This is a fixed post where I comment on things I read or observe. Where I share some thoughts and maybe recommend some things I like.
Living life and feeling good despite having a chronic disease, I am sure everybody is working on that. Still, i would like to share how I have gotten to where I am today.
Where am I today? In Paradise? Not quite, ha ha. But I am sure I could be. But I feel very much better than some years back, physically and mentally. These two are connected of course. But the mental is maybe the most important. It’s very difficult to feel good if you have a way too low FT3. But you can feel good even if your health isn’t 100%. And you can feel bad even if your health is 100%.
Whilst not being an expert on testosterone treatment for men, I have read a bunch of studies in order to write this post. I have a post on female hormones, and then I must have one about you men as well. Of course This is not meant to be a comprehensive overview of all things testosterone. More as a wake up call to you men with thyroid issues. Low T is a common and natural result of having low or high thyroid levels. Nothing to be embarrassed about! In North-America, I believe there is a lot of focus on sex hormone levels. So for you living there, this post might be of little interest. But in many countries, it’s not like that.
There is a strong connection between thyroid and testosterone levels. For both high and low thyroid levels. It does normalize in most men after thyroid levels are again normal. But not for everybody. An then you have the age related 1 to 2% decrease a year after age 30.
We thyroid sick already have less energy. Which will lead to lower libido. Even when our thyroid levels are optimal, we are often not as energetic as we were before getting sick. So for us, it’s extra important to be optimal on all parameters.
What are the symptoms of Low T?
There are things one needs to be aware of before starting on T therapy. As far as I can see from the various studies I have looked at, they no longer think there is an increased risk of cancer in the prostate. There are conflicting findings on cardiovascular health, both negative and positive effects. If one is predisposed, or already suffer from one of these conditions, it’s another matter of course.
I have got to admit, I have been very ignorant about how NDT is made. I have believed that NDT and glandular supplements, like Metavive and Thyrogold, were virtually the same. And I have been telling people that. They are not, glandular is a much weaker product. I could be embarrassed about this. But I choose not to. This only proves my point, that there is so much to learn about this thyroid issue. Let’s try to stay openminded, and just admit when we are mistaken. That is the only way to learn something new.
I have this info from Chris at Pim Pom products, also the photos. Most of it is a direct quote from him. I have just added a little. Thanks, Chris!
There is so much talk of issues with NDT. And I have already written one post about it. I hope to be a sobering voice. I see a lot of stress and worry created, especially in the US. We take it more easy here in Europe.
Is there any need for worry? No, you don’t need to worry. Only people who do not know anything about their optimal levels, or how to monitor them, need to worry. You will learn how to do these things, if you don’t already know it. I will teach you. Follow your temperature and pulse, guide below. Then you just adjust your dose as needed.
Because thyroid meds will continue to fluctuate also in the future. And not only NDT, synthetic meds differ in their hormone levels as well. There is just now, August 2021, a new study on Levothyroxine. Where the authors think the medicine is so inconsistent, it should be put to bed. You can read more about that here.
USP standard for NDT
Synthetic T4 meds like Synthroid and Levo, are legally allowed to vary between 95 and 105 % of the given amount. So your current batch can be 10 % stronger or weaker than your previous batch. NDT and synthetic T3 medicine is allowed to vary between 90 and 110 %, US pharmacopia.
Recall of NT and WP 2020 and NP Acella nov 2020
The recall of Nature Throid and Westhroid in 2020 was NDT that might contain 87 % of the given amount. That is 3 % less than what is allowed. OMG! In hormone content, that would be hardly anything. The same with the NP recall in November 2020. That was also a sub potency at 87%.
The FDA asked RCL labs to recall 6 lots . They tested 10 lots and found 6 to be subpotent, and writes that “some may be subpotent at 87%”, link to FDA recall . And criticized RCL for lack of procedures.
But RCL labs recalled all 483 lots from all over the world. I said at the time, now Nature Throid will no longer be an affordable option. And we see now, that I was unfortunately right. It’s us patients who will pay the price of course. That was a very bad judgement call on behalf of RCL labs. I am thinking, with all the negativity going around in the US, originating from the STTM, they are maybe nervous. Why not just go out and say, all of these lots may be a little sub potent, please check your levels and adjust dose? There is a real shortage of NDT raw material in the world, due to the African swine fever. Can we afford to destroy large amounts of NDT? The NDT certainly becomes more and more expensive as a result.
NP Acella recall summer 2020
And last summer (2020), NP Acella recalled product due to what they called “super potency”, it could contain 115 % T3 of given amount. That is 5 % over the allowed amount. Super potent? It would make for 1 to 1,5 mcg more T3 pr 60 mg, which normally contains 9 mcg T3. Most people would hardly notice such an increase. NP Acella warns, this could be dangerous to pregnant women. BS, is all I can say.
It becomes a big drama. I know people who took NT from the recalled lots. They noticed no difference.
This is the world we live in, all thyroid meds vary in hormone content. I am not saying this is good, and that we should just accept it. But I don’t know how easy it is to rectify it. Not even for the synthetic meds. If you have a look at the study on Levo that I link to over, you see, that the authors highlight detoriation that takes place in Levo that the FDA tests cannot detect. And that make it inconsistent, and even reactive. Maybe this is why so many of us have serious side effects on Levo?
And I believe, making and testing NDT is even more difficult. And keep in mind, each liquid chromatography can cost 3000 US dollars. WE will be the ones paying for increased testing. You can read more about how NDT is made and tested here
But, of course, the manufactures must have quality procedures in place. No doubt about that. Both RCL labs and Acella need to do better. Both synthetic and organic thyroid meds need to be more consistent.
Do all pigs have the same thyroid levels?
No they don’t. They are like us humans. Their levels vary with age, gender and even breed. I don’t know how this reflects in the actual NDT powder. But we do know the different NDT brands vary in hormone content.
These graphs are from this study by Petkov.
Shoumen is a big pig company in Bulgaria. There are even variations between breeds:
What are the consequenses of these recalls?
The consequences are very serious. Patients are becoming scared and worried. This fear goes directly to our adrenals, which are often weak already. Sites like STTM and their corresponding FB groups also stirs up a lot of anger and conspiration theories. Which creates even more turmoil in many people. I don’t think most patients go very deep into this themselves, really look at the numbers and think. I hope my post will make you do that.
