Why Salt is Not Enough- Clearing the Iodine Confusion

There’s mass confusion and paranoia about iodine, and that’s what prompted me to write today’s article. It actually dawned on me last night (while talking to a person with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) that iodine is used all over your body. She thought it was just used by your thyroid and read someone’s blog about it, and became very afraid to take it. It’s in salt, the “iodized” salt, but that is not nearly enough iodine for many of you.

Although iodized salt has been the most effective public health initiative to attempt to reduce iodine deficiency, and thus hypothyroidism (and cretinism), it’s not that practical. The advocates will say it costs less than 5 cents to “iodize” a ton of salt, but the opponents feel that the amount of iodine isn’t enough, and besides, you’ll get hypertension from all the sodium in salt if you try to use it for iodine replenishment.

So today, I want to clear up the confusion about iodine:

1) Iodine is needed and essential for your thyroid and proper thyroid hormone production.

2) Iodine is needed for proper conversion of T4 to T3 as well as utilization of thyroid WITHIN your cells.

3) Iodone is NOT just for your thyroid, it’s needed in all your cells, each and every cell has a receptor for it.

4) Iodine is especially important for your breasts and prostate. If you have a disorder with your breasts or prostate, the first thing you should do is check your levels of iodine, God forbid if it’s deficient your risk for reproductive cancers becomes much higher.

5) If you have a documented allergy to shellfish, or to contrast media used during imaging tests (MRIs, CTs), that is not an allergy to iodine. Reactions to contrast media are likely due to the high osmolar or ionic content of the actual dye. The primary allergen in shellfish that causes your allergy or anaphylaxis is called tropomyosin. I know many, many people who are deathly afraid of iodine supplementation because they’ve had a reaction to shellfish/seafood, but again, that is not usually to iodine.

6) If your primary source of iodine is from salt, by the time you get enough iodine, you’d have to eat so much salt that your sodium levels would skyrocket, not a good idea to depend on iodized salt for iodine.  Besides that, typical table salt is stripped of 80 minerals to it’s bare backbone of NaCl (sodium chloride) so it is nutritionally naked.  I carry my own unrefined salt in my pocket because table salt isn’t what I want to put into my body.

7) Iodine deficiency is associated with impaired mental development.

Consider Iodine Supplementation
Iodine supplementation can improve health on every level, however it’s not for every single person reading this today.
I don’t think you should take any healthy mineral randomly, not iodine, not magnesium, calcium, potassium, or  lithium. But if you NEED a particular mineral, then it’s okay, it change your life within a few days. Hopefully my article today will quell some fears.
How do you know if you need iodine?
Testing is possible. I will get to that momentarily.

Warning  signs of iodine deficiency (often coincide with signs of hypothyroidism):
Fatigue, weakness or apathy
Brain fog or mental disability
Dry skin or brittle nails
Hair loss
Depression or sluggishness
Congenital hypothyroidism (a.k.a. cretinism), this is when babies are born with severe mental challenges, they may be deaf, mute or have spastic disorders of their arms and legs. It occurs because mother is insufficient in iodine, and therefore thyroid hormone.

Since iodine is used all over your body, in all of your organs especially your breasts and prostate, you need to make sure you read this and forward it to every man and woman you love.  The truth is, TRILLIONS of cells have a receptor site for iodine and NEED it for their very survival.

Sadly, many of you are starving yourself of iodine because of fear. Perhaps you read about dangers of taking too much, or maybe you read that iodine is a radioactive mineral. (It is when it’s used as the drug for Graves’ disease).
But I assure you natural iodine -the type I am talking about today- is not radioactive, that is silly! It is as natural (and needed) just like other minerals including magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium,  chromium and others.
We are not afraid of those.

Whenever there is an area of radioactivity, like Chernobyl or Fukushima, everyone rushes to buy iodine, either SSKI, or Nascent iodine or other forms of Iodone, and they do that to protect their thyroid. You see, natural iodine helps to displace radioactive iodine. It’s a little more complicated than that, but the point is NATURAL iodine is needed as a form of protection from the radioactive sort. An article a few weeks ago in August 2015, was entitled, “Fukushima Disaster Causes a Dramatic Increase in Thyroid Cancer.”  There are at least 103 new diagnoses this year alone, which is staggering for the area. It’s not from natural iodine, it’s from radioactive iodine. Ah, but that is possibly what conjures up the fear. Natural iodine is protective to the thyroid gland, it does not cause thyroid cancer!

The fear surrounding iodine leaves many innocent people with uncomfortable conditions such as thyroid disease (it’s epidemic now),  prostate problems, breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease. When you test women with those disorders, they are almost always deficient.

Natural iodine is not the same as radioactive iodine which is used in Graves’ disease and also found near nuclear facilities.The body cannot thrive without natural iodine. Right now, I’ll share examples of how important natural iodine is to you, because I have a feeling no one has mentioned this before:

Iodine has well-documented research when it comes to healthy breast tissue and women will often claim iodine alleviated fibrocystic breast pain or breast lumps.

* Iodine may help shrink uterine fibroids; in fact, one of the very first conventional treatments for severe fibroids was to paint a woman’s uterus with iodine!

