Iodine–thyroid patients figure things out again!


(Though this post was originally written in 2008, it has been updated to the current date and time. Enjoy!)

The topic of iodine supplementation for your overall health has been growing the past few years among thyroid patients, especially in light that many of us may be low in iodine, that thyroid hormones are composed of iodine, or just the fact that iodine has anti-cancer qualities.

I became interested in the topic after reading Dr. David Derry’s book Breast Cancer and Iodine. I’ve also seen the testimony of several women with Fibrocystic Breast Disease who saw it disappear once they started iodine supplementation. Impressive! And it’s true for me!

And since thyroid hormones are primarily composed of iodine, thyroid patients are listening to and questioning the use of iodine supplementation.

But thyroid patient Mike Lawson came up with some very interesting facts this week about iodine in desiccated thyroid–just one more reason to consider using WP Thyroid, Naturethroid, Westhroid or other desiccated thyroid products! He figured out the below:

T3 = C15H12I3NO4 = molar mass of 650.9776
T4 = C15H11I4NO4 = molar mass of 776.87

Iodine has a molar mass of 126.90

Iodine content of T3 = (3 * 126.9)/650.9776. T3 is 59.725 % iodine.
Iodine content of T4 = (4 * 126.9)/776.87. T4 is 65.339 % iodine.

NDT has 38 mcg T4 & 9 mcg T3.
.65339 * 38 mcg = 24.828 mcg iodine
.59725 * 9 mcg = 5.37525mcg iodine

So, each grain of NDT has 30.20325 mcg iodine. In other words, each grain of NDT has 1/5 the RDA of iodine (150 mcg).

Very interesting facts, Mike! Sure, most thyroid patients feel they need more than what desiccated thyroid offers. But it’s a good start when so many individuals feel their own iodine levels are too low and need help, especially those who have had to deal with thyroid or breast cancer, or have a family history of it.

Want to read more??

– Check out Dr. Maclean’s STTM Guest Blog post with excellent information concerning high doses of iodine supplementation:

– And this information is important concerning companion nutrients you would want to already be on when you start iodine supplementation:

– Here is a compilation of good information concerning iodine:

– Facebook has two iodine groups worth exploring: and


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50 Responses to “Iodine–thyroid patients figure things out again!”

  1. Susan J Kelly

    I have hashimotos. My doctor today asked if I took iodine. I just started this past week He wants me to take 50mg as a loading dose for a week then go to 12.5mg/day. Is this safe?

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Susan, the problem with what he is suggesting is that there’s the risk you’re going to start detoxing from starting on such a high amount and maintaining it for a week. Iodine detoxes substances like fluoride, bromide, chloride. And that detox has been pushing the antibodies up for people with Hashimoto’s. That’s why it’s about low and slow.

  2. Erin S.

    Hi Janie,

    I tested my iodine with Hakala labs, and while I do not have bromide or fluoride issues (per the 24-hour excretion amount measured), it did show that I only had a 69% iodine excretion rate over 24-hours, which is less than the 90% indicative of sufficiency.

    Thus, I just ordered the 6.5mg LugoTabs from Hakala along with all of the other companion nutrients you (and they) recommend.

    My question is: Must we take these companion nutrients prior to beginning iodine tablets to “bolster” our levels of selenium, co-factors, magnesium, etc., or can we just take them all together and start at once?

    I have had poor experiences with iodine years ago (I have Hashi’s and am on NDT, though no antibodies in the bloodwork for a few years now), but this is likely because I did not add all of the companion nutrients and/or other things were not balanced.

    I am also doing a 24-hour cortisol saliva test and will get the results soon. Iron labs are fine (low-ish ferritin but all other iron markers are nominal). All other blood biomarkers are in optimal range.

    Thanks so much!

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Hi Erin. Yes, the recommendation can be to be on the companion nutrients for a few weeks before starting iodine, just in case.

      Ferritin wouldn’t be lowish if all was fine with your iron labs (though not sure what you mean by lowish?).

  3. Margaret M DeGeorge

    To Jeanine, March 26,2016 comment. I am on NDT 1grain (60mg) in the AM and 1grain titrated down to 1/2 grain(32.5mg) 3days a week in the early PM. I have ordered nascent iodine and would like to start replacing NDT with it. What dosing did you do to get to your maintenance dose of NDT of 1/2 grain. i would appreciate any suggestion.