Our NDT will become more expencive. When so much product goes to waste, there is only one person who will pay for that, YOU.
Patients will have to change meds, which is very scary to many. Last year, Nature Throid was not to be had. It can become expencive to change meds. It could entail a visit to the doctor, having to apply for a new license, having to buy a more expensive brand. Maybe even being without NDT for a period. Or maybe even switching back to synthetic for good, and doing less well.
STTM rages against the NDT producers. I am becoming more and more pissed at the FDA. I find it very irresponsible what they are doing. I see in US groups, people talking about Big Pharma in this situation. Don’t you see, you are palying into the hands of Big Pharma? NDT producers are not Big Pharma, synthetic T4 producers are Big Pharma.
FDA, I hope you are scrutinizing synthetic thyroid meds as well. I suspect not.
What can WE do?
We can monitor our levels when starting on a new batch. If you follow your pulse and temperature, you will know when to adjust dose. And keep in mind, there are many other reasons for our levels fluctuating besides variations in our meds.
How to take the temperature
Measure before getting up and again in the afternoon. Preferably with a glass thermometer. Measure rectally or vaginally. Should be 98,6 F or 37 C in the afternoon, a little lower in the morning.
How to take the pulse
Pulse is more individual than temp. What I have done, it taking my pulse when my temp is 37 C and I feel good, and go by that. For me that is a pulse around 72 in the morning and 80 in the afternoon. A very low pulse is never good.
Let us take things down a notch. If it is possible to raise the quality of our NDT, I hope it will be done. But if it is difficult to avoid variations, talk to us, inform us, work with us. We all want the same thing, good and consistent NDT
Did you know that it’s best to start treatment with estrogen BEFORE 60? The study that scared everybody from taking estrogen 25 years ago had many flaws. I will review them. It’s estrogene in conjunction with synthetic progesterone, gestagen, that can lead to an increased risk for breast cancer and heart issues. And especially if starting after 60. It’s also very important what kind of estrogen you take. Estradiol, which is plantbased, is better for us than conjugated estrogens. Premarin. Premarin is made from the urine from pregnant mares. The mares are being abused in the process; horrible to read about. And transdermal is better than oral.
Nb! When you take ORAL estrogen, the total hormones become higher. The free hormones must be taken.
Natural progesterone is also better than synthetic. It’s also plant based, derived from the same plant as oestradiol, wild yam. It’s only the natural that is called progesterone, synthetic is called things like gestagen and progestins.
If you still have your uterus, it’s very important to take progesterone when you use estrogen. If not, the uterine wall might become thicker. It seems it’s mostly natural progesterone in pillform that has this effect on the uterine wall. Though my progesterone cream kept my uterine wall normal.
One does not find any increased risk of breast cancer when estrogen is combined with natural progesterone, only when combined with synthetic. Natural progesterone also has a beneficial influence on the cardiovascular system.
Testosterone is also very important for us women, not only for men. It’s important for sexual excitement, the ability to orgasm, muscle strength and our bones. And the ability to hold our water! Anyone having issues with that?😜
Basic guide for you who are new to thyroid issues
I wanted to make the guide I wish I had had. Way back when, more than 20 years ago. Knowledge that could have saved me a lot of suffering. Maybe I would have been more healthy today.
So it is my hope, this info will help you. Of course, there is so much info today, compared to earlier. But maybe there is too much info for someone new to this. I hope I can make it,if not easy, then at least possible to understand.
I don’t know how you are feeling at present. If you have just been diagnosed with hypothyroid, with autoimmune thyreoditis, have had your thyroid removed or maybe you are struggling to get a diagnosis. Maybe your doctor is dismissing you, but you feel sick and know something is wrong.
What are NORMAL thyroid levels?
Let’s start with that, what’s normal. Because it is not a TSH between 0,5 and 4,5, I can tell you that. I am not going into long explanations, I don’t believe that is what you need right now. But if you want more info on this, you can find it here.
Normal thyroid levels
TSH around 1,5
Free T4 a little under mid range
Free T3 around mid range
These are normal thyroid levels based on a study of 3800 people. But some might have a higher FT3 as well. But I don’t think many have a FT3 much under midrange . If your FT3 is just a little lower than this, you could try to increase your conversion, that is T4 to T3. As long as your FT4 is not very low, there is a possibility that you are just lacking some important vitamins, and especially minerals. Even if FT4 is low, Iodine, selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium might increase the production. Iodine is particularly important for the production. Selenium and Zinc for the conversion.
So have these minerals tested. Iodine must be tested in a 24 hour urine test, or better, the Hakala Iodine loading test. A blood test is no good.
Iodine is very important. If your FT4 is under 11 pmol/L (0,7 ng/dl), you are for sure iodine deficient. Iodine deficiency is a major cause of Hashimotos. Please read my post Iodine for beginners . I believe most hypothyroid are iodine deficient. Goiter and nodules are iodine deficiency.
Vit D is also very important. Needs to be 70, better over 100. Low vit D can gice a slightly elevated TSH, and a lot of symptoms.
What thyroid tests should I ask for?
If this does not help, or you know that you are hypo, and these measures will not avail. What tests should you ask for? What if the doctor will only do TSH, and he says, it’s normal?
As I wrote, a TSH over 1,5 is not normal. It might be a little higher if you are elderly. In Norway, it is adviced to always test Anti-tpo on suspicion of hypothyroid. But I am sure, many doctors don’t. In Denmark, only TSH is tested. I know this is the case many places in the world. But we have internet labs now, selling hometestkits. So get one of those if you have to.
Make sure to test early in the morning, must be before 9 AM. TSH falls, becomes lower, after that. So a TSH of 1 at 3 PM, would have been 3 or 4 at 8 AM. So, if you want the doctor to realize you are sick, this is vital. And many doctors and nurses are not aware of this fact. They believe, it does not matter when in the day test is taken.
What to test for:
TSH, Free T4, Free T3
What do all those abbreviations mean?