* There’s a correlation between reduced iodine and lower mental IQ. A developing fetus is particularly susceptible to brain damage if the pregnant mother is severely iodine deficient, so much so that there are initiatives all over the world to fortify pregnant and lactating mothers with iodine to ensure healthy brain development. According to Dr. David Brownstein, author Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, the amount of iodine in prenatal supplements is woefully deficient and what he calls “a public health disaster.”  The right amount of iodine is absolutely crucial to a pregnant or lactating mother because too much (as well as too little) will lead to hypothyroidism. Iodine has a very “narrow therapeutic index.”  I have many physicians reading this so I will now post the conclusion from April 2015, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, where researchers evaluated over 7,000 women:

“The upper limit of iodine intake during early pregnancy in an iodine-sufficient region should not exceed UIC 250 μg/L, because this is associated with a significantly high risk of subclinical hypothyroidism, and a UIC [urinary iodine concentration] of 500 μg/L should not be exceeded, as it is associated with a significantly high risk of isolated hypothyroxinemia.” Here’s the link for the study.

* Iodine deficiency is a risk factor for thyroid cancer. This has been shown in several different papers and trials, most recently discussed in Thyroid Research (June 2015). The right amount of iodine is crucial, too little or too much will harm your thyroid which sucks up iodine like a sponge.

* Iodine deficiency is well-documented and known to cause or at the very least contribute to hypothyroidism, goiters and autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s.

* Iodine supports testicular and prostate health so it’s important for men to get their levels tested and supplement if needed before BPH or prostate cancer occurs.

* Iodine status determines nodule growth. Most goiters and nodules are due to iodine deficiency; there are a subset of patients who may develop a goiter from “iodide” deficiency.

* Iodine supports our reproductive organs. There is a lot of research done on breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer and natural iodine. In 1976, Lancet concluded, “Increasing dietary iodine intake may reduce the risk of these cancers.”


What in the world is happening…
Initiatives to fortify foods with iodine have been ongoing in New Zealand, Denmark, the United Kingdom and other countries where iodine is actually revered instead of feared. According to the World Heath Organization guidelines, systematic iodine prophylaxis is recommended in women planning a pregnancy, during gestation and lactation in order to prevent maternal, neonatal and infantile consequences of mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency. I can only sadly imagine all the women in this country who fear iodine who become pregnant while deficient! Testing (properly) should be mandatory for all pregnant women.  Methylation testing should be too, but that will be addressed in another blog from me.

The low-salt diet advocated by many physicians may have certain merits, but all-in-all, it is a disaster for your thyroid. Not that “iodized” salt is the answer, I don’t think so, but natural UNREFINED sea salt with some color is! Everyone who is on a low-salt diet is probably iodine deficient. Did you know that low iodine is a contributing factor for AFIB, cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure?

The Problem With Salt
Aside from mass confusion and fear, we have the problem of salt. At the outset of this article, I told you why salt was not ideal.
Fortified “iodized” salt contains only iodide. That’s only half of what your body craves, in terms of iodine. The body needs BOTH iodide and iodine, there are two forms of the mineral.
Your thyroid craves the iodide form.
Your breast and prostate crave the iodine form.
That’s why high-quality forms of iodine supplements contain it in it’s COMPLEXED form.

But here’s the catch, if your body can’t convert the iodide to iodine, your breasts and prostate suffer.
That’s why supplemental forms appear to be more useful to certain people. If you try to eat more salt in order to get more of the mineral you will kill yourself because you’d have to eat pounds. Again, eating salt is not the most ideal way to get iodine into your body.

Another terrible problem is the US recommended allowance (USRDA). It’s horribly low at 150 mcg (micrograms).
In my professional opinion as a pharmacist, that is not nearly enough to support good health. All of you eat salt, go ahead and test yourself with a urine iodine test and see if you have enough. You may, but you may not. Which brings me to testing…

Testing Iodine
Urine. You can test your own levels of iodine with a urine iodine test. No blood is required. The skin patch test is extremely popular, however it is not too useful in my opinion. It’s almost like a magic trick because it will evaporate on pretty much every one.  This could lead you to think you’re low in iodine when perhaps you are not, what we call a false positive. So a 24 hour urine catch is a better way to evaluate iodine status than blood or spot urine.

Blood. If you want to look in the blood, measure your “thyroglobulin” levels, abbreviated as Tg. The thyroglobulin blood tests is a more sensitive biomarker of iodine status than thyrotropin or the thyroid hormones like T3 (triiodothyronine) and/or  T4 (thyroxine).  In a paper that reviewed 34 different articles, researchers looked at levels of urinary iodine as well as Tg levels. For the purpose of their review, a median Tg <13 μg/L and a median UIC ≥100 μg/L (UIC ≥150 μg/L for pregnant women) were used to indicate adequate iodine status.  They actually excluded all of the studies conducted in subjects with either known thyroid disorders or those with elevated Tg antibodies. All in all, they concluded that Tg was a good biomarker of iodine deficiency.

How can you become deficient?

Many things can cause you to become iodine deficient, let’s go through those now because they are shocking:

1) GOITROGENS – these are compounds found in foods that you commonly eat; consuming too many goitrogenic foods will cause your body to run low on iodine so moderation or avoidance for a few weeks is the key. The goitrogens suppress the body’s usage of iodine and thus, the formation of thyroid hormone. The most common goitrogenic foods include the crucifer vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Others include turnips, soybeans, alfalfa and cassava root. Cooking them helps by deactivating the goitrogenic compounds, but the problem is that many of you eat them raw, or they are in your greens drink powder mix, thus you are (over time) suppressing thyroid function by suppressing iodine.

2) Swimming pools. Yes, if you’re a swimmer, or you enjoy your hot tub a lot, the chlorine in your water will deplete levels of iodine quickly.

3) Showering with regular tap water, instead of one that has a chlorine filter on it.  How many of us reading today have a chlorine filter on our showerhead? Probably no one. It’s the same deal as swimming pools. Chlorine can also trash iodine levels because the chlorine competes for the same receptor sites as iodine.