  4. Julie

    I started taking an off the shelf.iodine 250mcg per.dose as we can no longer get lugols here. I have no thyroid and had RAI. I am on natural thyriod meds. I now have heaps more energy.and my sore breasts have dissapeared….it’s like the iodine was the key turning on and getting good the thyriod meds going????

  5. Cathy

    I am back in U.S., just had blood work done, but no results yet. I want to order iodine and was told to order Lugol’s. There are different brands and I believe it comes in 2%, 5% and 7%. Which should I order? Thanks!

  6. Anne Ward

    Janie…what is NDT???

  7. Janine

    Yes, “Stop The Thyroid Madness” Please! I have concluded that one needs to do a ton of research on their own. I have decided to become my own guinea pig instead of being the “professionals” guinea pig. After extensive research on iodine, I have been taken nascent iodine, 3 drops in spring water, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I have cut my NDT down to a maintenance dose of 15mg. I am hoping that with the iodine (selenium, zinc picoliate, and magnesium that it will give my thyroid what it needs, clear up the Hashis and kick start my thyroid.
    I have been doing this for over a month and I certainly don’t feel any worse. Apparently selenium is key to bring down the TPO. I am around the Great Lakes and iodine deficiency is rampid, so are mental health issues. it is sad that people are not being properly tested for thyroid first before being put on pharmaceuticals. I know hands down that if you have Hashis, you can swing from Hypo to Hyper and guess what.. “they” will diagnose you as Bi-Polar or Manic, without a blood test. Sad. Please research. Also, I suggest watching “The Marketing of Madness” and” Making a Killing” in it’s entirety on You Tube.
    God Bless and Best of Luck to us all.

    • Anne Kaufmann

      I am taking desiccated thyroid… I am interested in trying the iodine drops… there was a mention of selenium, potassium and magnesium. what supplement do you suggest for these?… I take Spurlina and chorella … would that supply it? Also, once starting the iodine …. will it cause me to by hyperthyroid and when should I check my thyroid again? Thank so much.

    • DeAnna

      I just started three drops of nascent iodine yesterday. I’m wondering how this has worked for you? I have read a lot positive information and hoping it helps as I did and at home iodine patch test, which it disappeared within an hour, so I’m assuming I am iodine deficient.

  8. Lisa

    I have Hashi’s and started Dr. Brownstein’s Lugol protocol on November 19, 2015. I am taking ALL of the companion supplements and salt loading. I have gained 20 lbs! So frustrated. Do I stay with the protocol, stop . . . .or take a break and let my body catch up?

    feeling hopeless,

    • Bridget

      Facebook has a great group called Iodineworkshop that follows the same protocol. There is required reading , dr Brownstein’s book and 1 other but it is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Weight gain is not uncommon but there are ways to help. You may want to try pulse dosing. Are you salt loading, or just getting the 1/2-1/4 tsp /day in your diet?

  9. Cathy Yearwood

    I am on armour and have been very tired for quite awhile. I read above that Armour has changed any many aren’t getting the benefits they should? Is this true? If so, what should I try instead of? My practitioner is pretty good at listening, we’re just thosands of miles apart unfortunately.

  10. Michelle Smith

    I’m information overwhelmed so forgive me if I’m asking a repeat question; should I supplement with iodine if I have no thyroid? It was removed due to Graves’ disease. I’m taking Armour, T3 and working on low ferritin and a yo yo cortisol pattern.

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Yes, a lot of patients without a thyroid still use iodine. It has many benefits…and for women, one huge one is breast health.

  11. Lusia

    I have Hashimoto with very high TPO and TgAB antibodies and I go into A-Fib with any amount of fish, commercial salt, fish or krill oil supplements, magnesium supplements (transdermal oil or chloride derived from ancient oceans). Iodine in 2 eggs and glass of milk is too much for me to eat at once – I get an A-Fib. Trying to figure this out but it is very difficult, so much conflicting data plus so hard to avoid larger doses of iodine from food. I was on Armour for 3 years. And now since I stop taking it I have no A-Fib for the last 2 months but my hair started falling out. I just read about iodine in Armour and thought maybe iodine in Armour was causing or triggering my A-Fibs?

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Lusia, the reasons why you may have had A-fib on Armour is explained here:

    • Brittani

      Hi Louisa,
      My doctor recently told me about Low Dose Naltraxone. Which I know is reviewed on this website.
      It helps bring the anti-bodies down. People with high anti-bodies sometimes need to calm down the immune system response before they can start addressing the symptoms. LDN works on people with auto-immune related diseases. Just a thought for you.

