Category: Health

Iodine for nerds

This is a post with more advanced info on iodine. It’s not the right post for you, if you just need some basic info on supplementing with iodine. I have a post for beginners, that I actually think everybody taking iodine should read, Iodine for beginners.  That is on how to supplement iodine safely, and special precautions in terms of the thyroid and thyroid antibodies.

I have a post on the iodine protocol as well, that is, the protocol for taking high doses of iodine, The iodine protocol

Abstract

This is long post, so I have put in some links. So that you can scroll to what might be of particular interest. This is a post I will probably revise and add to as time goes on. I haven’t included THAT much on iodine and cancer. But some. There are a lot of positive findings on iodine and cancer. But the post would just become too long. There is a lot of info on cancer in some of the studies I link to though. 

The Wolff-Chaikoff effect

Is iodine converted to iodide in the GI tract?

The differences between iodide(I-) and  molecular iodine (I2) in the body

Povidone iodine (and Covid)

Antioxidant effects of iodine

How does iodine enter the cells?

Mammary glands and iodide vs iodine

Iodine and the immune system

Can thyroid hormones be produced outside of the thyroid?

Continue reading

Iodine for beginners

This is a post for you who maybe know, or suspect, you suffer from iodine deficiency. But at the same time, you may be scared of supplementing with iodine. In this post, I won’t be referring to heaps of studies, as I want to keep it easy and assessible.  But everything I write, I have read in books or studies. Except when I write “I believe” or “I think”.

Iodine deficiency

A lot of people suffer from iodine deficiency. And even more so us with thyroid disorders. Iodine deficiency is the number one reason for thyroid disease. I am not saying it’s the only reason. There is an almost phobia of iodine in the world, you can read more about that here

At the same time as we often get too little iodine, we have big issues with other halogens occupying the iodine receptors. Iodine is a halogen, and toxins like fluoride, bromide and chloride can occupy the iodine receptors. This happens less if we have ample iodine in our bodies. 

We get a lot of fluoride in our tooth paste. Bromide from our furniture as flame retardant. In the US, they apparently even add bromide to bread! Which is very difficult to understand. In some countries, chloride is added to drinking water, and of course, it’s in our pools. 

Deficiency symptoms

  • Tiredness
  • Freezing
  • Weight gain
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Hair loss
  • Low stomach acid
  • Dry eyes
  • No sweating
  • Goiter
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Fibromes and cysts in breasts and uterus/ovaries
  • Brain fog
  • Low IQ and in worst case scenario, cretinisme in the fetus 

Of course, many of these symptoms are symptoms of low thyroid levels, and will disappear as we become euthyroid, have good thyroid levels. You can read more about that here, For the thyroid newbie and here, Optimal thyroid levels. BUT far from all. Many with thyroid disease still have many of these symptoms DESPITE good thyroid levels. Many believe, even doctors, that the thyroid is the only organ in the body in need of iodine. This is not the case. ALL glands in the body need iodine to function. Breast glands, ovaries, the prostate, the little glands excreting stomach acid, tear film and so on. 

So even if you now get thyroid hormones, if you are taking that, all these other glands in the body are not getting the iodine they need. 

NB! If you have a hot nodule in your gland, do NOT take iodine. The nodule might absorb the iodine and make even more thyroid hormone. And you will become more hyper. If you are hyperthyroid and you are not sure, whether you have a hot nodule or not, you need to be careful as well. A hot nodule needs to be surgically removed. 

Isn't iodine dangerous for people with Hashimotos?

This is the most common comment, that iodine is dangerous for those suffering from Hashimotos.  One of Norway’s better known endocrinologists, Ingrid Norheim, told me in 2007 that I should avoid ALL iodine , even the 150 mcg in multivitamins. I listened to her, unfortunately. I understand now, I was severely iodine deficient at that time, and had been for years. I believe she has become wiser.  I hope so at least.

There are two kinds of Hashimotos, the one that starts with goiter and the one without goiter. The latter is in reality Ord’s disease or Ord’s anthropic.  It was a doctor named Ord that diagnosed it, years before Hashimotos named the AIDT with goiter. Why do I mention this?

It’s because, with Ord’s, the gland atrophies. After some years, one has little or no gland. I belong to this group myself. While those with “real” Hashimotos can have a full size gland after years of disease. And it’s not the case either, as many say, that anti-TPO “eats” our gland. One can have high levels of anti-TPO for years without the gland decreasing in size. But it doesn’t function, it’s infiltrated by t- and b lymphocytes. And the TPO enzyme is damaged, you can read more about that here.

