Iodine Supplementation

I know that this topic has come up often but I still see no definitive answers on the specific question of supplementing with iodine whilst taking NDT, Iodine insufficiency presents very similar symptoms to hypothyroid. Just a few weeks ago I started on WP NDT, i'm up to 2 x 0.5 grain/day and not noticed any effects as yet and intend to gradually increase dosage according to guidelines given on this site and on STTM.

My labs done in Feb '16 were (i) TSH = 3.5 (ii) : FREE T3 = 4.1 pmol/L (3.9 - 6.7)


FREE T4 = 13.4 pmol/L (12 - 22)

(iv) TPA = 4

I am aware that iodine can cause problems if you have Hashis but my TPA is very low so no problem there and many well known medics eg Dr. Brownstein have spoken extensively about iodine supplementing.

My specific questions are;

1) Has anyone else tried this ? Please give detailed feedback

2) How much gap to leave between taking NDT (i'm doing morning and early afternoon) and (Lugols) iodine if at all ? I want to split dose the iodine too for better effect so it would be a lot easier if I didn't have to leave a gap as I don't want to be taking the iodine late in the day.

Thank you.

35 Replies

  • Why not test to see whether you are deficient in iodine before considering supplementing? Easily done with a urine test through Genova which will show your current level.

    There is also the iodine loading test but there is some question over whether that test is really accurate - see > ZRTLab-Jan2015-PDF If that doesn't work Google Flaws In The Urine Iodine Loading Test. This link also mentions it

  • If you are taking any kind of hormonal treatment (T4, T4/T3 combination, T3 only or NDT) and you haven't any natural thyroid function left working, then taking iodine as well is a waste of time, because it can't be converted into useful hormone. On the other hand, if you are Hashimoto's and still have working thyroid left, then iodine can be dangerous and can lead to violent upsurges and fluctuations in output. Iodine should only be taken (if necessary) under expert guidance and after first finding out if you are deficient.

  • Thanks Diogenes.

    Have I understood correctly RedApple's reply that you are Dr. John Midgley ?

    Either way, could you please clarify a couple of points for me ?

    (i) re: "If you are taking any kind of hormonal treatment (T4, T4/T3 combination, T3 only or NDT) and you haven't any natural thyroid function left working, then taking iodine as well is a waste of time, because it can't be converted into useful hormone." Do my labs suggest that I have no natural function left ?

    (ii) re: Hashi's - thats a good point but my labs and my endo has confirmed I definitely haven't got it.

    (iii) Neither my GP, endo or anybody else seems to have any idea of iodine supplementation but stuff I have read about Dr. Guy Abraham suggests that a steady approach to iodine loading could be beneficial and that doses given in the past were a great deal higher than present day and rarely caused serious problems. When problems were apparent, they were easily spotted via symptoms and easily corrected by reducing dosage, and generally could have been avoided in the first place by adopting a steady approach.

  • I'd say you had little active thyroid left, and what is there may being suppressed by therapy. Iodine is tricky - if you take too much there can be unpleasant results. What I wouldn't want is that people take these things only to pee them out unused. That's a waste of money of no benefit.

  • Diogenes - what makes you say I have little active thyroid left ?

  • Because of the amount of hormone you have to take to feel well, and yet your TSH is still on the high side. Indicating you might need even more to get an adequate FT3. This suggests not much thyroid activity per se.

  • That is really interesting. I read earlier today about US products intended to improve thyroid function as well as T4 to T3 conversion, and they all seem to contain iodine...

  • Iodine itself (for example Lugol's solution) actually inhibits thyroid hormone conversion in the thyroid so that less T3 is made there from T4 and more has then to come from body conversion elsewhere. If your body cannot make up the T3 shortfall, then this has unwelcome consequences.

  • Hi, I have Hashimoto's and I take NDT and iodine daily. I leave one hour after taking my NDT before taking my iodine. I don't split either into smaller doses throughout the day.

    I took 12.5mg of iodine for a year and then reduced once sufficient. My dose is now 3mg. I think size might come into that, since it's suggested that daily dosage once sufficient falls into the range of 3mg to 12.5mg, and I'm quite small.

    It's important to follow the recommended protocols, such as laid out in detail at:

    I've found that my temperature is closer to normal since taking iodine and I've certainly been feeling well. Don't forget the many non-thyroid benefits. I haven't had a cold or any kind of infection since I started taking it and then it's supposed to help greatly with breast health too. I also give iodine a huge part of the credit for destroying my husband's pancreatic cancer.

    There seem to be two camps on iodine; those who find it wonderfully beneficial and those who won't go near it. Remember that much of the research discrediting iodine failed to account for selenium levels. Look up the research by the late Dr Guy Abraham. In the end you're going to have to read as much as you can and then make your own mind up.

