back today, TSH .02, Free T4 36, Free T3 14. I also had my iodine level tested (in blood serum), and the result was 97; I don’t even know what that means! Help! I’ve lived in Switzerland since 1994, where Bromides were banned in 1993; I also have always eaten as much organic food as possible and almost never drink soda; so I guess it’s possible I have over-iodined myself. On the other side, there are people taking 50mg with no bad effects! I’m confused.

    • Jonathan says

      http://goo.gl/XaIo4

      This may answer the questions you need answered. I also highly recommend the books The Iodine Crisis by Lynn Farrow, Iodine by David Brownstein, and Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe

      Read those three books and the Iodine supplementation guide and you’ll have a much better understanding. The Yahoo Iodine and IodineOT discussion groups are also great resources.

      http://breastcancerchoices.org/ipractitioners.html
      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/how-to-find-a-good-doc/

      These might also be of use as well.

      Good luck in finding your path to health. The Iodine level you had tested won’t tell you much of anything. Its better to get a Iodine spot and loading test along with a bromide load test from Hakala labs.

      More details are in the supplement guide I linked at the start.

  81. says

    P.S. I’m also taking 3-4 Brazil nuts per day for selenium, and a trace mineral supplement (Schindele’s Minerals). I’m being treated by a natural practitioner with acupuncture and a herbal tincture which includes motherwort, bugleweed, hops, lemon balm and St. John’s wort. I had all my vitamins and minerals tested, and there are no deficiencies.

    • zman says

      Hello Kate,

      You might want to check out Dr. Mercola’s website. He references studies done on hypothyroidism which shows that not only too little iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, but also amounts of over 400mcg per day can ironically lead to hypothyroidism. Like you, I am also taking 4 Brazil nuts a day for selenium (2 morning and 2 evening) along with NAC to counteract muscle wasting caused by Celiac Disease. I’ve just started taking Royal Maca Root powder today for boosting thyroid function the natural way. All cofactors should be there in whole foods such as this and the amount of natural iodine per level tablespoon is about 50mcg. Dosing only twice a day with a delicious smoothie should fit me right into the correct amount of iodine to go with my selenium-rich nuts each day without adverse side effects. Maca should never be taken in its raw form, but only in its Royal (sun-dried) form so that harmful enzymes are neutralized as well as bacteria and yeasts. I find it interesting that Maca root can also cause goiters if an iodine deficiency is present in the individual. That’s actually what brought me to this article/site in the first place since I was doing research on it. However, if maca root is taken with the proper selenium supplements such as what is found in Brazil nuts in high amounts (never take supplements with sodium selenite or selenite in them-they are highly toxic varieties of selenium and will destroy your endocrine system) then the goiters never occur due to the glutathione that selenium helps produce to detox the thyroid of free radicals when hormones are being produced. I think cross references like this one can help us all determine from a practical point of view what the truth is about antioxidant cofactors when the science seems to prove very little beyond the controversy of clinical trials going seemingly opposite directions.

      I think that it’s easy enough for a drug company with a special interest to fund a clinical trial with a bent on proving whatever they have to in order to keep their profits safe. But the real proof is in the real world outcome of patients who were suffering and now are much improved or perhaps cured (if we’re allowed to use that word). I also think it’s a crime that we’re not allowed to use the word “cure” for anything but a drug, yet drugs don’t cure anything. They only “treat” the ailment while causing other health issues (so-called side effects) which in turn require another drug to treat according the western medical doctors. It’s a vicious cycle until either they have all our money or we end up dead from the preponderance of side effects.

  82. Kate says

    I did a 24 urine test and my uptake was 38%. I have hoshimotos and just found out I was pregnant. Can I start supplementing with 12.5mg of iodoral? My doctor said it was fine but I am curious of your opinion?

  83. Michele says

    Hello just came across this thread. Two yrs ago diagnosed with hashimotos. Tsh 150. Yes 150!!! I have been treated with tirosint but sometimes I still have symptoms of hypo. Swollen face is the worst some days. Tsh now 0.77. Negative for cushings disease. No need for t3 and t4 as per endo I convert on my own. What is making me so swollen???

  84. Ann says

    In my case my T3 is normal but my TSH is about a 5.97, on doctor says stay where I am with my meds, not to unbalance my T3, another doctor says I need to get my TSH number down????????

  85. DavidM says

    Can anyone explain which type of iodine test to do? Chris referred to the 24 hour urine test…that you take 50 mg of iodine at the beginning of. I’ve read through this whole thread to try to get clarity on exactly what test to ask for. I’ve read of one called an iodine loading test

    My doc was willing to order and iodine test for me but it looks like they will just be measuring the iodine in my urine (24 hours of it) without taking the iodine before hand. Is that going to be as effective a measure?

  86. DavidM says

    Can anyone tell me if there is more than one way to test the iodine level? I asked my doc if she’d order one for me and she said yes but it appears not to be an Iodine loading test as has been mentioned. It is however a 24 hour iodine test. I’m suppose to collect urine in a 24 hour period but I’m not to take the iodine before hand. Is that a different test?… and more importantly, is the one Chris suggests a more accurate way of testing?

