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Hypothyroidism or Iodine Deficiency?

September 28, 2009 by  

Hypothyroidism or Iodine Deficiency?

We really can’t separate hypothyroidism from iodine deficiency. They should be looked at together.

Most of the time hypothyroidism and/or iodine deficiency are unsuspected by doctors and most of them don’t test for it.

If one has fatigue, depression, weight gain, memory loss, hair loss, muscle cramps, dry skin, decreased libido, cold feet, confusion, delirium or even heart failure, he/she should suspect hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency first.

Really nothing could be simpler to diagnose and treat.

Anyone can test themselves for hypothyroidism or iodine deficiency. Low basal (at rest) body temperature is a prominent indicator of low thyroid function.

Take underarm temperature for three days, before you get out of bed, and take the average. If you are running as much as one degree or more below 98.6 you can suspect hypothyroidism.

You can request an iodine-loading test from your doctor. I would start my iodine test by just rubbing food grade iodine (Lugol’s) on a small spot, maybe two inches across on my arm. If the iodine disappears overnight, I would take this to mean an iodine deficiency. Even if too much iodine is taken it will be excreted. Iodine has a detoxifying effect on the body.

Chances are that most of us have an iodine deficiency. I think that we can assume this because iodine is generally low in agriculture soils everywhere.

Iodine is important for the whole body, but it is concentrated in the prostate gland, the thyroid and breast tissue.

According to David Brownstein, M.D., in his excellent book, Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, "If a person suffers from iodine deficiency, using thyroid hormone supplementation without first correcting (or simultaneously correcting) the iodine deficit will exacerbate the body’s deficit of iodine."

So iodine and thyroid hormone go together. Thyroid hormones raise the body’s need for iodine. Alternative doctors always recommend Armour Thyroid which is natural thyroid hormone (from pigs) and available from compounding pharmacies.

Points from Dr. Brownstein:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized that iodine deficiency is the world’s greatest single cause of preventable mental retardation.
  • Iodine supplementation markedly increases urinary excretion of fluoride and bromide.
  • Dr. Brownstein says that more than 90 percent of his tested patients exhibit laboratory signs of iodine deficiency.
  • In the brain, iodine concentrates in the substantia nigra, an area of the brain that has been associated with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Iodine deficiency is one of the main underlying causes of many varied illnesses including thyroid disorders, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, cancer (including cancer of the breast and prostate) and other health issues.
  • The thyroid gland and the breast primarily utilizes iodine. The prostate gland concentrates iodine. Breast cysts have been treated with iodine for more than 50 years. Iodine deficiency is a causative factor in breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease.
  • The relationship between hypothyroidism and breast cancer has been reported for more than 100 years.
  • Thyroid hormone is essential for normal brain development.
  • In children, iodine deficiency can result in mental retardation as well as goiter.
  • Research has found an almost 50 percent increase in perinatal mortality due to iodine deficiency.
  • Many studies have shown that children who live in iodine deficient areas have lower IQs as compared to children living in iodine sufficient areas.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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    • Ray

      Nancy I read Dr Brownsteins book. You can buy Tincture of Iodine from the Pharmacy. You then would paint a two by two square on your inner wrist. Monitor for 24 hours. If it disappears in < 8 hours you are seriously in need of Iodine. If it disappears in < 16 hours you still need Iodine supplememt.

  • Eric Robinson

    What foods are highest in iodine?

  • ROlson

    I googled it:

    Iodine Rich Foods
    Cheddar cheese
    Cheese cake
    Condensed milk
    Fish oils
    Fresh fish
    Iodized salt
    Jaffa cakes
    Malt bread
    Naan Bread
    Sea foods
    Sea kelp
    Sea salt
    Yorkshire pudding

    • Eric Robinson

      Thank you!

  • Donna

    What is Lugol’s? Can you get an iodine test from a drugstore because I don’t think my doctor would give me one?

  • Patricia Spillman

    I have had an overactive thyroid not once but twice. the first time was when I was 21 and hte second was when I was 49. the first time I had a thyroidectomy and the second time I drank a redioactive drink in small doses once a week. I now have an underactive thyroid. I am being given synthroid at 88 mcg once a day. The doctor was prescribing 100 mcg once a day for about 20 years and suddenly he took my dosage down to 88mcg once day about two years ago. I guess my tests showed that I didn’t need as much as 100mcg. I have been gaining weight the past few months. I had lost about 30 pounds starting in 2006 to 2007 I went from 198 to 168 pounds. Of course then I was going to the gym and walking on the treadmill intil I took a fall on the treadmillabout two years ago. About a year ago until now I have gained about one pound or so a month I went from 168 to 178 in a year’s time. I think I should be back on 100mcg a day. I don’t overeat but I do eat the wrong food sometimes. Ever since salt has been found to be the culprit of an unhealthy diet and everyone is going to sea salt I think that I may not be getting enough Iodine. My doctor has never tested me for iodine deficiency. I am trying to not eat as much but still seem to be gaining weight. What caused me to have an overactive thyroid twice and why can’t I lose weight?

