Iodine & Hashimoto’s: Why It’s Not as Harmful As you Think

Iodine & Hashimoto’s: Why It’s Not as Harmful As You Think

Will iodine flare up your Hashimoto’s and cause more damage to your thyroid gland or will it resolve your symptoms completely?

Well… it depends on who you ask. 

If you ask me, iodine is an amazing nutrient that is incredibly beneficial to thyroid patients including those WITH Hashimoto’s

If you ask someone who has reacted negatively to iodine in the past, they will tell you a different story. 

But how likely iodine is to cause problems matters a lot for this discussion. 

What if only 1 out of 1,000 patients with Hashimoto’s experienced problems when taking iodine? 

What if that number was even higher? 

Throughout my years in treating thyroid patients, I’ve had the opportunity to personally treat hundreds of patients with Hashimoto’s and I’ve only seen only a handful of negative reactions to iodine. 

I’ve also provided tens of thousands of thyroid patients with iodine in the form of thyroid-specific supplements and the results are the same. 

Negative reactions to iodine are simply few and far in between but this doesn’t stop some people from exclaiming that their own personal experience is indicative of the whole. 

Today we are going to take a deep dive into iodine in the case of Hashimoto’s. 

We will discuss…

  • What an adverse reaction to iodine looks like if you have Hashimoto’s
  • Why iodine problems are often dose-dependent and not thyroid condition-dependent
  • The ingredient that PROTECTS your thyroid gland from iodine
  • The risk of iodine deficiency among Hashimoto’s patients
  • And more…

Why Some Doctors Recommend Against Iodine in Hashimoto’s


Foods to Avoid if you Have Thyroid Problems:

I’ve found that these 10 foods cause the most problems for thyroid patients. Learn which foods you should avoid if you have thyroid disease of any type.


The Complete List of Thyroid Lab tests:

The list includes optimal ranges, normal ranges, and the complete list of tests you need to diagnose and manage thyroid disease correctly!


In addition to the occasional Hashimoto’s patient who will tell you that iodine is dangerous for your thyroid, you will also run into doctors who say the same thing. 

The reason that doctors recommend against Hashimoto’s is a little bit different. 

Years ago, there was research that showed a relationship between iodine intake and the risk of developing Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (1) in some countries. 

These studies showed that the more iodine that a country consumed the more cases of Hashimoto’s seemed to appear in that country. 

What’s more, is that these two things appeared to be correlated with each other. 

Meaning, that as iodine consumption rose so too did the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. 

And while these studies did show a correlation between iodine intake and Hashimoto’s, the studies did not prove causation. 

It’s the classic case of correlation does not equal causation. 

And most doctors who have taken a closer look at the science tend to agree that this is the case. 

The rise of Hashimoto’s in developed countries is more complicated than being tied just to iodine intake. 

In addition, we see the rise of MANY chronic health conditions in the same countries including an increased risk of ALL autoimmune diseases. 

You may be able to try and blame iodine on Hashimoto’s cases but you will have a hard time linking iodine consumption to diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cancers, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. 

We do know, however, that decreased intake of iodine does seem to increase your risk of developing breast cancer later in life (2).

If you avoid iodine for your thyroid you may be causing problems in your cancer risk later in life.  

But there is one good thing that these studies showed. 

They outlined a connection between iodine-induced thyroid gland damage and a deficiency in another important nutrient… Selenium. 

Taking Selenium Mitigates the Risk for Most People

YouTube video

There is definitely a connection between thyroid gland damage and iodine intake but only in cases of corresponding selenium deficiency

Selenium plays a major role in protecting your thyroid gland from your own body because it is required to produce something called glutathione. 

And iodine, for all of its virtues, can cause an increase in free radicals when it is picked up by the thyroid gland. 

In the healthy thyroid gland, these free radicals are neutralized by glutathione which your own thyroid gland produces from special enzymes. 

But what happens when you take iodine and there isn’t enough glutathione to neutralize the free radicals?

You get thyroid gland damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress. 

And this sounds a lot like immune-induced damage to the thyroid gland, right?

join 80000 thyroid patients

That’s exactly what it is and this is the connection between iodine consumption and thyroid gland damage. 

But it’s important to note that this damage only occurs when you are ALSO selenium deficient (3). 