Yes, there are a lot of abbreviations flying around. Here are the main ones:
TSH, Thyroid-stimulating hormone. It’s only a signalling hormone. It does not affect our cells. The pituitary releases it to promt the thyroid to produce more T4 and T3 when blood levels of in particular FT4, but also FT3 are running too low.
T4, Total T4. When it says just T4, not a “F” in front, or” free”, it means it is total T4. That is T4 hormone that is bound, usually to TBG. It cannot work on the cells in this bound form. Most of our T4 is in this bound form.
Free T4, FT4. This is the T4 hormone that is not bound, it can be used directly. It will be converted to FT3.
Free T3, FT3 is the form of thyroid hormones that is actually used by the cells, the only active form.
Thyroglobulin, Tg is a protein that T4 and T3 is bound to in the thyroid. It is only inside the thyroid. If it is found in the blood, it must have leaked out.
Anti-tpo, Anti-thyroid peroxidase is an antibody to an enzyme inside the thyroid.
TRAb, TSH receptor antibodies. There are 2 kinds, stimulating as seen with Graves, hyperthyroid, and blocking as seen with hypothyroid.
Anti-Tpo and Hashimotos
Why is Anti-TPO important?
I don’t think you need to understand all about Anti-TPO at this stage. But it is very important to have it tested, as it shows whether or not you have Hashimotos, a form of auto immune thyreoiditis. And whether you have Hashimotos or hypo thyroid from other causes has a lot to say for prognosis as well as treatment.
One can have some Anti-TPO without having Hashimotos. But if Anti-TPO levels are high, then it is Hashimotos for sure. And even if they are not very high, if TSH is slightly elevated and FT4 low, then it is also probably Hashimotos you have got. You can read more about Anti-TPO here
NB! App 10% of Hashimoto patients do NOT have elevated Anti-TPO. they have only elevated Anti-TG. It’s important to know this, and most doctors don’t. That is why it’s important to test for Anti-TG. You can read more here
That is the first thing that happens. The thyroid is struggling to make hormone, and FT4 becomes lower. The body manages to keep the FT3 level up for a while. But in time, that becomes low as well.
Getting medicine when FT4 is low and you have antibodies, is very important. Don’t live with low FT4 and FT3. We become damaged from a low FT3. Levothyroxine also brings the Anti-TPO down.
It’s very important to get Anti-tpo down. Anti-TPO can over time contribute to the deterioration of your thyroid. Anti-TPO is not the main destroyer, contrary to what many believe. But it contributes. And if you are at the beginning of your disease, getting the Anti-TPO down might even reverse the disease process.
You want to do everything you can to keep it intact. It’s very important that we have our thyroid. Even if it at some point doesn’t manage to produce that much hormone any longer, it contributes to the conversion of T4 to T3 in the body. And you become tired from high levels of antibodies, from the high activity in the immune system.
The main thing to getting Anti-TPO down is to stop eating gluten. Many of us with auto immune thyroid disease (AITD) are gluten intolerant. Several studies show that not eating gluten brings Anti-TPO levels down. Sugar is also not good. I personally have no problem letting be gluten. Sugar is another matter. Even though I can feel, it’s not good for me. If I eat gluten, I get tired very fast, with an aching pain between the shoulder blades. There are many other symptoms you can get as well.
To have one’s selenium tested, and supplement if too low, is also very important. Selenium can get Anti-TPO down and it protects the gland. Some Norwegian doctors now say, the range for selenium is way to low. It should go all the way up to 3 ng/dl. Toxic levels are at 3,5 and over.
This stuff about Anti-TPO is one of the things I really wish I had known from the start. Plus optimal levels. Plus iodine deficiency. I went to an expensive, functional clinic in Oslo a few years into my disease. I had food intolerance tests, which showed that I could not tolerate wheat, rye or barley. The doctor then said, you can try eating spelt instead! What a mistake! If you cannot tolerate these other gluten containing cereals, you will not be able to tolerate spelt either.
What if I don't have a thyroid?
If you have had your whole or parts of your thyroid removed, then it is very important that you are not being underdosed from the get go. It’s a big deal, having our body’s power station removed. And if there has been cancer or suspicion of cancer, even more so.
So the last thing you need, is being left with too low thyroid levels. In Norway, they often start people who have had a thyoidectomy on 150 mcg. A common dose for people without a thyroid is 175 mcg T4 medicine. But in Denmark I often see people get as little as 100 mcg. And becoming very sick and under dosed.
If you have had only part of your thyroid removed, I believe they often wait a bit and see, how things turn out. Just keep an eye on it yourself. Look at your blood tests, and don’t live too long with low levels. I would think it would be better to give some medicine, and rather decrease dose if one becomes hyper.
It is important to know, that all thyroid antibodies are produced INSIDE the thyroid. So if we have no thyroid, or only a little left, antibody levels will come way down.
Is T4 medicine enough when I don't have a thyroid?
For some, T4 is enough. At least for a while. But many without a thyroid will need T3. Keep an eye on your levels. The thyroid produces both T4 and T3. How much T3 is individual. Many believe it produces 20% of the daily need for T3. But a study has shown, that it actually varies a lot, between 10 to 40%. so you can see, some will not be able to do without T3 medicine at all. The thyroid itself also helps with the conversion T4 into T3 in other parts of the body.
How do I know that my dose is correct?
You know because you have learnt where your levels should be. You ask for a copy of all your thyroid tests. And save them. You want the option to be able to go back in time. You are not leaving your health and your life in the hands of the doctors. We cannot do that, sadly. They are not competent enough.
And you take your temperature. That is the best test. In the daytime, it should be 37 C /98,6 F. Under, and your thyroid levels are too low.
Where should my thyroid levels lie when I take medicine?
Optimal levels on T4 medicine
TSH not over 1
Free T4 in upper third of range
Free T3 around mid range
I am talking about T4 medicine here. In Scandinavis one would never get anything but T4 medicine as a first medicine. And I think it is correct starting there. If it works, it’s so much easier and cheaper than anything else. But if you are starting out on NDT, you can see what’s optimal on that here
If TSH is over 1,5 on T4 meds, you are for sure under dosed. It’s best when it is not over 1. Some need an even lower TSH than 0,5.
Do I need T3 medication?