  12. Janice

    Does anyone know if taking iodine would prevent bladder infections? I average 3 infections per year. I take 2 grains of dessicated thyroid per day. Is there any danger in taking iodoral tablets?

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Bladder infections are usually caused by a bacteria which made it’s way into and up your Urethra (read between the lines). Or, there is a smaller percentage of folks who get them due to Candida, and the latter is from being hypo. Two grains isn’t usually an optimal dose. To be optimal, you would need to be free of all symptoms, have a free T3 towards the top of the range, have a mid-afternoon temp of 98.6 (yes, folks really do when optimal), and have a good heartrate and blood pressure.

  13. Krista

    I do not know how to find a doctor to prescribe natural thyroid in my area. I am on sythroid am considering iodine supplement. The evidence for supplementation is convincing. However I have heard people With Hashimotos who have had some adverse reactions. Are there any recommendations for for my situation?

  14. carol w

    I’m just considering iodine supplementation. Does anyone know if it helps with muscle fatigue? I feel so weak almost all the time now, and that”s totally abnormal for me. I recently found out I have hypothyroidism but the desiccated product I’m taking now doesn’t seem to be helping a whole lot. I can’t keep up with my previously active lifestyle and I’m desperate for help.

  15. Jane

    The iodine project doctors (Abraham, Brownstein & Flechas) found that HIGH amounts of iodine (50mg/day) plus companion nutrients such as magnesium, vit C, selenium and b2/b3 heals autoimmune thyroiditis by turning off oxidation (burning) process which damages the tpo enzyme.

    See the Iodine Yahoo group for more information and the website, Research section.

    I had problems on LOW amounts of iodine, only when I went to 50mg and above did I start feeling really great.

    Their evidence is overwhelming that iodine is needed all over the body.

    • Stephanie

      Can you tell me more about your comment? Or where to find a practicioner who can work with me?
      I haven’t found the Iodine Yahoo group


    • Jill Lillis

      Please give me the name of the Iodine Yahoo group, or a link to join it. Thank you.

  16. Peter

    Couldn’t agree more with you Dave!

  17. Dave

    A little late here but… Iodone is not in bread. That was replaced with bromde about 40+ years ago. And’ it has been reported that a single liter of milk may contain a thousand times the recommended daily dose of iodine”. I find it highly unlikly that a litre of milk contains 150mg of iodine.
    Bromide is toxic and compete for receptors for iodine. If you feel worse on iodine it may be because you are detoxing bromide or flouride or chorine, all halogens that compete with iodone.
    That’s why I have a whole house water filter to get rid of the flouride. Remember, even if it’s out of your drinking water, you’re still inhaling it in the shower via the steam.

  18. Sandra Barth

    According to my latest doctor , no one with an autoimmune disease like Hashi’s should take anything except chemical hormone supplement as your body is highly likely to build up antibodies . I would have liked to hear that about ten years ago. I am just passing on her information.
    Should I stop eating eggs as well?
    I might absorb some of this information if I did not suffer from the foggy mind of a the ex owner of a supposedly working thyroid.

  19. Sandra Barth

    I have found that I have palpitations when I add an iodine supplement. I had Hashimotos and then thyroid ca and removal of thyroid a few years ago.
    How much iodine is too much? I tried Iodoral drops but the heart palpitations are a bit uncomfortable. Should I take the iodine anyway?

  20. Catherine

    Noreen…you could be taking “reformulated” armour…alot of folks have been experiencing hypo symptoms on the “new”armour

  21. Noreen

    I am totally confused about iodine now. I lost my thyroid @ birth due to the nuclear testing @ Indian Springs, NV, in 56′, when my mom was expectant w/me. I have a just a tiny shred of tissue left and I believe it’s causing me a thyroid storm bcuz I’m experiencing many hypothyroid symptoms yet am diligent in taking my Armour Thyroid. I can’t find a doctor knowledgeable about thyroid agenesis so I’m a little afraid to experiment w iodine, yet I sense it is either helping or hurting me, don’t know which. How on earth do I find out? I need info on how iodine relates to the thyroid hormone it’self (as in Armour Thyroid, not the thyroid gland). Whew. Going nuts.

  22. Carol

    It is my understanding that in the US, only table salt is iodized, that the salt used in manufacturing commercial products (bread, etc) is not. The idea was to get a minimum of iodine in everyone’s diet to prevent goiter.

