Issue # 245 October 13, 2014
Is iodine safe to take when you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
When 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.
+ Iodine supplements can help prevent and treat an iodine deficiency.