Issue #180 February 20, 2014

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.

I hope everyone is well.

Today we are going to hear from Dr. Brownstein. He is a leading holistic doctor who has written several books on iodine and natural health. He does a lot of research on thyroid health and explains the importance of iodine in our diet. He shares a letter from a reader concerning her iodine levels below.



Iodine: Does Your Thyroid Really Need It?

Stephanie, from Minnesota, wrote to me stating:  “I was wondering if there was a holistic doctor you know and could recommend in or near the Minneapolis area. We are also in the Chicago area often so if there was someone there you would recommend that would be great. Thank you so much. I enjoy reading your monthly newsletter and have gathered a lot of useful info. I was recently tested for iodine deficiency during a physical at the Mayo Clinic. It took me a long time to convince the doctor to run the test as she doesn’t believe there to be a problem in our culture. My test results showed a deficiency.  The doctor’s recommendation was to consume more iodized salt and retest in three months. I also have thyroid nodules that were found five years ago and monitored every year. I have concerns about taking an iodine supplement. Any suggestions? Thanks again!”


Dear Stephanie,

Your story, is, unfortunately, all too common.  I will go out on a limb and guess that your doctor has never tested anyone for iodine before you requested it. I will also predict that your doctor has never prescribed iodine and has little knowledge of it.

Why do I say that?  Asking you to consume more iodized salt is ridiculous.  As I wrote in in my books, only 10% of the iodine in iodized salt is available for absorption.  Furthermore, iodized salt is a refined product that contains toxic additives such as ferrocyanide.

Furthermore, your doctor feels that our culture does not suffer from iodine deficiency.  If you are not testing for it and have never tested for it, how can you say that iodine deficiency is not occurring?   I have been testing iodine levels on every single new patient for over 12 years.  After testing over 6,000 patients (including my partners patients), I can assure you that iodine deficiency is alive and well in the U.S.  Over 95% of the patients in my office have tested low for iodine deficiency.  And, the vast majority of those tested have been found to have significantly low iodine levels.

Stephanie, you state that you have a five year history of thyroid nodules.  The number one cause of an enlarged thyroid gland, including cysts and nodules, is iodine deficiency.  You may be suffering from a long-term iodine deficiency condition.

What do you do? Well, you took the first step—you demanded that your doctor check your iodine levels.  Since you have low levels, common sense would dictate that your doctor prescribe iodine for your condition.  But, that is unlikely to happen as your doctor is probably suffering from medical iodophobia as well as having little knowledge about how to properly test for and treat with iodine. I say, it is time to find a new health care provider—preferably one who is iodine-knowledgeable.

Generally, you will need to find a holistic health care practitioner to help guide you with iodine supplementation.  How can you find such a doctor?  The first step is to contact a local compounding pharmacist. They usually know who is prescribing iodine and other natural therapies.  If that doesn’t work, you can order your own iodine test from three reputable labs:

  • FFP Labs (
  • Hakala Labs (
  • Doctor’s Data (

After you receive your results, ask the lab people to refer you to a practitioner in your area who is testing for iodine.

Having said all that, the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself about iodine.  Take a look at my book,Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It
I wrote it to educate you, the reader, about how important it is to ensure that you maintain optimal iodine levels.

Finally, if you have to ask your doctor numerous times before he/she checks your iodine levels,  it is time to find a new one.  Remember, you are ultimately in charge of your health care decisions.  Your doctor should be working for you, not against you.