  • btw LuckyKat, do you know of any other timing guidelines eg should be taken before/after food etc ?

  • Sorry, I don't know of anything, just keeping it early in the day to avoid sleep problems.

  • There is a considerable volume of information about the combination of iodine and selenium as constituents of diet (food, water, etc.). In particular the British Geological Society did a pretty substantial amount of research in China - where iodine and selenium levels form an intricate patchwork over huge areas.

    Even there, nothing is simple. Sometimes the levels of iodine in surface soils and water are the inverse of what is found just a little deeper. The ability of crops to absorb iodine and selenium varies.

    Further, many seem to miss the fact that clouds often contain significant quantities of iodine. (Some theories seem to suggest that the very basics of cloud formation depend on iodine and iodine compounds.) So rainwater often delivers more iodine than many would have expected.

  • Thanks LuckyKat, that's most helpful.

    I have looked at, its a very good site and Dr. Guy Abraham's info was most useful. There definitely are two camps on the iodine-thyroid issue and my personal view after reading a lot about it is a steady approach, keeping a close watch on symptoms is the way forward.

    I'm very pleased to hear about your husband's recovery, I wish him continued good health.

  • What are the symptoms of over-dosing on iodine?

  • I'd first get the 24 hr urine test to see are you getting enough iodine. From zrt which I use it covers selenium, bromine, arsenic and now mercury too. Gives you pretty good picture what's going on.

    That is not a loading test , just detects the amount of iodine in your urine showing iodine consumption over past few days.

    I am one of those who can't tolerate much iodine.

  • Rainbow100, please don't dismiss the information given to you in this thread by member Diogenes. He is Dr John Midgley, co-author of many very important thyroid related papers, and advisor to Thyroid UK

    (see here and a list of research papers is here, although it may not be completely up to date with the most recent ones )

    What Diogenes has said may not be the information you wanted to hear, but it is likely to be much more truthful than much you read elsewhere.

  • Izabella Wentz recommends discusses this in the Healing Hashimoto's Summit interview so well worth watching. Generally as iodine can trigger/worsen Hashimoto's it's important to get correct amount, she recommends 100mcg with 200mcg of selenium. If you are taking thyroid hormones this will include some iodine as will diet.

  • A lot of what you've read about the iodine protocol is propaganda. If you look at how iodine really works in the body, what they recommend makes no sense. Our bodies need microgram amounts, not milligram amounts. A milligram is 1000 times more than a microgram. The high doses have made innocent people sick. Consider WHEN the protocol became popular. What product did they recommend? Iodoral? Guess who makes money off of that product? Abraham. If you're interested in reading more about iodine, there's a comprehensive chapter in the Tired Thyroid book that is absolutely eye-opening. Did you know that high doses of iodine can make you hypothyroid? Funny they don't tell you that.

  • HIFL - re: i) "If you look at how iodine really works in the body, what they recommend makes no sense" and (ii) "Our bodies need microgram amounts, not milligram amounts"

    Could you elaborate on those points please ?

  • (ii) is easy to confirm--just google "iodine Recommended Daily Allowance"

    (i) This is explained in the Tired Thyroid book chapter, with references. I am going to just paraphrase what I read. When you exceed microgram doses of iodine, you can shut down your own thyroid gland. This is called the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. If you have any nodules (you may not know you have nodules), excess iodine can send you into a hyperthyroid state. The body compensates for unnecessarily high doses of iodine by flushing it out of the body through body fluids: urine, sweat, saliva, runny nose, etc. So you buy extra iodine to take, and your body flushes it away. Absorption in the stomach also decreases so your body isn't exposed to toxic amounts. If your body doesn't flush it away efficiently, you may experience iodine toxicity. You will have cold symptoms: a runny nose, coughing, and skin pustules.

  • The Wolff-Chaikoff effect is not proven to be correct. How come the Japanese, who gets huge amounts of iodine in their food don't spoil their thyroids?

    Excessive iodine is flushed out in the urine - how else could you tell from a urine sample how much you use of a dose?

  • And funny that people with a certain heart condition get medication with dayly amounts of iodine that is what you should take in 3-4 years if you followed the guidelines - and only 4-5% of them get thyroid problems - less than in the population as a whole? Some people in Japan get 400 mg (yes, mg!) a day, and they live very long.

    Guess who makes money on medication but not on supplements?

  • It's not hard to get a good amount of iodine from diet. The British Diatetic Association produces a food fact leaflet with the following table. With the recommended daily amount for an adult being 150mcg then a glass of milk and a yogurt is enough, or a portion of fish.


