Iodine Supplements Before, During, & After Pregnancy

Iodine Supplements Before, During, & After Pregnancy
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What is the evidence that all pregnant women should follow the American Thyroid Association’s recommendation to take a daily iodine supplement?

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Although severe iodine deficiency was eliminated in the United States nearly a century ago, after the introduction of iodized salt, iodine intake has declined in recent decades. Public health efforts to limit salt intake to decrease cardiovascular risk, in conjunction with increasing use of non-iodized salt, may in part be to blame.

Now, not adding salt to foods is a good thing, as sodium is considered the second leading dietary killer in the world—second only to not eating enough fruit. But if you do add table salt, make sure it’s iodized, as it is a myth, and often also false advertising, that so-called “natural” sea salt contains significant amounts of iodine.

Fruits and vegetables provide iodine, but the amounts can vary depending on where it’s grown; how much iodine is in the soil. Because iodine is particularly important for fetal brain development, there’s a recommendation that all U.S. women who are pregnant, lactating, or even planning a pregnancy should ingest dietary supplements containing 150mcg of potassium iodide per day.

Is there evidence that they’re not getting enough now? Well, we’d like to see urine levels in pregnant women over 150. But in the U.S., pregnant women only average about 125. For example, a recent survey in New York City showed only about half of pregnant women were making the cut. Don’t most women take prenatal vitamins, though?

Only about half of prenatal multivitamins contain any iodine at all. And so, only about one in five pregnant women in the U.S. are following the recommendations of the American Thyroid Association to take a daily iodine supplement—specifically in the form of potassium iodide rather than seaweed, as the levels in seaweed are subject to natural variability. Though the iodine content was as much as 90% off in some of the potassium iodide prenatal supplements, the kelp supplements varied even wider, off by as much as 170%.

Now, the American Thyroid Association admits they don’t have evidence that the current borderline insufficiency levels are leading to undesirable outcomes, and so, their recommendation that all pregnant women take iodine supplements is a bit tenuous. But until such data are available, they figure better safe than sorry.

A randomized, placebo-controlled interventional trial would answer the question once and for all, but the existing evidence for iodine supplementation during pregnancy is so convincing that it would be considered unethical to randomize pregnant women to a placebo. And so, when it comes to sufficient iodine intake during pregnancy, I’d recommend, just do it.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to il-young ko via flickr

Although severe iodine deficiency was eliminated in the United States nearly a century ago, after the introduction of iodized salt, iodine intake has declined in recent decades. Public health efforts to limit salt intake to decrease cardiovascular risk, in conjunction with increasing use of non-iodized salt, may in part be to blame.

Now, not adding salt to foods is a good thing, as sodium is considered the second leading dietary killer in the world—second only to not eating enough fruit. But if you do add table salt, make sure it’s iodized, as it is a myth, and often also false advertising, that so-called “natural” sea salt contains significant amounts of iodine.

Fruits and vegetables provide iodine, but the amounts can vary depending on where it’s grown; how much iodine is in the soil. Because iodine is particularly important for fetal brain development, there’s a recommendation that all U.S. women who are pregnant, lactating, or even planning a pregnancy should ingest dietary supplements containing 150mcg of potassium iodide per day.

Is there evidence that they’re not getting enough now? Well, we’d like to see urine levels in pregnant women over 150. But in the U.S., pregnant women only average about 125. For example, a recent survey in New York City showed only about half of pregnant women were making the cut. Don’t most women take prenatal vitamins, though?

Only about half of prenatal multivitamins contain any iodine at all. And so, only about one in five pregnant women in the U.S. are following the recommendations of the American Thyroid Association to take a daily iodine supplement—specifically in the form of potassium iodide rather than seaweed, as the levels in seaweed are subject to natural variability. Though the iodine content was as much as 90% off in some of the potassium iodide prenatal supplements, the kelp supplements varied even wider, off by as much as 170%.

Now, the American Thyroid Association admits they don’t have evidence that the current borderline insufficiency levels are leading to undesirable outcomes, and so, their recommendation that all pregnant women take iodine supplements is a bit tenuous. But until such data are available, they figure better safe than sorry.

A randomized, placebo-controlled interventional trial would answer the question once and for all, but the existing evidence for iodine supplementation during pregnancy is so convincing that it would be considered unethical to randomize pregnant women to a placebo. And so, when it comes to sufficient iodine intake during pregnancy, I’d recommend, just do it.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to il-young ko via flickr

106 responses to “Iodine Supplements Before, During, & After Pregnancy

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  1. So prenatal supplement’s iodine content isn’t to be trusted, iodine supplement’s content isn’t to be trusted, and seaweed’s iodine content isn’t to be trusted. Oh and by the way, taking too much iodine is dangerous so you can’t just take 10X dosage to make up for the potential shortfall.

    So we’re pretty much just screwed?