Why does this matter in terms of iodine  supplementation? It’s because all thyroid anti bodies are produced inside the thyroid itself. 

So if you have little or no thyroid tissue, you don’t have to worry about increase in antibodies when taking iodine.  There will be no antibody flares. You might have a little antibodies even if you have an atrophied gland. I have a little anti-TPO still.  But then I have some thyroid tissue left.

What about people WITH a gland?

When you have a gland, it’s wise to be a bit more careful. It’s not so much increase in anti-TPO one needs to worry about, but more anti-TG and TRAb. Especially the first.  According to a scientist called Michael Zimmermann, we don’t know if the increase in anti-TG is transitory or more chronic. I  recommend him as a serious investigator of iodine. He realizes the importance of iodine. 

What Zimmermann also writes, and which is important, is that one sees a sharp increase in anti-TG especially when someone has been iodine deficient for a long time, and then suddenly gets a lot of iodine.  One sees this when a country starts iodizing the salt. In the countries where they have started on a high addition from the get go, one has seen a big increase in anti-TG. Whereas in the countries where one has added iodine a little at the time, there has been less increase in anti-TG. 

One used to say, high levels of anti-TG didn’t matter that much. But now there are some studies saying, that anti-TG is more dangerous than one used to believe. It has a greater ability to kill thyrocytes than anti-TPO. I write about this here.

This is why I advice starting low and increasing over time if you have a thyroid. And especially if you have functioning thyroid. If you have had Hashimotos for years, your thyroid does not function anymore. Which is why you need thyroid hormones. The gland will be infiltrated, and it will never be healthy again, I don’t think. In that case, there is no danger of further damage to the gland by ingesting Iodine. The gland is already destroyed, more or less. After many years of thyroid disease, I think everybody deserves an ultra sound of their gland. It’s the only way of truly seeing the state of the gland.  

If this is the case with you, you have to decide if an increase in antibodies would worry you or not. High levels of antibodies are connected to symptom load. High dose iodine can clear up thyroid antibodies as well. But you never know which way it will go. 

If you are just in the beginning of thyroid disease, you have  anti-TPO and/or anti-TG over range. Or your FT4 is becoming too low, under 40% of range, then I think “low and slow” is the safe way to go. If your thyroid is healthy, and you don’t  have  thyroid antibodies over range, then it’s much safer to start high dose iodine. As long as you take selenium. IT’S WHEN YOU ARE IN THE BEGINNING PHASES OF THYROID DISEASE THAT YOU REALLY NEED TO BE CAREFUL.

The problem is, that’s it at this stage many start high dose iodine. In the hopes of fixing their beginning thyroid issues. And we often know very little about thyroid disease at this stage. Things can go wrong, and I see it happening in iodine groups. People damage themselves with iodine. I hope my warning voice reaches someone. And remember, I love iodine and take it every day. I am not an iodine phobic. But better safe than sorry! 

Dosing

Those with a functioning gland should start with 2 to 300 mcg. I see, Kris Kresser starts his patients up on 325 mcg. Test antibodies BEFORE you start. then follow up with frequent thyroid testing including for antibodies in the first months. Then you can’t go wrong. Increase dose when you feel safe about it. See under for safe max doses. 

Lots of people with a functioning thyroid gland can do high dose iodine. But if you want to make sure, you don’t damage your gland, then starting low is the wise choice.

Those without a functioning gland can start on higher doses. You can do the Iodine protocol if you feel like it. If you feel safer supplementing lower doses, start with 3 to 500 mcg, and increase over time. I think one can safely take up to at least 2 mg without issues, see below. When one does the Iodine protocol, one can get detox symptoms. It can also be hard on the kidneys with all that iodine  And one needs to really study before starting on large doses. You can read more about the Protocol here.

What iodine to take?

Take a supplement where you can see the exact content. If you take a sea weed supplement, take one where the amount of iodine is listed. I see in American iodine groups, that many consider sea weed to be full of toxins. I believe this fear is exaggerated. We get so many toxins, I don’t think small amounts of sea weed is the biggest culprit. Some swear by nascent iodine. Others by Lugol’s. Taking a supplement with little iodide is safer for the thyroid, iodine is less absorbed by the thyroid. I write about that on my nerd’s post here.

