levothyroxine v natural iodine intake

Can somebody please help me..

I have not been taking the Levothyroxine medication for two months now (I heard the two together are not a good mix). I have been wanting to add an iodine rich natural intake if with the right amounts whether in natural supplements or straight from nature - by seaweed / kelp etc. Was wondering is it better than the synthetic kind (Levothyroxine) Heard Levothyroxine helps to absorb the iodine. Though prefer not to take any synthetic drug, of any kind - as most people too would agree. Especially when waiting results of amounts to take and the doctors don't give me any response back to me.

Can anyone throw any science biased towards why the natural way is the best way and what kind of iodine food is the best kind. Many thanks, Dave

43 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Welcome to the forum, Kodas.

    Iodine supplementation is a contentious issue. While it may be beneficial in patients tested iodine deficient, too much can trigger autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's), and any amount may trigger flare ups in Hashimoto's patients. Iodine has also been used to lower thyroid hormone in hyperthyroid patients. If you enter "Iodine" into Search HealthUnlocked top right of page you'll find over 2,000 posts on the subject.

    Levothyroxine plus diet should provide hypothyroid patients the iodine they require. Google "iodine rich food".

    I've never seen it suggested that iodine can replace Levothyroxine. If you aren't keen on synthetic thyroid replacement like Levothyroxine, consider switching to natural dessicated thyroid (NDT) derived from pig thyroid. Brands are Armour, NatureThroid, WP, Erfa, Thyroid-S and Thiroyd. NDT is unlicensed for UK use so is rarely available on NHS and most people using it buy on-line and self medicate.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

  • Hi there Clutter, how was your week!

    Well I decided to go for a natural supplement, from Holland and Barrett.

    Your going to love the back, what it reads when I got the bottle home:

    Kelp is one of the best natural sources of the mineral iodine. Iodine contributes to normal thyroid function; and the production of thyroid hormones. Iodine supports normal energy yielding metabolism.

    Sounds exactly what I am looking for right!

  • Kodas, it may or may not be suitable for euthyroid patients. Many doctors and nutritionists think the iodine content in kelp may be too much. Hypothyroid patients should use iodine with caution.

  • HI clutter,

    I was on levothyroxine, I have not been taking it for 2 months now so there I no clash with the iodine supplements - kelp

    Thanks

  • Dave, I'm not sure you understand what Levo is. It's not synthetic iodine supplementation - and it's not a drug - it's thyroid hormone - what we call T4.

    One molecule of T4 contains 4 iodine atoms. When the T4 is converted to T3 (or rT3) one atom of iodine is removed - this is the normal process, whether the T4 is made by your thyroid or if you take it orally - and is recycled to make more thyroid hormone.

    You are prescribed T4 because your gland - for whatever reason - cannot make enough on its own hormone to keep you healthy. So, you have to take some form of thyroid hormone replacement : T4 (Levo), T3 or NDT. Because without enough thyroid hormone, all sorts of things will go wrong in your body - you cannot live without it.

    It's true that we need iodine to make thyroid hormone, but that is only part of the story. Iodine cannot replace thyroid hormone. And, because your gland is Under-productive, for some reason, you need less iodine that somone with a fully working gland. And, therefore, the recycled iodine from thyroid hormone replacement is likely to be more than enough for your needs.

    Supplementing with iodine will not force your gland to make more hormone, but could mess up the whole proceedure and leave you worse off than you were before. Which is why we say that If you are hypo then you shouldn't supplement with iodine.

    It's also true that some people are hypo because they lack iodine. But the solution is not as simple as just taking iodine supplementation. You need a doctor that is well versed in supplementing iodine, or you could do more harm than good.

    Take care. :)

  • Hi Greygoose,

    I decided to go for a natural supplement, from Holland and Barrett.

    Your going to love the back, what it reads when I got the bottle home:

    "Kelp is one of the best natural sources of the mineral iodine. Iodine contributes to normal thyroid function; and the production of thyroid hormones. Iodine supports normal energy yielding metabolism."

    Sounds exactly what I am looking for right!

    I was on levothyroxine, I have not been taking it for 2 months now so there I no clash with the iodine supplements - kelp

  • Yes, of course iodine contributes to 'normal thyroid function'. Problem is, none of us here have 'normal thyroid function'. And excess iodine can do more harm than good. Nowhere does it say that iodine can restore 'normal thyroid function' if your gland is compromised in some way.

    It doesn't directly interact with Levo - whoever said that got the wrong end of the stick. The point is that if you're taking Levo, you're already getting iodine, so if you supplement with more iodine, you risk getting too much.

    Iodine is supposed to be a micronutrient, so you really Don't need buckets of it. More isn't always better. And if your gland is failing due to Hashi's, it's not going to help - it can't repair the damage done by the antibodies. And if it's not due to Hashi's, excess iodine can cause you to develope Hashi's.