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    1. Hello Mike. I think your interpretation of Dr. G’s video is overly pessimistic/cynical. Here’s what I take from it:
      1) iodine is critical to maintain a properly functioning thyroid gland, and for fetal brain development.
      2) salt consumption is not healthy for most of us, but if you’re going to eat salt, get the iodized version.
      3) for our iodine needs, 150 micrograms per day of potassium iodide is sufficient, even for pregnant women.
      [By the way, the soil near the world’s coastlines contains sufficient iodine that you probably get enough by just eating vegetables grown in those soils. The people more likely to be deficient are those living way inland].
      4) Not all pre-natal vitamins contain iodine, and (because vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA) the true iodine content may not be what is listed. So, do your research and figure out which companies are to be trusted to accurately list the contents of their products.
      5) “Natural foods” such as seaweed, and sea-salt — which again, are not regulated — can also be quite variable as to what they contain. [This is to be expected, depending on where and how they procure their products. Some of them may contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, for example. Unfortunately, in our modern world, contamination with pollutants is widespread. Sticking with organically grown whole plant foods is a good strategy].
      6) to be safe, women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy should take 150 mcg per day of potassium iodide.
      [Note that Dr. G does not recommend many supplements. The only other ones I can recall are Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin D for those who don’t get sufficient sunshine].




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      1. Are those ‘heavy metals’ organic or elemental? Organic metals are those that have been taken up by the root system of plants (as a mineral salt) and then converted to a colloidal mineral. Colloidal minerals correctly formed by plants are non toxic in any sensible amounts and that included iodine, silver, gold, mercury, lead etc. Researchers (such as Watson and Blackmore) into Colloidal Chemistry showed this back in the 1930s. If anyone has any evidence that plant based minerals (heavy metals) are toxic then please produce it.




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        1. Sorry Robert but it does not work that way. If you make extraordinary claims like this you have to substantiate them. People do not have to prove to you that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.




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        2. Some plants like dark grrens and spinach supposedly take up lead. In fact, at pollution sites in Maine, they evaluated the idea of growing spinach to be shipped of as hazardous waste, to remediate soil. AFAIK there is no safe form of ingested lead.




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          1. so Okinawans don’t consume 3000mcg of organic colloidal iodine daily and live ten years longer than the average American? Try taking that dose of iodine in its elemental state if you think you are correct. That would be toxic. You have no science with your claim that organic colloidal minerals are toxic and ignoring the facts does not help your claim.
            Ps I take 6000mcg per day of iodine in the form of colloidal partly to keep my amazing good health and youthfulness at aged 70 and partly to prove non scientific people wrong.




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              1. It would help if comments are kept to the point.
                This discussion is about recommending 3000mcg per day of iodine as consumed by Okinawans and not 400mcg as recommended in the article.
                To be clear the traditional Okinawa diet includes a lot of seaweed and a small serving of fish per day and pork which is highly valued, and every part of the pig is eaten, including internal organs. Yuk.




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      2. He has touched on the possibility of DHA, but i keep in mind the essential and optimal nutrients list- B12, D3 (vegan), iodine, omega-3 (good to get it from flax due to important lignans), legumes (lysine is a marker for essential amino acids), dark green veggies (don’t grow them in lead polluted soil). CoQ-10 is a possibility for some people.

        Other powerfoods on my list are beets, purple cabbage, little nutritional yeast, little soy yogurt, nori seaweed, and lots of fresh lime juice on everything especially the greens.




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  2. I have a huge favour to ask Nutrition Facts… Could you please create a table or guide to supplementing with sea weeds/sea veggies? I have watched all of Dr Greger’s videos on iodine and I understand that getting too little can be just as bad as too much.

    I have looked all over the Internet for a guide like the above mentioned and it does not exist.

    I have 4 kinds of seaweed; nori, wakamba, sea lettuce, and purple seaweed (?)

    This guide would be much appreciated.

    Thank you all for all your hard work.

    Mike




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    1. Mike: I think the reason why what you’re looking for doesn’t exist is that the iodine content of seaweed is highly variable not just from species to species but within a species. Given that iodine is a trace mineral, it’d be dangerous and irresponsible for any authority to recommend a specific amount of a sea weed as the source of dietary iodine.




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    2. Hello Mike, I am a volunteer moderator for NutritionFacts. I am also a dietitian in private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. I would love to recommend the work of Cynthia Lair. She was an instructor of mine at Bastyr University, and taught me many things about sea vegetables. She is not a vegan or vegetarian, so sensitive folks need not read her work. Her cookbook, Feeding the Whole Family, is an amazing resource and has excellent information about Sea Vegetables (and other whole foods). It is coming out in a revised edition in November. The cookbook has great information & many plant based recipies.




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  3. What about all the plastic microbeads in ocean, and other toxins, viruses, etc. possibly infiltrating into seaweeds? A concern of yours, Dr. G?




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  4. Iodine is magic. I had just one half teaspoon of iodized salt and I could no longer feel my heartbeat. I think many people can feel their heartbeats in their chest. Doctors know that ideally, you shouldn’t be able to. Perhaps it is iodine that mediates this response. Perhaps iodine is being left out of supplements because of its strong positive effects.




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      1. I get the same response using non-iodized salt. I have had terrible heart palpitations for years and have found that one half teaspoon in water stops them within 5 minutes. I use sea salt so perhaps it contains iodine… I just thought it was the salt itself.




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        1. TO MATTHEW AND LINDA – I HAVE THEM TOO ,PARTICULARLY AFTER MEALS [ ESPECIALLY SALTY CHOICES AND WITH IODISED SALT ] OVER INDULGENCE IN ALCOHOL[ HOLIDAY HEART SYNDROME ] ANXIETY AND POSSIBLY FOOD ALERGY [ AGAIN AFTER MEALS.]
          MEDICALLY THEY MAY POINT TO HEART ISSUES.
          I HAVE FOUND THAT THEY CAN BE MINIMISED BY A GOOD INTAKE OF MAGNESIUM [ AS GLYCINATE ] SELENIUM WITH FLAXSEED OIL AND ARJUNA TERMINALIA WITH HAWTHORN..
          THE LATTER AS CARDIOCOMFORT VIA PLANETARY HERBALS SOQUEL .CA.