    • Honora says

      I had an iodine challenge a.k.a. urinary iodine loading test. It works like this:

      In more recent times a “24-hour iodine/iodide load test” has become a useful analysis for practitioners. A specified oral dose of iodine/iodide is given and urine is collected for the subsequent twenty-four hours. The Doctor’s Data, Inc. “load” report format leads the industry by permitting the practitioner to obtain individualized results based upon any oral dosage deemed appropriate for a given patient. The test is based on the concept that the body has specific and saturable mechanisms to take up iodine/iodide. When maximal retention is attained, the percentage of an iodine/iodide load that is retained decreases and the percentage urinary excretion increases. The percentage excretion is calculated by dividing the patient’s mg/24-hour iodine results by the oral iodine/iodide dosage (mg) provided on the requisition form by the practitioner, then multiplied by 100. The iodine excretion value represents iodine plus iodide oxidized to iodine. The load test requires a complete twenty-four hour urine collection.

      I think my result was about 25mg indicating a severe iodine deficiency. Going on iodine at a small dose of 6mg every 2 days caused my thyroid antibodies to rise. I’ve taken a bottle of selenium tablets over a month and will see if the antibodies drop. So far, not really. I’m monitoring the antibodies monthly.

      • DavidM says

        Thanks Honora,
        That’s a good excerpt from Doctor’s Data. It doesn’t tell me if the traditional test, that doesn’t do the iodine loading before hand, is as accurate nor if it will give me the information that Chris is talking about. I’m guessing that the loading test is better but I need to know why before I ask my doctor is she’s willing to request it instead of the traditional test.

        Do you know? Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  87. Honora says

    cheers, DavidM

    This is what our laboratory website says about the non-loading 24 hr urine collection for iodine levels:

    Iodine concentration is a marker of recent intake and does not necessarily confirm insufficiency. So I guess the challenge would be the one to do. Makes sense to me.

  88. Greg says

    http://www.cheeseslave.com/cherry-angiomas-iodine-and-bromide-detox/

    What are people’s thoughts with Bromide. I think when I started Iodine supp 135microgram a day I started getting more of these. The body ridding itself of increased Bromide. Has Bromide got a role in Hashi?

    I think at Stop the thyroid Madness the reason Iodine doesn’t work by itself is because your suppossed to take selenium at the same time… http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/selenium/

  89. Gabriella says

    Dr. Kresser,
    I am 54 y/o young –active/athletic–have had increasing debilitating fatigue, weight gain, vision changes, tremors/tingling/swelling feet and hands, excessive hair loss, bad neck pain, etc. for several years and think I’ve touched bottom line. Recent tests have shown High TSH, High Cortisol, 3 Thyroid Nodules, Vitamin D deficiency and 398 blood level Iodine (normal range 52-109). One endocrinologist told me “all older women have this and there’s nothing wrong with me”. Another Internal Med Doctor who is also in Alternative Med/Interest in Vitamins started me in Armour Thyroid immediately–at least I feel she listens and is genuinely concerned. But what does this High Blood Iodine could mean??
    I had started taking Iodoral and after these results I stopped and I am taking Armour Thyroid, Vitamin B-100, Vitamin D and Bio Id Hormones.
    What could be the cause of High Iodine? Is it pointing to a root problem that has not been diagnosed?
    Thank you for any direction you can give.
    G

    • jennie says

      I am not a doctor and in no way am an expert, but …. It seems to me that if you are not able to take iodine into your cells…..let’s say you have a bunch of bromide that is hogging up the space where iodine is supposed to go….what is it going to do? It is going to hang out in your blood and not get used. It is very important to rid your body of this bromide or whatever it is that is blocking your pathway to your thyroid. These pathways are so important and a reason many of us struggle even on high doses of thyroid meds. My doctor has me on NAC, you can google it and see if it is something you might like to try or something like it. Also, selenium in the form of L-selenomethionine is absolutely important for your body. I take the maximum dose 400mcg a day, this helps me in so many ways. Most people start at 100 mcg and adjust that up to 200 mcg a day, I have hashi’s and need the extra, not everybody does. Keep in mind that selenium helps convert T4 to T3 and that could make you need less thyroid meds, it did for me.

  90. N says

    Hello Chris-

    I have had thyroid cancer and subsequent thyroidectomy. I was treated with low dose RAI.

    Would there be any benefits for me to take iodine supplements? Should I avoid iodine rich items?

    I presently take a high does of artificial T4 to keep me hyperthyroid, ie suppressing the thyroid cells.

    Thank you,

    Nancy

  91. Tracy Winslow says

    Hi,
    I have Hashimotos and my doc put me on Iodine. I was worried because it took me 22 years to finally get my thyroid on the right track and lose the 30 pounds I gained in one month during the beginning of the struggle- I was worried this would flip something. And it has. I’ve been following Weight Watchers, exercising over an hour a day and still gaining weight at close to a pound every two days. Did a little research and it looks like this might be connected. So I’m taking a break from the iodine and seeing what happens. Hopefully that will be the ticket. I wish people would see the Hashimoto plus iodine issues. Thank you for your info.

  92. Lael says

    I cringe whenever I hear of anyone being put solely on iodine without the extra nutritional co-factors needed for the iodine to effectively do its job in the body. These include taking adequate amounts of selenium and some may even need salt loading to counteract the detoxifying effects of the iodine. On the other hand, some Hashimotos patients don’t at all do well on it. We are all individual.

  93. anje5 says

    Can anyone please help me.

    I always used iodized salt and ate sea food without any problems , but I was planning a pregnancy so I brought a prenatal supplement with 150mcg iodine and 500mcg folic acid, After few days with the supplement I had increased heart rate and other symptoms, I stopped supplement and iodized salt and the problem fixed, after a few weeks if I try using iodized salt the same symptoms are coming back.