4) Eating white bread, laden with bromine.  Bromine found in bread and steals iodine. Good time to tell you, cooking with vegetable oils that are brominated.

5)  I saved the best for last, DRUG MUGGERS! That’s my specialty, I have been writing and speaking about drugs that mug essential nutrients since 1999. I wrote the book on it. Did you know that common drug muggers of iodine are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world? Some of the offenders include fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Levaquin, Cipro, etc),  certain antidepressants and cholesterol medicines.

How can you get too much iodine?
1) By taking medications that are high in iodine. For example, the popular “Cordarone” or “Pacerone” known more commonly as amiodarone, is a drug used for cardiac arrhythmias. It’s extremely popular. It happens to have a very high dose of iodine. It can cause thyrotoxicosis.  The iodine content in 200mg pill of amiodarone is a whopping 75mg! That’s per dose!

2) Taking a thyroid supplement that has a lot of iodine in it. Many thyroid-supportive supplements focus on providing nutrients to help your body produce more thyroxine, so they are loaded with iodine. (FYI, my ThyroScript only contains only 500 mcg, which is half of 1 mg. That is relatively nothing, many supplements have 6 to 12.5mg of iodine, in a single pill!  So if you are wondering if you can take my Iodine Complex 6.25mg with ThyroScript, yes you can, if you are found to be deficient in iodine. Do you need to take both supplements? No, you do not, ThyroScript is a stand-alone supplement, it may be all some of you need for maintaining healthy thyroid function).

High doses of iodine, say those above 8mg taken daily, may be  okay for some of you, for a few days or weeks, but it’s not something I recommend on a long-term unless you are routinely monitored and woefully deficient. You would also want to have selenium on board, as selenium primes the body for iodine. Taking selenium is important, once that level is within range, it’s usually safe to begin iodine supplementation.  Taking iodine in the absence of selenium can be harmful.

While on the topic of thyroid, you may also be interested to learn that Mayo Clinic researchers tested over-the-counter natural thyroid supplements. This interested me because I actually make a thyroid supplement. Mine is non-glandular, by the way.  Anyway, in 2011, the research led by Dr. Bernet tested 10 different “thyroid support” supplements based upon their popularity among consumers.  They found that 9 out of 10 brands tested contained T4 (thyroxine).  At the dose recommended on the respective labels, four of the pills delivered would deliver T4 at doses that could produce about 9 to 91 mcg of T4 per day!

Keep in mind, a typical daily dose of prescription Synthroid (also a T4 molecule) ranges on average from 50 to 150 daily mcg. Some of the supplements contain T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be consuming drugs in my over-the-counter supplements, especially if I am already taking a drug!!!  Many of you take medications like Levoxyl, Synthroid, Armour and Nature-Throid, so taking a supplement with them could be very dangerous. That’s why I formulated a non-glandular supplement that supports peripheral conversion of T4 to T3, rather than trying to force your body into making more T4.  If this is confusing, refer to my book, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

Buying Iodine
If you’re deficient in iodine, and would like to buy a brand, you can ask your physician about what he or she recommends.  Many of you will also be asking me what I recommend.
So here’s what I look for.  I prefer you take iodine in a “complexed” form so it provides iodine and iodide.
The inert ingredients differ from brand to brand. Here are some excellent supplement choices that meet my approval:

1) Iodine Complex 6.25 mg (milligrams = 6250 mcg) by Script Essentials, that is my formula.
Learn more by clicking here.

2) I-Throid 6.25 mg (milligrams = 6250 mcg) by RLC Labs sold on Amazon here

3) Iodoral, 12.5 mg (milligrams = 12,500 mcg) sold on Amazon here

Knowing how much to take can be tricky so I suggest you get your levels tested, don’t over do it iodine, just take what you need until your levels rise to normal range.
You may feel better because as the iodine binds to the tyrosine in your body, it forms thyroid hormone so your symptoms of low thyroid may disappear, that is one way to know that you have enough. I would stop at that point, not just keep taking it forever and ever.

Like any good thing, too much is incorrect for your body. If I had a specific dose that would work for millions of you reading today’s article all over the world I would offer it gladly, but unfortunately, you are each unique. Some of you may respond to 100 or 200 mcg, and others will need 12 to 24 mg!  I have no way of knowing what is right for you based upon your lab work.  This kind of thing is to be determined by your doctor, if only through testing every 3 to 4 months.


157 Responses to Why Salt is Not Enough- Clearing the Iodine Confusion

  1. Jay March 20, 2016 at 2:56 am #


    This is what others are saying about the goitrogenic…that it isn’t true.

  2. Shirley Ward November 3, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

    I am still confused about whether or not to take iodine as I have heard that people with Hashimotos should not take it until there antibodies have returned to normal levels, even though the thyroid in general needs it. Is this true?

    • Suzy Cohen November 4, 2015 at 6:12 am #

      Click on my shop tab, then click on FAQ tab on the left hand side. A page will open that explains the iodine-hashi link.

  3. Barb Dyjak November 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

    I have had blood tests to determine iodine levels, but in trying to convince my adult children to do this, they posed a question to which I don’t know the answer. There is a school of thought that says a skin test is a good indication of weather you need iodine. That is, painting the skin on your forearm with medicinal iodine to see how quickly it absorbs. If it lingers for a day or so, you are good. I know this is not a substitute for a blood test, but is it even a reliable indication?