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  5. For those of us on a highly salt-restricted diet, are you suggesting supplementation? Is multivitamin recommended? If so, what is a good brand? What is a good iodine-only suppliment brand?




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    1. Hello @Tobias Brown:disqus. You may be aware of this resource, but in case you are not, allow me to share this with you. Dietary Reference Intakes are established by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences. The Academies are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.

      The link to the HMD guide will allow you to look up the established tolerable Upper Limits (UL) for supplementation. It is important when considering UL’s to account for mineral intake in the food form combined with supplemental forms of a vitamin or mineral. ULs vary based on age (life cycle nutritional needs) and sex. I hope you find this useful and interesting!




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      1. If Chronometer gives accurate information, then during my days of logging my food intake, I have no need for supplementation. Though that system doesn’t track iodine.

        Will check out this Academies resource. Thanks.




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          1. While I haven’t looked at it yet, I’m not sure how it’s private if it’s got a congressional charter. That sounds public. Anyway. I appreciate some private research, like the John Hopkins study which showed us that the 3rd top killer in the US (after heart disease and cancer) is hospital medical errors, a fact that the CDC missed, left out, or ignored. Hmm. A good factoid to be aware of, I’d say.




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            1. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine are private in that they do not receive direct funding by the federal government, but rather function as a non-profit under a federal charter to provide independent assessment to federal agencies in the area of science, engineering and medicine. Contracts from federal agencies account for about 85% of their funding. The rest comes from sale of reference materials. The previous name of the organization was the “National Research Council” or NRC. NRC reference manuals are a main resource for every scientist and engineer and they aren’t cheap. I used to have a shelf of them, which like encyclopedias, included periodic update volumes as scientific understanding advanced. Now they are digital and live on my hard drive and updates are fully incorporated. They also publish a prestigious journal, the “Proceedings of the National Academies of Science” which also generates income. And lastly they can and do receive funds from private foundations, state governments and private individuals.

              Most of the work of the Academies is done by volunteer experts that have been nominated to be members of the National Academies (a VERY high honor with over 300 Nobel laureates serving). These expert committees are impaneled by the Academy in response to a specific request from a federal agency. There is a relatively small staff of professionals coordinating all of this. I know all of this because I testified last year before a National Academies committee impaneled to review and provide direction for a new area of research at my agency that I played a key role in getting started. It was a VERY interesting experience.




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              1. Impressive, Jim. Thanks for the information. I’m almost always impressed with the quality of comments and education of those commenting on this site. It would be interesting to know about your work and that of others who comment regularly.




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    2. I’m on a salt-restricted diet and I get all my RDA for iodine from eating unpeeled potatoes. I just can’t seem to remember adding seaweed to my food. 1 medium potato contains 60 mcg of iodine. I make oven fries almost every day for breakfast! Also, navy beans have 32 mcgs in one serving. Cranberries are very high, 90 mcgs in just 1 ounce.




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  6. My research and my experience from using iodine supplements myself led me to a particular formula.

    As you might know or heard, potassium iodide is poisonous BUT does provide the needed iodine you just cannot take too much. Be careful if the idea of just buying iodine so you do not have to worry about your supplement’s content crosses your mind.

    Decades ago, a new formula of iodine was made. It was found that taking pure iodine in pure alcohol and letting it be submersed in a glass bottle under a electrolytic solution while having AC current pass through changed the atomic structure of iodine to single atom molecules. This, in essence, detoxifies iodine. Since this was pre-WWII they tested it on farm animals and where potassium iodide killed the animals in rather small amounts, large amounts of this new iodine did nothing.

    After taking this myself, for years now, I feel it has made a big difference in my health and now being vegan, sources of iodine are limited. I would imagine roasted seaweed is a good source and I love it but having a bottle of iodine around keeps levels good.

    I love this formula so much I sell it on eBay at barely over cost and hope to help people. I’ve sold thousands of bottles without one return and sometimes lose money so I had to raise the price a couple dollars. You can get 3 bottles for $26.99 shipped for free to the USA. Just go on eBay and search “cayce iodine.” I also have one bottle for $10.99 if you want to try less.

    My iodine is made in the US and Organic.

    Here is the URL but I’m not sure if it will go through:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Bottles-ORGANIC-Cayce-Detoxified-Nascent-Iodine-Colloidal-Thyroid-Radiation-/222014877489

    I’d also like to mention that there is a new method of iodine production that supposedly does the same as the old formula, make it mono-atomic, but uses glycerin as a base instead of alcohol. This might be better for children and alcoholics. I do not sell this.

    Become a vegan and start enjoying life!




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    1. Let’s say a product claims to have 150 mcg. Then 170% of 150 = 1.7 x 150 = 255 mcg.

      So if the product contains 150 + 255 = 405 mcg, then it would be 170% off from what it was claimed to have.

      At least that’s the way I interpret what is meant here.




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  7. Nascent iodine has been an excellent source in my experience, combined with selenium extract from mustard seed. The Japanese consume 10mg of iodine per day and have very low cancer rates.




