Let's address the elephant in the room: what you've read about iodine and Hashimoto's is probably inaccurate.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about Iodine and Hashimoto's. The issue is not that Iodine is terrible for Hashimoto's. Iodine is vital for healthy breast tissue, ovaries, uterus, prostate, stomach, eyes, pancreas, brain, and pineal gland. Instead, the real issue seems to be how it's used.
According to the research and patient experiences, Iodine may safe and effective for people with Hashimoto's when used in the right way.†
Learn why this vital nutrient maybe be the missing piece of the Hashimoto's patient's toolkit.
Why is Iodine so Essential?
Whether you have Hashimoto's or not, iodine is vital to human health. In addition to the thyroid, every cell in the body requires iodine, including the pancreas, ovaries, uterus, breast tissue, prostate, brain, pineal gland, stomach, salivary glands and tear ducts (lacrimal glands). Trillions of cells need iodine to function.
Unfortunately, many people with Hashimoto's have been scared away from iodine unnecessarily.
The question we should ask is not whether to use iodine with Hashimoto's. It's how do we use iodine correctly with Hashimoto's. Extensive research shows may be safe and effective ways to use iodine with reduced risk of inflammation.
What are the risks of Iodine with Hashimoto's?
First, we need to look at how iodine and the thyroid works. Like fuel for your car, the thyroid requires Iodine to make thyroid hormones T4 and a little T3.
With Hashimoto's, the issue is not specifically from Iodine. When your body produces and converts thyroid hormones, there can be oxidative stress, leading to inflammation. Inflammation is the primary risk for Hashimoto's, not the Iodine.
What is thyroid hormone conversion?
So we know that iodine helps the thyroid make thyroid hormone T4. But this hormone is inactive. Like your car has a gas tank full of fuel, your body needs T4 in the tank. But T4 alone won't do much. Your body needs to convert that T4 into T3, which makes your engine run.
During this conversion process, your body makes excess hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, which creates toxicity and inflammation of the thyroid gland, which the body tries to defend. That's right. Conversion can be the spark for an autoimmune attack.
When it comes to Hashimoto's, our goal is to help protect the thyroid during conversion and provide the right support to defend against toxic build-up. As you can see, iodine is getting blamed for helping make thyroid hormones (a natural and vital function) when the real issue is how to protect the thyroid during conversion.
"Having seen enough Hashi's patients report that iodine use outright lowered their antibodies, I'm a strong proponent of it. The only exception I take, based on observations, is that some of the Hashi's patients need to go LOW and SLOW with iodine use."
-Janie A. Bowthorpe, M.Ed. Author, patient advocate, and founder of Stop the Thyroid Madness
How do we protect the thyroid during conversion?
Just like with your car, you need a key to start the engine. The same principle goes for thyroid function. The secret key to conversion is another vital nutrient: Selenium.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. The thyroid gland has the highest concentration of Selenium in the body, and you can probably imagine why. It helps protect the thyroid during conversion by neutralizing hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, and protecting from oxidative stress. (1) Without adequate Selenium, there is an excess of hydrogen peroxide, which results in increased antibodies sent to protect the thyroid. (Poor thyroid!)
U.K doctor Marek Doyle has successfully used Iodine and selenium supplementation in treating Hashimoto's patients for more than a decade. The only two exceptions noted by Marek, patients had issues with oxalates. Once resolved, both patients tolerated Iodine well.
According to Doyle, strong scientific evidence and clinical experience support iodine supplementation with Hashimoto's when paired with Selenium. (3)
What's the best kind of Selenium?
When it comes to Selenium, there are four kinds; selenate, selenite, selenocysteine, and Selenomethionine. The wrong kind of Selenium and in-excess can potentially cause selenium toxicity.
According to the research, Selenomethionine showed significant improvement in reducing antibodies and better absorption, which reduced the risk of toxicity. (4, 5)
How much Selenium should I take for Hashimoto's?
Of course, we always recommend working with a medical practitioner specializing in iodine and selenium supplementation with Hashimoto's. Your doctor can order an RBC test for Selenium levels. Advocacy groups feel selenium levels are ideal when they are at the high end of the lab range (but not over).
According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, the high end of selenium supplementation is 400μg/day for adults. (7)
In "Iodine: Why You Need It" by Dr. David Brownstein, 100-200μg/day is a safe range for selenium supplementation in adults. (8) For Hashimoto's patients, Brownstein also suggests priming the thyroid with Selenium for two months before starting Iodine.
How much Iodine should I take for Hashimoto's?
Physicians like Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Guy Abraham, who specialize in iodine supplementation, suggest doses as high as 50 mg a day may be necessary to restore iodine levels and maintain wellness. However, some Hashimoto's patients prefer to go "low and slow" with iodine supplementation. (9)
How do I detox Fluoride, Chlorine, and Bromine?
The research is clear. Fluoride, chlorine, and bromine are all thyroid-blocking halogens that can suppress thyroid function. (10,11) These halogens compete with Iodine for the cell receptors in the thyroid gland. Without enough Iodine, halogen exposure can lead to Hypothyroidism, goiter, and thyroid nodules. (12)
Detoxing the thyroid may help Iodine reclaim the cell receptors and boost thyroid function. Whether a person has Hashimoto's, Hypothyroidism, Graves, or an undiagnosed thyroid condition, it's important to have a detox strategy to clean up the cells.†
Will Iodine cause my TSH to rise or cause Hypothyroidism?
When starting iodine supplementation, it's quite common and normal for TSH to rise, and in some instances, go very high. However, it's essential to understand, high or increasing TSH may not be a concern.
According to research, the rise in TSH is a normal and appropriate short term response because Iodine triggers the NIS transport system. (13) We might even say a higher TSH is something to celebrate because it means Iodine transportation is increasing.
As long as a person feels good, hypothyroid symptoms are reducing, and the Free T3 and Free T4 tests are in the right range, the higher TSH should not be a concern. (14)
High or higher TSH may last six months or more before returning to "normal."
When starting Iodine Supplementation, it's quite common for TSH to rise, and this rise may not be a concern.
Get Started with Iodine Supplementation
As you can see, there is more to the story with Hashimoto's and Iodine. When used correctly, Iodine may safely and effectively to help lower antibodies and restore healthy thyroid function for people with Hashimoto's.†
We created Thyrofuel Supplement System with the key ingredients formulated for people with Hashimoto's to help support:
"Started with Miss Lizzy in 2014 and within two months noticed an increase in energy. Not only has my energy picked up but my mental awareness has become better. I am playing better golf, playing my trumpet better, deep into studying music theory, and learning to play the piano. See what Miss Lizzy's Iodine can do for an eighty-year-old man." – Fred
"I have Hashimoto's and have been on [iodine] for almost 7 years. One of the things I noticed is that my knees didn't bother me anymore. These days I take a fairly large maintenance dose--75mg/day (plus all the supplements). Every time I have tried to decrease it, I get achy knees again." -- Cheryl B.
2. Chen X et al. (2007). Effect of excessive iodine on the immune function of lymphocytes and intervention with selenium. J Huazhong Univ Sci Technology Med Sci. Aug;27(4):422-5.
7., 8. Dr. Browenstein, Iodine p 142