  • Hi there Grey goose

    As I mentioned I am not taking Levo so I am not getting too much Iodine, so I guess I am not taking excess Iodine.

  • That doesn't necessarily follow. You might be supplementing too much. Did you get tested before starting it to see if you actually needed it?

    Iodine is recycled in the body, that's why we Don't need a high daily intake. It's not used up like magnesium or something. I read somewhere that we only need a teaspoon of iodine in our whole lives. I think that might be a bit of an Under-estimate. But we certainly Don't need bucket-loads of iodine.

    But, tell me, what exactly do you think the iodine is going to do for you?

  • Hi lady goose

    Two things: to support my Thyroid

    To loose weight

    Lastly if we don't need it, iodine - why is the nutritionist at H&B saying take all three tablets (3 suggested) in the morning. Why are there supplements in the first place.

    PS how will I get my tests, how I will trust here scientifically (although the gesture is more than heartfelt from you) to get the right information to decipher what's right for me.

    Thanks again for the hard line facts x

  • Last question first : why are there iodine suppléments? Because some people do need them. But that does not mean that everyone needs them.

    Second to last : A) I wouldn't trust any nutritionist further than I could throw them - and especially not if they worked for H&B who put soy oïl in their capsules! B) I Don't trust H&B to give reliable advice, they're there to make money, they're not a charitable institution.

    How do you get tested for iodine? The best test is a urine test, but you won't get that on the NHS - it would have to be private.

    How do you know who to trust? Well, normally, I would say try it and see - but I wouldn't say that with iodine!

    I think you just need to be a lot better informed. I think at the moment, you are just reading the pro arguement and dismissing the anti. You've been sucked in by the hype and are not thinking logically. I think you also need to know a lot more about how the thyroid works before you go playing around with your replacement.

    OK, so, you expect iodine to 'to support my Thyroid, To loose weight'. What exactly do you mean by 'support'? That is the most important question you could ask yourself. What is support? Well, it's not iodine. Iodine stimulates the thyroid gland, it doesn't support it.

    I explained about the weight-loss. It is only a temporary effect. Iodine of and by itself does not make you lose weight. On the other hand, it might make you go more hypo, and then you would be putting on weight, not losing it.

    Think very carefully before you jump into this, because it could be irreversable. :)

  • Hi greygoose

    here are the test results I ask reception today over the phone, although she managed to get the bad info out of me - I am not taking Levothyroxine for two months - and I am now taking kelp as a replacement - health benefit for which I am going to get a phone call today no doubt from a GP there lol.

    Here are my results if it helps!..please

    T4 Level 24 TMOL

    She said over the phone the Range is normally 10-22 so I am slightly over (24) the tablets.

    I was taking is 200 micro grams

    I am not sure if its connected but I do feel the cold more - maybe because its winter.....

  • HI greygoose,

    Sorry bit more clarity on my end.

    The results: T4 - Level 24 TMOL

    The Range is normally 10-22 so I am slightly over (24)

    The tablets I was taking is 2x 100 micro- grams.

    Thankyou, Dave

  • OK, so that is a bit over-range... BUT that doesn't really tell us if you're over-replaced, because T4 is the storage hormone, and has to be converted into the active T3.

    The odds are that you are a bad converter, and that's why you're still ill. But you won't know that until you get your FT3 tested.

    However, the morons in the NHS think that T3 is 'irrelevant' or 'unnecessary', and Don't test it, leaving an awful lot of people like you, still sick and seeking answers.

    My advice to you would be to get a private test done with both FT4 and FT3, so that we can see the whole story.

  • "You've been sucked in by the hype and are not thinking logically"

    Must admit this has happened to me on occasions....

  • Happens to all of us, one way or another. But as long as we do our research, we soon get over it. :)

  • That is a big guess. First rule of iodine, don't guess.

    You appear to like the word "natural". You appear to like the product claims.

    But if your thyroid cannot produce the required amount of thyroid hormone due to something other than iodine deficiency, things like Iodine contributes to normal thyroid function; and the production of thyroid hormones. are misleading.

  • Dear helvella

    of course I like the back of the label it massages my comfort spots - what else could contribute as you said suggest : due to something other than iodine deficiency

  • I don't know why I am hypothyroid!

    I'd be a lot happier if you had been tested and been shown to be low in iodine.

  • Hi helvella

    Here are my results if it helps...

    T4 Level 24 TMOL

    The receptionist said over the phone - reading the results. The Range is normally 10-22 so I am slightly over (24) the tablets.

    I was taking is 200 micro grams

    I am not sure if its connected but I do feel the cold more - maybe because its winter.....

  • The Range is normally 10-22 so I am slightly over (24)

    The tablets I was taking is 2x 100 micro- grams

  • I really don't care whether my medicine is called "synthetic" or "natural" - or anything else. I care whether it works for me.