  23. Natalie

    Well Dr.Mercola addresses the connection between the Thyroid gland and the Iodine. Yes it is in many foods but that does not mean it is the correct type of iodine. As Iodine can be absorbed in the body even just through the skin. I always advise being careful in the matter of iodine as it can often be a double edge sword important to check your levels and do what is best on an individual basis. I will say personally that through the struggle of a persistent undiagnosed under active thyroid had I been getting the iodine I need from such food with all the iodine in it I question if this problem would have arose? It’s hard to tell as the iodine I use now is a high quality supplement and because I now eat very well my body is tolerating and becoming healthy and strong. I also take a desiccated thyroid product so everything is better!

  24. Debbie MacDonald

    I’m confused…isn’t that the goal to spur the functioning of the Thyroid? What if we are iodine difficient? And alot of us are…we need iodine!!

  25. ibeji

    By the way, just in order to avoid possible misunderstandings; I was talking about INORGANIC iodine above, that is, iodine ions in iodine salts.

    Remember that table salt is composed of the ion of a metal, sodium (Na+), and the ion of a so-called halogen (“salt-former”, in Latin!), chlorine (Cl-). Iodine is another member of the halogens, and can form salts with metal ions as well.

    This is what I was talking about in my previous post – NOT about the ORGANIC iodine, that is, iodine in organic compounds, such as in thyroxine (T4) and thyronine (T3), as for instance contained in Synthroid or Armour Thyroid.

    The effects described in my previous posting above DO NOT apply to thyroid hormones, ONLY to inorganic iodine!

  26. ibeji

    Beware that (at least in Europe), taking iodine supplements is strongly advised against when you have an auto-immune thyroid condition, no matter whether you’re hypo- or hyperthyroid (Hashimoto or Graves’), because taking iodine may spur the functioning of the thyroid, which – it is believed – increases the activity of the immune system in its attacks against the thyroid.

    Moreover, there is a strong movement in Europe (or at least, in Germany) against the (excessive) compulsory supplementation with iodine in foodstuff. Since even animal food is enriched with iodine, it has been reported that a single liter of milk may contain a thousand times the recommended daily dose of iodine.

    Since iodine supplements are added everywhere (especially in salt), all basic foods like for instance bread contain enormous amounts of iodine.

    Or take sausages for example: the meat comes from animals fed with iodine supplements, the salt is supplemented with iodine, and the spices are, too.

    The total iodine consumption has been shown to be many times the recommended daily dose, on average.

    What is worse, many thyroid patients report that they feel much worse when they consume even trace amounts of iodine.

    Imagine how difficult it is for them to avoid iodine, when it is omnipresent in all foods!

    There is almost nothing left they can eat!

    There are however people who do not feel any difference with iodine, or at least who were not able to discern any effect related to it, myself included.

    In my case this may be due to the iodine supplementation not being enforced as extremely in the country where I live (well in the European Union, but not Germany).

    Nevertheless I wanted to urge you to be careful, and to listen carefully to your body, what does him good and what does not.

    Take care! 🙂

    • Bridget

      Please consider the correlation between iodine and selenium deficiency with autoimmune thyroid patients. Selenium is the missing link making the anti-iodine case studies inconclusive. Seleniums role is to “neutralize ” the excess h2o2 to water. The oxidation of iodide to iodine requires h2o2 and TPO. Too much h202 can cause damage , hence the autobody response. Selenium will prevent this by neutralizing. I have Hashimoto’s and supplement 25 mg of iodine daily with 300 µg selenium in addition to other companion nutrients and I have not had any issues. I believe firmly that iodine will lower my 89% chance of breast cancer im up against as well

      • kristi de


        are you on any kind of thyroid meds with your iodine and selenium?? i am hashi’s, on nature-throid, started selenium (and tested high on blood test, so stopped for now), started taking 6.25 mg of iodine supplement. i don’t have a doc that is working with me, and that’s why i’m on a low dose of iodine to see if it affects my ft3 and ft4 results. just curious if you are still on any kind of thyroid med. thanks.

        • Rita Wiseman

          Kristi de:
          I have hashimoto and I am on nature-throid. I do not take selenium but do take 6 mg of iodine. Lately, been very fatigue. On my last blood test, tested a little on the high side for iodine, which at that time I was taking 9 mg iodine, so they reduced me to 6 mg. When I was on 9 mg, I felt great, but I was on Armour thyroid. Now they switched me to nature-throid with the 6 mg iodine…not doing as well. Maybe I will stop the iodine altogether.

      • Surfmonk

        Bridget, what thyroid medication are you taking and are you seeing a practitioner for all the supplementation you’re doing’ Very interested…


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