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  8. Our food industry back in the 1960’s use to add iodine to dough as a dough conditioner. This practice caused 150 micrograms of iodine to be available in one slice of bread, which easily allowed individuals to reach the RDA of 150 micrograms of iodine on a daily basis. But, then the higher ups, and movers and shakers in our medical establishment felt that this was to much iodine and would cause malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. So, around 1980 they stopped using iodine as a dough conditioner and started using BROMINE inplace of iodine. Bromine is a halide and competes with iodine for absorption and for receptor sites in our tissues. In other words bromine interferes with the proper uptake of iodine in the body which in turn can lead to cancer of the breast, cancer of the prostate and a host of thyroid problems. My source is: Vobecky, M. “Effect of enhanced bromide intake on the concentration ratio I/Br in the rat thyroid gland.” Bio Trace Element Research, 43:509-513, 1994

    There is an iodine facebook group and these people take huge amounts of iodine without any problems. I take 9 mg. every few days. I use J. Crow’s Lugol Solution 2%. One drop of this liquid is equivalent to 3 mg. But, what I take is nothing compred to many of the people on the Iodine Group FaceBook page. Some of these people take 50 mg every day. I remember that David Wolfe who I do not respect mentioned in one of his speeches that during the Fukashima crisis he took 450 mg. of iodine. However, you can’t trust anything that he says. Alternative Medicine MD’s ….. usually recommend 12 mg of iodine per day. However, Mercola recommends the RDA of 150 micrograms per day. And most mainstream MD’s would shudder at the idea that anyone would take 12 mg of iodine everyday, and the majority of them would tell you that you do not need to take any supplementation whatsoever. Dr. David Brownstein, MD is a huge advocate of iodine supplementation, and he feels that the American population is iodine deficient and as a result this condition has added to the number of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and thyroid problems in America. Of course, he sells iodine tablets at his website. :-)




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      1. Is it possible that the people on this NutritionFacts.org forum can also be classified as “group thinking” in regards to a vegan diet????




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          1. Well then could we possibly say that most people on this forum might be classified as “group thinking” in regards to a whole plant food based diet just as one might classify the advocates of iodine supplements on the Iodine Workshop Facebook page as group thinking? Is “group think” necessarily bad. Most conventional doctors “group think” in the treatment for cancer as being in the form of chemo, radiation, or theory….and now some are experimenting with immunotherapy. The problem with group thinking is that usually freedom to think outside the box is frowned upon. I have read some posts from paleo people on this forum who express concerns about being upfront with their belief systemson this forum. However, I have never had any problems debating the people on the iodine workshop website. They like to think outside the box.




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            1. As one who drops in irregularly, I’d say not. I’ve seen discussions on percent-plant-based, admittedly *tending* toward total, but that’s not group-think. How about following the science? Is that group-think, and if so, why?




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    1. Trophic brand , might only be in Canada , has a iodine that has 180 mcg per drop . I’m sure many similar brands are also around . In a glass of water you still taste iodine .
      Now what about other minerals like boron,
      My life time experience with animals , tells me that mineral deficiencies are common. vitamin not so much.




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    2. John: I have a question for you: you’ve said you take iodine “every few days”. Since the body excretes the excess iodine in urine, is taking iodine every few days rather than everyday effective? Have you seen any research on the frequency of iodine supplementation? ( I intend to take my iodine capsule everyday but often forget, so I’ve ended up doing what you do unintentionally. ) Thanks John




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      1. George, I don’t know how iodine works. Even people like Dr. Brownstein who claims to know how idoine works has detractors and mainstream medical doctors that debate him on his theory of how iodine works, is excreted, and how it is tested for in the urine. As far as frequency goes….i don’t know. I just take baby steps in using iodine. I feel that the little bit I am taking as compared to people on the Iodine Workshop Facebook page is going to help me as compared to taking nothing. So, I just take a little bit here and there so that I don’t come up empty handed in this nutrient. Go to YouTube and type in the keywords: Dr. Brownstein, Iodine. You can learn abut his THEORY on iodine. But, he is not totally unbiased because he does sell iodine tablets on his website.




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    3. Just one tablet of 200 mg Amiodarone/Cordarone contains 75-78 mg of Iodine. Most of the physicians, (even cardiologists and endocrinologists) are unaware of that. Amiodarone is antiarrhythmic medication.




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      1. I just looked up Amiodarone on the internet. That is one dangerous drug. It is used only as a last resort for people with heart dysrhythmias. It has all kinds of side effects. One of the side effects is damage to the thyroid, could that be from the high dosage of iodine? I don’t know. But, the manufacturers of this drug seems to think that the iodine component is necessary. I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from this idea. Does iodine help the heart, but in high dosages may harm the thyroid? I don’t know. People on the Iodine Workshop FaceBook website usually take around 3 mg to 15 mg per day. Some people take more. But, they all seem to think it helps them. Is that a result of the placebo effect? I don’t know. Each person has to do their own research, and take baby steps in experimenting on their own self to figure out what diets, foods, nutrients, and supplements are going to work for them. For example, I am taking baby steps in eating apricot kernals as another nutrient to protect myself from cancer. There is a lot of negative press about the danger of consuming apricot kernals, but then again there is a lot of reseach on PubMed indicating that amygdalin fights cancer. And, there are a lot of people on YouTube who advocate apricot kernals. There are MD’s for it and against it. There are PhD’s for it and against it. There are chiropractors for it and against it. There are nurses for it and against it. By the way, Doctor Mercola D.O. is for it.