    I want to travel overseas and they don’t have anything but iodised salt there. I am also 10 weeks pregnant and this is worrying me a lot. Should I avoid iodine all my life because I’m getting hyper symptoms.

    • jennie says

      Anje5, You must give your body selenium for quite a while before starting iodine. This prepares the body for the iodine. Without it you will have the problems you speak of. I would definitely find a good doctor in your area that understands health, not just medicine. I have a functional medicine doctor who is also an OB/GYN. I find this is a good fit for me. Someone once told my Mom she was allergic to iodine, so we had no iodine in our home …..ever. By having a deficiency to iodine, it led me to many other problems. I now have hashimotos and struggle to stay well.
      I needed iodine, your baby needs it…. you need it. You just have to make sure you are doing it correctly, make sure you are taking a good clean supplement of L-selenomethionine for a while before adding iodine to your routine. Also, make sure you chose a good grade iodine, look for a reputable company that uses good processes for their supplements. This you should do for every supplement you take, pregnant or not. Good luck with your baby.

  94. says

    Hi Chris,

    This is a really compelling article – I love how you’ve emphasized the importance of concurrent vitamin D and selenium with iodine supplementation.

    I agree with you 100%. As a naturopath, I see on a daily basis that Iodine is so important, yet does carry significant risk if use is not monitored properly and if patients are not risked out for use. There are MANY times that I’ve seen patients come in with elevated TSH numbers as a result of using Iodine, perhaps most often in those with Hashimoto’s disease. As you’ve mentioned Chris, those with Hashi’s do need to be cautious as a general rule. And in some cases, a Hashi’s patient may actually be iodine deficient and require iodine.

    In patients with goitre or who are iodine deficient, the proliferation of thyrocytes can cause hyperthyroidism to occur on beginning iodine supplementation. This effect is sometimes hard to avoid…however it managed properly, correcting iodine deficiency can provide great benefits to the patient. The patients I always look at as being much more risky are those who are iodine deficient, and who have pre-existing cardiovascular disease or angina. In these patients, a transient hyperthyroid state can be truly dangerous…and so much caution is warranted with supplementation.

    We are currently using dried urine iodine testing in the clinic. It closely approximates the 24 hour urine iodine collection and is a lot simpler!

    if you have a moment, I hope you might want to read my evidence -based blog post on iodine and hypothyroid/hashimoto’s in relation to fertility and pregnancy, which is my clinical focus. Iodine is a crucial nutrient (that must be administered with care, knowledge and caution)for all of human life, and most especially in the time of reproduction.

    http://www.whitelotusclinic.ca/blog/dr-fiona-nd/iodine-and-hashimotos-fertility/

    warmest regards,

    Dr. Fiona McCulloch ND

    • says

      Good day Mam. I am a nutrition and dietetics student. I would like to ask what will be the cost and benefits if a high dosage of iodine is consumed as well as a low iodine is consumed. And what are the specific dosage of high and low iodine. Thank you mam and hoping for your reply :)

  95. Greta says

    I have been diagnosed with hashimotos. I was wondering if getting hyponatremia from drinking too much water before during and after the London marathon could have led to the autoimmune response? That was in 2003 and was my first marathon. I have only done one other marathon in 2010 and it was after this that I was diagnosed with H after feeling very lethargic. Do you think long distance running or running general is still a suitable form of exercise for me or could it be putting too much pressure on my adrenal system and thyroid? I generally feel ok and am on 100mg of levothyroxine. I enjoy running but am not sure if it is doing me any good.I’m interested in your thoughts or anyone else’s. thanks

  96. says

    Good day Sir. I am a nutrition and dietetics student. I would like to ask what will be the cost and benefits if a high dosage of iodine is consumed as well as a low iodine is consumed. And what are the specific dosage of high and low iodine. Thank Sir and hoping for your reply :)

  97. Susan says

    My question is this.. I no longer have a thyroid.. I take synthroid daily.. but my worry is if the SHTF and I couldn’t get medicine what could I take to replace it?? It seems that my 80 yearl old mother took iodine to treat her’s after her’s was removed, that was before Synthroid..I want to be able to treat myself if I cannot get my med if we have a economic shutdown or a depression hits us! Thank You!

  98. Scott says

    Hi everyone. Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for offering such great feedback on a very difficult topic. I apologize if this has been posted in the past, and I missed it, but has anyone read this article (or the studies referenced in it) on the need for iodine and selenium to be taken at the same time or have any comments on it?

    http://perfecthealthdiet.com/category/nutrients/iodine-and-selenium/

    And secondly, it appears that Hashimoto’s is predominantly found in women. Could it be that estrogen dominance or a failure to detoxify estrogen properly is contributing to the problem?

    http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2012/3/12/hashimotos-disease-excess-estrogen-in-disguise.html

    Chris talks about both of these phenomena, but it seems like the “iodine vs. no iodine” debate gets a lot of the attention.

    Thanks again for any insights!

  99. Lorelai says

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23521369/

    I wanted to drop this pubmed article here for information’s sake.

    Undue industry influences that distort healthcare research, strategy, expenditure and practice: a review.

    AuthorsStamatakis E,et al. Show allJournal
    Eur J Clin Invest. 2013 May;43(5):469-75. doi: 10.1111/eci.12074. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

    Affiliation
    Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK. e.stamatakis@ucl.ac.uk

    Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Expenditure on industry products (mostly drugs and devices) has spiraled over the last 15 years and accounts for substantial part of healthcare expenditure. The enormous financial interests involved in the development and marketing of drugs and devices may have given excessive power to these industries to influence medical research, policy, and practice.

