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Iodine Supplements for Thyroid

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Understanding the needs and uses of iodine supplements for thyroid dysfunction.

Iodine is one of the most under-rated and misunderstood minerals that our bodies need. Most people take great care to get enough vitamins and minerals such as iron in their diet, and when they don’t they take supplements. Iodine is overlooked most of the time, but causes some real problems when it is.

Iodine is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, a condition that causes struggles with weight gain, fatigue and other symptoms.

The regulation of iodine in the system is more important than with most supplements, because it can cause the thyroid to teeter between underactive and overactive irregularities, and even create a total switch to the other side of thyroid disease symptoms. Iodine is an important thyroid stimulating hormone.

Too many people are stumped by their bodies, and the reactions they know exist, but don’t seem to have a cause. The thyroid is overlooked by many, because the symptoms of an underactive thyroid are generally associated with normal everyday problems, or simply a lack of willpower in dieting.

Thyroid Iodine Supplements

While the Mayo Clinic suggests that people in developed countries do not usually need iodine supplements for thyroid problems due to the vast number of foods that incorporate added iodine into them to supplement the food source, that’s not necessarily a true picture of the situation.

Many foods that once had iodine added for nutritional benefits no longer have it included in their production. These foods include cookie dough. Iodine used to be a dough conditioner that helped the manufacturing process, and the side benefit was that people got a dose of iodine while eating the snack favorite.

While cookies are still a staple in many family diets, manufacturers no longer use iodine as often. Breads that used to be iodized now call for non-iodized salt in the recipes because iodine slows down yeast activation.

Some foods that still are supplemented with iodine such as table salt (iodized salt) have come under general fire from the health community and people limit the use of them where they once ate it liberally in their diets.

Iodized salt once was a huge source of iodine for people. Now due to the revelation that salt causes a variety of health issues, it is no longer such a beneficial iodine resource.

Are You Iodine Deficient?

Some people won’t need any proof other than their own symptoms to know they have a lack of iodine in their system. The most tell-tale sign is a goiter in the neck. That is a swelling of the thyroid gland causes a large lump on the side of the neck. It can be a very small swelling, or a lump as large as a baseball.

Goiters aren’t very common in modern civilization and developed countries where iodine rich foods are readily available. However, mild imbalances of iodine in the system can cause equally distressing thyroid dysfunction.

A study on iodine levels, “Too Much Versus Too Little: The Implications of Current Iodine Intake in the United States,” published in Nutrition Review in 1999, indicates that the most common group to experience underactive thyroid problems (hypothyroidism) are women in the 30 to 60 year age bracket.

Pregnant women, and those in their childbearing years are the second leading group of iodine deficient individuals even in well-developed countries with access to healthy nutritional sources. The biggest fear for women in their childbearing years is that an iodine deficiency can greatly increase the likelihood of impaired development of the neurological functions of newborns.

There is a fairly simple test you can do to see if you have an iodine deficiency. Soak a cotton ball with tincture of iodine. Swab a small area on your inner arm, belly or thigh about 1” in diameter with the iodine.

If it soaks into your skin in less than four hours you may have an iodine deficiency. Most healthy individuals with normal iodine levels will still have iodine present in the swabbed area 6 hours following the application.

Even if you know for a fact that you have an iodine deficiency, it is a good idea to perform this test to make sure you do not have any iodine sensitiveness. Minor sensitivity to iodine can cause a rash, but there are also some major side effects due to iodine sensitivity. Over-exposure to iodine can cause anaphylactic shock.

Don’t be fooled by Thyroid Tests

Of course, in many cases people who have iodine deficiencies will test positive for hypothyroid conditions. However, there are some people who exhibit thyroid problems such as hot flashes, weight resistance and fatigue that still test in the normal ranges in the common thyroid blood tests.

If you are still in doubt following normal T3 and T4 levels at the doctor’s office, do the iodine test to see if you still have an underactive thyroid due to an iodine deficiency.

Regardless of the iodine test’s results, it is still wise to consult with your physician before undergoing any self treatment involving iodine supplements or other thyroid supplements, because they can cause reactions to any medications you are currently on, or present too high a level of iodine in conjunction with certain medications or foods.

Foods that Increase Iodine in Your Diet

Even though many processed foods no longer contain iodine, it is possible to increase the iodine in your diet with some foods that naturally contain the substance. Kelp is an excellent source of natural iodine, but is hard to incorporate into a daily diet. Kelp can be found in many excellent supplements as a hypothyroid remedy.

Facts About Iodine

Most of the hundreds of iodine elements are radioactive in their natural state. There is only one iodine element, iodine – 127 that is not radioactive.

Fish are an excellent source of iodine in a natural diet. Cold water fish such as cod and haddock are highest in iodine levels, because it is held in the fatty tissues that help insulate the fish in cold water. Shellfish such as clams, shrimp and mussels are also high in iodine.

Iodine is important for growth and is a required supplement for children to support development. Many child thyroid problems can be alleviated with proper iodine levels in the diet. Iodine is also necessary for healthy hair and nail growth.

The USDA recommends at least 150mg of iodine on a daily basis, and tests show that ingestion of iodine up to 20 times that amount have no unusual or problematic side effects.

Use Iodine to Boost Your Thyroid Naturally 

There are many ways you can boost normal thyroid function. Eating the right foods, a balanced diet of healthy nutritious foods that naturally contain iodine such as fish and vegetables is a great start. However, for those who have iodine deficiencies, eating right just may not be enough. In those cases, iodine supplements are a great way to boost thyroid function.

Boost Thyroid with Iodine Supplements

Iodine supplements are an easy way to help boost your thyroid function. The thyroid requires iodine to produce the hormones necessary to regulate weight, temperature, muscle function and general good health.

Without this vital element in your hypothyroidism diet it is easy to become fatigued, have trouble sleeping, be agitated and have elevated stress levels and have difficulty losing weight even with a good diet.

Methods of taking Iodine Supplements and Things to Remember

Iodine supplements for thyroid problems are easy to find. They usually come in the form of tablets or capsules for homeopathic remedies. Some are in a sublingual form that let you place one piece under the tongue so that it can absorb into the bloodstream.

This is a more powerful, and faster way to get iodine into the system, however it is also a more concentrated way, and it is easy to overdo iodine supplements using the dissolve method.

Too much iodine, however, can cause problems. Some of the side-effects of too much iodine are minor, and some are serious. The overdose of iodine occurs at about 30 times the normal recommended daily amount of 150mg. These side effects include:

  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Mouth sores
  • Headache
  • Rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of the salivary glands

There are other nutritional deficiencies that can cause thyroid problems such as a lack of selenium.

It is a good idea to make sure which deficiencies you are dealing with to ensure proper supplementation.

Side-Effects of Too Much Iodine

The most serious problems with an iodine overdose it that it can actually switch thyroid dysfunction into reverse. Too much iodine can cause an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) to become overactive (hyperthyroidism) and may cause a thyroid storm that requires immediate medical attention.

It is important to always be on top of your health conditions, and be well-read on all of the possibilities for improvement. However, it is unwise to self-treat your conditions without speaking with your doctor, and discussing all of your options for thyroid care and iodine deficiencies.

Next Article: Thyroid Health | How to Boost T3 and T4 Levels