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        1. Liking apricot kernels, and risking toxicity, seems to derive from reports long ago on the Hunzukut people of Hunza Valley, northern Pakistan, speaking a unique language, who have/had apricot-tree seed tasters who’d have too-bitter-tasting trees cut down. Hunza may also be the/an origin of supposed wonderful qualities of glacial water and its manufactured analogs.




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    4. Apparently iodine is not as dangerous for most people as the medical establishment would have you believe. Of course there are case studies showing problems with large doses, usually reversible, but it is not clear if they were getting sufficient selenium. I came across a theory that the peace and love era of the 60’s was due to people getting plenty of iodine from bread. There is a video on the iodine4health Facebook group that talks about super smart children whose mother supplemented iodine while pregnant and nursing.




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    1. If the soil has sufficient iodine the plants grown there, and eaten by people and animals, would provide iodine. Ancient people also didn’t have the issue of bromide replacing iodine because of government decisions. I suppose there have always been areas where iodine in soil is low, commonly considered to be goiter belts, and it would be interesting to know how peoples living there managed to get enough iodine.

      In coastal areas people ate seaweeds, fish, clams, etc., which would have provided iodine. There have long been bartering systems where people traded the things they had that were needed elsewhere and vice versa. Perhaps inland people got iodine from their coastal neighbors. In the maritime Pacific Northwest, where I live, natives pretty much all lived near salt water. That was probably true of most coasts around the world.




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      1. Here in Canada there is a huge difference between Ontario oats and western oats in for the mineral selenium as a example. One of the reasons Quaker Oats only use western . Ontario soils always seem deficit in selenium. So that would be one disadvantage to be a locavore.




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    1. Canning instructions always tell you not to use iodized salt for pickling. I don’t know if that’s because the iodine would negatively react with the vinegar or for whatever reason.




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  9. Why are they using excretion levels as a measure of bodily content or sufficiency? Haven’t we already learned about the dynamic variations in how much of various things we excrete because the body is able to recycle most things. Like salt, we don’t sweat it out unless we have excess. Maybe this is not the case with iodine?




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  10. Darryl: To add insult to injury, disqus also caught your post as SPAM. Argh! I just released your post.

    As for posting as Stewart E: That’s chilling and it happened to me once before. I couldn’t post as myself! I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t posting as myself until after I posted as someone else. I think I got it fixed after clearing my ‘cache’, but this should never happen. I have no idea how it does happen that you could get an identity of another poster. Try clearing your cache and see if that helps?




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  11. I thought I was iodine deficient and after a skin test I started taking a daily supplement . A year later I got my yearly physical and my triglycerides dropped in half because my thyroid started working again and my skin on my arms stopped tearing when I bumped them. I am a man in my 60’s.




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  12. Darryl, could you let us know what your seaweed program consists of? How much and what kind of seaweeds do you consume? Thanks. Right now I put a teaspoon of dulse flakes on my daily big salad.




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  13. Hi everyone, this video touched on the topics of algae like Kelp – Will there be any videos about algae in the soon future?
    I’ve read that they in some cases algae have 3 times the nutritional value of Kale, but also that seaweeds like kelp have TOOOO much of some nutrients. What kind of seaweeds should I eat? And how much can I?




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  14. Just don’t get too much iodine. That’s the danger with kelp or kombu. Kombu is off the charts. The thyroid is delicate and your intake is regulating so try to get the amount right.




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  15. Can hashimoto’s thyroidiitis be cured with WFPB diet.
    Dr Greger has never commented about healing hashimoto’s with diet.
    I have cured patients of RA,HTN, T2DM with WFPB diet but not seen any body getting cured of Hashimoto’s




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    1. Thanks for your comment Paawan.

      While Dr Greger has not created a video on the subject yet, please find the following article written by Registered Dietitian Cheryl Harris. In talks about the specific role of nutrition in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but no reference for cure. I highly recommend you to read it for now.

      Hope this answer helps.




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  16. What do you think of this lab’s testing of seaweeds for heavy metals? http://labs.naturalnews.com/heavy-metals-chart-Superfoods-Sea-Vegetables.html If the lab is legit, then there’s cause for concern about other metals as well.

    Plus, if sea vegetables easily absorb minerals from the sea, then do they also easily absorb other contaminants? See this piece on Kelpwatch about kelp taking up iodine used in the medical and fracking fields. https://kelpwatch.berkeley.edu/iodine-131

    Of all seaweeds, nori seems the cleanest in that lab testing mentioned above. It provides some iodine (1.5 sheets/day will satisfy daily iodine requirements) and may also protect against estrogen-driven cancers. It’s also a good source of zinc, a mineral that’s often lacking in PBDs, and of omega 3s and Vitamin A in forms that are easy for your body to use. Finally, it’s one of the few plant sources of Vitamin B12–although packaged nori that’s been pre-seasoned and toasted is lower in B12 than raw versions.

    (If somebody could tell me how to create links, I’d cite sources for all those claims.)

    Look for nori from clean waters, such as this product from New Zealand. http://www.commonsenseorganics.co.nz/ I like to buy it plain and toast gently over a candle–a trick learned back in the early 80s at Anne Marie Colbin’s macrobiotic cooking school.