    My sister, whom I now care for, was born in the 1950’s with congenital hypothyroidism, my grandmother had a goiter. Most physicians only know thyroid supplementation, nothing about iodine. I use both.
    Thanks for your great contribution to the nutrition field, Suzy!

  4. Jackie Apel October 24, 2015 at 3:30 am #

    I reread some of your article above, and understand it a lot better too now that I have read the first few chapters of your Thyroid book.

    From my own experience, I do know that chlorinated water has bothered me in the past, and I actually placed a chlorine filter on my shower for that reason a number of years ago. Most recently, I do notice my tap water being very chlorinated since I have been sick with Lyme, and that it actually causes my eyes and ears to burn when I get water in them or if I get it into my nostrils, (like if I am washing my hair in the sink). This never used to happen to me, and I did not used to be this sensitive to the water in my faucet, prior to all of my complications with Lyme disease. But I am now highly sensitive to it. I used to be much less sensitive, (but still avoided swimming too much in a pool, for that very reason). Also noteworthy as an aside – I feel much better after a day at the beach, swimming in ocean water – most likely it has some iodine in it, as well as other nutrients (that we certainly don’t get in our swimming pools). I noticed a big reduction in the inflammation in my body too, just this summer after being at the beach in the salt water.

    Regarding some of the other things you mention in your article about benefits of iodine. Yes, I believe you are right that some extra iodine could help me. I do think the ThyroScript has helped me, but if the Iodine supplement might be something more I could benefit from, or try, then maybe I should just do that, even though I cannot get the urine test done. I don’t know who here in my area would do that test if my Lyme doctor won’t, so don’t know of any other way to do it. (Also, the DirectLab tests specifically say they cannot issue their tests to people who live in Maryland, New York, and one other state, so that doesn’t help much either).

    One more observation. Back in 2012, I tried taking Cytomel, because at that time it appeared that I was having a hypothyroid problem. I tried taking Cytomel because my alternative doctor in Seattle felt it would help me, but when I took it I had a major reaction to it. I turned completely white – chalky looking after taking it, due to some major in ability to process the medication at all, so I was unable to take anything, and left it alone. It appeared that my thyroid got better over the next year or so, and I was under the impression that all of my symptoms were just Lyme disease related, and/or adrenal fatigue, etc. I did not think there was anything else I could take, as I was under the impression I would be allergic to it, including taking iodine. But now after reading your article and book, I realize that this was probably an incorrect conclusion. I have added selenium into my supplement regimen though, just this past week, and will continue taking that so maybe it will help me – then perhaps I might be able to try your iodine supplement. It seems like it might be the missing ingredient.

    • Suzy Cohen October 24, 2015 at 6:15 am #

      I wish you well, it sounds like you know what you are doing, and you know your body well. Appreciate you sharing your story, and thank you for the thumbs up on ThyroScript.

  5. Jackie Apel October 24, 2015 at 1:15 am #

    Hi Suzy,

    I wanted to get back to you with an update after you had given me the advice on this thread regarding my thryoid problems, a couple of weeks ago. You looked at my thyroid test results, and made some recommendations. You said you thought the T3 looked good but that I may need to test for the iodine levels as well as looking at ferritin and one of the thryoid hormones, perhaps thyroglobulin, I think or maybe it was another one.

    I am now reading your book – it is really fascinating – and I am enjoying learning more about all the different thyroid problems, as well as how you explain the issue with the T3 not being distributed properly to all the cells of the body, and differences between T3 and rT3. I just wanted to tell you that I also looked into doing your DirectLab tests for the thyroid panel, but unfortunately the state I live in does not support the testing through them Maryland. This is not the first time I have run into this problem, unfortunately! But I did also ask my internal medicine doctor about the testing for iodine through 24-hour urine, as well as now, my Lyme doctor. Both of them told me they don’t do the 24-hour urine testing for iodine (anymore). Whatever that means, it isn’t available for me to test my iodine levels, so I can only go on the thyroid testing that my Lyme doctor will be doing upcoming in early November, through my blood work. I have asked him to try to duplicate the Direct Labs complete thyroid panel, so that he can test for all of it, and try to determine what exactly are my thyroid problems. I do believe I am hypothyroid, or “thyroid sick” as you describe in your book. The one thing that I have had a huge problem with were the cysts, but I think they have gone done a lot, and I have much less pain in my neck too, since I have been taking the ThyroScript formula. However, I did have to go cautiously and not take too much of that, either – meaning not two per day, but one every other day seems to be a lot easier for me. I have seen improvements (no more hair falling out), etc. but I do still have some really persistent problems that continue, and I think even though the cysts have gone way down, there is still some of that on the right side of my throat, and I have some other things that flare up – like difficulty swallowing, etc. I mentioned all of this before – I just have to be very careful what I put into my throat and digestive tract, but overall am doing a lot better with it. One interesting thing that has happened, is that this month I got a period – after three years without one. I am not sure what has triggered this, but presumably some hormones that were not working may be trying to start up again. I am 54, and the last period I had was about three and a half years ago. So, some of the hormones releasing did actually make me feel better for a day or two, but I am still having major struggle with my hormones, but they are a lot better. I was supplementing with Pregnenolone, and B5, as well as Optimal Adrenal, this past winter. I cut back on those, but I am really wondering if it is due to an improvement in my thyroid. Maybe you have some ideas on this? I was pretty sure that I was in menopause, but perhaps it was more a combination of hormonal deficiencies due to the Lyme disease, and the general mess my whole body has been in for the past four years. Anyway, it was just an interesting development, and the only thing I could think was that thyroid supplement was doing something positive.