    MATERIAL AND METHODS: Review of the literature and analysis of the multiple pathways through which the industry has directly or indirectly infiltrated the broader healthcare systems. We present the analysis of the industry influences at the following levels: (i) evidence base production, (ii) evidence synthesis, (iii) understanding of safety and harms issues, (iv) cost-effectiveness evaluation, (v) clinical practice guidelines formation, (vi) healthcare professional education, (vii) healthcare practice, (viii) healthcare consumer’s decisions.

    RESULTS: We located abundance of consistent evidence demonstrating that the industry has created means to intervene in all steps of the processes that determine healthcare research, strategy, expenditure, practice and education. As a result of these interferences, the benefits of drugs and other products are often exaggerated and their potential harms are downplayed, and clinical guidelines, medical practice, and healthcare expenditure decisions are biased.

    CONCLUSION: To serve its interests, the industry masterfully influences evidence base production, evidence synthesis, understanding of harms issues, cost-effectiveness evaluations, clinical practice guidelines and healthcare professional education and also exerts direct influences on professional decisions and health consumers. There is an urgent need for regulation and other action towards redefining the mission of medicine towards a more objective and patient-, population- and society-benefit direction that is free from conflict of interests.

    © 2013 Stichting European Society for Clinical Investigation Journal Foundation. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    PMID 23521369 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    Full text: Blackwell Publishing
    Related CitationsShow all
    Guidelines, editors, pharma and the biological paradigm shift.
    Health is wealth: considerations to european healthcare.
    How to develop cost-conscious guidelines.
    Methods of consumer involvement in developing healthcare policy and research, clinical practice guidelines and patient information material.
    The medical expenditure panel survey: a national information resource to support healthcare cost research and inform policy and practice.

  100. Traci says

    I’ve read that Hashimoto’s doesn’t always show up on blood tests. My results were negative, but no cause has been found since I was first diagnosed almost 18 years ago. I tried taking iodide recently, just 12.5mgs/day, and I started to have negative symptoms show up in skin and hair. Any advice?

  101. What About Iodine? says

    Its amazing how the importance of iodine has been so quieted. Iodine is found in every cell in your body and is very critical to a healthy thyroid. With the thyroid problems increasing, especially in woman, one would think that the studies on iodine would be the focus. Like the studies that prove that every person with a thyroid disease or disorder has an iodine deficiency!

    According to the World Health Organization’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, iodine deficiency is a public health problem in 54 countries. The CDC states that iodine deficiency is one of the four major deficiency diseases in the world and the easiest to correct. Yet information about the importance of iodine has yet to hit the mainstream media!

    http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/?a_aid=528d5efe5749d

  102. joyce says

    I start to wonder if taking Iodine as I do, about 10-12mg per day, is the right thing to do…I deal with Hashi and had numbers as high as 841 over the years, but recent labs showed 84. So this is good in the whole scheme of where I’ve been……I take 120mg Armour daily, take selenium daily, Vit D3 and K2 and Vit C.

    And feel I’m ok….when I skip Iodine and I’ve done that but no more, I get breast pain and tenderness….

    Iodine has to go to so many places in our body. A friend just told me “our” integrative MD told her to get off Iodine she’s been taking for a couple of years on my suggestion. I think she is wrong to go off the Iodine and she is a pretty strict vegan to boot.

  103. Tracy says

    There are a lot of tecnical questions being asked, that quite frankly as a lay person I have no idea what they mean. I would like to ask some simple down to earth questions…. I am a 43 year old female, I have been on levothyroxine since shortly after the birth of my first son 21 years ago. Never experienced any problems, have had occational adjustments in dosages, no big deal, felt great.
    For approx the past year I have been feeling awful. My thyroid labs were reviewed and my dose is up now to 225mcg. Still feeling awful, fatigue insomnia, SEVERE muscle aching, hair loss, intolerant to heat and cold, ect…all the wonderful symptoms that accompany hypothyroid patients.
    However, my family physican is now leaning towards fibromyalgia and treating me for such. My confusion lies in the symptoms overlap and being so simular.
    225mcg is a large dose, could my body possibly not be converting T4 into T3?
    Recently i have added an iodine supplement (recieved from global health) to my plant based multivitamin (which contains plenty of the reccomended selenium) I have never seen an endocrinologist in my 21 years of treatment, never had an ultrasound (even though my mother had a goiter removed) and to my knowledge Im not aware if my T3 levels have ever been tested.
    I guess…..I really just want to stop recieving the run around, and to be treated for the CORRECT condition and most of all to FEEL BETTER! Can you help me..Specialy pysicians are hard to find in my area, I live in rural nebraska.

    • Lael says

      There is a consensus in our international thyroid group that when our T3 is low, we tend to get fibromyalgia type symptoms. Many have gotten relief simply by raising their T3 levels. There can be a number of reasons why T3 levels drop, even for those who have had success taking T4 only medication for some time. The iodine could be a factor, or that your body is stressed in some new way and much of your T4 is actually being converted into Reverse T3. Low iron storage levels also cause this as well as sub-optimal liver health. I would suggest experimenting with dropping out the iodine and if that doesn’t help, get your free T4, free T3, Reverse T3 levels checked. There is a helpful math equation to work out the ratio between Reverse T3 and Free T3 since raw lab numbers tell very little. This can be found online via Google. I’d also test full iron panel to see what is going on there. For me my thyroid was affected also by hormones as I started into Peri-menopause, so recent changes could be related to other hormones too.