If your FT4 is high in reference, but your FT3 is under mid range. Then you need some T3. You can see how badly or good you convert by dividing the FT3 number with FT4. If FT4 is 19 pmol/L(1,47 ng/dl) and FT3 is 5pmol/L (3,2 pg/ml), then your FT3/FT4 ratio is 0,26. That is an ok converter. But if your number is 0,24 or below, you are a poor converter. And you will probably need some T3, either synthetic T3 medicine or NDT (thyroid).
But by now you have been sick for a while, and you will be able to figure things out. And you can read about it here, Optimal thyroid levels
Levothyroxine and Synthroid, these are the most common, and cheapest T4 mediations. Some get side effects from them. Aches and pains, tiredness.
Tirosint is another T4 medicine. It has only 2 fillers, and many do better on it than on the other two.
Cytomel and Liothyronin, Lio are both synthetic T3 .
NDT, Natural Desiccated Thyroid. It’s freeze dried thyroid from either pigs or cattle, porcine or bovine.
Being chronically sick
It’s quite difficult, realizing you have a chronic disease. You don’t just shrug it off and move on. There are many phases. Anger, despair, fear. Lots of emotions.
If you allow yourself to feel what you feel, I believe that is a good thing. It took me many years to get to where I am today. Where I accept that I am not a 100%, but I am still happy and thankful for life. At least sometimes.
I have some tips here, Living with disease
This is a translation of an article published in the Norwegian Journal for Physicians, Tidsskriftet, https://tidsskriftet.no/2018/03/kronikk/ostrogener-i-menopausen-p%C3%A5-tide-endre-anbefalingene
New studies show, that treatment with estrogen with start before age 60, are for the most part positive. It’s time to change the recommendations.
Reverse T3 is not the big bad wolf in our thyroid system. It is a necessary brake where FT3 is the gas pedal. We can get too much RT3 when we take more T4 medicine than we are able to convert to T3. Could be just too high dose, or that we don’t convert well. Other conditions can increase RT3 too much as well. It’s a good idea to test RT3 from time to time. But it is not necessary to test all the time.
I will look at myths and misunderstandings around RT3. for one thing, RT3 does not block T3 by occupying T3 receptors. Nor does it hinder T4 to T3 conversion. If there is a big bad wolf, it’s deiodinase 3, D3. It’s D3 who converts T4 to RT3, and who hinders T3 from attaching to the T3 receptors i the cell nucleus.
But there are no “wolves” in our thyroid system. Only participants with their own roles to play. And the better we understand the play, the more can we hopefully optimize our thyroid levels and feel better.
I will look at what causes too high RT3, and what one can do bring it down.
This is a post on high dose iodine. I have this post on taking smaller doses iodine as well, Iodine for beginners. That is a post on low dose iodine, safe iodine supplementation for people with their thyroids intact. Or other thyroid patients feeling uncertain of taking large doses of iodine. Small doses are safer, and starting low and increasing over time is the safest way of supplementing iodine. It’s an easy read, and I actually believe, everybody wanting to supplement iodine should read that post.
If we have little thyroid tissue left, we don’t need to worry about increasing thyroid antibodies. As all thyroid antibodies are produced IN the thyroid. You can read more about that in the beginners post and in my Anti-TPO post . You find info on iodine and the various thyroid antibodies in my antibodies series.
And I have a post with advanced info on iodine, Iodine for nerds Where I go into a lot of studies on iodine. Topics like, “is all iodine converted to iodide in the gut?”, “molecular iodine vs iodide in the body”, “iodine as antioxidant and anticancer”.
The Wolff/Chaikoff effect
Since I began reading about iodine, I have realized, so many are iodine deficient. Myself included. In 2007, I was a patient at a national center for thyroid disease in Oslo, Norway. Chief Physician Ingrid Norheim told me, avoid all kinds of iodine. Don’t take a multivitamin containing iodine. I listened and believed her. She suffered from the iodine fear or fobia that has plagued the world the past 70 years. Ever since Wolff and Chaikoff’s study from 1948, link to the Wolff / Chaikoff study. The study says that big doses of iodine that exceeds a certain level in the blood, 0,2 mg/L, will hinder inorganic iodine from organification inside the thyroid, that is, there will be less thyroid hormone produced. So one will become hypothyroid. G.E. Abraham, the doctor who started questioning the iodine fobia, says these rats that were given large doses of iodine, didn’t become hypothyroid. And their thyroid levels weren’t even measured, not before or after the iodine was injected, link to G.E. Abrahams article.
And yes, you read right, injected. The rats were injected with large doses of iodine. Nobody injects iodine. That must be a shock to the system.
And the doses were also very hefty. These rats thyroids normally contain 10 y (incredibly small weight unit). They were given up to 500 y Iodine intravenously. This would be the same as injecting humans with 500 mg Iodine as far as I have been able to calculate. An average thyroid contains app 10 mg iodine, but can hold more.
In addition, they were injected with radioactive iodine. They claim, the doses were too small to cause harm. I cannot evaluate that. Doctors treat hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine all the time, claiming it causes no harm. Nevertheless, people become hypothyroid from the treatment. I don’t understand why they keep on treating with radioactivity when there are other options. The radioactive iodine can not only potentially harm the thyroid, but it can harm iodine receptors throughout the body.
But despite all these reservations, there is such a thing as the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. The thyroid does get flooded when there a sudden influx of iodine, and shuts down. But it lasts max 48 hours! After that the thyroid “learns” how to just absorb the amount of iodide it needs. Many later studies have shown this, and also studies where they feed the rats iodine the normal way, through the mouth. This does not mean, large doses of iodine can’t be harmful.
This is the big reason why the world, that is, the medical world, has developed an iodine phobia? Believing that getting anything over 150 mcg is really dangerous? And even more so for thyroid patients? OMG! It’s too stupid for words.
Of course, there is also the question of thyroid antibodies. But most doctors know shit about that . They just repeat some medical myths that are being passed down, without ever having read a study or anything else about it. The same with iodine.
The antibody most likely to increase with iodine supplementation after being iodine deficient, is anti-thyroglobulin. I write about iodine and every thyroid antibody in my antibodies series.
Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Flechas
Dr. Brownstein and dr. Flechas are the two main doctors when it comes to alerting the world to the fact that too many are iodine deficient. Both have many good and informative videos on You Tube. Dr. Brownstein has a book “Iodine, why we need it, why we can’t live without it”. It is good and informative. I find that the studies and books he refers to, are very old though. Most of the books are books we can’t assess.
These two doctors have done groundbreaking work, and are, besides Dr. Abraham of course, so important for the big changes in attitude we see now. Where more and more people realize, they are actually iodine deficient. And that this is the underlying cause for their thyroid issues, fibroids and cysts in breasts and uterus, even cancer in these areas, as well as the prostate. Among other things.
But I get the impression that they don’t believe in the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. I may be mistaken, maybe they just don’t believe that it is very detrimental. I can’t figure it out. Please leave a comment if you know more than me.
Today there are many scientists who are very interested in iodine and iodine deficiency. One is Michael B. Zimmermann. And there is a whole community of female scientists in Mexico who are doing very interesting work. Delgado, Aceves and more. They recommend, that the recommendation should be 3 mgs. And many others.
NB! That does not mean, that everybody should jump to 3 mg right away.
Hypothyroid have lower iodine levels
It’s not like hypothyroid people have higher levels of iodine in their bodies or thyroids. They have less. In an old study by Okerlund that Dr. Brownstein refers to, they used a special scanning method to see how much iodine the thyroid held. As stated above, in healthy people they found a mean value of 10 mg. In a group of 56 people with an autoimmune thyroiditis, but who still have normal thyroid levels, they found a mean of 4,7 mg. And in those who had an auto immune thyroiditis WITH low thyroid levels, they found a mean of 2,3 mg. So the problem is obviously too little iodine, not too much. And these results have been replicated. As Dr. B writes, the iodine intake has gone way down in the last 50 years, but the prevalence of auto immune thyroiditis has gone way up.
I suspect that not too many have read the actual Wolff-Chaikoff study. I have. It’s not open access, but I have it. I don’t understand, that a 70 years old study is not open access. If they had read it, they wouldn’t have taken this “effect” at face value. This is a very informative article on the whole iodine debacle, https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-diseases/the-great-iodine-debate/ Including the Wolff/Chaikoff effect. Lynne Farrow also gives a great overview over the history of treating with iodine in her book “The Iodine Crisis”.
If it is a elevated TSH that makes people believe, high dose iodine causes hypothyroidism, that is something one sometimes sees in the beginning of taking iodine. TSH can go all the way up to 30, with the free hormones not being affected. This is most likely because TSH has two functions. One is reporting back to the pituitary on the levels of the thyroid hormones. The other is in creating symporters. Symporters are the molecules that transport iodine into the cells. There are also other ways iodine enters cells.
The TSH will normalize within 3 to 6 months. But the free hormones can also decrease. Dr. B doesn’t mention that. But I see people report it in the iodine groups. And I myself has gone down on FT3. I don’t think that can be due to any Wolff/Chaikoff effect, as I have hardly any thyroid left. App. 10% after 20 years of AITD. But could be it affects my conversion. I wouldn’t think I convert that much though, as I get a lot of T3 in my NDT. I had to increase my NDT dose. Lots of things can affect thyroid levels, and I have always been up and down on my levels. But this decrease was much larger, I do believe was due to the iodine. It’s a mystery to me, quite frankly. UPDATE! 2 years later I could decrease my dose again, and I am now back to what I normally have taken in recent years.
I see in the iodine groups, there are other people whose FT3 has also come down. Some experience that it goes up, which is what all us hypo people want. Dr. Brownstein says, 1/3 will stay on the same dose, 1/3 will be able to decrease dose and 1/3 can get off thyroid meds altogether. I guess he forgot those of us who must increase our dose, ha ha. I believe he takes thyroid meds himself. Or I know he does. His daughter as well. They both take NDT.
But remember, don’t stop meds unless your free hormones are too high. If you are sure you are going hyper, then Dr. B says, cut meds by half. I see too many just quitting meds with no testing or signs of hyper. And of course, they get sick.
After many years of thyroid disease, you will not be able to quit meds. Your thyroid is either infiltrated by T and B cells, or it is shriveled up like mine. I see a lot of people who don’t realize this, and have unrealistic expectations.
It’s only when FT4 and FT3 stay normal, that one can assume, that new symporters are being created. Normal FT4 is a little under midrange, and normal FT3 is around midrange. I am talking about thyroid healthy people not on thyroid meds here. I have seen in iodine groups many times, that people who are really hypothyroid are being told, don’t worry, it’s normal. Here is an example I saw recently.
This person was told by an admin in the group, that she should read up on this with iodine and TSH. When everybody can see from her FT4, that she is VERY hypothyroid. Her FT4 is way under reference. She needs thyroid medicine asap. It’s very disturbing that an admin in an iodine group knows so little about thyroid issues. Sometimes I get the feeling, people want to “defend” high dose iodine and don’t want to hear anything about the risks. Not a wise attitude.
This is a person who most likely should never have started high dose iodine. She had been diagnosed with Hashimotos. She does not take thyroid meds, and has no trust in doctors. She knows nothing about high dose iodine. She might have damaged herself with iodine. She should have started on thyroid meds, dropped gluten, taken selenium and smaller doses iodine.
I often see this in US groups, people say, they don’t want to take thyroid meds. Please think again if this is you. It’s like saying, I don’t want to fill gas on my car. And except it to run. You damage yourself when you drag along with too low thyroid levels.
Iodine is one of those chemical substances called halogens. Bromide and fluoride are also halogens. These other halogens occupy the iodine receptors, and hinders the iodine uptake. Iodine is important for all the cells in our bodies, so this is serious.