    Well, if I get the complete thyroid panel done, I will let you know about that. I hope my Lyme doctor will do more testing on this. I have felt like my thryoid could have been seriously damaged – was even wondering about Hashimotos, but I really don’t know for sure what is wrong, but just that it has made some improvement, but still there is room for a lot more. Keeping my fingers crossed that I am however, on the right track!

    Thank you again for taking the time to write all of these wonderful books. They are really super helpful, and also really interesting! It is really neat that you have this knowledge and are sharing it with people. Thank you again for taking the time to read these blog posts.

  6. C Jenn October 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    I had a “serum/plasma iodine” test through Quest. Is this an accurate way to determine iodine sufficiency?

  7. Lynn Gorman October 21, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    Hi, if I take your thyroid support supplement, I should be careful about how much other B supplements I might be taking, correct?
    Thank you,

    • Suzy Cohen October 22, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      Some people do take ThyroScript with B vitamins.

  8. Bhavi Lymworth October 17, 2015 at 3:56 am #

    Hi Suzy, I noticed you did not address the fact that there are so many kinds of natural salt available now. I had eaten mostly Mediterranean sea salt ( harvested around 1980, before the water became so polluted), but now use Himalayan salt, as I understand it contains numerous minerals. I used Iodine for a while, but stopped when I began the Himalayan salt. I used to eat seaweed daily, but now feel concern for its growing environs….
    Thanks for all your helpful info, and your lovely, upbeat energy! Bhavi

    • Suzy Cohen October 17, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

      Thanks Bhavi, it was a long article. I’ve written about salt in many of my books and some other articles here at the site, so just put it in my search box to pull up those articles. Thanks so much for your kind words and post. (I am concerned too).

  9. Cecilia Bordres October 13, 2015 at 1:06 am #

    I really respect your research and information gathering for us. I’ve followed you for two years now, and learned a lot. Your article here is very interesting, so I should consider supplementing, if my urine test shows I need extra, OK. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My body doesn’t convert T4 to T3 very well. Lately, I finally am now with a clinic who will be testing things like iodine levels for me. Currently, I’m doing well taking a compounded Cytomel, only 2.5 micrograms 3 times daily. But, I must tell you about an experience with an iodine ‘supplement’:

    Three years ago, when I was taking Levothyroxine, I got to a point where I felt very hypothyroid with weakness, fatigue, and I naively went to new a so-called functional medicine doc who didn’t do any tests on me, and simply sent me home with a Standard Process brand of some kind of supplement that had the herb Bladderrack, which is rich in iodine. After 4 days, my heart was beginning to race horribly and I was trembling and couldn’t sleep. I suffered horribly like this for 24 hours. It was obviously too much iodine for me needs. I only weigh 110 pounds, so that must be a factor, as well. I just don’t need a lot. Doesn’t body weight determine a dosage needs ??

    • Suzy Cohen October 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

      Maybe your rT3 is high because it is converting in THAT direction. Look at page 18 of Thyroid Health, and the chapter on Transport.

  10. Emily October 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    I would have liked to see a list of food that contains iodine. I feed my elderly father dinner every day and would like to add something with iodine to the menu. Thanks.

    • Suzy Cohen October 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

      Please google that, it’s hard for me to cover every last detail. Seafood is high.

  11. Wanda Thursby October 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    My husband is on amiodarone for the heart arrhythmia after valve repair.He has been on it for over a year. I would like to know what to do to make sure he does not get overpowered by iodine. He takes selenium(200mcg ) a day. Is there anything else he should be doing? Thanks so much for all your wonderful knowledge .It’s great to have an advocate out there teaching us what we need to know to be healthy and happy. Wanda

  12. MS October 9, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    Hi Suzy, I have beein taking Armour, Thyroid (30mg) since a year. My Blood Test in Jul 2015 showed TSH as 6.31 miu/L 90.34-5.6) above hig limit and T4 level 6.5 pmol/L (7.5 -21.1) above high reference limit. My doctor asked me to take three times as much but I increased it to twice daily . My September Blood test showec TSH at 9.27 ! although the T4 improved slightly to 9.9 pmol/L.

    Is it safe fro me to take Thyroscript simultaneously or is there another option I can try? I have another blood test due in two months. I was also low on Ferritin but with Ferrous sulpahte supplement it has increased from 6 to 23 in two months.Pls help! I am almost turning bald, have patchy skin around my shoukders, and irregular period ( although I’m not menopausal). I am 46 years old, my fitness level is pretty good and so is my diet ( i think). I am a vegetarian. Any sugeestions in the change of medication would be great great help. I have bought two of your books btw 🙂

  13. Lyn Brogan October 8, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    6 months after being diagnosed with Hashimotos and taking 60mg. of Armour Thyroid I developed a complex cyst in my left breast and began bleeding from an ovarian cyst. I am 60 years old and have never had a history of cysts. The functional doctor that diagnosed me did not warn me that this could cause an iodine deficiency.

    After reading Dr. Brownstein’s book again and getting information from Life Extension Foundation’s data bank, I realized that my better functioning thyroid was requiring more iodine and most likely affecting my breast and ovaries. I also learned that I had a 200% greater chance of developing breast cancer at my age and not having had a history of cysts.

    I was treated so rudely by a breast surgeon when I refused a biopsy and dismissed as foolish by my gynecologist whom I thought was somewhat integrative. No doctor I talked to had ever heard this. It was a very frightening time. I did not want to spend $200 for the 24 hour loading urine test so I just bought seaweed and began eating it every day. The bleeding stopped soon and the breast cyst was smaller in 4 weeks. I just had another breast and pelvic unltrasound a year later and there is nothing there. I am clear.