    Cow’s milk - 200ml - 50-100mcg**

    Organic cow’s milk- 200ml - 30-60mcg**

    Yoghurt - 150g - 50-100 mcg**

    Cheese - 40g - 15mcg


    Haddock - 120g - 390mcg

    Cod - 120g - 230mcg

    Plaice - 130g - 30mcg


    Salmon fillet - 100g - 14mcg

    Canned tuna - 100g - 12mcg


    Prawns - 60g - 6mcg

    Scampi - 170g - 160mcg


    Eggs - 1 egg (50g) - 25mcg

    Meat/Poultry - 100g - 10mcg

    Nuts - 25g - 5mcg

    Bread - 1 slice (36g) - 5mcg

    Fruit andVegetables - 1 portion (80g) - 3mcg

    **Depending on the season, higher value in winter

    Information can be found by scrolling down to Nutrients in Food here then clicking on Iodine and a PDF will come up

  • But the recommended dose of 150 mcg is much disputed!

  • Sorry to be thick but I'm just not clear on why iodine was added to salt to avoid thyroid problems but once you have a thyroid problem (I'm guessing just Hashimotos) iodine is not recommended or even dangerous?

  • There are several things to consider here:

    The amount of iodine in iodised salt is calculated to provide a "just enough" level in most people.

    Iodine constitutes about 66% (by weight) of levothyroxine, and slightly less of liothyronine. So someone on, say, a typical full replacement dose of 150 micrograms is getting about 100 micrograms of iodine.

    The amount of iodine that some people claim should be taken isn't the official requirement of 150 to 250 micrograms, but 1,000, 2,000, or even 15,000 or more micrograms.

    Consuming ordinary dietary levels of iodine, such as many of us do, is not the issue. It is when we go in search of high iodine foods, and high doses of iodine supplements (kelp or iodoral or whatever) that we are likely to have problems.

  • But what kind of problems?

    And how?

  • Health Risks from Excessive Iodine

    High intakes of iodine can cause some of the same symptoms as iodine deficiency—including goiter, elevated TSH levels, and hypothyroidism—because excess iodine in susceptible individuals inhibits thyroid hormone synthesis and thereby increases TSH stimulation, which can produce goiter [2,58]. Iodine-induced hyperthyroidism can also result from high iodine intakes, usually when iodine is administered to treat iodine deficiency. Studies have also shown that excessive iodine intakes cause thyroiditis and thyroid papillary cancer [2,58]. Cases of acute iodine poisoning are rare and are usually caused by doses of many grams. Acute poisoning symptoms include burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach; fever; abdominal pain; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; weak pulse; and coma [2].

    Responses to excess iodine and the doses required to cause adverse effects vary [58]. Some people, such as those with autoimmune thyroid disease and iodine deficiency, may experience adverse effects with iodine intakes considered safe for the general population [2,5].

    The FNB has established iodine ULs for food and supplement intakes (Table 3). In most people, iodine intakes from foods and supplements are unlikely to exceed the UL [2]. Long-term intakes above the UL increase the risk of adverse health effects. The ULs do not apply to individuals receiving iodine for medical treatment, but such individuals should be under the care of a physician [2].

  • Thanks - but it looks like there are many ways to look at the topic. Here is one:

    And what about selenium? It looks like it has to be taken together with the iodine, and has that been taken into consideration in studies?

  • Of course there are many ways.

    My way is to suggest that massive doses of iodine, with or without selenium, represent too great a risk for many people, especially those who already have thyroid issues. Certainly, my view is that it would be folly to dive in and start taking high does of iodine without first doing your own review of research, and coming to your own conclusions. And then fully accepting that there is a risk as in every intervention.

  • Thanks for answering.

    Yes, in the end you have to decide for yourself after having dived into as much litterature as possible.

    In my own case it is pretty obvious to myself that my condition can be caused by iodine defiancy in the first place. And not being able to get a treatment that makes your life worth living makes the risk acceptable!

  • Quick update from reading "Why do i still have thyroid symptoms..." by Dr. Datis Karrazhian, he explains how & why Iodine supplementing can be very bad for Hashi's and yet appear to have a beneficial effect (sorry but unable to c&p from a Kindle Reader).

    This guy knows his thyroid like nobody else I have ever come across and most of the testimonials he has received seem to be reports of success stories from other Doctors he has trained !

    Thanks again to everyone else who has contributed to this post.

  • What do people think about the role of iodine deficiency in breast cancer? This is the thing that really frightens me. I don't supplement, but I am vegan, so dietary sources are limited ( although if I found iodised salt I would be fine!). I think I will do that geonava test, as I am quite worried about this. Also, I worry that my vegan children don't get enough iodine, and I think my hashis could have been started by lack of iodine. So much to worry about...

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