This is probably also why we see some studies which show that taking selenium if you have Hashimoto’s, can actually reduce thyroid autoantibodies

No doubt, there are many patients with Hashimoto’s out there, and even reading this right now, who suffer from thyroid gland inflammation due to this nutrient deficiency. 

But it would be silly to blame iodine for the problem when the cascade of events is as complex as mentioned above. 

The bottom line is that while iodine has the potential to be harmful to some people, it’s not universally harmful nor should it be treated as such. 

Some Patients with Hashimoto’s React Negatively to Iodine (What it Looks Like)

What does it look like if you have Hashimoto’s and you take iodine and you react negatively to it?

And, by the way, if this has happened to you please leave a comment below with your experience! It would be very helpful for others to see. 

The reaction is actually pretty straightforward. 

If it happens to you, and again this is very rare, you will trigger a cascade of events that causes thyroid gland inflammation

This thyroid gland inflammation typically results in a dramatic rise in thyroid antibodies (such as TPO antibodies and/or thyroglobulin antibodies) as well as a dramatic change in your symptoms. 

The patients who experience this will see a flare-up in their Hashimoto’s symptoms almost immediately. 

If they were to check their lab tests they would also see corresponding changes to thyroid lab tests including:

  • Changes in the TSH level (usually an increase)’
  • An increase in thyroid antibodies
  • An increase in ESR and CRP (inflammatory markers)

While this may sound scary or concerning you should be aware that the symptoms fade relatively quickly once the iodine is stopped and the chance of any long-term harm is essentially non-existent. 

So even in the worst-case scenario, which is a negative reaction to the iodine you are taking, it’s only temporary and incredibly rare. 

The prevalence based on my own experience suggests that this type of reaction is probably in the 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 10,000 range. 

How much Iodine You Take Matters… A Lot

To expand on the idea that iodine causes problems we also need to include dosage in the discussion. 

I mentioned above that iodine can cause problems for a select FEW patients with Hashimoto’s (4), and this is true, but this reaction typically only occurs when the dose of iodine taken is sufficiently high. 

In other words, whether or not you react to iodine depends less on your Hashimoto’s status and more on the dose of iodine that you are taking. 

And just like the topic of using iodine in Hashimoto’s, how much iodine you should take is also controversial. 

To put it simply:

The higher the dose of iodine that you take the more likely you are to react negatively to it

This is true for ALL thyroid patients including those with Hashimoto’s. 

The RDA set for iodine is typically too low for most people, especially given the soil depletion problem we are currently dealing with. 

Because of this, some patients have started to recommend incredibly high doses as they found them to be helpful in some situations. 

using iodine safely if you have hashimoto's

While these higher doses can potentially be helpful, they aren’t worth the risk involved for most people. 

A high dose of iodine, by most standards (including my own) is anything greater than 6 mg per day. 

The recommended dose of iodine that adults take is somewhere around 150-200mcg per day. 

The RDA for those who are breastfeeding and pregnant is in the high 200 mcg per day range. 

Some people recommend doses that are 30 to 60x higher than the RDA and that’s when you can get into trouble. 

But using doses in the 100-200mcg range, even in Hashimoto’s is not likely to cause any issues, especially if taken with selenium. 

Risk of Iodine Deficiency Among Hashimoto’s Patients

Is iodine deficiency something that you should even worry about if you have Hashimoto’s?

The answer is yes. 

Hashimoto’s patients, just like any normal healthy adult, should worry about iodine deficiency (5). 

In fact, given the information and controversy that I’ve outlined here, there’s even more reason to think that Hashimoto’s patients are MORE at risk for iodine deficiency compared to non-thyroid patients. 

You can get tested for iodine deficiency using several different methods but they are typically not very accurate or helpful (6). 

A better approach is to assume that you are deficient in iodine and to trial with small doses of iodine. 

Doses in the 100 to 200mcg per day range, if accompanied by selenium, pose virtually no risk to your health and may actually be very helpful. 

Because humans can’t produce iodine on their own, and because consumption of iodine-rich foods is not common among people who live in the US, it’s actually fairly safe to assume that you are iodine deficient. 

The body can store a fair amount of iodine in the body so you may not be as deficient as you think you are but remember that iodine is REQUIRED for thyroid function. 

There’s no getting around it. 

Not enough iodine WILL result in thyroid problems. 

So taking iodine isn’t necessarily a treatment you use to TREAT Hashimoto’s but it’s a therapy that you use to PREVENT problems from occurring down the line. 