There is a lot of bromide and fluoride in our world today. There is bromide in remedies for pools, in fungus killers, it has been used extensively in medicines, still in some asthma meds and medicine for incontinence. In The US they add it to bread, which is crazy. Fluoride is also everywhere. There is some fluoride naturally in water in many places, but fluoride is also added for caries protection. Dentists propagate strongly for fluoride, and we all brush our teeth with it. I do believe fluoride helps with tooth decay, but it makes us hypothyroid . Hypothyroidism is certainly NOT good for teeth, what with the dry mouth one often gets. Dentists say, it’s no problem as long as you don’t swallow. As if nothing gets absorbed in the mouth. Fluoride decreases the thyroid’s ability to concentrate iodine. And studies have shown, that this is exacerbated when one is low on iodine. Dr. B refers to a study on mice that shows this. I cannot link to the study, it’s from an old endocrinologists textbook from 1998. This is a criticism I have of Dr Brownstein, he refers to so many articles and texts that are either very old and or very difficult to access for other people.
But if you have ample iodine in the body, I don’t think using fluoride toothpaste is that harmful. Some people have poor teeth and need fluoride tooth paste. Others have strong teeth and don’t. I belong to the first group, unfortunately.
I have used a lot of fluoride. I have had bad teeth, I get cavities beneath the gums. Because I have a dry mouth, probably because of iodine deficiency. The saliva glands are some of the glands in the body that hold and use a lot of iodine.
So dentists have recommended, or more like told me to use strong fluoride products. And I have been accused by dentist’s assistants, of believing in conspiracy theories when I have said, fluoride is not good for the thyroid. One meets a lot of ignorant, arrogant people in this world.
I have tried using toothpaste without fluoride. But I get cavities. I use a toothpaste with calcium fluoride, not sodium fluoride. It is less toxic. Hard to find though. I use this one. You can find it in Europe as well as in the US. There is not that much fluoride in it, so I use a good dollop. https://himalayawellness.in/products/complete-care-toothpaste
Of course, if you have strong teeth, you might not need fluoride toothpaste at all. Most people taking high dose iodine would shun fluoride toothpaste probably.
One can get tested for halogens. I have done it. You find my test below. As you can see, I have some fluoride in me. I hope following The Protocol will detox these other halogens. That is one purpose of The Protocol, detoxing halogens.
I am not that stressed by having some toxins in me though. I am 64. Our world is full of toxins. What can you do?
- 50 mg Iodine minimum (Can start on 12.5 mg)
- Vit C, 3000 mg. Might neeed more to detox Bromide
- 300-600 mg Magnesium
- 200 mcg Selenium, evnt. Selenomethionine
- 500 mg Niacin (B3) x 2. Start on lower dose to avoid flush, buy “no flush”.
- 100 mg Riboflavine (B2) x 3. B2 and B3 are what is called ATP cofactors.
- 1/2 ts Celtic salt added to diet
- 1/4 ts Celtic salt in a cup of warm water, followed by a large glass of water, up to twice a day. As needed.
- In addition, adequate minerals and vitamins
- Very large doses of Calsium, 2 to 3000 mg a day hinders Iodine uptake.
- ATP cofactors increase Iodine uptae, and contributes to normalizing TSH. Which can become high in the first few months.
I hadn’t really intended to include the Protocol. But then I saw, it had not been translated into Norwegian. So included it in the Norwegian version. I have copied it from Lynne Farrow’s book. It’s the protocol that was decided on on The Iodine Conference in 2007.
It’s important to use Lugols Iodine. There are many brands. Lugols have both iodine and iodide. The different organs use different forms of iodine. Very many scientists write, that all forms of iodine are converted to iodide in the gut. I believed this as well. But I was mistaken. Not all iodine is converted to iodide before absorption.
Lugols come in many strengths. Here is the content in mg pr drop:
- 2% = 2,5 mg
- 3% = 3.75 mg
- 5% = 6,25 mg
- 7% = 8,75 mg
- 10% = 12,50 mg
- 15% = 18,75 mg
Some get nauseous from high dose Iodine, or get upset stomach. One can get it in tablet form as well, Iodoral. It’s gentler on the stomach. In Europe it costs a lot and is hard to get.
I cannot stress enough, how important it is to have good selenium levels when on the Protocol. If not, you can get an increase in antibodies. And it protects the thyroid. Many people are worried about having too high selenium levels. I see this a lot in the iodine groups. I did myself until I read this article by 3 Norwegian doctors, https://tidsskriftet.no/en/2020/11/fra-laboratoriet/selenium-trace-element-clinical-significance They say, the current recommendations are way too low. The good serum level is 3 µmol/L. Toxic level is over 3,5 µmol/L.
In the US groups, they recommend something called a RBC test, where they measure how much is actually in the cells. That is not something one can get where I live. They say a hair mineral analysis is the second best, better than a serum test.
Testing your thyroid levles
Testing your thyroid levels is a must when on the Protocol. Take a test before you begin, including Anti-Tpo and TRAb. And test often after that. You really want to make sure your thyroidlevels are ok.
TSH can become elevated, up to 30, without the free hormones, FT4 and FT3 changing. This can last for 3 to 6 months according to DR. B. He says, it is most likely because more symporters, Iodine transporter molecules, are being made. As mentioned, TSH has two functions, one is to stimulate thyroid hormone production. The other is to stimulate the creating of symporters. As the body gets more iodine, it naturally needs more symporters.
So you don’t need to worry about this temporarily increased TSH as long as the free hormones are ok.
Iodine induced hypothyroidism
Dr.B says, that out of several thousands of patients, they have only seen this in 2 patients. But it can happen. My FT3 has decreased. I don’t know if iodine induced hypothyroidism only pertains to those who had normal thyroid levels before. Not to us hypo who are already on thyroid meds. I will have to see as time goes by. I only have 10% of my thyroid left, so cannot really hope for being able to decrease my dose.
I find Dr. B’s claim hard to believe. As I have seen several people in iodine groups becoming hypo thyroid. They may have had an underlying issue before starting iodine, I don’t know. They may have been on their way to hypothyroidism. So many start high dose iodine without having their thyroid levels and thyroid antibodies checked. Then it’s difficult to know what’s what. But the fact remains, high dose iodine does make some people hypo thyroid. Your anti-TG can increase, and this is a potential risk to the thyroid.
I see in the iodine groups, there are others who have gotten a lowered FT3 as well. So whether you take thyroid meds or not, please follow your levels. I don’t want to stop taking Iodine because of that. I feel very good on iodine at this time.
Iodine induced hyperthyroid
According Dr Brownstein, this happens very seldom also. But it does happen. I see that in the iodine groups. I do think, Dr. B has a tendency to downplay the dangers of high dose iodine.