  14. Anna October 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Thanks for the great info. Where and how do I get a urine test to check my levels?

  15. lucille Ward October 8, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    I have hashi’s and I am on Armour 135mg. My thyroid has had nodules in the past. When I start taking Selenium and zinc two disappeared and one shrink. But I was always having flare ups.
    I started putting 2-3 drops of LS Crow lugols iodine in my Lemon water in morning. I feel great and so does my thyroid.
    I did not take a urine test. What are your thoughts.
    Thank you
    Love your newsletters!

  16. Machelle October 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    I have all of your books and read all the articles you send. Thanks for all you do!

  17. JOANIE October 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Iodine is not feared by the public, and yet they may falsely believe table salt is enough – propaganda does that. In fact so many people wanted to supplement with it after Fukushima, the gooberment took it away from the public. This is the same little g, (not God but playing one) that provides us with chlorine, fluoride and forced vaccines – they are the cause of deficiency. The US RDAs are low for all vitamins, then they’d be admitting vital minerals are for self repairing not drugs and thus, the gig (medicine) would be up!… One can on longer buy tincture of Iodine without a doc’s prescription. They now have fake iodine on the shelf, which may have some or no iodine, no longer the tincture, iodine as the main ingredient. It is my understanding, putting this on ones skin, how long it stays or not, is a sign of deficiency.

    I spoke with a pharmacist about the missing iodine tincture (BTW another intelligent one :”) and because he knows of its importance, he sees that the drugstore is stocked with iodine supplementation because he takes a 12.5 mg daily, though they no longer by law can carry the tincture – he directly blamed the rush on iodine after Fukushima and thus “g”, taking it away. He showed me the bottle (from behind the counter) for 45$, by prescription only.

    I read somewhere a sign of deficiency was trailing-off eyebrows or missing eyebrows. My mom started painting hers on (they were all gone) by age 50 and she was dead from cancer by age 72, but was knowingly fighting it for 10 yrs. When I learned that I made an effort to supplement (my eyebrows are trailing off) though I should have years ago for I’ve a long list of symptoms – that included cold extremities (keeps me cool in summer) dry hair and nails, and a brain fog from time to time and lethargy. I now notice people with a hoarseness seems to be very common.

  18. Vickie October 7, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    What about iodine plus 2? Is it safe? Is something better?

  19. Avril Berthelot October 7, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    Hi Suzy,

    Thanks for this most interesting article…I have Hashimotos and my last reading of TG was 193 U/ml. How does this relate to the measurement used in your article? Is there a conversion table?


  20. Jackie October 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

    Hi Suzy, thanks for a great article! I was just thinking about this exact topic the past few days and I am so confused! I have Hashimoto’s and elevated TPO antibodies. I am taking thyroid hormone. My iodine has been low ever since I first got tested for it (through a blood test) two years ago. I have tried supplementation but it doesn’t seem make my levels rise. One of my doctors wants me to take iodine and the other says that taking iodine when you have Hashimoto’s will make the autoimmune attack worse. I have read a few books that say that taking iodine when you have Hashimoto’s is a bad idea but they never say whether this is still the case when you are very deficient in iodine and have Hashimoto’s. I don’t know whether taking iodine would be helpful or harmful for me. Please could you clear this confusion up for me? Thank you!

    • Suzy Cohen October 7, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

      I explained about iodine and selenium in the article already, you may have missed it.

  21. Deanna October 6, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

    Thanks for this article, Suzy.

    Is there somewhere a person can order a 24-hour urine test for themselves? I was told to take I-throid every other day based upon a spot urine test. I’m also taking WP Thyroid.

    I was told I didn’t need to take selenium, because the practitioner doesn’t think I have Hashimoto’s. But I am wondering if that is correct – partially because of past symptoms. I’ve only had antibody tests twice (both in the past few months), and they came back very low. But I think I’ve had thyroid problems for at least 15 years.

    Would an ultrasound help to rule out Hashimoto’s, and possibly help me decide if I should supplement with selenium?

    Thank you!

    • Mimi October 7, 2015 at 1:29 am #

      This is Mimi, Didn’t dream you would reply with this article on iodine. I am honored.
      My primary doctor is a advanced practical nurse, who prescribes mostly natural
      supplements if possible. I’m taking prolamine iodine 3mg 2 times a week and a
      natural thyroid medication.

      • Suzy Cohen October 7, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

        Told you I would 😉

  22. Joan H October 6, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    I am a nutritional therapist that has read the research (Brownstein and Abrahams) and have taken Iodoral myself and tested a few patients with the urine challenge test. However I cannot find whether it is safe to suggest when patient is on Levothyroxine (Eltroxin here in Ireland) so I hesitate when they are under endocrinologists even though many times they have not even had antibodies tested before the prescription which they are told is for life. Help?

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

      Iodine intake (like every mineral) should be based upon the body’s levels of it.
      If you’re patient is low, you give it.
      If they are normal you don’t.
      The trouble and confusion occurs when people and doctors try to give it based upon a symptom.
      That’s like giving lithium to a person because they sometimes have panic attacks. You just can’t do that. Make sense? That’s why it doesn’t matter if they are on Levo or not, iodine is given if the patient is low and it’s that easy (Levo or not).

  23. Greentree October 6, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    How much of kelp powder to eat for iodine? Is just one small sprinkle on my food once a day enough? You got back to me but didn’t answer my question. Thanks.