In fact, I would say that most women with Hashimoto’s who use iodine do not necessarily feel an improvement when taking it. 

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing anything or that you should stop taking it. 

You should be taking iodine to prevent problems down the line and/or to replace low iodine stores that you may experience due to iodine avoidance. 

Real-World Experience Suggests that Iodine is Not a problem for Most Patients with Hashimoto’s

The bottom line?

Iodine is not the harmful nutrient that you’ve heard so much about. 

And while iodine has the potential to cause problems for some people, the population likely to be affected is so small that it shouldn’t be used as a benchmark to create recommendations for other patients with Hashimoto’s. 

My recommendation is that all patients with Hashimoto’s at least undergo a trial of iodine supplementation. 

The safest way to do this is to use a low dose (100 to 200mcg per day) in conjunction with at least 100mcg of selenium. 

The only exception to this rule would be those people who have already had a bad experience with iodine in the past. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you ever tried iodine? Do you also have Hashimoto’s?

What was your experience in using iodine?

What type of dose did you use? Low dose or high dose?

Did you see any improvement in your symptoms? Did you experience any negative reactions?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

Scientific References







why you need iodine if you have Hashimoto's

picture of westin childs D.O. standing

About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 80,000+ people have used them over the last 7 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do.

P.S. Here are 4 ways you can get more help right now:

#1. Get my free thyroid downloads, resources, and PDFs here.

#2. Need better symptom control? Check out my thyroid supplements.

#3. Sign up to receive 20% off your first order.

#4. Follow me on Youtube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram for up-to-date thyroid tips, tricks, videos, and more.

66 thoughts on “Iodine & Hashimoto’s: Why It’s Not as Harmful As You Think”

  1. I was diagnosed with Hoshimoto’s at 48 yrs old; stress/estrogen spike induced is my guess. I was blown up like a balloon, hot flashes, horrible night sweats and losing my very thick, very full head of hair. Hypothyroid symptoms will mimic menopause symptoms, so my doctors said I was in menopause. I thought that was a very severe, immediate all of a sudden thing to happen in menopause myself – took me a couple of years researching on my own. I was actually in adrenal exhaustion; was prescribed synthetic T4. I went from being the energizer bunny to barely able to get up to go to work; the level of exhaustion I felt was horrible. I was very afraid this was going to be my way of life with Hoshimoto’s. However, I wanted to try to see how I could make myself feel normal again. I worked with a holistic practitioner to get an Igg Eliza food allergy test; did a full elimination of anything that my blood was reacting to including food that were medium sensitivities; my TPO went from +900 to 400. I was deflating, I was taking a large amount of high quality supplements, spending a fortune on supplements, organic whole food, tests and doctors that my insurance doesn’t cover. After 6 months of being extremely strict with my diet and supplement routine (I treated this like life or death since I felt like I was going to die). I introduced Iodoral 25 mg; 2 x’s per day. This stood me straight up in 12 hours after the first 25 mg dose. I felt like myself again, zero exhaustion, lots of energy, NO PAIN in my body whatsoever, sharp minded. I continued my strict diet and supplement plan another 6 months. Finally, I put myself in a state of hyperthyroid and could not sleep AT All. I know how important sleep is because I was trying to recover from the adrenal exhaustion. I scared myself since I was self managing with no doctor offering me direction with the right amount of Iodine for me. So I stopped taking it, came back down to normal for a while then basically felt the same exhaustion in the end. I slowly moved off the strict diet (very very hard to do and support financially) and off of all of the supplements. I found an anti-aging dr. that put me on LDN – that was a life saver – but lost him about 2 years ago as he went back to cardiology. I have a new dr. helping to balance my female hormones (not just testosterone and not too high either). 2018/2019 high stress sent me back into a 10 month flare; so I had IV stem cells in 2019 trying to see if that would help bring the TPO +900 again back down and if it would help anything with the autoimmune disorder. TSH went from 7.9 to 1.65 in 45 days, no help on the TPO coming down. March 2020 – I had cold laser therapy on my thyroid 2x’s per week for 10 weeks, TPO is down to 500 and I am not on any diet or supplements at this time. i am starting another round of food allergy testing, food elimination IgG Eliza and supplements (but keeping these to a normal level) – trying to move back to a better diet plan – struggling. listening to your videos has given me hope to find the right dr. to help dive further into testing, and get 40 pounds off, and hopefully out of pain again. I never even thought about adding more LDN until your video mentioned it may be needed during a flare. I believe in Iodine, my thyroid isn’t producing the amount my body needs. But I have to figure out what is the right dose, so I am trying this again! You are educating me further than I have educated myself and all of your information around Leptin, Insulin, and more things to look for in my labs is giving me hope again that I can get back feeling normal!