And if you have a hot nodule, an autonomous thyroid nodule, then don’t take iodine. Very important. The iodine will feed the nodule, and you will become even more hyper than you already probably are. Dr. B says, a nodule like that must be taken out before starting on the Protocol.
Iodine is not dangerous as long as one takes thyroid tests and follows one’s symptoms. I see so many in the various iodine groups who throws themselves into high dose Iodine without reading, investigating or testing. That can go very wrong. But please don’t blame the iodine, it is you yourself who haven’t done your homework.
If I had Graves, I would try to be followed by an iodine literate doctor. Those are hard to find, I would think almost impossible in Europe. But I do believe some US doctors do online counseling. I have heard, that Dr B charges a lot. Maybe some of the others in his clinic are less expensive. I would test very often, at the very least. But iodine has been used to treat Graves for a very long time. And it works. But please be very careful. Article on iodide treatment for Graves
I have my Anti-Tpo tested more often now. My Anti-Tpo has gone way down after I started iodine. It was 389>100 last summer. After a few months on iodine, it is 38>35. I don’t have TRAb. Remember, one can have Anti-TPO and TRAb at the same time. So have both tested. plus most importantly, anti-thyroglobulin. If one’s antibodies increase, then take it seriously and do something about it. In particular TRAb, because those are Graves antibodies. I took a new test now, 15th of June. My Anti- tpo had increased to 50>34. It’s still lower than when I started iodine. I was concerned about antibodies when I started on the Protocol, because I didn’t know at that time, that thyroid antibodies are all produced inside the thyroid. And so not an issue when you have as little thyroid tissue as I have.
Our iodine requirements
I trust both Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Flechas. But I believe they are wrong when it comes to how much iodine we need. They say, the Japanese get app. 12 mg a day. And that that is what we all should be getting. I don’t believe the Japanese get that much iodine in their food. This is a meta study, looking at several studies. They have assessed how much the Japanese get through their food, and also looked at urine excretion, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3204293/.
The result is between 1 and 3 mg a day. The official Japanese recommendation is max 3 mg a day. I think just common sense would tell us, 12 mg is way too high. Here is a table of the 3 most common seaweeds consumed in Japan:
As you can see, kombu contains a lot of iodine, the other two not so much. The average intake of kombu in Japan is 450 gr/ household/year. there are 2,5 members in a household. That would make for 0,5 gr of kombu a day. So 1,2 mg iodine from that. BUT more than 90% of the iodine can get lost in the cooking process. Other seafoods do not contribute very much Iodine. Cod e.g. contains app. 110 mcg iodine / 100 gr.
So I find it very unlikely that the Japanese get those doses. I think it is strange, that the Iodine doctors keep saying it.
I think I will be taking app. what the Japanese get long term. I see people in iodine groups taking large amounts, 50 to 100 mg a day for years. Some as much as 400 mg! I think that is a big experiment. It could prove very unhealthy. For one thing, it is a strain on the kidneys, filtering all that iodine out. Some people think, if a little is good, more must be even better. No, more is not always better. Be careful, use your head.
It varies very much, on what doses people start. Many do like me, and start on 1 drop 2%, i.e. 2,5 mg. If one has Hashimotos or Graves, one is usually a little cautious. I did not throw myself into it, at least. But if you have a thyroid still, smaller doses are safer to start with. See my post Iodine for beginners
The first thing I did, besides reading and watching Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Flechas on You Tube, was to test my thyroid levels and take an iodine loading test. Before I took my first drop of iodine. This is my testresult:
The spot test is the morning urine. A sample of that goes into a separate vial. After that, one collects the urine from 24 hours, take a sample and ship it. I believe only Biochorence.eu do these tests in Europe, https://www.biocoherence.eu/en/ . They ship the tests to Hakala labs. so it takes a few weeks. If you live in the US, you have Hakala as well as some other labs doing this test.
One can do an ordinary 24 hours urine test as well. The Iodine loading test is costly, at least here in Europe. In Norway one can have 24 hours urine test for free in the public health care system. In Denmark we cannot have that done. An ordinary serum blood test for iodine is no good according to the iodine doctors. But for people in Denmark and Sweden and other countries in Europe, we can find iodine test online. One place is Medivere
I was quite surprised that I wasn’t more deficient. 81% is not bad. Many have 40 or 50. I haven’t taken any supplements containing iodine since 2006. But I do have lots of symptoms of iodine deficiency. My skin on my body is very dry, it was scaly even; before I started on the Protocol. I have very little eyebrows left, particularly on the outer edge. I don’t hardly sweat. And then there is my hypothyroidism.
Some claim, one cannot really be sure of that iodine percentage if there is bromide and fluoride in the body. I don’t know about that. I haven’t seen it mentioned in the iodine books.
But I have later realized, that this first test didn’t show my actual levels. See more below, under test 2.
I became very, very tired when I first started iodine. When I first took 25 mg, I became so tired, I just had to lie down. People in the iodine groups said it must be detox. But I felt it was something more than that. I have had plenty of detox tiredness in my life. Others said it is an adrenal issue. That could be it. I reduced my dose. I actually use a pendulum to determine my daily dose. I am not sure I always trust the pendulum. But it has been a great help with the Iodine.
Note! One can get a lot of sensations around the thyroid in the beginning. That is very normal. It is believed, the thyroid soaks up iodine now it is available. Some can even see and feel it swell up. I have, as mentioned, only 10 % of my thyroid left. Even so, I could feel it for the first few weeks. If you are not hyper or hypo, and feeling otherwise ok, I would not worry about it.
For a couple of months, the pendulum said to take 1 drop, 2 drops, up to 6 drops a day. Some days nothing. The tiredness went away. After 2 months of that, it suddenly said 20 drops, i.e. 50 mg. And now I have been on that dose for several weeks with no issues. I have more energy most days than I have had in years. It’s difficult to define. It’s like I have more strength in the spine. I really miss it if I forget to take my dose, and leave the house “Iodine free”. I just realized, I need to keep some Ioderals in the car, ha ha.
