Iodine and Selenium

Just a site I found that explains why some people do, and some don't do well supplementing iodine with Hashimoto's.

I wonder how many people who ever had bad reactions to iodine supplementation in the past, ever had their selenium levels checked? I had mine done with Genova, which showed almost undetectable levels. Now I take both, and am doing o.k so far......may it continue! :)

58 Replies

  • Very interesting article. It says that iodine is only used by the thyroid, not anywhere else in the body, which is interesting, because usually iodine advocats insist that every cell in the body needs iodine... but that's another story.

    However, I still don't understand the point of supplimenting iodine - even with selenium - if you aren't iodine deficient. Especially where Hashimoto's is concerned because with that the hypo is caused by damage to the gland, not lack of building blocks. Giving the factory more ingredients isn't going to increase production if half the factory has been destroyed. So I still don't get it.

    Hugs, Grey

  • Hi Grey, yeah I noticed that it said thyroid is the only benefactor from iodine, and I wonder if the notion that every cell uses it, has come to light since the article was written, as it was 14 years ago.

    I wouldn't supplement iodine without being deficient in iodine either, but I think even if the thyroid has already been destroyed, and current facts that every cell uses iodine, then if you are iodine deficient as a whole, then I think supplementing would be a good thing, but also MUST do this with selenium and/or glutathione.


  • buggles, I don't think the notion that every cell uses iodine has come to light in the last 14 years. I think pro-iodine people have been arguing that for much longer. I certainly have been aguing with them for the last 18 years.

    So you were iodine deficient? But presumably also taking levo or some other sort of thyroid hormone replacement? Because helvella makes a good point in his post there. If you are taking thyroid hormone, you are of course taking iodine. And that mounts up when your thyroid no longer works like mine - or even if it only slightly works and can't reuse all that iodine. My iodine levels are through the roof! That really should be taken into consideration before supplimenting, I think.

  • If your thyroid doesn't work, then I can't see much point in taking iodine. But if it can produce thyroglobulin to transport the iodine, then it could be beneficial. The key point i'm really trying to get at, is the selenium deficiency is paramount in all this.

  • Well, I agree with you! lol And I don't take iodine supplements.

    My point was that if you are on thyroid hormone replacment, you are taking iodine anyway because there is iodine in the hormone.

    As you know, T4 contains four iodine molecules. When it is converted into T3, one molecule is released and returns into the blood. If the thyroid is still working a bit, the iodine molecule is returned to the thyroid to make more hormone. If the thyroid isn't working, it just seems to hang around, according to my blood tests.

    My point is, if your thyroid is still working a little , then you get extra iodine for it from taking thyroid hormone, why would you want to take even more? It sounds like gross over-medication.

  • If your taking enough thyroid hormone your TSH will be suppressed. Without TSH, your thyroid doesn't work full stop. When also selenium deficient, deiodinases will not function properly, leading to a happily satisfied pituitary, but inadequate peripheral tissue levels.

  • As I understand, without selenium, your pituitary will not be happily satisfied.

    After all, the pituitary actually uses deiodinase type 2 to convert T4 to T3.


  • Yes Rod, the pituitary does use D2 to convert, but the deiodinases (apart from D3) will not function properly with depleted selenium, and that includes D1.

  • i am adding this as a link to some videos between him and also dr.oz as renowned physicians taking up some of the issues put forth on iodine etc.etc. they give positive feedback on supplementation worth a bit flipping through to get to relevant videos, just need to get passed dr.bob referring to himself in the third person, actually i find it kinda cute--he seems like a helluva nice guy & extremely knowledgeable, hope this link helps a bit..

  • Thyroglobulin does not transport iodine or thyroid hormone.

    Thyroid binding globulin, transthyretin and albumin bind thyroid hormones and serve to transport them in the blood stream. And there are specific thyroid hormone transport mechanisms on cell walls to transport them into the cells.

  • Bear in mind that in every cell in which any thyroid hormone is deiodinated, an atom of iodine is freed for each molecule of thyroid hormone deiodinated.

  • The British Geological Survey were involved in a project that looked at selenium in China. They found a very complex picture including toxic levels and inadequacy within short distances. Unfortunately, I cannot at this moment find the published report.