  2. I’ve never been diagnosed with hashimotos but the endo used the word auto immune 13 years ago and I had a partial thyroidectomy due to a benign growth. My TPO was under 1.
    Recently, I tested my iodine and it was at 50 so it was flagged low. My thyroid supplement contains 100 mcg iodine and 100 mc of selenium among zinc and a small handful of other minerals and vitamins. If your iodine tests low then you won’t hurt yourself with a small supplement. If your iodine is optimal already then I can see why people would have adverse reactions.

  3. Apparently, I’m one of those people that didn’t react well to iodine? I was not supplementing with Selenium at the time. In 2008, the naturopath I saw did antibody tests and my Tg antibodies were elevated. I understood from her, that most likely the iodine I took for a few months exacerbated or accelerated the autoimmune Hashimoto’s. FF to the present-I have avoided iodine and taken many different things- many, many supplements like selenium, to NDT’s to LDN, and now to Tirosint-Sol/Sigma T3. All my thyroid labs levels come back too low, but the result is I’m overmedicated and feel like crap. This is my question: *I know that iodine is a necessary nutrient, but if I try to take it again, (like in supplements like the ones for Hashimoto’s on this website), what’s to keep the same thing that happened before from happening again – or worse since I’m older now?

    • It may not be the iodine you are reacting to, but the fact that it pushes out the other non-beneficial halides, fluoride, bromide & Chlorine. When this happens, symptoms like rashes, headaches, etc, are common.

      The other halides compete with the same receptors, & it’s not until they are getting enough iodine that they can start to push out the usurpers. Whilst iodine is a natural element in the body, excessive amounts of fluoride, bromine & chlorine are not, yet we are bombarded with them on a daily basis.

      Taking extra salt may help mitigate any detox symptoms when taking iodine – & of course the selenium is important, too.

  4. Thanks for the info on iodine. I was diagnosed in 09 with hassimottos and I could never get any dr to diagnose me properly with the correct blood tests they just wanted to say I was depressed.
    After diagnosed I could never get a clear story on why or why not iodine.the selenium makes sense.This really was helpful.
    Is it safe to take this supplement you have if I am taking Nature Throid 3/4 gram?

  5. I take synthroid and Cytomel. Started two drops 2% Lugals Iodine a month ago. Started having bleeding issues. Blew a blood vessel in my eye and it would not heal. Scraped my thumb and bleed nonstop. Stopped the ion and blood flow is back to normal.

  6. I spent an entire year on extremely high doses of iodine and really messed myself up. Lost eyebrow hair, aloooot of weight (which I put back on) and a ton of hair 🙁 I was not taking selenium with it at the time as I didn’t know i had to.

    My question is, why do I get EXHAUSTED when I take 100mcg of potassium iodine, while 50mcg is okay but still not optimal (wake up with puffy eyes etc) could my body be storing the iodine I used from last year? How long does your body store it for? I find when I drink anything with Spirulina in it my energy soars and I’m completely alert.

    I’m now dealing with my 10000x getting sibo so I know things are starting to slow down again 🙁 help!

  7. I have Hashimoto’s and was put on very high dosage of iodine (lugols) by a naturopath which I reacted to. I had tested as having a moderate to severe deficiency of iodine. My tpo and thyroglobulin antibodies were both very high But my tsh was normal at about 2 from memory. It went up to 7 and my antibody levels also increased. I was extremely fatigued and depressed and holding fluid and hair loss. It took about 6 months to recover. Interestingly I have always reacted to an antiseptic product with iodine in it which would give me a rash on my skin. My doctor said he would like to put me on a low dosage of iodine and see how I go as I am deficient in iodine.

    • Little known or understood is the fact that we are inundated with other halides, namely fluoride bromine & chlorine. They compete with iodine at the receptors & if of them is greater than iodine, they will win.

      But when you start to supplement with iodine it will push the other halides out, triggering detox symptoms, including rashes.

      Many would understandably assume that they are having some kind of reaction to the iodine, when these symptoms coincide with taking it. Apparently, taking extra salt can help mitigate halide detox reactions.