  24. Linda S. October 6, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

    I have Hashimoto’s and according to an iodine loading test, am low in iodine. The problem is I can’t tolerate any iodine supplementation and have a massive reaction to it. Kelp tablets are the same. I eat sea veggies in dried sheets and shrimp to try to bring it up, but it barely brings it up. I having been taking 200 selenium for several years and my antibodies are almost undetectable. It was when I gave up dairy that I have had trouble with being low in iodine. I drink bottled water without fluoride and have a shower filter. I have your thyroid book and many others. Any suggestions? Thanks Linda

  25. Ian Huggins October 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi Suzy – I seem to recall Datis Kharrazian sounded a warning note about rushing in with Iodine (without first testing for deficiency) i.e. if you have leaky gut and/or leaky blood brain barrier, and if you have Hashimotos – then, ergo, downing a ton of iodine may be throwing fuel on the fire. As if iodine can be something that can be part of Auto-Immune causation (I forget the exact mechanism and how rare that would be)

    So I’m interested to know, on a simple level, how you would recognise such bad reactions to iodine, and what might happen. No doubt testing (if you’re rich and have a Funct Med practitioner anywhere within reach) reveals all, but I just wonder if such concerns are misplaced or not, and whether there are simple signs we should learn to recognise

    p.s. I live in a country noted for low iodine in its agriculture. Come to think of it my eyebrows are a bit thin on the ends, hair a bit thinner than it used to be and energy a bit low! Just reaching for some Himalaya salt!

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

      You’d have symptoms of hyperthyroidism if you were getting too much iodine.
      And hypothyroidism if you had too little- that’s a basic evaluation– but it’s misleading because that is just ONE single aspect. Iodine deficiency could also show up as prostate or breast problems. You really have to test.
      I agree with Datis, you should test. People read stuff and rush in to buy it. I hope my articles are fair and balanced.

  26. Tammy October 6, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    Is there any lab you recommend that does Iodine testing without seeing a doctor? I don’t think my family doctor would do it. Thank you!

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

      No, to my knowledge, it requires a doctor to order it. You pee in a bucket for 24 hours, then give them back the bucket and they extract a little portion of the urine, and send it off.

    • Tammy March 6, 2016 at 1:20 am #

      hakalalabs.com offers the 24 hour urine iodine loading test kit for $70 + shipping.

  27. Don Gassman October 6, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

    Until a few years ago iodine was used to disinfect food processing equipment then less expensive disinfectants were used. Food stuffs produced in this equipment picked up a small
    amount of iodine which increased the iodine intake of those eating these products,
    All the salt added to food is of the non-iodinized variety.
    Doctors without borders paint a silver dollar size application of iodine on all patients that
    they service in area’s away from the ocean.

  28. SueT October 6, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

    How about seaweed? Is that both iodide and iodine? Can you OD on it?

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

      Can OD on anything.

  29. Kathy October 6, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    Hi Suzy, I love your articles and am looking forward to reading your books as well. I’ve had two thyroid nodules for over four years that appeared when becoming ill with Lyme. Recently I took Selenium as well as I-Throid on the recommendation of my doctor. I stopped the I-Throid because my eyebrows started thinning out. She did extensive testing and the T-3 was a bit low (2.9). She decided to give me a script for Nature-Throid but I’m hesitating because of palpitations that I have from time to time due to the TBD. What do you recommend? I’d like to take your Iodine formula and try it. I’m concerned about the nodules not getting shrinking after taking selenium and also the I-Throid. Oh yeah, I was low on iodine on my first testing but it was okay upon re-testing.

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

      This is honestly too much for me to comment about… Lyme …nodules/goiters… labs… I’m not able to quickly evaluate you over the Internet. I’m so sorry, please understand. This is a general area.
      (I like Nature Throid as a drug, doesn’t make it right for everyone).
      Iodine is used for goiters, not selenium… at least that is what I though. Follow your doc’s orders.

  30. Joni October 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    Hello. I submitted a question this morning, but it seems to have disappeared.

    Suzy, where do you recommend we get the urine test kit? Do you sell one?

    Thank you.

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

      Hi Joni
      That’s weird. I don’t sell one, ask your physician to order it.

  31. Theresa October 6, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    So if you take Synthroid , you are probably not low in iodine? I had my thyroid gland removed many years ago.

    Thank you for all your great information!!

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

      Hello Theresa 🙂
      Nobody said that. People who take Synthroid may be low, may not be. There’s not a rule about that.
      Synthroid is a drug providing levothyroxine. It does not provide any form of iodine whatsoever.

      • Jim Vollmer October 10, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

        You just mentioned Synthroid has 50 to 150 mcg in the article. Does Synthroid have Iodine or not?

        “Keep in mind, a typical daily dose of prescription Synthroid (also a T4 molecule) ranges on average from 50 to 150 daily mcg.”

        • Suzy Cohen October 17, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

          Synthroid does not have iodine. It is bioidentical T4.

      • JIm Vollmer October 10, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

        “Keep in mind, a typical daily dose of prescription Synthroid (also a T4 molecule) ranges on average from 50 to 150 daily mcg.”

  32. LB October 6, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    I want to make sure I read this correctly. In testing for iodine, when using thyroglobulin as an indicator, the higher the number, the more deficient in iodine you might be? Obviously other things may play into it, but for the thryoglobulin piece of it, lower is an indicator of proper iodine?


  33. Samya October 6, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Hi Suzy,

    Love your articles very informative ..

    For supplementation is Lugol’s a good option?

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

      If your doctor suggested it. I’m not able to make suggestions for individuals. It’s up to you.

  34. Jackie October 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Thank you Suzy for this timely article! I just bought your Thyroid Healthy book yesterday, and I am looking forward to getting that soon to read!