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  17. To eliminate iodine risk I prepared an iodine solution at home. The idea: Each drop weighs the same if you use the same dropper. (Law of surface tension). If you prepare the solution with the right concentration you can easily dose iodine supplementation. So I add a few drops into my food. You can get lifetime supply of potassium iodide or iodate on Ebay for 15% EUR. But you must understand chemistry very well if you’d like to do it yourself. I recommend to use of boiled water to eliminate oxygen from the solution and adding some vitamin C to prevent oxidation of iodide to elemental iodine if you decide to use iodide. I tried kelp but I don’t like the taste of it. Homemade solution is completely tasteless and easy to use.




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  18. Just this week I read somewhere that many people are iodine-deficient if they use only sea salt. I’ve used only sea salt for several years now. The article discussed a case study in which a female about my age (60’s) who only used sea salt had a lot of fatigue and couldn’t understand it, as she got enough sleep, etc. (like me!) AND, they said, when she started taking iodine supplements every day, a marvelous turnaround happened quickly and she felt great again! Does this sound like hyperbole or…?! I ran right out and got some iodine and started using it yesterday. So far, not much difference. I notice the video heading said it was about the use of iodine “before, during and after” pregnancy, but it only addresses iodine deficiencies in pregnant women! Can someone like me benefit as well? Thanks!




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  19. Seaweeds can be a very rich of iodine, sometimes too much. I’m not a woman, my comment is thus not really directly related, but I’ve got a severe iodine excess by eating too much seaweeds. My urinary iodine was above 1300 micrograms/day and a a consequence I had a high TSH (T3 and T4 normal, no auto-antibodies, echography normal). Everything back to normal after avoiding seaweeds for a while.




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  20. Hi Dr. Greger, I suffer from hashimoto’s thyroiditis since last year, I follow a pesceterian diet but I am trying to transition to a plant-based diet after reading your book. I was wondering if there is any diet you would recommend to boost the immune system (to help with hashimoto’s cure), and also if there are any plants that should be avoided. I didn’t find any video on this particular autoimmune disease on this web. Any book recommendations would also be very helpful. Thanks!




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  21. Hello
    First I just want to say thank you for NutritionFacts.org. I tell anyone who will listen about it and I am loving How Not to Die! God bless you Dr Greger and everyone at NutritionFacts for all your work and time.
    So I was born without a thyroid gland and have been on thyroxine since. No I am not a cretin rather a happy healthy 30 year old female who is now almost a vegan thanks to NF. I know iodine is important for thyroid function but what if said thyroid isn’t there? What does that mean for my iodine requirement?




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  22. Hi! I have low thyroid function, and my doctor advised me this is the reason for high cholesterol. What are my options in this scenario? What type of diet should I consume? Thank you




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  23. I’m not sure whether anyone monitors comments for the older videos, but I would love Dr G to make a video that rounds up all the latest pregnancy-related nutritional and supplement information. :-)




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      1. Hi Thea
        Thank you for taking the time to reply; I have long been appreciative of your helpful and interesting contributions in the discussion sections.
        Yes, I had seen and worked through the pregnancy topic, but a few of the videos are quite old (2008-2010). Plus there are perhaps some gaps to be filled in areas of confusing WFPB advice (calcium, zinc, vitamin D, weight gain and any essential supplements).
        Maybe a future topic for Dr G ? This would tie in with the recent series of videos, to help introduce new people to WFPB ideas.




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        1. photoMaldives: Thanks for the nice feedback!
          .
          I see your point about the topic page. I think that NutritionFacts has people who look for requests like yours. So, they should see your second post and add it to the request list. :-)
          Take care!
          Take care!




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  24. Hi. I’m sorry, my question might not be fully related, but I have no idea where to post my question:
    My partner recently got diagnosed with “toxic multinodular goitre” (hyperthyroidism). The doctor told us it is unknown what the cause for this is, but she gave us 3 treatment options to choose from. She recommends radioactive iodine therapy, but we could also choose surgically remove half the thyroid. A last but less effective treatment would be to take pills for the rest of her life.
    Personally, it all feels like choosing between cholera and the plague.
    1) with radioiodine I am not allowed to sleep with my partner for a week because the radioactivity is harmful for me (what? it is not harmful to her, but it is to me?) Side effects could be hypothyroidism (more than 33% chance), in which case my partner needs to take pills for the rest of her life.
    2) removing part of the thyroid seems unnatural to me. If they remove half of the thyroid, the other half might function well enough, if not, the result might be hypothyroidism and taking pills for the rest of her life.
    3) Taking pills to suppress the production of thyroid hormone (she mentioned the name, but I forgot) is also possible, but the doctor told us that this does not solve the problem and there may be side effects.
    4) doing nothing might result in thin bones (osteoporosis) and heart disease in the long run.
    So none of these options are what we really want. So the doctor send us home, expecting a decision soon.
    FYI, I am developing early signs of the same problem, so I asked the doctor if our food could be a cause, but the answer was “no, this is just bad luck”.

    Is there anything else we can do?
    Ideally I would like to trow away all bad food we have and replace it by healthy stuff so our bodies can heal itself. Does anyone (preferably MD) know if that is possible? Or should we just go with option 1 or 2? With the risk of having to take pills for the rest of her life if things go wrong.
    Or where can I find professional help for this problem? (we live in Christchurch, New Zealand).

    Thanks,
    Cheers,
    Hans

    Some background information: we don’t eat salt, nor seaweed, nor take iodine supplements, so I think our diet might be iodine deficient, however, our doctor advised against eating seaweed or any other iodine containing stuff. We are in our 30ies, no kids (yet), started eating vegan 2 or 3 months ago (could this be a cause?), we want to become more healthy before we start with kids.