  8. I was quite low in iodine so my dr gave me supplements. I have also 125 mcg selenium in the mix of other supplements. After having some stress and adrenal exhaustion my hashimoto meds went off correct levels, I believe the iodine has helped me along with experimenting with the doses of thyroid meds. and nutritional supplements to get back to feeling better.

  9. I thought Nature-Throid was off the market. I live in AZ and have had to resort to taking NP. I seem to be doing okay on it but would like to go back. I’m going to begin supplementing with iodine and selenium as you suggest as I think, if I’m not mistaken, other parts of the body use iodine too. And I always struggle with fatigue. Maybe it’s the missing link. Thank you!

  10. Five years ago I began seeing a new doctor and was very excited that she was treating my thyroid so aggressively. I had been hypothyroid 15 years at that point with only Levothyroxine. She started Naturethroyd and an Iodine 12.5 mg /Selenium 200mcg combination pill. The first month I tolerated it just fine so she doubled it! Within 2 days I broke out in full body hives. I went back to her and she actually said “you must have lupus or something else” you should go get that tested – then billed me for that visit. I never went back. My dermatologist was my knight in shining armor. He agreed that was way too much iodine and selenium, ran a slew of tests which I ended up taking to a DO. Those two doctors working together have me in a much better place now. In the four years after I again broke out in hives several times (no iodine those times either) so I now take 1000 mg of CellCept and 6.25 susT3. My hair, eyebrows have returned and no hives for over a year now. My thyroid numbers are normal for the first time in 20 years. No joint pain now either. The weirdest part is that I had had a mass in my left breast that the OB/gyn had been watching for nine years (many mammograms and sonograms). It completely disappeared after the large dose of iodine. So maybe that wasn’t a terrible thing after all. But I’m glad that’s over. Chronic hives a unbearably miserable.

    • Hi Janet,

      So glad you found the articles and that they were helpful! Thanks for sharing your story and I’m glad you got it figured out!

  11. One more thing, after the hives incident of 2016, I really began to educate myself on thyroid health. Your articles have been so very helpful. Thank you for writing these!

  12. I had my thyroid removed in 2014. I had a tumor on my kidney to rupture, not a good way to find out you have a tumor! I had to do follow up at 6 months with a CT scan with and without contrast. I woke up at 11pm with my heart rate at 210, ER visit and drs had to medicinally stop my heart and restart it, having to do so again 2 hours later. They said it may have been from the iodine in the contrast. The next time I had a CT scan, they cut back on the dosage and the amount given. Did not have a reaction but have since had more episodes with my heart resulting in Afib, SVT and flutter ablation.

    Any advice or other info would be greatly appreciated!

  13. I have Hashimotos and I tried 250 mcg iodine, after taking necessary cofactors. I became incredibly overstimulated like I drank 100 cups of coffee. It was horrible. I spiraled down from that episode so badly that it took me months to recover. I would be extremely cautious when taking iodine with Hashimotos. I had an extremely bad experience.

  14. Hello. I have Hashimotos, I have tried taking Iodine supplements… it makes me very edgy (pretty irritable actually) – and very noticable. Does that mean the dose was too high and it was making me more hypothyroid? I have since tried topical iodine directly on my thyroid (neck) – not sure of the dosage (2-3 drops so not a lot) also taking selenium now. I have not noticed any irritability from this form – however, if I take it orally – I do notice it (same amount 2-3 drops). It’s a bit of a mystery to me – the irritability. But I am super clear it is the iodine that causes it.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      2-3 drops can actually provide a very high dose of iodine, depending on the concentration of whatever supplement you are taking.