    • Rhonda

      Patricia, get your doctor to test you again. The synthroid dosage is too low, and keeping it level is a struggle. The fact that you are gaining weight again indicates that it is not helping to keep your thyroid level. Make sure that your doctor runs a test of checking for low levels of T4 as compared to T3. The thryoid may be producing enough T3, but your liver may not be converting it over to T4 like it should in sufficient quantity. You need a higher level of T4 to level out your thyroid’s job.

  • Carol

    I know shrimp are supposed to have iodine, I don’t know if all shellfish do or not. So should we buy the iodized salt, then?

    • s c

      Carol, experts in nutrition circles claim that table salt is ‘dead,’ and is to be avoided. Sea salt has the nutrients you need. An experienced nutritionist can help. Also, a good reference librarian is a good info source.
      The central rule-of-thumb in health matters is to avoid everything that is not real (food, supplements, sea salt, medical treatment).

      • Elaine

        You’re right table salt is dead they take all the minerals out and use them in other ways…however salt isn’t bad for us if we are using ancient sea salt has an almost pink color to it and is filled with minerals our bodies so desperately need since I’ve switched to this type of salt I feel I have seen improvement in my health…I also love salt and no longer feel guilty eating it.

        • joan ryder


  • http://none Lawrence

    Your best bet is to read Dr. David Brownsteins book from front to back and you will understand it. All cheap salt contains mirco amount of iodine,just look at Morton’s salt, it’s garbage, Get real salt from a health food store. The test describe are great indicators and Armour is the better supplement to take except you have to get a prescription from a doctor after the test. By ignoring this will bring you loads of futures problems,it cheaper now….

  • Bob Livingston

    Lugol’s iodine, also known as Lugol’s solution, first made in 1829, is a solution of elemental iodine and potassium iodide in water, named after the French physician J.G.A. Lugol. Lugol’s iodine solution is often used as an antiseptic and disinfectant, for emergency disinfection of drinking water, and as a reagent for starch detection in routine laboratory and medical tests. Lugol’s is obtained from chemists and pharmacists who are licensed to prepare and dispense the solution. It is a different solution from the common tincture of iodine found in first aid kits. For more information read Dr. Brownstein’s book, Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It

    • azcIII

      Just a quick note: DO NOT ingest iodine tincture! It is poisonous when taken internally. Lugol’s is safe to ingest.

    • ML Ross

      I was taught in nursing school that taking LUGOL’s by mouth – several drops in OJ…must be drank via a STRAW, and the mouth cleansed immediately or the teeth become very discolored. I ordered a “Thyroid
      Complex” from a mail-order vitamin place and don’t know if it’s psycological or what, but I do feel better…Also..I was told by a friend that sea salt is effective in helping Jerking Leg Syndrome. She recommended either CELTIC or REDMOND’S…Since I started on the sea salt, I have actually noticed a GREAT DECLINE in the number of episodes I’ve had with being up all night walking because my legs couldn’t lie still.

  • Peter

    Dr. David Brownsteins book is excellent – as above. Also subscribe, for free to, Mary Shomon – Thyroid Disease Guide . She is very knowledgeable as well.
    Seaweeds have iodine. Some have mercury so be careful.

  • Hysterical Person

    Whatever you do stay away from your doctor. He / She will force you get vacinated for the flu! Stay away from all doctors! Stay away!

    • DaveH

      You have good reason to be so. I can’t believe how obvious it is that our government officials think they own us. If we refuse vaccinations, we are at worst only hurting ourselves. Only a government contemptuous of our freedom would think of ordering mass vaccination. Can you imagine people having to protest in an effort to keep government from trampling their personal rights?

      • Skipper Parker

        If you refuse to get vacinated fine. But then if you do end up getting sick you better stay home until you are well again. What right do you have to infect others with your illness?

      • ML Ross

        I have an auto-immune disorder, was recommended to probably not take the flu vaccine until more is known of it’s tolerances, etc…..Am I going to get a big fine like the one they are talking about on the health care bill…if you don’t sign up – it’s $1900 fine, and if you still fail to comply – $25,000 was mentioned…This makes alot of sense beings most of the people needing health insurance couldn’t find
        $1900 due to lay-offs, illnesses, etc.

