Do I still need iodine if I don't have a thyroid gland?
The short answer is yes. Keep reading to learn why. Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, right below your Adam’s Apple. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system. It produces and releases thyroid hormones, called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones play a significant role in human metabolism, sexual function, mood, and development. When the thyroid does not produce hormones, these functions become disrupted.
In order to produce these hormones, your thyroid requires iodine. This trace mineral is essential for the production of T3 and T4. Without iodine, your thyroid cannot effectively produce these hormones. Since most people don’t get enough iodine in their diet, supplementation is needed to ensure that the thyroid functions properly. When you are iodine deficient, it results in a condition called hypothyroidism:
Because of various diseases and conditions, some people don’t have a thyroid. It is sometimes removed due to thyroid cancer, a goiter or other conditions. Some people are born without a thyroid. If you don’t have a thyroid at all, then your body cannot produce the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. When your body doesn’t make these hormones, you’ll develop hypothyroidism and may experience the above symptoms.
So, if you don’t have a thyroid, then your doctor probably prescribes thyroid hormones for you to take every day. These medicines provide T3 and T4. It's important to note that people need both T3 and T4. If you only have had part of your thyroid removed, you may not need these medications at all.
Everyone Needs Iodine
You may have heard that you don’t need iodine supplements if you don’t have a thyroid, as you no longer make thyroid hormones on your own. However, this is simply not true. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. The thyroid isn’t the only organ in your body that needs iodine. In fact, many people don't know there are two forms of iodine: potassium iodide and molecular iodine.
Thyroid uses potassium iodide but the rest of your body needs iodine in the molecular form. This mineral is used by various organs in your body. Iodine is concentrated in all of your glands. The breasts, uterus, ovaries, prostate, pancreas, brain, and adrenals all require iodine to function properly. The skin and muscles also use large amounts of iodine. Your body cannot make any hormone without iodine. Even if you have a complete thyroidectomy, you still need to take iodine supplements.
What Is the Best Iodine Supplement?
There are several different iodine supplements that you can take if you don’t have a thyroid. Many iodine supplements for thyroid contain only potassium iodide which is the form used by the thyroid.