  15. Wow, this is timely! I did experience the reaction like you describe. I was bedridden for 3 months, which actually led to my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. Your channel was instrumental in this, but that’s a story for another time haha. At the time, I was watching another Dr, who said “you can’t get too much iodine”. He did mention selenium, but didn’t stress the importance of taking it very strictly. I had already been told previous to my Hashi’s diagnosis that my Fibrocystic Breast Condition was likely caused by a lack of iodine. I agreed, and I overdosed Iodine and underdosed Selenium. I felt like DEATH. At this point I didn’t know I had Hashimoto’s but knew I had been sick for years with something Drs couldn’t figure out. When I took the iodine and had that reaction, I started bawling and started writing up a will with my husband. I was positive I had breast cancer for a long time, and now I was certain I didn’t just have breast cancer, it must have spread throughout my body. Haha, little did I know how beneficial iodine is to breast cancer patients too. I asked my sister to ask her naturopathic Dr, who told her his patients had some very weird thyroid reactions so he stopped telling them to use Iodine, when before he would tell everyone to use it. So confused and a little scared, I stopped the Iodine, thinking it caused my Hashimoto’s or just made it 10x worse, but still wanting to try again someday as it sounded so beneficial to me with all my health issues. My thyroid and Fibrocystic Breast Condition kept getting worse, and I decided to go with my gut a little more and buy the Iodine Crisis book. I took a break for a month and a bit, and just took 200mg-400mg selenium everyday. Now, I’ve been back on Iodine and Selenium for a while now and I am finally improving. I have my mom on it too, with the proper protocol in place. Thanks for the article, I am so glad I made my way back to Iodine!

    • Hi Jalin,

      Thanks for sharing your story and I’m glad you got it figured out! It definitely can take some trial and error to nail down the dosing in certain people.

  16. I have hashimoto’s and one of the two main thyroid antibodies had been very elevated. Came back down to normal range with diet and lifestyle changes and thyroid medication. And had been very stable no antibodies and TSH around 1.5 for years.

    Started taking around 200mcg of iodine daily and after a month or so noticed my throat swelled slightly and I can feel some discomfort when swallowing and the thyroid antibodies that had been normal in the past ( the ones that were not elevated when diagnosed) with hashi and at no point since are now raised.

    This is concerning as it’s a clear Indication of worsening auto-immunity- rather than improving – as it had been for years.

    Fatigue, sleep issues and body aching all now more up and down. Some random very low TSH results also. Which might suggest sudden increased breakdown of thyroid tissues.

    Could the iodine be the cause?

  17. I don’t have Hashimoto’s but am hypo-thyroid. I’ve been on Armour and Nature Throid before that. My T3 was too high and my TSH was low so my Dr. took me off iodine. I recently got so tired and brain foggy I could hardly function so talked her into letting me resume 800 mcg of iodine a day and I can’t believe how much better I feel every day. I’ve read that the body can’t produce thyroid hormone without iodine and L-tyrosine and I believe it.

    • Hi Nancy,

      That is definitely correct! Both iodine and l-tyrosine are required to produce thyroid function. What’s crazy is that the body cannot produce iodine on its own, either, so it must be consumed.

  18. Hi Dr
    I have Hashimotos. I was diagnosed with it when I was pregnant with my second child. Iam a very healthy 54 year old and very sporty. Iam a runner. I have never had any issues with e excessive fatigue or brain fog. But I don’t like my body. Most people say Iam very slim but I habe these horrible bra line fat which I feel is because of my thyroid. Also Iam on levoxythyrixine and would like to get off it for something more natural. Please advise. Iam very keen to start iodine

    • Hi Pash,

      I would get your antibodies retested as it’s very difficult to accurately diagnose Hashimoto’s DURING pregnancy. Some women have elevated antibodies during pregnancy that then go away afterward but some women end up with permanent Hashimoto’s.

  19. Several years ago I was told by a Naturopathic ObGyn to take iodine drops for my fibrocystic breasts. They didn’t ask me what my diet was and at the time, I was already consuming a lot of sea vegetables. A few weeks into it, and I believe I may have accidentally taken more drops than I should have, I started losing my hair, got agitated and anxious, got heart palpitations, and my blood work showed my free t3 skyrocketed and my TSH was under range low, and even my liver enzymes were elevated. My GP asked me if I was taking anything and told me to immediately stop taking the iodine and sea vegetables, as I was probably taking thousands of micrograms of iodine and that was too much. After a few weeks, my TSH and t3 became in range normal, but I had hypothyroidism symptoms after that. No one wanted to treat me though. I tried selenium supplements, and going gluten free… For years I felt unwell, gained 20 pounds, and had ups and downs ever since. 5 years later I finally got out of range high in my TSH and a new doctor decided to test my antibodies. It turns out I have Hashimoto’s. My doctor suggested I try a supplement with a small amount of iodine (100mcg) and selenium (200mcg) before trying medication, and both my TSH and antibodies increased. I have since been trying to stabilize on medication and have avoided iodine supplementation, because I clearly seem to be sensitized to iodine. I think your article does a good job at illustrating that iodine is necessary for all in small amounts and for some it can be helpful to supplement, but I would caution that for some people, it can be dangerous, even in low amounts. One thing your article doesn’t mention is that iodine can be found in a lot of things, including body care products, dairy, breads, eggs, all adding up to being enough or more than enough for one’s needs. For those of us who have become sensitized, it can be the reason why we can’t tolerate dairy and processed breads, for example. I have recently come across Dr. Alan Christianson’s book “Thyroid Reset Diet” which brings to light that in the majority of the world we do get enough iodine in our diets and a majority of people with thyroid disease benefit from staying on the lower end of iodine intake and being aware of the hidden sources of iodine out there. It’s very unlikely for anyone in the developed world to be iodine deficient. Anyway, I hope this can be helpful for some and can protect others from what happened to me.

