“Should thyroid patients take iodine?”
Thyroid treatment is complicated. Taking hormones, iodine, and seaweed at the same time are not always a good holistic thyroid mix, so that is a great question, for me to answer today for women with hypothyroidism.
Oftentimes my Naturopathic patients are either ingesting zero iodine and have low levels as they cook with sea salt that is not iodized, or they are overdosing on iodine for their thyroid, and taking way too much of it to the point they are hyperthyroid, sweaty, angry, and having diarrhea and other abnormal movements from their nervous system.
I will admit over the years, I have had to manage what I call a "Thyroid Hormone Train Wreck" from patients starting iodine at the same time as their Armour thyroid without telling me. While it is good to read about your new thyroid condition, combining thyroid herbs and nutrients that have a synergistic effect with your thyroid hormone without first telling your hormone doctor at an appointment that you plan to do this is likely more dangerous than helpful.
I describe this to my patients that are not low in iodine as the hormonal equivalent of throwing a match on a pool of gasoline. As a women’s health doctor I have seen many women go into a dangerous hyperthyroid storm from doing this, so please be careful with iodine if you take thyroid hormone!
Nonetheless, the thyroid does need iodine to function. This is why women should look for iodized sea salt and buy that, and not just use pink Himalayan salt, or regular sea salt as it will lack adequate iodine. Generally using iodized sea salt is all my low iodine patients need to do to.
While I understand some patients do not want to take any hormone at all, and that is why they seek me out. That is also not always realistic for every patient, thyroid "medicine" is not a drug, it is a hormone that is natural and the body is failing to make it which is causing a myriad of symptoms. All of these symptoms generally result in my patients being on MULTIPLE DRUGS without proper thyroid hormones. I often see women on high blood pressure pills, cholesterol statins, diuretics, laxatives, hair loss drugs, and psychiatric drugs for depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Taking a bunch of drugs and anti-depressants is a much higher price to pay in my opinion than simply having thyroid hormones properly adjusted.
Therefore when I see mild thyroid deficiency symptoms I think “Let’s use natural supplements to correct this.” But when I see more severe deficiency combined with a myriad of annoying thyroid symptoms, perimenopause, or menopause I begin to think of just giving some thyroid hormone gland or NDT “Natural Dessicated Thyroid,” rather than waste time trying to replete nutrients. high
While iodine, zinc, tyrosine and b-vitamins are needed to make thyroid hormone, I do not recommend ever adding these things in without first checking with your holistic hormone doctor as it will generally result in symptoms of hyperthyroidism, and cause the dose of the thyroid hormone your doctor has prescribed to become too high. This can be seen with anxiety, nervousness, sweating, jitteriness, palpitations, chest pain, high blood pressure, rage, and agitation.
The better thing to do is to either start with these nutrients in mild thyroid deficiency symptoms and labs, or to look at adding them in after thyroid hormone has been properly adjusted and then further test and adjust it after that.
While women in Scottsdale often beg me to crank their thyroid hormone up to the “fat burning max” too much thyroid hormone feels worse than taking too little. Depressed, forgetful and tired is far better than angry and wired.
Keep in mind for patients with a history of hyperthyroidism or "high thyroid" from Grave's Disease and Hashimoto's that have had their thyroid radiated or removed taking these nutrients generally is not very beneficial, other than to insure they are not deficient in them, and that other systems that convert thyroid from stores to active hormones such as in the liver are supported with the nutrients needed for this conversion process from T4 to T3. Light in the form of 10,000 lux daily from the outdoors and physical exercise are also needed for this conversion.
If you do choose to try iodine for your thyroid, I recommend eating organic seaweed as the best source. The seaweed my puppy is trying to eat at the beach in my Instagram video, was before the San Diego oil spill, so please consider the health of the water where your seaweed grows when harvesting seaweed in the wild, and ensure you are leaving enough for the wild life that requires it to live!
Most commercially sold organic seaweed is grown in controlled tanks and ponds due to the amount of plastic, heavy metals and toxins in our ocean water. So that is what I look for when I buy seaweed, certified organic only!
Need help with testing or treating your thyroid? Simply visit my SCHEDULE page to treat yourself to a Naturopathic Hormone visit! I would be happy to help!
Dr. Nicole Sundene
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Specialist in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!