Is iodine safe if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Issue # 245  October 13, 2014

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.
Today, the subject is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The alarming increase of this disease has everyone talking, with a lot of the talk being about iodine. Do I take it, should I skip it, will it even help?  Louise O’Connor is here to clear up the confusion.

Is iodine safe to take when you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

By Louise O’Connor

is iodine safe to take when you have hashimotosWhen you spend some time researching the question ‘is iodine safe to take when you have Hashimotos’ you will soon realize there is an incredible range of opinions being voiced on websites and blog posts. If are feeling confused, you are not alone. It can be a challenge making sense of it all. Today I would like to help answer this important question from my Naturopathic perspective.Firstly let’s take a look at some facts that we all know to be true.+ Your body does not make iodine. This mineral must be derived from the diet or from an iodine supplement.+ Your thyroid requires a constant supply as iodine is an essential component of your thyroid hormones.+ Nutrient rich blood continuously circulates through your thyroid so iodine is simply absorbed as required.+ About 80% of your body’s iodine stores are held in your thyroid.+ When your thyroid has enough iodine it stops absorbing iodine from the blood supply.+ This mineral is normally only required in trace amounts. Adverse effects are more likely when excessive amounts are taken.+ Iodine deficiency is a common world health problem.+ Iodine is critical to overall health, not just the thyroid. It is essential for normal growth and development of a developing baby, and is particularly vital for breast, prostate and adrenal health.+ In Australia iodine supplements contain microgram, not milligram amounts. 1000 micrograms equals 1 mg.+ The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have set the safe upper level of intake from all sources at 1,100 micrograms (1.1 mg) daily.+ Hashitmoto’s thyroiditis is a complex autoimmune thyroid disorder. It leads to many of the common symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.

There is no evidence to suggest that iodine alone will solve a complex thyroid disorder such as Hashimoto’s

It’s true, iodine alone will not help heal your thyroid. However it is still an important nutrient for day to day function of the thyroid.If your iodine stores get too low this will place further pressure on your thyroid. Taking what is considered a safe amount of iodine is usually necessary to support ongoing thyroid hormone activity.

Single iodine may not be the solution

Iodine is ideally best taken in combination with selenium. In fact, selenium is often regarded as the missing link to recovering thyroid health.Selenium is a critical nutrient that supports healthy function of the thyroid when you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Ongoing research shows selenium can help reduce raised thyroid specific antibodies. This is promising research for those with Hashimoto’s.Selenium also safeguards the thyroid against excess iodine intake. When I read that someone with Hashimoto’s has had a bad experience with iodine it does raise two key questions in my mind. Did they take too much? Were they also low in selenium?A good quality thyroid health formula contains both iodine and selenium. The nutritional panel or supplement facts section on a label is the best place to check the amount of iodine and selenium.Both iodine and selenium are expressed in microgram amounts on the label. A microgram measurement is routinely abbreviated as ‘mcg’ or ‘µg’.

Your take home message: not too much, not too little

The ongoing controversy surrounding iodine supplements and Hashimotos’s is centered on how much iodine is safe to take. Some studies do indeed confirm taking iodine well above what is generally recommended can trigger an autoimmune reaction, particularly if selenium is in short supply.It’s important to keep in mind that iodine is beneficial when taken as recommended. Yes, you can get too much of a good thing and opting to take extreme amounts of iodine may be harmful when you have diagnosed Hashimotos’ thyroiditis.

In summary

+ Iodine supplements can help prevent and treat an iodine deficiency.

+ Iodine supports ongoing thyroid hormone production and is normally only required in trace amounts to be effective.
+ Selenium is a mineral that safeguards your thyroid. Adequate selenium intake can also reduce the risk of iodine aggravating your thyroid.
+ When you are taking a prescribed thyroid medication your medical practitioner can advise if an iodine supplement will be suitable for you.
If you are struggling with thyroiditis, Louise can help.  The Natural Thyroid Diet The 4-week Plan to Living Well, Living Vibrantly will help                                                                                you regain your thyroid health so you can enjoy life again.
Louise O’Connor is a leading Australian Naturopath & Wellness Coach who specialised in thyroid health. The Natural Thyroid Diet is her top-selling                                                             e-book that contains a wealth of information on recovering your thyroid health from a holistic, Naturopathic viewpoint. Louise believes that when you                                                            are empowered with credible information and an awareness of new opportunities it really is possible for you to finally take control of your thyroid health…                                                      to reclaim the vibrant health YOU deserve!, including all associated social media, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for                                                                    consulting your medical professional regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. is not responsible for any loss, injury,                                                           or damage that allegedly arises from any information published on this website and related social media sites. You are responsible for any actions you take                                          regarding your medical care.