    The amount of selenium mentioned in the article is more than I would be happy to consume. I prefer to keep my intake nearer the recommended levels - at least on a long-term basis. That is, taking 200 mcg a day for a while doesn't seem much of a problem, but over many months and years, my view is that is too much.

    Very, very little documentation on iodine even considers the situation of people who are taking thyroid hormone, especially at full replacement levels. It is a very important question that is, quite simply, ignored.


  • Hi Rod. I think too much of anything can be toxic, and balance is the key. I mean we're all on this site because somewhere, we all have nutrient and toxic elements out of balance. A study was actually done in 1992 and showed that actual safe doses of daily selenium were in fact 800mcg per. Here's that study you may have been looking for.

    Iodine is very safe when antioxidant levels are in abundance.

    In my case I was severely selenium deficient, so not only did I get Hashimoto's, but even when I did start taking T4 it made me worse because the Deiodinases which regulate thyroid tissue levels in the body don't work without selenium. I wonder how many people on here who don't do well on T4 actually have a severe selenium deficiency, like me due to malabsorption due to low stomach acid.

  • Are you sure you can get Hashimoto's from selenium deficiency? I thought it was genetic...

  • Hashimoto's starts due to low antioxidant Glutathione peroxidase, which involves selenium.

  • I would be interested to know where you got that information? Do you have a link?

  • yeah......the one I posted at the top of the page, and the one I posted a month ago.

  • Well I'm sorry, I've reread your original link and read the one above, but nowhere can I see that it says that Hashi's is caused by selenium deficiency. Maybe I'm just a bit thick, maybe the brain fog is bad today, but I can't see it...

  • Sorry your a bit poorly today.

  • Credible research indicated that selenium reduces the anti-bodies and could prevent Hashimoto's. I was put on 200mcg although my antibodies were borderline according to the lab range. I was explained that ideally they prefer them to be almost none.

  • That was not the study I meant, I am afraid.

  • It's a study nevertheless.

  • The study I was thinking of is this:

    Which points out that there are possibly several factors involved in the impact of selenium resulting in overt selenosis.

  • On the other hand some recent work has suggested a possible increase in diabetes mellitus in men taking 200 micrograms a day.


  • I get your point Rod, that under certain circumstances selenium may not be desirable, but on here we're dealing with Hashimoto's, and it's a know fact that it reduces the damage done by hydrogen peroxide.

  • Are you implying that people with Hashimoto's who take four times as much selenium are at no increased risk of diabetes mellitus?

    Or that the claimed damage reduction is more significant to their health than the risks of inducing diabetes mellitus?

  • Obviously you can only deal with the problem at hand. Most people are on here because they most likely lacked selenium in the first place. Who said anything about taking 4 times as much?

  • You.

    Apparently 800 mcg is safe.

  • Apparently so, even over a lengthy period of years, but they classified 400mcg to make absolute sure. I only take 400 now and am going to reduce to 200. But I would never take anything first without tests showing I needed it, and that's what I've done. It seems many peoples bad experiences with certain meds in question are due to lack of research and testing and diving in at the deep end, but then again maybe such information was not available at the time they tried supplementing. I was lucky enough to afford such an extensive panel of tests, and I feel for the people that can't afford them.

  • Hi Buggles84

    I've had a bad re-action to supplementing iodine(sea kelp 25ug in my case)

    At first the effects were great - I felt like every cell in my body was coming alive. :-) Clearer eye sight-sharper hearing-less brain fog-nails and hair improvement etc etc. but over a several days/weeks I started to feel terrible.

    The lovely feeling of coming back to life turned into every single cell being super-hyper-sensitive. Every single cell gangled with pain. No matter what I did it was like mini fireworks and tiny explosions running through out my body! Eg:- blinking and turning my eyes. Loud noise. Touching anything with the slightest touch. Walking. Even brushing my hair. Every thing was a real pain and it literally got on my nerves. If I turned around or moved my head or eyes even slightly I thought I would fall over (like I had been spinning fast on a waltzer at the fair)!

    Even tho I stopped taking them I can still feel that hyper sensitivity sometimes!

    I would strongly advise against anyone from taking them without being properly tested to see if they are deficient first and even then I would proceed with caution!