  104. Bradley says

    I’m still confused as to whether Iodine can help treat hyperthyroidism. (graves disease) . There is much confusion between Hyperthyroidism( over active thyroid) and hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) believe me the treatments are completely opposite. Just ask my wife who was given the a hormone replacement drug instead of a hormone inhibitor drug. Neo-Mercazole. It nearly cost her her life.

  105. Iwuz119 says

    Sorry. Date correction. (Dec. 24, 13 – not 2014)

    In Nov 2013 I started Lugols 2% 1 drop orally on and off. About every other day. Sometimes I’d just use a couple drops topically instead. — I had been having some seperate issues unrelated prior to starting Lugols, so I went to the doctor for bloodwork for that issue on Nov 21st. — I was shocked when he said I was hypoT. #633.

    He gave he 50mcg Synthroid, which I didn’t take because I felt it was the iodine that induced this, and not a true reading. So, I thought maybe it was just going to take some time for my body to adapt to the iodine. I continued as I had been taking the Lugols for several more weeks until I noticed I started GAINING weight. So, I decided to stop the iodine completely (Dec 24, 13), and let it get out of my system and then get retested.

    A couple days later I started itching ALL over my body – detox/die off? Iono. So I pressed on to get the iodine out of my system. I had headaches, and even some deep chest pains on right side of my chest. Well finally after 11 days w/ no iodine (I read that it takes about 10 days to get this completely out of the system), I went back for bloodwork (Jan. 3, 14). When my doctor retested me, OMG. My TSH was now higher 668! (Of course he increased Synthroid to 75mcg)

    Ok, I don’t get this, I was taking low dose iodine and TSH was 633, I quit completely for 11 days and it’s 668? So, what’s going on?

    Well, now I’m back trying to take the iodine. 3 drops topically. The itching stopped immediately. So did the chest pain and headache. But, I’ve gained weight and even at LOW calories intake of 1100-1200. I’m just stuck here weight wise. If I eat normally, I gain. Plus I’m COLD all the time. Low temps of 95.5-96.8 is average. What do you suspect is going on with me? Any thoughts at all? Should I begin the Synthroid? Press on with the iodine? Thanks for your time. Blessings.

  106. joy says

    Personally, I would NOT take SynCrap for all the money in china…..I’ve been taking Armour since 2002 after a 10 yr depression struggle where I thought all along I had a sluggish thyroid….

    I take Iosol drops daily and when I have slacked off, I would get breast pain and tenderness…

    Can you get to an Integrative MD and get on the right track?

  107. Anne says

    Chris,
    Thanks so much for your help!
    Here’s my problem: I was diagnosed hypothyroid and my doctor recommended iodine supplementation. I started last week at one drop per day in water, of Iosol. By day 4 or 5 (which was my last day on the stuff!) I felt so dizzy and started having a really strong pulse. A couple of days later, panic, “clicking” in my ear, and heart palpitations. I still get the heart palpitations, and it has been six days off of the Iosol! Can you please tell me if these symptoms can truly be related to too much iodine? I realize that I may not have even been deficient and wonder if, even in just 4 or 5 drops of Iosol, I overdosed? Can you also tell me when symptoms may end? Magnesium seems to help the heart palpitations but should I also take selenium? I’d appreciate any advice you have, and I thank you!

  108. zoepelle says

    Dr. Kessler,
    Thank you for giving your input on this obviously controversial topic. I have Hashi’s and continually have positive results from treatment (Synthroid, Levo, Armour, etc…) followed by declining mood, health, etc… So I knwo my immune dysfunction is probably severe. Here’s my question(s)
    1. I considered that I might be hyper sensitive to iodine, and that I might be better if I tried to remove it from my diet (dairy, kale, iodized salt, processed foods) My diet is actually quite ‘healthy’ – mostly organic, not a lot of sugar, etc… If I did that, would I be at risk to develop goiter?
    2. Would a better solution be adding Selenium to counteract dietary iodine?
    3. What are the drawbacks to taking a Selenium supplement?

    Thanks!

  109. Christine says

    Dr. Kresser:
    Thank you for most informative article, wish I would have seen it when you first wrote it! In 2010 my GP put me on Synthroid, .5 and after 3 months with no relief from symptoms, put me on .88. I asked for Armour Thyroid because I had seen Stop the Thyroid Madness. Doc flat out refused. Went to a Univ. of Texas Endocrinologist and she refused, too. She referred me back to MD Anderson as I had had a skin cancer tumor removed (Dec. 2010) and have intestinal metaplasia in my stomach which can lead to stomach cancer. I went to an alternative doc in Katy, Texas for a LOT of money and prescribed his own version of Armour for me. Didn’t notice a lot of relief. Finally found a doc on my insurance then that would prescribe Armour. Did it for 8 weeks and then asked to switch to Naturethroid .65 mg twice a day. Then in November, Doc said my numbers weren’t low enough so he recommended two pills in the morning and one in the afternoon. I backed it down to 1.5 since my heart rate was staying elevated. I had tried Kelp Iodine last year but then stopped when I heard that it can be a problem for Hashi patients. I think my adrenals are taxed, too. They Katy doc had me on cortisol for six months and I loved the way I felt energized on it but didn’t want to stay on it indefinitely. It sounds like you are not completely endorsing Iodine supplementation? I want to try it if it is beneficial for me. Can you give me some direction on Iodine recommendations and adrenal testing? Thank you and God bless you!