Lugol’s contain both iodide and iodine, 2/3 iodide and 1/3 iodine. It’s high dose iodine, but one can dilute it to smaller doses. I guess it’s difficult to get an accurate, small dose. Seaweed contains both iodide and iodine. i don’t think one should take iodide only, potassium iodide, I-. Iodine is also more antioxidant.

Selenium

Selenium is the most important thing when taking iodine. Do not take iodine with poor selenium levels. Selenium protects the thyroid. All enzymes involved in the production of thyroid hormones and hormone conversion, are selenium enzymes. I read an article in The journal of the Norwegian  physicians, written by 3 doctors, the current reference range for selenium is way too low. They argued, that we need to have as high as 3 umol/L in serum.  Reference often goes to 1.8 or 1.9 umol/L today. And that it is levels over 3.5 umol/L that can be toxic.  You can convert these numbers to your units in an online units converter, https://unitslab.com/node/210. These doctors wrote, one needs to take 300 mcg/day to achieve such levels. 

Many have been worried about overdosing on  selenium, but maybe we can stop worrying about that at least. I have increased my selenium intake after reading this. 

Other supplements

On the iodine protocol, people take several other supplements. Large doses of niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2). B3 can give temporary flushing. One needs to buy the no-flush kind. Even then one can get a flush if the dose is high. These two vitamins are important for the ATP function in the mitochondria. I think it’s good for all hypo thyroid to have good levels of these two, as we have a metabolism dysfunction. But I don’t really know how important it is when doing small dose iodine. 

People also take magnesium and sea salt. Sea salt is important for detoxing bromide. When we take iodine, we can start detoxing the other, toxic halogens, fluoride and bromide. Which is a very good thing, but one can get detox symptoms. I don’t know to what extent this happens on low dose iodine. But just keep it in mind.

Testing your thyroid

Please take care to test your anti-bodies if you still have a thyroid. Anti-TPO, anti-TG and TRAb.  You also need to keep an eye on your thyroid levels. they can both increase and decrease. Your thyroid can start producing again, and you can become hyper. In that case you will need to decrease your thyroid meds. And that is just great 😃 I have read some people saying, if you go hyper, that is a sign you take too much iodine. NO, it’s not. It’s a sign you take too much medicine. If you are not taking thyroid meds, then of course, you should not go hyper and need to have your TRAb tested asap. You could have gotten Graves. And again, if you have a hot nodule, do not supplement iodine. 

Elevated TSH

If your TSH should go up, but FT4 and FT3 stay normal, that is nothing to worry about. The TSH is not actually just a signal hormone. It is also involved in making new symporters, the channels whereby iodine is channeled into the cells. The TSH can rise for a few months in this process. 

Your levels can also go down. My FT3 went down, I am sorry to say. I have to increase my dose. I have seen this also with other people in iodine groups. I was very puzzled by this, shocked even. But I read on Kris Kresser’s blog, that large doses of  iodine can inhibit all selenium enzymes, like TPO and all the conversion enzymes (deiodinases). That is, the enzymes converting T4 to T3. I guess that makes sense in my case. I don’t have much TPO enzyme, but I do hopefully have D1, D2 and D3 deiodinase. And these can have become inhibited. But at the same time, I take NDT and get a lot of T3 in my meds. And I certainly don’t convert well. But maybe there is conversion going on.

Maybe this become a bit complicated for you. The point is, keep an eye on your levels.

Temperature and pulse

The best thing is always to follow pulse and temperature. There is a difference between morning- and evening temperature. Some say, our temperature is individual. I don’t believe that. I think our evening temperature needs to be 37 to 37,2 ° C/ 98,6-98,9 ° F. Taken inside the body, vaginal or rectal. Concerning pulse, so many hypothyroid live with too low pulse. I did myself for years. I personally am good when morning pulse is around 68, and daytime pulse around 78/80. Morning pulse at 60 or under is in my view hypo thyroid. Unless you are an athlete 😉

Iodine testing

Iodine needs to be tested in urine. In serum is no good. There are various ways to do it. The best test, is the 24 hours iodine loading test. In the US you can get it from a couple of labs, Hakala is one of them. It’s quite expensive. We can get the Hakala test here in  Europe as well, from Biochorence.eu. It costs a lot. Many labs offer 24 hours test where you just collect the urine for 24 hours, and include the morning urine. then send off a sample. And there is urine spot tests, which is the morning urine. I think the 24 hours is better. Some say  no iodine testing is accurate. I am the kind who like to test things. I have only taken the Hakala test so far. But if I took a 24 hours test, I would want to lie high in range. Excessive even.

