To take or not to take...iodine?: I know this is... - Thyroid UK

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To take or not to take...iodine?

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I know this is a controversial subject, but would like to know if anyone with Hashimoto´s has taken iodine and noticed any benefits?

The doctor who prescribed Erfa for me also prescribed Lugol´s iodine solution (12%). I have chosen not to take it as I have read so many times that it should be avoided in people with hypothyroidism. Many claim that supplementary iodine can be harmful to hypos. Many supplements also contain a lot more than the daily recommended intake so you would basically be flooding your system with iodine.

But I just read about Dr. Myhill´s upcoming book (to be published in December), and she claims that most people in Western countries suffer from iodine deficiency as our soils are iodine-depleted.

She and some other doctors also claim that iodine is needed for other things than the thyroid; for instance, that it protects against breast cancer.

I don´t use table salt, only Celtic sea salt, so don´t know if supplementing iodine would be a good idea? My latest lab results showed midrange iodine levels.

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13 Replies
Jazzw profile image
Jazzw

You might find a search on this topic brings up some interesting replies.

healthunlocked.com/search/p...

Personally, I’d never advocate that someone should supplement with iodine, particularly if tests have shown you don’t have a deficiency.

There’s iodine in thyroid hormone replacements anyway—both T4 and T3 contain atoms of iodine.

in reply to Jazzw

Thank you. Yes, that is what I have always read as well - you should not take iodine unless deficient. As far as I know, Hashimoto´s is not caused by iodine deficiency anyway so not sure why it should be taken in my case. Also, i think the recommended daily intake is 150 micrograms of iodine (+/- 3 tea spoons of salt) so not sure why anyone would take 10-20 times that much which is what many supplements contain. Even if I don´t eat table salt, I eat a lot of shellfish so I imagine I would be getting enough iodine through the food I eat. And I have not read anywhere that iodine levels should be at the top of range or you need to supplement it.

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator

Mirabelle70

My latest lab results showed midrange iodine levels.

Just to let you know my experience.

A good few years ago I consulted a "hormone specialist", prior to the consultation I had a raft of tests done in readiness, one of which was a urine iodine test. This test came back with exactly mid-range level of 150 (100-199).

The practioner recommended a multi supplement which contained 150mcg iodine (which is the RDA of iodine). I queried this, saying as my iodine level wasn't low was it a good idea, she said I should take it.

I retested about 3 months later and my iodine level had shot up to 250 (100-199). I stopped the supplement and not long after ditched the practioner.

If your test shows mid-range iodine level then that's a pretty good place to be, it suggests that you are getting enough iodine from diet so I would be asking your practioner why he is suggesting that you take Lugol's which is very likely going to raise your level above range.

in reply to SeasideSusie

Thank you! Yes, that is what I have been asking myself as well! Some doctors seem to think that iodine has magic properties and that more is always better. My doctor gave me an article by a US doctor called David Brownstein who recommends high doses of iodine for thyroid patients. But I have read enough warnings about iodine to be very wary of it.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to

That's very true about the 'magical properties'! lol Yes, they do seem to think that.

greygoose profile image
greygoose

People are always claiming that iodine is needed for other things than thyroid hormone production without ever giving any proof. And, the symptoms they list could very well be the symptoms of low thyroid hormones. And, if you are low on iodine, you will be low on thyroid hormones. So, is it really the iodine the body needs, or the thyroid hormones that are made out of it? Ask that of an iodine-advocat and they will get blustery and confused.

Also, if you are hypo and on thyroid hormone replacement, not only are you getting iodine from your thyroid hormone replacement - 68 mcg iodine from 100 mcg T4 - but you actually need less iodine because your thyroid is not making thyroid hormone any more. So, I really cannot see how taking excess iodine would help anything.

On a personal level, I was prescribed iodine by an awful, ignorant doctor in my thirties, and it made everything worse - certainly no benefits! I was already displaying numerous hypo symptoms - which is why I went to the doctor in the first place - but he did no tests, didn't examin me in anyway, and didn't even ask me any questions! He was too busy chatting to my ex-husband about how neurotic I was and having a good laugh - one of the reasons he's now my ex! But, I digress... So, no, I wouldn't recommend anyone take iodine.

And, what's more, when my iodine was finally tested - although only a blood test - some thirty years later, after having been on thyroid hormone replacement for about 13 years, it was sky-high! Well over the top of the range. Iodine is recycled in the body, which is why we only need so little on a daily basis. Excess is said to be excreted, but after that blood test, I have my doubt!

in reply to greygoose

Thank you, yes, that is what I suspected! It´s really complicated when you need to be your own doctor and second-guess your official doctor every step of the way.

This doctor also told me that it´s good to have slightly excess levels of all fat soluble vitamins - A, D, E and K - so recommended supplementing them (vit A in the form of cod liver oil). Now, all four are slightly out of range. However, I recently read that excess vit A and E can cause cancer, so will now stop the cod liver oil and lower vit D+E+K so that levels drop in range. I don´t like the idea of them building up over time.

Your former GP really sounds like an idiot! However, I am not surprised. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto´s, I was told by my GP at the time that being hypo has nothing to do with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and that the only way to end up with high BP and high cholesterol is to eat too much salt and fat respectively...! So, when you find a more clued-up doctor, it´s easy to trust them unconditionally, and that is also dangerous because they can advocate too much of a good thing...!

I will stay as far away from iodine supplements as possible!!!

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to

That GP was an absolutely horrible man! But, I was new in the area and my neighbour recommended him! Lord knows why.

Yes, you're right about trusting doctors that seem more clued up. That happened to me, too. And, that's why I had the iodine test. When I first saw him, he was anti-iodine. Then, suddenly, he wanted me to take it, and claimed he had 'cured' several Hashi's patients with iodine. At first I refused, then compromised, saying if he could prove I needed it, I'd take it (knowing secretly that I wouldn't! lol). So, he ordered the blood test. Just goes to show, no-one is 100% proof from 'magical' thinking. :)

in reply to greygoose

If Hashimoto´s was caused by iodine deficiency, that would make sense, but as far as I know the thyroid tissue is destroyed by autoimmune attacks so not sure what good iodine would do...I am so glad I had enough sense not to take it!

There are some doctors in the US who claim that Hashimoto´s can be reversed, using everything from iodine to selenium and anti-inflammatory supplements to "calm down" the immune system, but I think the problem is that once we are diagnosed, too much thyroid tissue has been destroyed and the body is no longer able to produce adequate amounts of hormones on its own. And, once the hormone-producing tissue is gone, I am not sure how it could be restored by using supplements. It seems to be a multi-billion$ business where many patients end up both poorer and often worse off. Some of these doctors also sell their own supplements which seems less common in Europe (probably not allowed in many countries).

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to

Not only can Hashi's not be cured by iodine, excess iodine can cause Hashi's. I really don't think you can have it both ways!

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator

here’s research that indicates increasing iodine in population increases numbers who go on to develop hypothyroidism

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/216...

Jazzw profile image
Jazzw

Oh… Was it something we said? 🤷🏽‍♀️

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator

This member has left the forum which is why their user name is now showing as HIDDEN. I will turn off replies so that no time is wasted replying when the member is no longer around.

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