  110. cools says

    Excess iodine intake can cause an autoimmune thyroiditis that bears all the characteristics of Hashimoto’s. However, in animal studies this occurs only if selenium is deficient or in excess. Similarly, in animal studies very high iodine intake can exacerbate a pre-existing autoimmune thyroiditis, but only if selenium is deficient or in excess.

    With optimal selenium status, thyroid follicles are healthy, goiter is eliminated, and autoimmune markers like Th1/Th2 ratio and CD4+/CD8+ ratio are normalized over a wide range of iodine intake. It seems that optimizing selenium intake provides powerful protection against autoimmune thyroid disease, and provides tolerance of a wide range of iodine intakes.

    In the next post in this series (Iodine and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Part 2, May 26, 2011), we’ll transition from animals to humans. Does epidemiological evidence suggest that these animal findings are transferable to humans?

    http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/05/iodine-and-hashimotos-thyroiditis-part-i/

  111. Lael says

    Many panic when TSH rises as iodine consumption is commenced. This isn’t always a negative phenomenon. According to Dr. David Brownstein, this takes place as the body starts to produce more sodium-iodide symporter molecules (NIS). This is the body producing more of these molecules to enable more efficient transport of iodine into cells. NIS is stimulated by TSH so figures that if the body is in the process of moving more iodine into the cells, it will release more TSH in order to stimulate NIS. Dr. Brownstein points out that this is usually the case when iodine is commenced and Free T3 and Free T4 are in normal or optimal ranges.

  112. Tara says

    I have hashimoto’s (TPO/AB of 106, and TSH in the normal range, with T3 on the low end of normal and a T4 on the higher side of normal… but all normal). My doctor suggested I try a supplement called Thyroid Now, which has iodine in it (225 mcg). Should I take it? I am also on Selenomethionine (200 mg). I have been off of gluten since October and on an AIP Paleo diet for the past three weeks, which seems to have calmed my system down a lot.

  113. Tasha Mccurdy says

    I have hypothyroidism and believe that I am also sensitive to iodine. The first reason I believe that I am sensitive to iodine is that on a hiking trip I drank water containing iodine tablets and I was more swollen and sluggish than ever. Recently I ran out of my synthroid for almost 2 wks so I decided I would get an iodine supplement in the mean time. Which I was suppost to take 4 drops. I took two. I started feeling more sluggish. A couple days later I was put back on my medication. I took that 125 mcg of synthroid and one drop iodine, I became swollen mostly my face hands feet and legs, very cranky,confused feeling. Basically I feel better off my meds. What options do I have to treat my hypothyroidism? If anything? And how do I start this conversation w my Dr.?

  114. says

    I have just found out that I have Hashimoto’s Disease and am looking for as much info as I can. I knew that iodine was involved and not get what it all means – thank you.

  115. joy says

    Many report that taking Anatabloc for chronic inflammation have knocked their Hashi out…..

    I have a posting above on what I have done for Hashi and was taking Abloc from Jan-April 2013 and this too probably was part of knocking out Hashi, at least getting it down to 84 which is a low for me. I’m off Abloc now, but many report on this supp and TPO levels being dramatically reduced…..

  116. says

    Dear Dr Chris,

    I am one of the patients on the Dr Brownstein protocol and I have gone up from 12.5 mg of Iodoral to between 45-60 mg now and I think I am one of those minority patients that you mention who simply cant tolerate iodine even with selenium.

    I have been on the protocol for 5 months now and despite a clean diet and so on I have felt unwell the whole time to the point where sometimes I need to spend a day or two in bed. My glands are up and I feel like I am fighting something even with protocols to cleanse my system.

    I took the Iodine to battle chronic fatigue and massive systemic candida. Now I am scared to go off the protocol, despite feeling bad, as when I take two days off to detox, by the third day I am bed ridden with exhaustion – I cannot seem to suddenly drop the iodine and I am scared that I am trapped taking something that makes me worse! my hair is thinning and I am having crazy hormonal reactions and depression too.

    Please Dr Chris could you let me know what you do with your patients who cannot tolerate the Iodine protocol?

    thanks so much!
    Naomi

    • Mark says

      I’m not Chris, but it sounds to me that perhaps your immune system is starting to work properly — that is, if you feel like you’re ‘fighting something’. Usually with ME/CFS we’re extremely disabled from viruses, bacteria, fungi, chemicals, etc., but our immune systems aren’t able to ‘fight’ and clear these infections…

  117. Lael says

    I want to add a ‘good news’ story and it is that I was taking 1-2 drops Lugol’s for months and didn’t feel much from it. a health practitioner suggested I experiment with more, using the ‘taste test’. I did and worked up to taking 5 drops and with each raise to one more drop, I began to feel better and better. Six drops and the taste became objectionable, but the 5 drops sure do the trick giving me more energy, brain clarity. I’ll also add that I’m taking selenium and a salt/potassium drink daily, the salt which assists the iodine in heavy metal removal.

  118. Hope Lucero says

    Hello! There are so many comments I admit I did not read through them all, so perhaps my question has already been answered but I will ask:

    I was diagnosed as hypothyroid during my pregnancy 2 years ago (I had not been to a physician in almost 10 yrs prior, so who knows when it began). I have actually always been VERY thin my entire life, so the HYPO was a shock to me and myu doctors. I never thought I felt low-energy or tired–it came out of nowhere. My TSH was at a 7.0 however, adn without meds, that is where it ends up.