    I too was taking a Kelp supplement but I did not react favorably to it, so have left it off for now. I am also taking your Thyro-Script. I have seen some improvements, but I still have the weird neck pains on occasion (but they are much less than they were before), which I think are associated with the cysts that I developed. However, I am looking at my last blood test, and am due for another blood test coming up soon, and I want figure out what I should be testing for. Here is what I was tested for and the results this summer:

    T4 + TSH + T4F + T3Free

    TSH 1.860 (reference interval .450 – 4.500)
    Thyroxine (T4) 7.4 (reference: 4.5 – 12.0)
    T4, Free (Direct) 1.16 (reference: 0.82-1.77)
    Trilodothyroninie, Free, Serum 3.2 (reference: 2.0 – 4.4)

    Can you tell me if this is all that my doctor should have tested for, or is there another component that he should be including to really measure the thyroid function?

    Also, in the urine catch, what exactly should they be testing for? Just want to make sure if I go to my regular internist for that, that I will be getting the right thyroid measurements tested, so then maybe I can figure out what my dosage should be. I have reacted to so many things it is hard to know what the culprits are, and why things are reacting like that in my system, but I really need to do something for my thyroid. Someone else told me that she had a bad case of Lyme, and at the end of her Lyme ordeal, she developed thyroid cancer. Not that this is going to happen to me, necessarily, but I would like to find out as much as I can about how to get my thryoid back so it does produce the hormone and distribute it to other parts of the body, as needed. I definitely get what you are saying, but just want to figure out how to measure as accurately as possible, so I know what I can or should be taking.

    Thanks so much for this great information! It really helps a lot of people when you post these articles! : )


    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      To answer your direct question they should be testing for iodine. Not thyroid hormones (in the urine catch). Your free T3 looks pretty good. This is rather complex, please ask a physician AFTER you read my book which will explain it very well. They need to see your reverse T3 and ferritin levels. And TPO antibodies too. Lymies don’t typically get thyroid cancer, don’t worry yourself sick like that. Ok, stay in touch. Please keep questions general.

  35. Deb October 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    Do you have as recommendation for testing selenium and iodine levels? Blood tests? Hair mineral analysis?

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

      RBC as in red blood cell or URINE 24 hour catch.
      Not hair.

  36. Helen October 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Thank you for this vital information.

    I have a lump on the right side of my thyroid. UK NHS Blood tests for TFT seem normal, so I am having a biopsy at hospital on Friday.

    I live in an area where the water is flouridated. Does this impact on thyroids too? I have started buying bottled still spring water to drink. Is there any certain mineral level content that I should go for more than others, or mineral level which isn’t good and should be avoided?

  37. Debra Marshall October 6, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    Love to you Ms. Suzy. I love reading your newsletters and your book became my bible for getting better. I tell many others, even endocrinologist. I take Armour 120mg., use Real Salt (probably should switch to Himayain?), and sometimes put red Iodine (in a bottle like macuracone) on inside if my thighs. You are soo right on. My son was born with Down syndrome at a time when I thought all salt was bad for us (in the 90’s). Thank you for sharing your wisdom!!!

  38. Rachel October 6, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    Another thought, in addition to selenium I’ve read that zinc is a critical co-factor. Thoughts on this?

  39. Rachel October 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Thanks for this information! Our chiropractor does muscle testing and tested my son and I as iodine deficient (with muscle testing which I realize is a bit controversial but has been effective for us so far). We’re on a 3mg dose of iodine which I’m realizing might not be so beneficial for the thyroid. We both have symptoms of hypothyroid, him even more so than me. Being a kid though anything we can give that’s not in capsule or tablet form is ideal. Is there a reason why you didn’t include Lugol’s solution isn’t on the recommended list? My understanding is that Iodoral is just the pill form of that but want to make sure I’m not missing something important.

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

      You can use it if you like. Whatever your smart chiropractor suggests 🙂

      • Julie Morrison October 11, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

        Suzy, could you please tell me if Thyroscript is okay to take while breastfeeding? My daughter was taking Armour 30mg before getting pregnant, it really seemed to help her. She stopped taking it during pregnancy (not sure why) but now her baby is 4 1/2 mos old and I think she is showing signs of being hypothyroid again. She is putting on weight and her hair is thinning and falling out. She also looks very pale to me. She was iron deficient several times during her pregnancy. Question: Could she take Thyroscript while breastfeeding? I was thinking that this might be a real help and a boost to her.
        Sincerely, Julie

        • Suzy Cohen October 17, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

          There is nothing harmful in it, so I don’t think it is a problem but we respectfully ask that patients who are nursing or pregnant just run it by doctor.

  40. S October 6, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    Hi Suzi,
    First – I love your articles! Thank you for all the information you share!
    Second, I was wondering if having a tsp of Kelp powder daily could be used to supplement for Iodine.
    I used to take Synthroid and felt it was wrong for me so I stopped and wanted to do something to avoid a lack of iodine in my diet.
    Thank you!

    • Suzy Cohen October 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

      Some people do that. Just make sure that your kelp is free of contaminants, I read a report a few years ago, there were concerns about arsenic and others. If it’s clean, go for it.


  1. Hashimoto's Awareness » - March 28, 2016

    […] Iodine.  When perchlorates are in your body, and also iodine, it is a race to the receptor site. Either perchlorate or iodine will occupy the sites, and get hugged into the cell. Because perchlorate compounds have a relatively short half-life, having iodine on board could help. Before you take iodine or kelp, read more about iodine and salt by clicking here. […]


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