Iodine for hypothyroidism: like gasoline on a fire?

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  1. Chris Kresser’s avatar

    Perhaps you could try obtaining small amounts of iodine through seafood. That may not be enough to trigger an immune response, but could meet your systemic needs.

  2. Chris Kresser’s avatar

    Hard to say, Steve, without actually doing a full intake and exam. Sometimes H. pylori shows up on the stool test, sometimes not – and the same for the urea breath test. If I strongly suspected it, I’d do both. How do you know your stomach acid is still low? Have you had it tested, or are you going by your response to HCL?

  3. Chris Kresser’s avatar

    Unfortunately the standard lab tests for gluten intolerance are insufficient.

    The literature is so clear on the connection between gluten intolerance and autoimmune thyroid that I recommend all patients with thyroid disorders avoid gluten – regardless of test results. If you want an accurate test, get the full profile from Dr. Fine is a gluten researcher that has pioneered the latest, most specific methods.

  4. Elaine’s avatar

    Mario i have heard Dr. Kharrazian mention LDN as being effective. As a functional medicine practitioner, however, he largely does not go the pharmaceutical route if he doesn’t have to.
    Labrat, the teens is indeed a difficult time to introduce a gluten-free diet. However i have heard many moms say their children are less picky once they get through the transition. Picky eating is actually a symptom of food intolerances in children. I saw my own daughter’s palate really widen after we kicked dairy and gluten. It’s not easy, but many people see profound improvements as a result, so it’s worth the effort. I highly recommend you read up on pubmed or elsewhere on the connections between Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance. Blood screens for gliadin have a very high false negative rate.

  5. BillS’s avatar

    Here’s one data point: me. I’ve been severely hypothyroid for years, and diagnosed with Hashimoto’s based on antibody tests. When I supplemented with iodine (initially via daily iodine-rich sea vegetable consumption and later via 12.5 mg Ioderal daily), my requirement for thyroid hormone supplementation decreased dramatically: so far, from 165 ug T4 per day to 100 ug T4 per day and still, apparently, dropping. These dose reductions were made by my endocrinologist based on both routine TSH and Free T4 lab tests and my subjective feelings of wellness. There’s no doubt I need far less T4 medication than I did before beginning iodine.
    None of my doctors has ever seen anyone reduce their required T4 dose like this, and all agree this has to be considered a sign of improvement my illness. My endocrinologist, who did not encourage me to try iodine but reassured me it could not cause harm at these doses, is so impressed that he is considering trying iodine supplementation with other patients.
    As far as I can tell, my experience is quite consistent with what the docs most experienced with iodine supplementation (Abraham, Brownstein, and Flechas) have observed for a number of years now. They indicate that about a third of their hypothyroid patients can reduce their T4 dose, often by about half, with adequate iodine supplementation. The rest, apparently, cannot do so for some reason but stabilize and do not experience the typical need for ever-increasing doses, as I did before starting iodine. I don’t recall these docs citing any cases where autoimmune hypothyroidism got worse with iodine. And they’ve been giving iodine for years, sometimes at doses an order of magnitude greater than mine.

  6. Alice’s avatar

    Bill, had you done a salt loading Iodine test to see if you had a deficiency?

     I wonder how many of these people who’ve experienced good results with Iodine confirmed an iodine deficiency. I’ve always asked this question….what if a hashimoto’s patient has an iodine deficiency?? Then wouldn’t they obviously need iodine supplements just as they would need vit D supps if they were vit. D deficient!?

  7. BillS’s avatar

    “Bill, had you done a salt loading Iodine test to see if you had a deficiency?’

    No, I didn’t do any iodine lab testing before beginning my supplementation (though I’m not sure exactly what you mean by a “salt loading Iodine test”). Since I began with simply increasing my sea vegetable consumption and now take no more iodine via Iodoral than Japanese people have been eating for eons, I didn’t see much risk, and neither did any of my doctors. Plus, Drs. Abraham, Brownstein,and Flechas pretty well convinced me that, as with Vitamin D, iodine deficiency is almost universal, at least where I live, and quite possibly just as dangerous.

    Since I’ve had such excellent results, my docs agree with me that there’s no compelling reason to do any iodine lab testing now. It seems pretty clear I needed the iodine and that I’m taking enough to begin repleting my stores of it. At some point, perhaps when my T4 dose finally levels out, I plan to do a 24-hour urinary iodine loading test to get a sense of whether I’ve achieved whole-body sufficiency. Based on that, I may change my Iodoral dose up or down.

  8. Roswitha’s avatar

    This has all been very interesting reading, though a bit confusing.  I have Hasimoto’s (10 yrs). Started taking Nascent Iodine about 6 weeks ago.  Did not do iodine deficiency testing as the cost made it unafordable.  Have purchased Dr Brownstien books.  Hope it works for me. I also have started using Transdermay Magnesium. For some time now I have been using barley greeens, and vit B, D, C and omega’s.  Since taking the Nascent Iodine and Magnesuim I have improved.  My muscle aches and pains and anxiety etc are so much better.  My endochronologist knows I am doing this but he is not sure wether it will be of benifit.  My antibody level was very low (under 100)  for about 6 years, until I broke my foot in Dec 09.  They skyrocketed up by over 1,000 in the Jan 2010 when symptoms escalated.  My next appointment and antidbody test is  27 June 2010, so I am interested to see the results. After reading the above article am feeling worried that I am agrivating my antibodies.  It is difficult to decide what to do.  Thanks to all. Roswitha

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