Here is a table of 24 hours testing from Zimmermann, link

Table 2Epidemiological criteria for assessment of iodine nutrition in populations based on median urinary iodine concentrations4,9
 Iodine intakeIodine nutrition
School-aged children and adults
<20 μg/LInsufficientSevere iodine deficiency
20–49 μg/LInsufficientModerate iodine deficiency
50–99 μg/LInsufficientMild iodine deficiency
100–299 μg/LAdequateOptimal
≥300 μg/LExcessiveRisk of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disease
Pregnant women
<150 μg/LInsufficient..
150–249 μg/LAdequate..
250–499 μg/LMore than adequate..
≥500 μg/LExcessive..
Lactating women
<100 μg/LInsufficient..
≥100 μg/LAdequate

 I believe that those without a thyroid can safely take at least 800 mcg. As you see from the table under, the highest recommended intake in the US is 1100 mcg. The European scientific committee says 600 mcg, whereas WHO says 40 mcg pr kg body weight for pregnant and lactating women. That means a pregnant woman weighing 70 kg can take 2800 mcg. They don’t say anything about other adults. But they give very high levels for babies and infants. In Japan the upper limit is set at 3000 mcg.   

Table 1. Recommended upper intake levels for iodine
Age groupIOM (μg/day)SCF (μg/day)WHO (μg/kg/day)
Premature infantsNDND100
0−6 monthsNDND150
7−12 monthsNDND140
1−3 years20020050
4−6 years300 (4−8 years)250 
7−10 years600 (9−13 years)30050 (7−12 years)
11−14 years 45030 (>13 years)
15−17 years900 (14−18 years)500 
Adult1100600 
Pregnant and lactating women110060040
  • Sources: IOM, the United States Institute of Medicine;21 SCF, the European Union Scientific Committee on Foods;20 WHO, the World Health Organization.16
  • ND, not determined.

This table is from this study. It also says further down

The lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) proposed for iodine intakes based on these studies is 1700−1800 μg/day, based on a mild increase in thyroid‐stimulating hormone (TSH) that was not associated with clinical adverse effects

And as you remember, one can have an increase in the TSH for the first few months of iodine supplementation. And that this is a positive thing. 

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid of iodine. I have been taking large doses of 25 to 50 mg, as I wanted to detox fluoride and bromide. As well as achieving a good iodine status. I have been iodine deficient for a very long time. And it has certainly contributed to my Hashimotos. It’s a long time since I stopped sweating. 

But as I have said maybe too many times, high doses are not for everyone. Small doses ARE for  everyone, except those with hot nodules. It’s safer to take it low and slow. But don’t be so afraid of iodine that you don’t try supplementing. If you read this, you have a feeling that you need it. 

I feel much better after taking iodine for about 11/2 years. More awake, improved memory, warmer, my back is straighter, my skin is less dry, my eyes are less dry, sweating better.  Right now, in February 2022, I take 5 mg nascent iodine/day.

I see many in a Norwegian thyroid group I am in, who also feel better for taking iodine. 

We must have iodine!

Good luck!

odds-and-ends

Continue reading

Living with disease

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%.

Continue reading

Male hormones

Abstract

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.  

Continue reading

FEMALE HORMONES

Abstract

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?😜

Continue reading

ESTROGENS IN MENOPAUSE, time to change the recommendations?

Translation from an article by E.F.Eriksen, M.H.Moen, O.L. Iversen,

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.

Continue reading

THE IODINE PROTOCOL

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 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 deficiency, is anti-thyroglobulin. I write about iodine and every thyroid antibody in my antibodies series.

Antibodies, part 1, Anti-TPO

Antibodies, part 2, Anti-thyroglobulin

Antibodies, part 3, TSHR abs, TRAb

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”.

Elevated TSH 

If it is a elevated TSH that makes people believe, high dose iodine causes hypothyroidism, that is something one often 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. The free hormones can also fluctuate. 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, I do believe was due to the iodine. It’s a mystery to me, quite frankly. 

I see in the iodine groups, there are other people whose FT3 also has come down. Many 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.

Halogens

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?

The Protocol

  • 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.

Selenium

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

Antibodies

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.  

As I write over, you can read about iodine and thyroid antibodies in my antibody series.  Antibodies, part 1, Anti-TPOAntibodies, part 2, Anti-thyroglobulin

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.

My experiences

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.

Conclusion

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

Warning:

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. 

https://www.lugolsnaturals.com/

Iodine resources

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

© 2022 THYROIDBLOG.COM

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