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    1. In case someone else has the same problem, here an overview of what I have found so far and what we are thinking to do:
      – Although our doctor claims there is only 15% chance of hypothyroid after Radioactive Iodine treatment, I’ve found many papers claiming it is more a 40% chance or more. On top of that, there’s also a chance (I forgot the number%) other toxic nodules develop later on.
      – Surgery (removing half the thyroid) also has similar problems (possible hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism in the future), but the chances were a bit (not much) lower than with Radioactive Iodine treatment.
      – An other treatment method our doctor isn’t aware of is “percutaneous ethanol injection”(1)(2)(3). The downside of this treatment is that it is a painful process and that it should be performed by a specialist who uses echo-guided percutaneous aspiration. (since our doctor didn’t mention this treatment, I guess she’s not a specialist)
      – Although our doctor claims diet can not be a cause, different studies(1)(3)(4)(5)(6) claim a iodine deficient diet can cause toxic multinodular goiter.
      If I look at what we normally eat (now and in the past) than it is possible that our diet was iodine deficient.
      – The recommended daily intake of iodine is 150 µg/day(7)(8)(9), which is about 2 sheets of Nori seaweed, or a half tablespoon of the seaweeds arame or dulse. [And the upper limit of iodine intake is 500 µg/day(6)]
      – When going from a iodine deficient diet to a iodine sufficient diet, there’s a risk that our thyroid will be making too much thyroid hormone (which is already to high) at first(6) (first few months, up to a year [(10) mentions it can take up to 2 years to normalize]). To prevent the increase in thyroid hormone a beta-blocker (propranolol) is advised by (3). So the thyroid hormone levels should be monitored closely to get the values right.
      – Make sure not to take too much iodine to prevent iodine induce hypothyroidism(11)
      – I have not yet found any proof that a change in diet can solve a (or multiple) toxic thyroid nodule

      So that’s what I got at the moment. We are thinking to:
      1) radically change our diet into a more healthy diet, with the recommended daily iodine intake of 150 micrograms. + ask our doctor to do regularly health checks (iodine level in urine, THS and free T4/T3 levels in our blood) when we start our diet. If that fails, then
      2) percutaneous ethanol injection, if that fails
      3) surgery, if that fails
      4) Radioactive Iodine treatment

      If anything I wrote here is wrong, or dangerous, or you have any other ideas that might help, then we would love to hear it. Thanks.

      Cheers,
      Hans

      (1) 2016 American Thyroid Association Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Hyperthyroidism and Other Causes of Thyrotoxicosis – Douglas S. Ross et al. – http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/thy.2016.0229
      (2) Percutaneous Ethanol Injection of Hyperfunctioning Thyroid Nodules: Long-Term Follow-Up in 125 Patients – Luciano Tarantino et al. – http://www.ajronline.org/doi/pdf/10.2214/AJR.07.2668
      (3) Book: Thyroid For Dummies – Alan L. Rubin – https://www.amazon.com/Thyroid-Dummies-Alan-L-Rubin/dp/0471787558
      (4) Book: The Everything Thyroid Diet Book: Manage Your Metabolism and Control Your Weight – Clara Schneider – https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Thyroid-Diet-Book-Metabolism/dp/1440510970
      (5) Autonomously functioning thyroid nodules in a former iodine-deficient area commonly harbor gain-of-function mutations in the thyrotropin signaling pathway – Neoklis A Georgopoulos et al. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14514342
      (6) Effects of Increased Iodine Intake on Thyroid Disorders – Xin Sun et al. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192807/
      (7) http://nutritionfacts.org/video/avoiding-iodine-deficiency-2/
      (8) Iodine Excess and Hyperthyroidism – Elio Roti et al. – https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ettore_Degli_Uberti/publication/11942295_Iodine_Excess_and_Hyperthyroidism/links/5433ffa70cf2dc341daf2b89.pdf
      (9) Determining median urinary iodine concentration that indicates adequate iodine intake at population level – Delange F et al. – http://www.scielosp.org/pdf/bwho/v80n8/v80n8a06.pdf
      (10) Risks of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism after correction of iodine deficiency by iodized salt. – Delange F et al. – DOI: 10.1089/thy.1999.9.545
      (11) Iodine-Induced Hypothyroidism – K. Markou et al. – http://ign.org/cm_data/2001_Markou_Iodine-Induced_Hypothyroidism_Thyroid.pdf




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  25. Hypothyroidism – my oldest sister (44) has just been diagnosed with this and started medication. This is a first for our family and in just a few weeks we have heard lots of conflicting advice concerning nutrition and this “condition” Most recently – it was suggested that she not eat many vegetables raw. Supposedly – cooked is fine. I do not see that you have had any discussions around this topic and wondered if you might help us find the truth.




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    1. Hi Angie, I’m one of the site moderators. Her doctors want her to avoid what is known as “Goitrogens”. These are chemicals in certain foods that blood the thyroid from synthesizing hormone. Certain vegetables, primarily the calciferous ones e.g. cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower release an enzyme called myrosinase with blocks the formation of the thyroid hormone. Cooking the vegetables inactivates this chemical so then its not a problem. Congratulations auntie, I hope this helps.




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  26. I was unable to find anything on alopecia but I know I’ve heard that there can be a connection with thyroid problems. I’ve been WFPB no oil for 8+ years and have never been healthier but I heard (again) from another friend about hair loss. She (and others who have cut down on animal products) have said that they need protein (or oil) to combat it. What does the research say? What should she get checked out?




