T Nation

Iodine and Hypothyroidism


Component Your Value Standard Range Units
T4, Free 1.20 0.82 - 1.77 ng/dL

Every doctor I have seen so far has not been concerned with my thyroid result. On sites like this though I have read that really a young in shape guy should be at the very top of the range.

I have signs of hypothyroidism. Cold hands and feet and a consistently low body temp 97 96.8 97.4. Even when I worked out hard I don't break 98.0.

I am considering Iodine supplements to speed up my thyroid. Is that worth a try? What do you think of this gnc product:

Nature's Way® Kelp
100 Capsules

Serving Size 1 Capsule
Servings Per Container 100

Amount Per Serving % DV

Iron 390.00 mcg 2%

Iodine 400.00 mcg 267%

Sodium 20.00 mg 1%

Kelp 660.00 mg **
** Daily Value (DV) not established

Is it easy to take too much iodine? I also have concerns about kelp iodine supplements having hard metals in them.

Should I give it a try?


You will not get excessive levels from that.

Have you been using iodized salt?

Hard metals? You mean like iron filings?


I've been using iodized salt for a little bit, but really I don't eat many things that go good with salt.

As far as hard metals is concerned, I read online that some of the kelp that the supplements are made from are sometimes contaminated with mercury etc in the ocean.


oh and arsenic



My thoughts - taking minor Iodine supplements shouldn't hurt and could help.

You really need to get a full thyroid panel - you have the symptoms, keep searching for a doc that will run the tests you need.

Total T4 & T3
Free T4 & T3
Reverse T3
Antibodies if not checked before
AM Cortisol

check out stopthethyroidmadness for some great thyroid support and data.

I had mild thyroid issues (possibly - not 100% sure with all of my other hormonal issues).

A doc put me on Armour which seemed to help at first.

Right after taking a blood test three months ago, I forgot to get my Armour refilled and went without for 5 days. During that time, I noticed NO difference in my symptoms. Then when the results came in, I found out I had sky high RT3 which was canceling out my Free T3. Since then, I have not resumed my Armour and I too have started taking Kelp (Iodine) at about 800mcg I think. I am hoping for blood tests this week to see how I am responding.


thanks for the input, i have another doctors visit soon and will hopefully push these


Issues that I am trying to understand... Some of the following is fact and some is me trying to put the pieces together. Do not take this is run with it. I am hoping that there will be some discussion that will help me understand.

I am just starting to understand rT3. There are caused to be considered and addressed. But when rT3 is elevated, there is too much T4-->rT3. The short term solution is to reduce or eliminate T4 if using thyroid meds and go with T3 meds only. This will lower rT3. While that is going on, one can address adrenal and other issues.

There is a concern that iodine will lead to higher T4 levels for a few that will reduce the effect of the above strategy. For those who are not thyroid med dependent, they are still making their own hormones.

Someone who makes enough of their own T4 who has elevated rT3 does not have the option of stopping a T4 med. If they take T3, they may feel some relief, but T4-->rT3 will continue. I do not know how one would address that. This is where the ?speculation? that high dietary intake of iodine might be counter productive.

Can one reduce dietary intake of iodine? Yes, but perhaps not to any advantage. If the TSH-T4 axis is otherwise functioning well, TSH will increase to maintain T4 levels even if iodine intake is reduced.

In theory, larger amounts of iodine that might increase T4 would cause the TSH-T4 axis to reduce TSH and that would reduce T4 gains. There are some that imply that there can be open loop production of T4 that increases with more iodine. However, that sounds like a degree of hypothyroidism... and that is a whole other world of concerns.

For me, the question is, if one takes T3 meds, how does this act on the TSH-T4 axis as a negative feedback agent. As the ratio of T3:T4 is normally small, one might not be able to manipulate the TSH-T4 axis greatly.


KSman - here is a great site (www.thyroid-rt3.com) with some great information about RT3 + stopthethyroidmadness has some pretty detailed information as well.

The main mechanisms (as far I understand them) are:
excess T4 = spill over conversion to RT3
low cortisol = inability to fully convert free T4 to free T3 leading to higher RT3
low ferritin = inability to fully convert free T4 to free T3 leading to higher RT3
selenium and iodine may also play a role.

T3-only medications causes a huge drop in TSH - as far as I know TSH does not sense or respond to T4 levels, it only responds to T3 levels (but since T4 normally drive T3 then TSH is in a sense impacted by T4 levels). Low TSH = low T4 production. Little to No T4 production = nothing to convert to RT3 = no RT3 problem.

possible treatment options (as far as I know)
1) Stop taking Armour or any T4 containing medications
2) Take T3 only medication to drop TSH to stop T4 production
3) Increase Cortisol levels to shunt more T4 to T3 and not RT3
4) Increase ferritin levels to shunt more T4 to T3 and not RT3
5) All of the above