Iodine is the raw material the thyroid gland uses to make hormone. When a gland has been damaged/destroyed by the antibodies which cause Hashi's, it can't use an increased influx of iodine. The basic premise that providing more iodine will result in increased hormone production doesn't hold water when the hormone machine is broken. The only option at that point is to provide the hormone from a pill.
The author of Living Well With Hypothyroidism [whom I'm not allowed to mention - but almost everyone here knows who I mean] reports that she did not have a positive experience with iodine. She has heard from hundreds (thousands, maybe) of people who also felt much worse taking extra iodine.
All you can do is try it. It might help but probably won't. Understand that it might very well make things worse, but it won't kill you.
Last edited by midwest1; 08-21-2009 at 10:54 PM.
Reason: For clarity
I've read conflicting info as to iodine and thyroid disorders. Some articles state to avoid it if you have Hashi's, yet in some other places that it could theoretically help.
If someone has a sluggish thyroid though, and no antibodies, I suppose it may be worth a try. Especially since most docs won't prescribe anything for subclinically raised TSH levels anyway.
In my own case, my doctor diagnosed me with Hashimoto's, but I am beginning to question this. I had an isolated elevated TGAB, which returned to normal before starting medication. My TSH was high normal (3-3.5ish).
My ultrasounds have been weirdly inconsistent. One report stated: slightly enlarged thyroid, no nodules, but consistent with Hashimoto's (without saying why), one later report stated a much smaller thyroid (normal sized), but now with tiny, tiny nodules, and a lumpy texture.
After starting a small dose of synthroid, I was just now rechecked after taking it for about 6 months. The technician stated my thyroid looked really good, maybe slightly enlarged, but not bumpy at all. I was on .50 synthroid for the latter test, but I wasn't aware a thyroid could 'smooth' out, so to speak, and change from lumpy to normal again. That is, assuming the past reports were even correct (which is what I am questioning now).
Also diagnosed with Lyme, which is what I think is causing most of my symptoms, and synthroid hasn't done anything as to improving fatigue or anything else I can notice. So I was wondering if maybe I just had some immune dysregulation due to Lyme, and perhaps supplementing iodine would more or less do the same thing for me as a baby dose of synthroid would. I should add my T3/T4 levels were pretty much normal this whole time (even before synthroid). T3 may have been slightly less than optimal (although I've been told this varies a lot), at about 40% of range, while my T4 was up near the top of range.
Oh, and about fish oil, I think most brands have tiny tiny amounts of iodine. I asked one company, either Carlson or Nordic Naturals, and it was much, much less than the RDA level. Something like a couple of mcgs per serving, at most. Maybe whatever brand of fish oil you used had an oddly high amount of iodine in it.
I'm hypo, have Hashimoto's and my Iodine was very low. My thyroid doctor did a 24hr iodine load test to determine how much iodine my body was absorbing/needed. He repeats the test when he feels appropriate to double check my levels incase i'm getting too much.
I've been on pure iodine drops (1 drop a day) for a year now and i'm also on adrenal meds and a natural T3 medication called Triiodothyronine. I feel good, so long as my adrenals are being supplemented accordingly too. If i dont have sufficient cortisol i know it as the tiredness begins to set in again.
I don't think my doctor has me on the iodine solely for my thyroid, but other functions within the body which improve with iodine intake (if you are low). I'd never self supplement without a proper test. Blood tests are useless for iodine as the results aren't very accurate. At the very least a basic urine test is better than a blood test, but a 24hr iodine load test would be even more accurate.
My doctor referred me to a book written by David Brownstein, MD, titled "iodine, why you need it, why you can't live without it". I've also done a bit of reading on the net and there is some very interesting information out there.
While my thyroid doctor has been stabilising all the issues i've got, he's been retesting my other things every 6 weeks until everything is on target. For me i've not seen the iodine to be doing anything adverse. I can't say that if i'd not taken the iodine that things would be any worse.
Here in Australia a lot of people are iodine deficient. There was an article on TV about it recently, discussing why so many are deficient now as opposed to between 2 - 3 decades ago. Apparently dairy farmers used to wash the milking equipment in a solution which was high in iodine and some of this was getting into the milk during the next milking session. Now farmers don't use iodine in the washing solution, but they use chlorine. I wonder what chlorine in our milk is doing now!!!!!
I have Hashi's, and am taking Iodoral, and am doing quite well... better than anytime in the past few years. So far no "flares", in fact, just the opposite. I was not getting all that much relief from just the Armour... the aches and pains went away, but that was about it. With the Iodoral iodine/iodide I have energy, I'm loosing weight, and the feeling of fullness/scratchiness in my throat is going away. I am very grateful to have read "Overcoming Thyroid Disorders" as well as the Iodine book mentioned by Audrey-B.
In the US they now wash the milking equipment with Bromine/Bromide... same problem as using Chlorine... They are both halogens and due to their atomic weights, they compete with Iodine for places on the iodine receptors in the body. So neither Chlorine nor Bromine isn't doing anything good in our milk supplies!!! It's too bad, as using Iodine really was beneficial.
Hi earthview - glad you found the book helpful. I first used iodine for a short period a couple of years ago, before i knew i had a thyroid problem. At that time i was seeing a trichologist for my abnormal hair shedding. He tested everything, including iodine, vitamin D, zinc, ferritin, B12, hormones and the whole thyroid panel, but the lab ran all the tests, bar the Thyroid Antibodies test request. After 3 attempts they finally ran it and that's how i found out i actually did have Hashi's.
Whether you are having a full physical checkup via a blood test or you are seeing an Endo, iodine, ferritin, vitamin D etc are often not routinely done, when in fact they are parts of the corner stones to our ultimate health.
In the end, the thing to remember is that we are all individuals when it comes to thyroid issues. What one person finds helpful another may not. So long as you get tested prior to taking any new supplements, and then get retests along the way, you should be right.
I'm still on my iodine and have no problems. I don't have a goitre or any swelling or throat issues. My main two symptoms were/are (depending on my meds) tiredness and sometimes what i class as abnormal hair shedding.
As for the chlorine, there are so many reports of it not being healthy in out drinking water and now it's in the milk too. Even indoor chlorinated pools are being linked to asthma in young children.
It may depend on what type of fish is used in the fish oil. The type I tried used anchvies and sardines, which have high amounts of iodine. All I know is that the whole week I was taking the fish oil I had severe vertigo. It stopped as soon as I stopped taking the fish oil. When I eat shrimp my voice immediately becomes hoarse. Shellfish also has high amounts of iodine.
Tigger - you likely already have adquate levels of iodine perhaps. Has a doctor ever tested your levels? Maybe they ought to, just so you know where you stand. eg: if the test shows you have low iodine levels, but iodine affects you, then that would mean one thing, but if it comes back showing you have high iodine levels then obviously eating foods high in iodine would take your levels over the top.
I don't use fish oils, evening primrose oil or any other oils as after a few weeks of doing so i get these tiny, minute type of breakouts and redness. I've asked health experts and nobody knows for sure why this occurs. We think i could be allergic to an ingredient used in the coating of the capsule containing the oil. As soon as i stop taking it the symptoms go away. I can eat fish in any form and as you know i take pure iodine daily and no adverse affects.
The best thing to do is avoid what you clearly see affects you adversly.