    • Hi Hari,

      Thanks for sharing your story! One thing worth mentioning for those who will read this is that there will always be some people who react to pretty much everything. The fact that they react to something is only relevant if we also know how likely it is for other people to have the same reaction. For instance, if you are 1 in 100,000 then your own personal history is relevant to you but lacks in its ability to predict how others will react. When it comes to iodine, the vast majority of people have no issues with low doses. Your personal history is important because it helps dictate decisions that you make for yourself but lacks in its applicability to the vast majority of thyroid patients which is who I am addressing in this article.

    • Yes i agree. I took a multivitamin with 220mcgs of iodine in it and before this i never had thyroid antibodies and thyroid was perfect. After months of this vitamin i started showing thyroid antibodies! I have since stopped the vitamin and im monitoring my iodine intake from diet to keep it around 200mcgs daily intake. I can already tell i have way more energy and im going to have my antibodies taken again to see if this resolved the issue

      • Hi Holly,

        High-dose iodine can definitely trigger the onset of thyroid antibodies which is why I generally recommend avoiding higher doses. Doses in the range of 150 to 300mcg are quite safe, however.

  20. My daughter and I both have hashimotios. I have always felt better with some iodine, especially bladder wrack, and crave kelp snacks (I’ve always excused it as growing up on the ocean and now living in the Midwest). My daughter had the highest antibody count the Dr had seen. I had given her a couple suppliments to try. Her Thyroid swelled up and symptoms got worse. I looked at the suppliments and realized that they both had iodine in them so combined it was a high amount. She stopped taking them and within 3 days the goiter had gone down. She still did the scheduled ultrasound, the Dr said she now had Graves, too, and discounted my claim it was the iodine. I’ve been scared to take seaweed or iodine since but my symptoms have been terrible. Thank you for explaining iodine and selenium in this article, it has given me enough confidence to at least try the bladder wrack again. I had heard that the form of iodine can matter.

  21. I have Hashimoto’s and I take a thyroid blend with 150mcg iodine and 200 selenium. I have dense breasts and was told to put lugol’s on my breasts a couple times a month. Should I do it more often or should I be taking more iodine to protect against breast cancer etc. I heard 150 mcg isn’t enough but I don’t know what to take.

      • I appreciate the article and will read it today. If I may just follow up with one thing, with Hashimoto’s should I continue with the lugol’s directly on breasts twice a month or is that too much in your opinion? I haven’t noticed any ill effects but I also do not want to flare?

  22. I have Hashimotos and have been doing pretty well lately. I am always on the look out for a comprehensive MVI so I tried one from Mindbodygreen. It has 150mcg of iodine and also contains selenium. I noticed I started having profound fatigue again and could not understand what had changed until I realized I was getting iodine from the multivitamin and potentially causing the issue. I had read other articles from different practitioners stated that iodine could cause some issues. I have stopped it and in 2 days symptoms are resolving. I really wish I could take it. Maybe adding a supplement is just too much along with dietary sources.

  23. Hello Dr. 🙂

    Im 62 yrs old and have been taking 100 mg of levothyroxine for years, I have an autoimmune disorder I believe due to stress in my life and it attacked my thyroid. I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto disease on top of it.
    I’m educating myself on a healthy Hashimoto diet and it says NO Iodine. You say I should because the body needs it. What would be the amount I should start off taking? If you have any other advice I would greatly appreciate it. I’m really trying to educate myself.