  • Hi kodas, as others explained.....your thyroid USES iodine to make T4 (thyroid hormone) so only if you don't have enough iodine support, it won't help to take extra. Something may be interfering with the process and often it is something like this:

  • Taking levo for about 7 years now but doing blood tests and not getting answers from doctors If my amounts are ok for me or not. I thought I would try not taking it For about 2 months now. I don't want to any drugs all my life. So I thought I would try a healthier option and not take any and seek a more natural option - iodine from nature etc. I seem to be ok so far well see. What's your views. ..

  • Dave, do you have any idea what is going wrong with your thyroid output? The video I posted is a functional medicine doctor. In the 24 videos he points out individual reasons for a problem, by far Hashimoto's people have antibodies against some part of the gland. Basically autoimmune issues are due to the immune system finding foreign particles in the blood stream and are attracted to the thyroid gland in their circumstance. It starts in the gut where most of the immune cells reside. You can check dysbiosis or leaky gut to understand.

    Most doctors don't attempt to cure this. What kind are you seeing?

    Here is one who does if you can find some support.

  • Hi Dave

    Although I'm not answering your question, please take care with iodine, it can make us worse. Do hope you've read up on it, both sides of the arguments.

  • Taking it for about 7 years and doing blood tests and not getting answers from doctors If my amounts are ok for me or not. I thought I would try not taking it For about 2 months now. I don't want to take drugs _synthetics all my life. So I thought I would try a healthier option and not take any and seek a more natural option iodine from nature etc. I seem to be ok so well see. What's your views. ..

  • Hi Kodas

    If you are asking me kodas, since reading more about it and discovering that in the long-term it can make thyroid problems worse, I will not take it again. it's one of those things that seems to do silent harm and can be too late when discovered - but if you've been taking it for 7 years maybe it suits you?

  • Hi there thyr01d

    Well the initial thread which I didn't post properly I guess I was going to take a sea kelp supplement but the eccentric Holland and Barret guy goes whoa the only thing contradicts with and natural medication is thyroxin, (not sure if its levothyroxine...no was he) now this guy didn't know me at all, but I was hitting two birds with one stone, I don't burn fats very fast and this kelp eats fat for a living and as you know its full of iodine. Now I heard that our thyroid gland needs iodine to survive as it is made of iodine, but the thyroxine doesn't like it. So I said I haven't been taking thyroxine for 2 months now..so he was stumped and said I am not sure what to do. I am nearly all sure....to take the sea kelp! But interestingly one guy above on this thread said levothyroxine is an actual hormone...how can a powdery tablet be a hormone....

    Please bounce from my debate, and or pass it on to a trusty source for me and send me a reply, One love, Dave

  • Hi there well I was going to take a sea kelp supplement but the eccentric Holland and Barret guy goes whoa the only thing contradicts with and natural medication is thyroxin, (not sure if its levothyroxine...no was he) now this guy didn't know me at all, but I was hitting two birds with one stone, I don't burn fats very fast and this kelp eats fat for a living and as you know its full of iodine. Now I heard that our thyroid gland needs iodine to survive as it is made of iodine, but the thyroxine doesn't like it. So I said I haven't been taking thyroxine for 2 months now..so he was stumped and said I am not sure what to do. I am nearly all sure....to take the sea kelp! But interestingly one guy above on this thread said levothyroxine is an actual hormone...how can a powdery tablet be a hormone....

    Please bounce from my debate, and or pass it on to a trusty source for me and send me a reply, One love, Dave

  • Goodness! Talk about the deaf leading the blind! Neither of you really knew what you were talking about.

    Levothyroxine - L-Thyroxine - Thyroxine - all the same thing (never mind the prefix - levo - L - it's complicated). It is thyroid hormone, usually called T4 because it has four iodine atoms - as I said before.

    But I have to ask you... You say how can a blue powder be a hormone - well, what did you expect a hormone to look like? :) It can be in powder form or it can be in liquid form, but it's still a hormone. Not a drug.

    When the man in B&H told you not to take iodine with thyroxine, what he meant was - although he probably didn't know it - that if you take thyroxine, you're already taking iodine, and too much iodine is bad. That's why you shouldn't take it with thyroxine, not because there's some terrible reaction between the two.

    Also, although he probably didn't know this, either, taking iodine when you are hypo can lead to further complications.

    I explain all this above - I think I may be the 'guy' you're referring to - but I'm a goose, not a gander - but I think you largely chose to ignore it.

    If you've been on Thyroxine for 7 years, and feel no better, and not getting any answers from your doctors, I think it's time you asked for all your blood test results - with the ranges - for as far back as possible, to see what's been tested, and what the results were in figures. Not just your doctor saying 'it's fine', because doctors rarely know what they're talking about, when it comes to thyroid, either.