    Sorry to put a negative comment but I think people should be warned but I'm so glad it is working for you :-)

    Good luck

    Wendy x

  • Did you ever have your selenium levels tested Wendy? :) x

  • No stupid me ( trying to save money and being un-educated in this mine field of thyroid ism I didn't test for iodine or selenium). Only done the iodine skin patch test after re-action and it confirmed it. Glad you're ok on both :-).

  • Th iodine skin patch test is not a reliable way of testing iodine repletion.

  • iodine WORKS for some and not others it's really that clear cut, if it doesn't work in your own case then perhaps not discouraging others from investigating it's use shouldn't appear here,if it works then one can say in my case it worked for me and if it didn't well just say that, their are many many cases of iodine, selenium,iron supplementation having been found relevant for different types of thyroid abnormalities.As in diabetes what works for you may be different from what works for another diabetic. It is never the supplements fault it is the uninformed user, know your disease type & treat appropriately - ps the orig-poster buggles84 stated it worked for them.. just as they have worked for me and thousands of others-so perhaps in this case one should not visit other peoples factories -just saying

  • Not sure what you are saying, sky, but never mind...

    I think you might have misunderstood intentions here. Nobody is discouraging anybody from trying things that might help them. The problem with iodine is that it can cause more harm than good and people should be warned about that. That's the key word here 'warning', not 'dicouragement'. And, quite apart from that, we do believe in free speech. If one is anti-iodine one should be allowed to discuss it just as much as those that are pro-iodine. Don't you think?

    If it works for you, that is wonderful. But I do wonder what exactly you mean by 'WORKS'. What does/did it do for you? Another problem with iodine I find is that people who are pro will never give practical details. Whereas those that are anti - or just suspicious - will talk about it for hours, arguing rationally and persuasively. Perhaps you could help me understand?

    Hugs, Grey

  • don't think you want to understand firstly & do you speak for the whole group or just yourself.. my comments were totally clear and simple-no further explanation is needed, what works for some or many may not work for others-it is that clear cut, i'm not into taking up your aggressive challenges here when a poster says these supplements work for ( them ) then that should be enough to just be happy for them.. no further replies from me will be forthcoming to you--period- it's about our health & besides we have enough challenges from the medical communities.....

  • OK, fine. I'm sorry if you thought I was aggressive, it wasn't my intention. I can assure you I do want to understand, but as I've said before, it's impossible to get explanations where iodine is concerned. I am happy for people when their supplements work. I said that. Do I speak for the whole group??? Well, I think when I mentioned free speech I might have been, but otherwise, no.

    I wish you continuing health, Grey

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  • :-( Sorry to offend you so much Sky, that you felt the need reply aggressively and with hostility!

    If you read my reply to buggles84 again. I think you will find I have fulfilled every criteria you suggest in my reply to her!

    I'm glad iodine works well for you and so many other people. I only told my experience of taking iodine to highlight my reaction to it and never said it should never be taken. As you say - what works for one doesn't work for all.

  • er ah never responded to you-my remark was addressed to greygoose totally-if you thought differently that is unfortunate but the direction of posts and replies does go back and forth a bit-so easy to get it wrong- i have just read your post and all you did was recount your experience as i and others had, in no way was my comment addressed to your comment-i objected to a remark made without any personal experience behind it. sorry,- i should have addressed to gg and not left it as an open remark... noted and i won't be making that mistake again.

  • I have autoimmune thyroiditis or hashi's. When I saw the Endo he actually checked what supplements I was using and strongly told me not to supplement with iodine.

    Hope this helps.

  • If I listened to my Endo, I would have been dead a couple of years ago. I think by now we have established NHS endo's have not a clue. The pharma companies can't patent a natural supplement like iodine and selenium, so why would they even consider talking about it. It's not the iodine that causes Hashi''s lack of antioxidants in Selenium and Glutathione.

  • Thank you. Regrettably I do not share your view nor do I think it is established that all Endo's employed by the NHS are ignorant. The Endo I saw was very good and I thought he was very knowledgeable. He gave me lots of time, went through all the tests, gave advice, the way ahead, what to do if I was worried etc etc. He referred to a number of studies which indicated that taking iodine as a supplement made the thyroid worse. I have since read a number of studies which indicates this and only read one study which disagreed.He also explained the immune system to me as Hashi's is an autoimmune disease.