I don’t think I will go beyond 50 mg. But I will update as I go along. You will find updates at the bottom of this post. Now in late June 2020, I have decreased my dose to 25 mg. I felt it was a little hard on the kidneys. I have read in the thyroid groups, people can get kidney issues. I would be careful if I had weak kidneys. Not take very large doses.
But you will go through detox. In the US, they have a lot of bromide in the body. Dr. B describes patients with bromide of 20. It’s a lot of talk of bromide detox in the iodine groups. One becomes tired, gets headaches, can get a red rash called Cherry angioma. It’s apparently a little more difficult to detox fluoride. One can get headaches, get palpitations and get agitated. I have actually felt a bit like that lately, minus the headache.
I don’t follow the Protocol to the T. I don’t take as much as 1000 mg B3 and 300 mg B3. You need to start lower at least. I would take 250 mg Niacin the first evening. Taking at night is a good thing in case of a Niacin flush. I got one of those in the beginning. I didn’t know anything about that, and got quite worried by the sudden, red itchy rash. I called , not 911, but in our Public healthcare system, one can call Emergency Medical Help, and talk to doctors and nurses for free at all hours. But it is not dangerous, and it passes in 30 minutes time. But uncomfortable. That is why I take 500 mg, and not 1000. It’s individual how much one flushes, and besides, you need to buy the no-flush kind. You might still flush. Your urine goes very yellow from Niacin, so don’t worry about that.
What these ATP cofactors do, besides enhancing the iodine uptake, is give you energy. I take 500 mg Niacin at night and 100 mg B2 x 2 throughout the day.
I take about 3000 mg vit C. I do a powder, so don’t know exactly. I get a lot of acid from vit C. But this one is ok for me, link to Ester-C powder . Remember, I never make anything on products or services I recommend. It’s only in order to help.
NB! Ferritin can go down when you do high dose iodine. So keep an eye on that.
I already use a lot of celtic salt in my diet. So I haven’t added anything more. I have done the salt loading procedure several times. I have never had the copious urination they talk about. The salt loading is supposed to push bromide out of the body. You do it when you feel tired and headachy, detoxing. I have felt it helps even without the urinating. But could be I don’t do it the right way.
I think high dose iodine is something you intuitively feel whether you should do or not. I saw people write about it in some US groups, and I felt interested immediately. I felt the same with the LDN. When I get that feeling, I go for it. I feel. iodine is good for me. I feel stronger, most of all. My dry skin is much better. I am sweating a little again.
If you feel the same way, I think you should try it. But do your homework. Don’t start until you feel ready. Good luck!
As you can see, I am not happy about my 1 year test result. Very disappointed. My iodine saturation had gone down to 65% from 81%, and my bromide had increased! OMG!
Turns out my first test was what they call a false positive. That my body could not absorb iodine properly, and it just went right through. That’s why many don’t test until they have been on the Protocol for a while. I am still glad I took the test before starting though. I needed to know my fluoride level. And that is the only upside, that at least has gone down somewhat. And fluoride is apparently the hardest to get rid of.
I think maybe the increase in bromide is due to a new sofa and curtains.
It’s quite depressing. And it says my NIS system is faulty. That would have been no surprise on the first test, but why is it poorer now than before I started? It also says further down, that my fluoride intake is too great. But I didn’t use fluoride toothpaste in that year between the two tests. I don’t know where I would have gotten it from.
My creatinine level has also increased, indicating that my kidneys are overworked. I have gone down on my iodine dose. I can feel my kidney, the right one. I had started taking only 500 to 1000 mcg Nascent Iodine.
But revising this post now in December 21, I am going to increase till 3 to 4 mg. As I now have read studies indicating, that it is first at 1 mg of molecular iodine that it has a real anti oxidant function. And 3 mg of molecular iodine that you see the anti cancer effects. I have more on this in my nerds post.
Lugol’s contains 2/3 iodide and 1/3 molecular iodine.
How do I feel?
This may sound pretty grim. But when all is said and done, I am feeling much better for taking iodine. I feel stronger, stronger in my spine. I was puzzled by this feeling in my upper back when I started out. Until I read, we have NIS, symporters in the upper part of the spine. Iodine is important for the spinal fluid. My skin is MUCH better. It was scaly before. My nails are better. My eyes are less dry. I don’t know if you know, but the tiny glands in the eyes secreting the tear film need iodine. So do the glands in the stomach secreting stomach acid.
I will take a Hakala test again probably. It’s very expensive here in Europe. I will update as I go along.
Update 13 october 2021
I am no longer on high dose iodine, I take between 3 and 5 mg now. I felt the large doses weren’t good for my kidneys. I am 64, my kidneys are 64. It doesn’t feel natural for me to take these supranatural doses for years and years. I love iodine, don’t get me wrong. I feel so much better for taking it. So much better.
I am more cautious with high doses for those of you who have a thyroid still. All thyroid antibodies are produced inside the gland itself. So it you don’t have much thyroid tissue left, you don’t need to worry about THAT at least. But if you have thyroid tissue, your antibodies might increase and iodine might also reduce your thyroid levels. I have seen people in the iodine groups damaging themselves with high doses. And I have seen many healing themselves with it.
I didn’t take the large doses of niacin either. I could take another flush. I flush at 100 mg, I cannot tolerate more than 50 mg. But I can take nicotinamide, and I take 1500 mg of/day. I don’t know if it works as well as niacin, but it’s the best I can do. Plus 1500 mg of nicotinamide has been shown in studies to alleviate fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
I will always just relate what I do myself, and studies that I read and knowledge that I gain. I only want to help others make more informed decisions for themselves. We are all different.
I want to warn against this site. I bought from them, but nothing was shipped. They did not reply to emails or chat. It was first when I had reported it to my bank as fraud, that I got a shipping notice. That was many weeks after ordering. I did get my products, but don’t think I would have if it wasn’t for the fact that I reported it.
Dr. Brownstein’s site, https://www.drbrownstein.com/
Lots of studies by G.E. Abraham, https://www.optimox.com/iodine-research
Great info on iodine and related topics on Hakala labs, plus the Iodine loading test, https://www.hakalalabs.com/
The iodine loading test here in Europe, https://www.biocoherence.eu/en/shop/
My own post with a lot of studies on iodine Iodine for nerds