    I began taking Armour once I found a doctor to precscribe (natural seems a better route). I am on 45 mg/day.

    I recently bought some Iodine/Kelp drops (one drop = 100% DV). I read iodine rich foods help, so i bought the supplement. I take it daily at work. I noticed for the first week or so my stomach would hurt after drinking (like a shooting pressure pain) It’s not nearly so bad now. I never consulted my physician, just did on my own accord to try and help my thyroid from being aggravated. Should I take Selenium too? Or is the intake of iodine not ok??? Thanks so much!!!!

    • Hope Lucero says

      PS. If anything symptomwise: I have noticed mood changes/depression symptoms and have always suffered with adult acne. At first attributed to post-partum hormones, but now attribute to the thyroid. It has been awhile since I went “KOOKY” but it happens (also hard to draw the line between just being a woman! But I was NEVER like that before! Poor hubby!)

    • joy says

      We’re all so unique, and it’s taken me many years to get where I am at 75 started on this issue in my early 50′s and didn’t get help for 10 long miserable years…..bad doc…..I knew nothing.

      I stayed at 90mg Armour for 5 yrs and then moved myself slowly to 120mg where I’ve been for a few years….I learned to do my own up dosing, breaking off a piece of 60mg tab and upping every couple weeks or so… I was on a great thyroid support board too, whch i now closed. And a cooperative integrative MD who let me do my own updosing….

      I take probably 10-12mg of Iosol daily, which is 6-7 drops or so in water….clean water…no tap water.

      Selenium is a good antioxidant and I was takig 200-400mcg daily, now I’m dropping down to 200mcg daily…

      Hashi numbers have dropped a lot for me.. Brazil nuts are high in selenium….you can eat a few of those per day.

      So, it takes work and a cooperative doc, I’m not one who wanted to be at the doc all the time to get my dose changed….testing every time, etc…..

      This is how I’ve been able to work with my old thyroid gland…..when I don’t take Iodine, I will get breast pains…..

  119. Danika says

    Hi Dr Chris,
    My daughter was born with no thyroid and I’ve read that the thyroid gland is formed when a fetus is only 3 weeks old. Before falling pregnant I was taking Iodine supplement because I had been tested and found deficient. I knew there was a link with iodine and the thyroid so I wondered if you thought there was any chance the extra iodine I was taking could have been excessive for our baby in utero and caused her congenital hypothyroidism? It doesn’t matter either way as we have a beautiful baby girl but I would love to know if there was a link.

    Thanks!

  120. Mina says

    hi, I’ve been diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis in June 2013 ( I had my baby in late January) at first I had dropped weight and was tired, had diarrhea and a heart rate of 120 ,my Dr put me on a 20 mg beta-blocker 3/ day….months have past and my blood test are each time slightly better but still in April 2014 I am still in the hyperthyroid phase, my heart rate is around 70 now , my weight is stabilized I even put on some pounds, …so I started taking selenium 200 and a tablet of kelp 325 a day ,2 months ago .the kelp has helped my energy levels but other then that , is it normal that it last so long 11 months and counting ? I am desperate to go back to normal .any advise? Please help

  121. says

    47 year old female, with Hashi. TPO in 200′s. Low end for T3. Mid for T4. TSH 1.2 or less. Thyroid Storm that nearly took my life 7 years ago. Have read all the books mentioned here. Took iodine loading test- was at 90% (how is THAT possible? I live in Michigan).
    Current Protocol (established by me and not a doctor since no one would treat me at the time, tho just recently found endo willing to try to work with me):
    6.25-12.5 mg Iodoral
    Magnesium
    Selenium (brewer’s yeast- good or bad?)
    Zinc
    B2
    B3
    Multi vit
    Omega 3
    Calcium citrate
    Pharmacy mix of Progesterone for estrogen dominance
    D3 (2000-4000IU)
    Alfalfa (to help with chronic inflammation)
    Probiotics to help heal gut
    Gluten free for 4 months
    Dairy free for 6 months

    1/4 grain of Armour (only on it for 6 weeks)

    This will be a long process to see if improvements in overall health and symptoms are gained by the above protocol. Anyone have any comments? Thank you, Lauren

  122. Max says

    Dr. Kresser:

    I recently took a 24 hour iodine loading test (Hakala Labs) and the results showed that I was iodine deficient (I excreted only 61% of the dose). I also excreted 3.15 mg of bromide, in which the lab technician commented that any amount above zero is of concern.

    I want to start taking iodine but am cautious to take more than 6.25 – 12.5 mgs. If I do this, how much selenium would you recommend that I take (along with the iodine). I understand that these two supplements should be taken together, etc. Am I correct in thinking that supplemental iodine can act as a chelating agent for bromide and fluoride? By the way – I do have Hashimoto’s.

    I appreciate your consideration,

    Max

  123. Karen stroud says

    I have had my thyroid remove 15 years ago. They had never been able to get any of my levels straight . What are they doing wrong and what questions should I be asking. My body swings both ways and it is so hard for my family to understand what I am going though. Help!,

  124. Pete says

    I am currently suffering a bout of thyroiditis, no signs of antibodies so the endocrinologist thinks it is because I was taking iodine supplements for 3.5 years. Was up to 18.75 mg of iodine via Iodoral for about the last year and a half. Started very low and worked my way up very gradually. Felt that 18.75 was good for me, could tell it was too much if I took 25 or more. I am conflicted whether to believe it was indeed the iodine or other causes. Had a VERY stressful two weeks before it hit, not sleeping normal hours, not sleeping much at all. Then ate wheat and dairy the day before and day of the hyperthyroid’s first sign, which was a heart rate of over 135. Tried to use herbs (motherwort and bugleweed) rather than drugs but was back in the ER with a heart rate of over 190 and fibrillating all over the place. Now taking some beta blockers hoping, waiting for it to resolve. It’s been over a month. I am tempted to try using a VERY small amt of iodine for a couple of days and then lithium but not the huge doses recommended by the holistic doctor who uses 900 mg a day. Mainly just waiting it out but am quite dizzy a lot of the time lately, tired, and my muscles are catabolizing away. Any suggestions?! Thank you.