    I am sorry you did not have such a good consultation as me.

  • Yeah, we won't agree on NHS endo's.......I've seen 4 on the NHS......all useless. Yes it is an autoimmune disorder, caused from too much hydrogen peroxide and lack of antioxidants, bet they never told you that though. Iodine will make your thyroid condition worse if you lack the antioxidants needed...........Read Dr Brownsteins book, or even the post at the top.

  • Hi Happy Hypo Hashi Heroes!

    (Just trying to cheer you all up, hope you all like it)

    When I found out that I had sub-clinical auto-immune hypothyroidism I asked my mum to get me kelp as iodine is what a healthy thyroid likes. (I'm a Brit living in Abu Dhabi, UAE for 4.5 years). She got it for me then I read on the net Chris Kresser's article so I didn't take it. I've seen quite a few endo's in Abu Dhabi. They're all okayish but specialize in diabetes. Two said to have iodine, the German endo said don't take iodine but do take selenium. Somewhere I read (maybe in the links below) that see kelp has a toxin in it bromine and chlorine. I may have read it's best to get iodine from food (check what sea foods are low in mercury). As I understand it (and there's not a definate answer on this as the experts haven't agreed yet for sure) Hashimoto's is probably genetic, so you can be pre-disposed to having it. THEH stress and environmental conditions can set it off. I'm sure I had it quite mildly for at least 17 years or more but it got worse when I moved to Abu Dhabi (husband's work) I taught young children in an international school there for the first 4 years and got quite stressed so gave up.

    Hope you all find the links useful.

    Love and prayers, Louise xoxoxoxoxoxox

  • Thank you......

  • for reference--just one of many many websites that site pros and cons of treatments for our thyroid also many well published doctors video sites on you tube-in general for overall health dr.oz and dr.bob are invaluable resources to help keep us fit & informed. if we all just re-lied on the NHS we wouldn't get very far-with this particular issue,however each time we glean some knowledge and report to them, we can educate the NHS which i for one would be happy to show them there are newer and better ways to go into our future together- i for one am not for privatising the NHS as the conservatives are so readily willing to do, i really do believe we can educate if we aren't combative and just keep plugging away at them --i send my doc emails all the time with the latest science and he is glad for it- one doc at a time is my motto hey if all else fails, stem cells are just around the corner... link; file:///C:/Users/liz/Downloads/THYROID%20ere/

  • Hi Sky. Couldn't view your link. Could you copy and paste from the actual web page?

    Thanks :)

  • of course dah-- i put from my pc sorry--another senior moment as they say.. here is the link;

  • Thanks

  • Very interesting article Buggles - Thanks.

  • No problem, did you understand the mechanism of how it all works together, and the relationship it has with hashimoto's?

  • Yes - compared to some of the articles in was in 'plainspeak'.

  • Funny that..............someone else couldn't understand it! lol :)

  • finally buggles84 you are getting some support -for your experience and your research --nice to see's a real bit-- when we have to have long combative conversations over what has been our own real experiences and hard research with a member who has none of their own experiences and just wants to argue with counter research-don't see much point in that, sort of counter productive. you have only put out there what has worked for you and the others who share their own histories whether in agreement or not is how we learn, because it is their real experience, and not just a combative argument put forth to stroke someones ego.. p.s. i can personally speak of an endo i saw for my diabetes, who was extremely unhelpful and bordering on dangerous, some seem to be entrenched in old school, i must admit change is sometimes hard swallow esp.with improper funding & i know who to blame for that.. keep well and i wish to keep supporting you in your quest to gain a full healthy life. :)

  • I am so glad I found this site, I have learned so much about this debilitating condition we suffer from. Just out of interest, when I originally went to my GP with the symptoms we are all familiar with, I had read about selenium and thyroid function. So believing that I was underactive began taking selenium, the first blood test came back that I was borderline underactive. The GP in his wisdom said to come back in a month and have a repeat blood test so I stopped taking Selenium, the next test came back positive and I was put on 100mcg of thyroxine. So in my case I believe the selenium was helping my thyroid function. Thanks to all of you for your knowledge and information.

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