    Get your results, post them on here, and we will be able to tell you whether you are on the right dose or not. Although, it sounds to me that your dose is too low and/or you aren't converting that thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3) - which is the active hormone, needed by every single cell in your body, and which they Don't appear to be getting at the moment.

    As to iodine 'eating' fat... do you know why? Because, if you take iodine, it stimulates your gland to make more hormone, and it's that hormone that makes you lose weight (which probably isn't even fat, anyway). But that effect won't last forever. Eventually, you will crash. And you will crash hard.

    So, let's have a look at those blood tests, shall we? And find out what's really going on. :)

  • hi greygoose

    forgot to answer this part

    I didn't feel any better nor worse off on levothyroxine it but I wasn't getting any response from doctors and didn't want to take it.

    By the way the range before - blood test was in the typical 22 range (17 etc) and this one as you know was 24 so his answer (last night, doctors) was that its equivocal to the testing.

    When you said T3 testing too I mentioned it to him last night he said lets do all 3 (also mentioned TSH..) and if by not taking the medicine you don't need them then great you don't need them.

    I just passed the message to the pre-scriptionist as I am not taking it is it ok to the so do the 3 type test while on kelp lets see what happens from the phone call.

  • So, you weren't getting any answers from the doctors, so you decided to cut your nose off to spite your face? But what was the question? What answers were you hoping to get from the doctors? What exactly is it that you want? You really Don't explain very well.

    There is no typical range. Every lab has its own range depending on the machine they use. And you have to interpret your results with the range used by the lab that did the testing. Otherwise, results are unintelligible.

    So, you doctor is going to ask for TSH, FT4 and FT3. That's good. Let's hope the lab agrees to do them! Because it's the labs that rule in the UK, not the doctors.

    Absolutely no reason not to do the tests when you are taking kelp. I shall be interested to see the results! :)

  • Hi grey goose

    The interesting part is. ..when I asked of I can stay on then while doing the test, his answer was. ...are you going to stay on them for life. ..I said you know I only asked if I could take them while doing the 3 tests he said ....yes

    Quite spooky wouldn't you say ....why I must stay in them for life. ..

  • Quite spooky wouldn't you say ....why I must stay on them for life. ..

  • He didn't say you must, he asked if you were planning to.

    And from that I would conclude that he has no idea what he's talking about - like most people, when it comes to thyroid.

  • Sorry Dave but I can't contribute anything valuable, very pleased though to hear you find sea kelp helps.

    One love indeed!

  • No, thyr01d, he's not saying sea kelp helps, he's saying that he's been taking Levo for 7 years, and it's not helping, and he can't get any sense out of his doctors. Usually, story! So, he's decided to take a 'natural option', and it seems we cannot persuade him that iodine isn't an option to Levo, it's an entirely different thing. And that rather than risking his health taking something like iodine, he'd be better off posting his labs here for people to help him understand them and advise the next step - which in no way should be iodine. :)

  • Oh heck, thanks Greygoose for putting me right, I obviously didn't read the post carefully enough.

    I share your views on iodine but it's all so tricky because so many informed-looking articles state huge benefits.

    One of my daughters' is an equine vet and she was commenting on what a lot of misinformation is given out as facts on a large site she looks at, giving people completely incorrect advice for their horses, often actually harmful (especially around hooves and teeth). I asked why she didn't post a correction and apparently, if as a vet she posts anything related to veterinary medicine she has to attach references to the original research, and of course it would take hours to find the original research for information she learned years ago and now as an Advanced Practitioner just carries in her head.

    I wondered if we are in the same position, that any doctors who do know for sure about the health issues we try to work out for ourselves might be obliged to do the same, in which case I don't suppose many will come on here.

    Nice, as always, to 'chat' with you.

  • I Don't know about that. But I think it's a shame your daughter isn't allowed to set people straight.

    I think there are doctors on here, and they sometimes make replies, but I've never seen one give any references. But then, I Don't think they know much about all this, anyway. Otherwise, we wouldn't be in this situation, would we! lol

  • Ok, let me make a confession. About 3 months ago I started taking Norwegian sea kelp tablets, and might even have reduced my levo from 75 to 50mg for a while. I ended up with anxiety and wasn't in a great place. Not sure if the kelp was responsible, or if it was less levo (was trying other things as well), but lthe esson for me is to be very careful with any self medication. Thorough research and trying things gradually might be the best course of action...

  • Greygoose - I concur with your explanation, but the 'hypothyroidees' on here do not seem to grasp the biology of it all. They need to visit their doctor - you have advised all you can. Kudos for trying.

  • I wanted to take levythyroxine with kelp after all my concerns doctor says it's fine kudos this response to grey goose and you won't get what you'll expecting about waiting for doctors advice

You may also like...