In the post: Iodine and the Thyroid: Part 1, I stated that the proponents of iodine will quote studies supporting iodine use but start stammering and yammering like they have a swollen tongue (probably due to their iodine deficiency) when asked about the studies reporting autoimmune thyroid caused by iodine.
This post attracted responses by iodine proponents validating the point of my blog. Iodine proponents never mention any link between iodine and autoimmune thyroid or do any lab testing looking for autoimmune thyroid induced by iodine supplementation.
Ironically the source of this response, a Laboratory Associate from a well-known lab could not have known that a patient brought in Iodine level reports from this lab last week. The lab results provided by this lab are good. I use them every time a patient brings them but I will not use their treatment recommendations for reasons you will see below.
“Hello Dr Peterson,
I just finished reading your blog post about iodine and I have a couple of questions.
First, my iodine related background.
- Developed an iodine test in dried urine that is now in production and used to detect dietary iodine deficiency.
- Read through over 600 complete publications on iodine, the thyroid, and halides
- Aware of both sides of the iodine supplementation argument (high and low dose)
- Constantly following iodine blogs, forums, twitter etc.
- Talked with many doctors, over the phone and at conferences, about their experience with iodine supplementation
- Recently published a paper on Japanese iodine intake and the health of the Japanese people
- Completed a study on the iodine-loading test to determine why so many individuals fail and how a 50mg dose is excreted
- Investigated whether iodine or other halides cause the side effects seen in those who take large amounts of iodine
As I read through your blog post, I picked up that you were against high dosing of iodine, yet you mention supplementing with proper amounts when needed.
For both an “iodine sufficient” (in this case, at least 150ug/day) and an “iodine deficient” individual, what dosing do you recommend? Do you see any benefits from supplementation with iodine or iodide outside of thyroid hormone production?”
I have to admit in Iodine and the Thyroid, I omitted their fall back excuse for recommending iodine – “Ya-but Japanese people eat kelp and kelp has iodine.” As you can read in the proponents email, there is no mention of autoimmunity. But admits to being aware of both sides of iodine supplementation – “high and low dose”. I didn’t see any mention of iodine dosage causing autoimmune thyroid. How do you read “over 600” complete publications and not find any mention of autoimmunity?
I will use the recommendations from this particular lab to answer this question. As you can see below, starting in July 2011 this patient was taking 50 mg of oral iodine/iodide for her “iodine deficiency”. She felt better for the first 30 days but soon after that began experiencing a severe decline in her health. Clumps of hair were falling out; fatigue, depression and when she reported this to her doctor ordered an iodine test. Her levels of iodine were 61,132. The normal range for iodine is 100-1,100 with the optimal being 150-300. If my math is correct that is 203 times the optimal level. When she questioned her iodine levels the doctor refused to take her call.
In addition to the iodine test, a blood test was done which included thyroid antibodies using the AtheNA methodology with ranges different from the microsomal antibody test. The older microsomal antibody test ranges for thyroid peroxidase antibodies are 0 – 34. The AtheNA ranges are a new methodology for measuring Thyroid Antibodies. These include thyroglobulin antibody and thyroid peroxidase antibody, which is a more specific test measuring the active antigen in the older microsomal antibody test.
As you can see this patient with 203 times the recommended levels using the “low dose” iodine supplementation has Thyroglobulin antibody levels of 192. This would be considered positive for Autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, based on the strongly positive Thyroglobulin antibodies. This lab assistant and doctor fell into the Green Allopathy mind trap of “If I recommend it – it can do no harm.”
Thyroglobulin and thyroid peroxidase antibodies are most typically associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, but can also be found in myxedema, granulomatous thyroiditis, nontoxic nodular goiter, thyroid carcinoma, and rarely in some other conditions.
Since her doctor wouldn’t answer her questions she sought out a different opinion and found my office. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Women and men come into my office with similar stories every week. They feel better initially and then fall apart. Some continue taking iodine because their doctor says it is good for them. While others stop it as this woman did when she could not get the answers she sought.
She started feeling better stopping the iodine but after an autoimmune response is stimulated it can continue for six months or more. The autoimmune attack doesn’t stop but continues with the signs and symptoms less noticeable. Damage to your body is still occurring.
After triaging her case, a protocol was designed to re-regulate her immune system to reduce the autoimmune attack on her body and support restoration of the metabolic processes contributing to her condition.
Autoimmune disease is a serious health condition that should not be taken lightly. I don’t remember being told of the link between iodine and autoimmune thyroid while in school. But once I was told of the link I immediately stopped recommending iodine inappropriately. If your healthcare provider isn’t aware of the connection, you should inform them. If they ignore the connection you have to ask yourself what you want to do. Are you willing to risk your health because they dismiss the connection between iodine supplements and autoimmune thyroid?
If you decide to continue taking iodine, I wish you the best. For those that want to take iodine and work with our office, you will be dismissed as our patient. If you are confused in need of help, we can help answer your questions and develop a program to get you feeling better.