Adventures with iodine

This is my first post but have been following for a while. I had half my thyroid removed 8 years ago, been on 100 mg levothryoid for 6 years and had to give up work 3 years ago due to ill health. Last year my digestive system seemed to give up and I was relying on fasting and copious amounts of senna pod tea to get things moving and the expensive cold lazer treatment on my horrible fungal toenails failed. No help from my GP of course.  So I started trying to investigate and found this forum and discovered low temperature/basel metabolic rate seemed to be the cause. Iodine was prescribed on several websites viewed so I decided to give it a go. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Interestingly my temperature went up from mid 34s to 35.9, the water retention disappeared and my digestive system, well, oh the bliss of regular movements! On the down side I noticed my skin was a lot dryer. I am now taking only half a tablet every other day because I started to get itchy skin and unfortunately the slow digestion and water retention has returned. I assume the rise in temperature and speedy digestion is just the body's reaction to something it doesn't like. So, like everyone on here I will have to wait until our national treasure of a health service gets round to acknowledging that our symptoms are due to an ineffective synthetic drug.

9 Replies

  • Lucycatlover,

    Welcome to our forum and sorry to hear of your health issues.

    In the UK we are rarely deficient in iodine and too much can alter thyroid function. 

    Unless you have been tested as iodine deficient it is not a good idea to supplement as the amount we need is minute and already incorporated in the Levothyroxine you are medicating

    Our bodies contain several milligrams of iodide (the ionic form of iodine) and much of this is concentrated in the thyroid gland. This is combined with tyrosine (amino acid) to produce T4 having four molecules and one being removed for T3. The other is recycled by the body and used to make further hormones. The thyroid gland then stores T3//T4 until their release is triggered by TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) secreted by your pituitary gland. 

    Increasing iodine when it is not deficient can increase thyroid function either encouraging hyperthyroidism or unbalance the levels of components required in the above thyroid hormone synthesis.

    There is also a school of thought that excess iodine can encourage a Hashimotos attack by increasing thyroid antibody levels and if supplementing then a selenium supplement should be taken as well.

    Your symptoms could be attributed to low thyroid hormone in which case a dose increase may bring about wellbeing. If you post any recent test results complete with ranges (numbers in brackets) members will comment.


  • One molecule of T4 contains four atoms of iodine, not molécules. :)

  • Oops gg, yes you are right. 

  • There's certainly a lot of conflicting opinions about iodine use on the Internet. Dr Sarah Myhill recommends it. I don't feel it has negatively affected my thyroid function, on the contrary, but I also cut out grains at the same time so perhaps the lack of stodgy food in my diet is making me feel better. My doctor only does the TSH which was 0.38 Mu/L (0.35-5.00) last time. It's useless talking to him, he just glazes over. I sometimes wonder whether the levothryoxine is doing anything at all! One thing is sure though without the multi B vitamins and 5000 mcg B12 I would cease to exist.

  • lcl, Yes supplements are mega important as low thyroid hormone encourages low stomach acid and so less ability to absorb. 

    Does Dr Myhill advocate supplementing iodine when you are already medicating thyroid hormone ? 

    My understanding was one or the other unless tested deficient and treated by a practitioner. 

  • Thank you for coming back again, sorry about delay in responding.  I had to go back to Sarah Myhill's website and found the following:

    "It is likely that anyone with hypothyroidism, especially when it is not due to autoimmunity, will be iodine deficient. Because iodine is so necessary in tissues other than the thyroid (eg breast, bone marrow, immune system, brain), the iodine levels should be tested by a urine test.

    Symptoms of iodine deficiency also include high cholesterol, hypochlorhydria (see Heartburn - at last I have sussed out why this is such a common problem!) and inability to sweat. The tongue is often enlarged, and when protruded, fills the entire space between the corners of the lips."

    I didn't get tested, of course! But do have high cholesterol and lack of sweating. Thank you for all your input which I am bearing in mind.

  • It always seems a difficult call.

    Are high cholesterol, hyochlorhydria, inability to sweat and enlarged tongue symptoms of inadequate iodine? Or of hypothyroidism? Some time ago I posted an article that suggested it is actually high TSH which changes the cholesterol production by the liver.

  • Ahhh.... interesting Lcl.

    Assuming you don't have thyroid antibodies, let's hope you have found your answer. Keep us posted as your experience may help others.

    Remember high cholesterol & low stomach acid can be down to low thyroid hormone through under medication of replacement as well as an iodine deficiency but good luck. I wish you well. 

  • I have had my whole thyroid removed, and didn't start improving till I self medicated with NDT. I feel transformed on it, and although I am not up to full dosage yet I'm really hopeful I might get close to my functioning before the op and go back to work. 

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