  125. Kristi says

    Dr Kresser,
    I just had a serum iodine test done and my reading came back at 398mcg. What would be your suggestion on what to do next?
    Thank You,

  126. Elena says

    Dr. Kressler and other respondents: very interesting message board. And always learn something from everyone’s experience.

    I’m not qualified to speak on anything but I do want to add. It’s real important to address thyroid issues with a Dr.’s oversight. I was diagnosed with Hashi’s in 1978. Ignored the significance of it. Just didn’t understand. Consequently I spent my youth very very tired. In 1996 I could hardly make it through a day. Never connected it with Hashi’s. My husband insisted I go in to see what was wrong as I had to sleep all the time. If my memory serves me right, I was tested for thyroid and it came back a score of 18.5. Something like that. They immediately put me on thyroid medication and advised if I failed to take it I could go into a comma they couldn’t bring me out of. I can not tell you the immediate improvement in my whole quality of life.

    What I do want to say is that Dr. Kressler makes a very important point. If you have tried all the right things to correct your thyroid condition its real important to remember that deficiencies in other areas are so important to investigate. The body needs a lot of things we sometimes are deficient in…and for decades. Sometimes deficient since utero. Namely Vitamin D levels. It can cause havoc as I found out. Also B levels, very important. I keep my Vitamin D level at 65 and my B12 as close to 800 as possible and I feel so good now! I think of all the years I just pushed myself to raise a family, never miss work and always running on empty. Don’t just look at thyroid, the body needs a lot of things we don’t get in modern life. I suspect most of us are really low in D levels and B12. I get myself down below the 31st latitude during the winter as often as I can. I think it is essential for good health. That has been my experience. To good health!

  127. Elena says

    PS: I also added 4 grams of krill/purified fish oil. I have also cut way back on vegetable oils and have raw nuts (two brazil nuts a day for selenium; almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds etc.) each day and lots of dark greens. And I try to keep foods basic. Not a lot of packaged chemical filled foods.

  128. Linda rust says

    Hi Chris,
    I’ve had hastimoto since 1998 and I have been taking bio identical thyroid meds for about 3 years and before that armour. Six months ago my blood tests showed that I had a very low iodine reading, along with b12 and deficient selenium levels, b2 and b6. My doctor increased my dosage of tsh, t4 and t3. I took iodine supplement for 3 months a levels were normal at the next test tsh went up from 3.13 to 4.14 and t3 went from 80 to 65. Then 3 months another blood test (I had stopped taking the iodine supplement) and my iodine levels were very low again and my tsh level went down to .34 and t3 51 t4 1.0. I’m taking the iodine supplement ( 12.5 every other day) again along with selenium as recommended. Don’t my levels sound hyper? My doctor has increased my dosage again and I’m worried that I will be hyper. Your thoughts?

  129. Nan says

    I’m looking for a good Dr. who can figure out what iodine suppliment I need. I live in Michigan. Brownstein and his group are not taking new patients. I had an autonimously functioning nodule which made me hyperthyroid. After 10 years I had 1/2 of my thyroid removed and was told I was cured. I am now hypothyroid and cannot find a Dr. in Michigan to work with that knows thyroid issues and iodine supplimentation. Any ideas? I take kelp suppliments but need better direction on using both iodine and iodide.

    • Lauren says

      Hi Nan, I also live in Michigan and have read Dr. B’s books. Based on his guidelines I have started up supplementation and am better for it. I have Hashi’s. Let me know if you would like to discuss further.

    • joy says

      You are going to be hard presssed to find a Iodine knowledeable doc, I even had to give my integrative MD here in So. Cal, Dr. Brownstein’s book.

      Some just can’t or do not want to be bothered….

      Iodine is vital for all our tissues, major for breast tissues too.

      Dr. David Williams in his Alternatives Health newsletter likes Iosol Iodine and that’s what I take now for 3 yrs or so. When I miss Iodine for a whle, I get breast pains.

      I also take 120mg Armour and I’m fine with what I do.

      There is a yahoo iodine group who know it all, and they like Lugols, I don’t for me.

      MOST need iodine supplements. Unless one consumes loads of sea FOODS….

      • joy says

        PS: If you are drinking Michigan water from the tap and bathing in it, you are getting loaded wth fluoride. More damage to thyroid and joints, more reason to be on iodine.

        Better YET, don’t use the water that is fluoridated….Grand Rapids was the first city to get this stuff back in 1948 or so…..

        It’s such a fraud!!! I’ve been in the “Fight” for years….our city got the dirty stuff in 2008. Maddening is what it is.

  130. L Patrick says

    Hi,

    I have had MIRACULOUS results from iodine supplementation!

    So much so that I now sell it at a very low profit to help everyone. Just search nascent iodine on ebay and sort for lowest price, 12.90, shipping, tracking, insurance included. 14 day guarantee

    L Patrick

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