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  27. There’s no content about stretch marks? Since I went on a WFPBD I’ve lost fat quickly. I feel so good! However, I still have stretch marks, how do you cure this naturally?




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    1. To my knowledge, treatments for stretch marks are only partially effective and won’t remove them completely. Using rubbing creams, oils or lotions is not supported by strong evidence. It would be best to talk with a dermatologist regarding a treatment plan that would meet your individual needs.




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  28. Hello. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism years ago, right about the time I began nutrient-rich eating. I’ve been taking synthroid (T4) and cytomel (T3) since then but am wondering if my thyroid will repair itself or improve function on a high-nutrient diet? My T3/4 levels are fine on the hormone replacement, but I wonder if I quit taking them (or reduce the dosage) if my thyroid would pick up the slack. Is there any evidence that the thyroid can heal? thanks, caroline




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    1. Caroline,

      There is some potential however if you’re finding that the supplementation with the T3/T4 is working please don’t stop. You should check the levels periodically and see what’s happening.

      My personal experience has been a mixed bag with some patients actually eliminating their need for the prescription. Please keep in mind that it has been a limited number. So keep up the nutrient rich eating and check.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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      1. Ok, thanks Dr. Kadish. I’ll keep having my T3/T4 blood levels checked periodically to make sure they’re where they should be. I wonder, though, since I’m supplementing T3/T4, even if my thyroid was healing, wouldn’t the pituitary sense the levels of those hormones and NOT put out TSH? In other words, if my thyroid were healing, my T3/T4 wouldn’t necessarily be increasing, would they?




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  29. Hi, Caroline, I would like to thank Dr Greger for this great video and all the great information that he provides us on this website. As for your question regarding healing your thyroid a lot of Functional Medicine Doctors will work with the patient to get to the root cause of their issue. I refer you to this blog by Dr Hyman and I hope this would be helpful to you.

    6-Steps to Heal Your Thyroid.




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  30. This may not be the most appropriate place to ask my question but I couldn’t find any videos that addressed hypothyroidism or thyroid medication. I am interested in getting off the Synthroid, now Amour that I’ve been taking for more than ten years. Is there a way to get my own thyroid to do it’s job? Or am I resigned to a drug for the rest of my life. Luvothyroxine is the most prescribed drug, most likely overly prescribed.




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    1. Hello Sally,
      Thank you for your question. I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer moderator for this website. The quick answer is that I think you are probably destined to take some sort of thyroid replacement for the rest of your life. I just did a quick search of PubMed (free database of medical articles) — using the search strategy: “treatment options hypothyroidism”, and didn’t come up with any novel treatment ideas.

      You didn’t say what was the cause of your hypothyroidism — of course sometimes that is unknown. The reason I bring this up is that, if you can treat the cause of the hypothyroidism as it is occurring, there might be some hope of preventing the condition. But once your thyroid gland has lost function, I don’t know of any way to make it regain function. You could always consult an endocrinologist, but I doubt you would get any useful alternative ideas.




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      1. Thank you so much for your kindness in researching and responding to my question. I suspected that I was not going to be able to cure my hypothyroidism with diet or other natural remedies and that I am resigned to some kind of medicine. I’ve recently changed to Armour instead of the generic Synthroid and am doing better, even though the source (pig thyroid) is not to my liking being a vegan. My thyroid was compromised as a teenager (I’m 75 now) when my mother took me to the doctor because I was overweight (barely) and depressed ,who without any kind of tests, prescribed Synthroid. I think my official diagnosis now is Hashimoto’s. I appreciate greatly the work Dr. Greger and all of the volunteers do to keep us so well informed. It has been life changing.




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      2. Dr. Jon, I also take thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism, but I’ve been on a high-nutrient diet (fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds, occasional whole grains) for about 10 years now. Is there any evidence to suggest that this diet style would allow the thyroid to “heal”? I’m kind of experimenting right now on myself by slowly tapering down on the meds while watching for symptoms (hair loss, weight gain, etc), and in a few months I’ll get another blood test.




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  31. Good morning,

    my Name is Anni, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease almost 20 years ago. My condition is managed well with L-Thyroxin 112 and following a plant base diet for almost 2 years now.
    In Germany the recommendation regarding iodine and Hashimotos is to cut back as much as possible, so I have tried for years to eliminate iodine from my diet. Right now my antibody count is low and the thyroid itself has shrunken to a volume of 7/9 ml.

    The Problem is: what do I do if I become pregnant, as iodine is essentiel for fetal developement? Are there any guidelines issued regarding that matter?

    I did a lot of research already and the answers vary from taking no extra iodine (since it can cause the thyroid to inflame again), to 400mcg of iodine is no problem with Hashimoto’s.
    Thank you so much for your help.

    Best,
    Anni




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    1. Hi Anni. I am a nutritionist and volunteer Moderator on NutritionFacts.org. I’m glad to hear that you have been managing your condition.

      Women with Hashimoto’s disease should consult their endocrinologist and OB/GYN first. Thyroid function should be tested after conception, and every 6-8 weeks during pregnancy so that the doctor can adapt the medication dosage. Also this website American Thyroid Association might answer some of your questions. While you’re on the NutritionFacts.org site, you might be interested in Sodium & Autoimmune Disease: Rubbing Salt in the Wound

      Enjoy your day.




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