  • Darlene

    I’m 5’1″ and have always three years ago weighed between 110-115 lbs. I started gaining weight (age 51)…aproximately 4- lbs per month…feeling lethargic. So, I started working out, going to the gym for 45 min – 1 hr everyday for two months. After one month, I still had gained 4 lbs and after the second month I had gained 5 lbs. By the time I went to a doctor I was up to 178 lbs. He told me that I had an underactive thyroid even though the tests results were in “normal” range. I asked for Armour thyroid but still had weight gain after which he put me on synthroid–100 grain once per day–in concert with taking adipex. After almost a year, I was down to 142lbs. Then, no knowing any better, I stopped taking synthroid and going to doctor because of financial reasons–age 52 (husband became disabled–almost lost house, blah, blah, blah). I started gaining weight, of course, and a year later weighed 188lbs. I started going to my doctor again and have been going every month for 21 months–started out with 100 synthroid and now on 125 synthroid, hardly eat (no real appetite–rarely hungry), tired, somewhat depressed over my weight gain and not being able to lose weight, eat no food with salt (doctor told me not to eat canned vegetables or “boxed”/”frozen” meals because of sodium content), stopped drinking colas–diet or otherwise–only drink water and 1 cup coffee–and I now weigh 196lbs. I’ve kept food journals and my doctor tells me that I’ve got to be be “getting calories from somewhere”. Quite frankly, he is frustrated and at a loss as to why I keep gaining weight. (I’ve even had a sleep study done!) What are your suggestions for me?

    • azcIII

      Try getting a kelp supplement to up your iodine intake. There are also inexpensive liquids such as Lugol’s. I suspect many cases of underactive thyroid are actually iodine deficiency. There may be nothing wrong with your thyroid gland. Iodine is teh raw ingredient of thyroid hormone. Without it, your thyroid cannot make enough, period.

      I understand exactly what you are saying about the weight! No matter how hard I try, I cannot peel off any weight. My doctor suggested Alli, a fat-blocker, but it is so expensive. You can also try switching to a raw food diet. Some people just can’t handle carbs or fat in their diets. I switched over mostly (can’t give up all the stuff I like-my bad) and I haven’t lost any weight, but I sure feel better. And eat more often, small amounts! It keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day, instead of the peaks and valleys of infrequent meals. Axe the vegetable oils (Omega 6) and switch to olive, coconut and palm oils. Don’t eat 4 hours before bedtime.

      Also, are you on any of those statin drugs? If so, they cause the symptoms you are describing. Try policosanol instead (costs about $4 for 120 at Walmart). Someone can probably suggest other natural alternatives to the statins. They almost killed my mother. She was so tired and felt so awful she would barely get up, slept all the time, gained weight and hurt all over. She stopped taking them and the symptoms went away.

      Hope some of this helps. Good luck!

  • Jim Van Steenbergen

    Hi, thank you for the interesting information on Iodine deficiency. What is the Average Daily Requirement for iodine? And if found to be low in Iodine, how much more Iodine to I have to take on a daily basis? The article did not mention the ADR for Iodine.
    Thank you for your response.
    Jim Van Steenbergen

  • George Plyler

    I try to eat healthful foods and think I’m doing OK. But a lot of my vegetables and fruits are canned. I do drain the juice from the fruits and rinse in water. Any comments regarding this

    • Joe H.

      try getting the fruits in natural juice not syrup. in syrup all youre getting is carbs and sugars. I’m diabetic and have to contend with it all the time hate it but i wanta’ live! the natural ones are more expensive but worth it! I’m going to start studying this crap and see how many visits to doc I can cut back!

  • Cathy Lee

    I have been tested and diagnosed with hypothyroid disease. I am on 30 mg. of Armour Thyroid a day. However, I found out the hard way that cruciferous vegetables eaten raw like (cabbage, broccoli, etc.,
    and some fruits that are WONDERFUL foods for people with NORMAL thyroids are NOT good for those with hypothyroid disease. Foods like Soy, and Soy oils, Soy Milk, and other “goitrogen’s” are REALLY hard on those with Hypothyroid diesease. However, I’m finding there are only a hand full of MD’s or Thyroid doctors who specialize with this disorder KNOW about the above facts. I love the article about how important IODINE is. But, I would like to see more education about the negative effects of (goitrogen’s and eating raw cruciferous vegetables) interfere with the functioning of the sick thyroid. Wish, Your web site would comment on this.
    Love your health articles! Cathy from California

  • hopeforamerica

    You might want to mention that void of hyper or hypothyroidism, it’s very common for people particulary women to have nodules (cysts) on your thyroid gland. Ninety percent are benign. Most people Don’t know this. I just found this out recently and have three large nodules on the right side of my thyroid. Doctors recommend a biopsy when a
    nodule(s)are a (1)centimeter or larger in size.

  • joan ryder

    YOU CAN OBTAIN Lugol’s Ioding at or

  • Happy

    Thanks so much for this great article. I wish it were available when I needed it. I have had hypothyroid problem for a least more than a decade, and kept going to Drs since 2000, but they were not able to diagnose the problem.
    I finally had an alternative Dr. tested my thyroid, and behold I have a SERIOUS hypothyroid problem. I did recall having read once on Mr. Bob Livingston alternative meds’ section, and he suggested to use Iodine. I got Iodine from Natural Living through internet. Thanks God, I can function now. Make sure get your thyroid tested if you have symptoms as suggested by the above article. Thank you Mr. Bob Livingston.

    Oh by the way, I got a flu shot at the end of 2003, and I got very sick(diarhea, arthritis, extreme allergies, and auto immune diseases)from all its’ poison. I am still a living witness. SO WATCH OUT!

  • Ruben

    I have a real concern about the swine flue vaccination. What do know about its potential usage for other usage besides the flue.I had read a serious web site about its political usage to control population and other scary stories. Do you think the vaccine may create the pandemic using live viruses and then justify the use on the vaccine forcing everybody to have the shot.

  • cliff

    Bob, I’ve got hypothyroidism…small goiter about the size of a small Pecan…had the Drs. check it out-it’s benign but uncomfortable. I’m on Levoxal (75mg) daily – the Levoxal doesn’t seem to be making any difference…been on it for a year now – any alternative suggestions?

  • Patti

    Is it safe to take an iodine supplement along with synthroid?

    • Bob Livingston

      You should address that question to your pharmacist or physician.
      Best Wishes,

  • KC Donovan

    I was on Armour Thyroid for several years and was stable (Thyroid-wise). Recently, Armour Thyroid has been difficult to obtain in my area (Houston, TX) and all the major pharmacies were not able to get it. So they put me back on Synthoid – which I hate. I feel this was a huge conspiracy to put the natural thyroid company out of business. Do you have any information on this possible conspiracy?

    • catsbuddy

      I’ve been taking dessicated thyroid that comes from Thailand. I seems to work about the same as Armor. If you do web searches you will find it. 1000 60mg tablets were under $100. Good luck.

  • charlie

    Please go to the web site
    www. know the cause . com
    to learn of ways to help reduce the need for statin drugs. (of course remove the spaces in site address)
    Doug Kaufmann is leading people to health from the toxins in our environment, food, drugs and inside our bodies. Watch the TV shows and go through the web site thoroughly. I don’t know how it relates to thyroidism, but there may be a link.

  • Mary Jane

    I am a 55 yr old woman taking 0.15 mg of synthroid had my thyroids removed completely when i was young because of growths. I also take premarin 1.25 mg also had ovaries removed bcause of growths. I have all the same symptons of hair loss, overweight, memory loss, muscle cramps, dry skin, cold feet, confusion, delirium I want desperatly to go back to college but i’m afraid i might have early stages of Dimentia since i find that i can’t focus completly, and forget a lot of things. I even lost a good job because i couldn’t remember what I was taught I was asking the same questions over and over on a daily basis, that was when i realized i had a problem, in my younger days I was very sharp and comprehended everything, and now its scary.
    I love working out so I don’t look overweight I’m 5’7″ tall weighing 253 lbs. But I still wear size 18 pants and size x-lrg to 1-x tops, my biggest visible concern is my hair loss, my test always come out withing range so it leaves me baffled, i have also gone to a hair specialist who ran test and everything was within range.

  • Georgia

    Iodine needs more clarification for hypothyroid caused by the autoimmune system antibodies attacking it. This is called Hashimoto Disease.

  • gary

    I have not had a physical for about 5 years. However when I did have the last one the doctor told me my thyroid had stopped working! I asked him, is that ok?, and he said he did not find anything wrong with the thyroid other than it stopped working!! Well of course I feel tired a lot and have gained a lot of weight. what a disaster

  • Faustino Beattie

    Great Information, thanks for your useful Post. I will subscribe to your feed for updates. Also check this medicinal information: Ovarian cyst Treatment

  • Latonia Fok

    hypothyroidism can also lead to other diseases if it is not treated at the earliest…

    Our webpage


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