    Thank you for your time
    Pamela C

    • Hi Pamela,

      Just for clarity, I’m not making any personal recommendations, just providing general information. Generally speaking, RDA doses of iodine in the range of 150-300mcg/day are quite safe, even for those with Hashimoto’s.

  24. For me, going on a low iodine diet and removing products containing high amounts of iodine and sea vegetables was the only thing that worked for me. My TSH lowered significantly when I went low iodine, without thyroid supplementation. If I am exposed to more than 200 mcg daily, I get a flare up, followed by fatigue that lasts for weeks. I advise to all of my Hashimoto’s patients to avoid iodine containing products, b/c I have seen it work. Yet I see practitioners and doctors continue to push iodine supplementation on them time and time again and it inhibits their healing. Are you also taking into account iodine in cosmetics, in our salts, in thickening agents? Because it all adds up and we just don’t need that much for healthy thyroid function. If you account for all of those, it is easy to get way over 200 mcg a day which is the maximum dosage the average woman needs for healthy thyroid function. To suggest that patients with Hashimotos in the developed world have iodine deficiency is difficult to argue, it it seems like your evaluation of these studies is more your interpretation rather than the actual facts of the studies. Even in Japan, hospitals recommend Hashimoto’s patients to avoid certain sea vegetables that are higher in iodine. You are accurate in that selenium is most certainly needed, as well as other nutrients like zinc, Vitamin A / D, Iron. Selenium also offsets inflammation caused by excessive iodine intake and improves conversion.
    We know that it is possible to get too much iron and Vitamin A, which is why it is not given as a supplement for everyone. The same will be true in a few years as we examine what iodine excess does and it will become conventional knowledge. We’ve seen a few patients taking these supplements, and while they do feel better initially, when we have them go off of them and onto a low iodine protocol with the same selenium and zinc, they tend to feel a lot better and their TSH improves. They even can return to “harmful” foods like gluten afterwards with no issue (mostly b/c, in processed breads, potassium iodide is used as a dough conditioner). If you think iodine exposure and inflammation to the thyroid is temporary, look up the Wolff Chaikoff Effect.

    1 –,stimulating%20hormone%20(TSH)%201.

    2 – Medicine, I. of. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. (National Academies Press, 2001). doi:10.17226/10026

    3 – Nih CC. Low-Iodine Diet: Preparing to Receive Radioactive Iodine.

    4 – Li, J. H., He, Z. H., Bansal, V. & Hennessey, J. V. Low iodine diet in differentiated thyroid cancer: a review. Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf). 84, 3–12 (2016).

    5 – Kasagi, K., Iwata, M., Misaki, T. & Konishi, J. Effect of Iodine Restriction on Thyroid Function in Patients with Primary Hypothyroidism. Thyroid 13, 561–567 (2003).

    6 – Yoon, S. J. et al. The Effect of Iodine Restriction on Thyroid Function in Patients with Hypothyroidism Due to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Yonsei Med. J. 44, 227 (2003).

    7 – Low Iodine Diet | American Thyroid Association. Available at: (Accessed: 24th June 2018)

    8 – Szczco, M. et al. Doubtful Justification of the Gluten-Free Diet in the Course of Hashimoto’s Disease. Nutrients, May 2022.

    9 – Relationship b/w Iodine and the Thyroid. Ito Hospital, Japan.

    • Hi Emily,

      Yes, you are correct in that my interpretation that iodine deficiency exists in the developed world is more a reflection of my own personal experience in recommending iodine and seeing the results rather than looking at the data but I am also more than happy to recognize that reducing iodine intake also has a positive effect on some individuals. I would just contend from a practical standpoint that more patients do better taking low-dose iodine than they do avoiding it, and I’m attempting to explain why that could be the case.

      But, as I mentioned, I do see a place for iodine avoidance and will happily recommend that as a treatment as well.

    • Hi RB,

      I don’t really follow anyone else so I can’t comment on their opinions. You can pretty much see all of my thoughts in the form of videos and blog posts and you can compare them to what he’s produced on the matter if you wanted more insight.

  25. I did 4 drops Lugol’s for a month. Antibodies increased, I stopped it. However, spotting increased (suspect ovarian cyst which went away with iodine. Also, uterine lining decreased). Now trying to get dose right with selenium so I can support myself with overdosing the iodine.

  26. I have taken high dose iodine (12.5 mg-Idoral) for a long time now without issues, however I do take selenium (200 mcg) with it. I have fibrocystic breasts that are quite painful at times (even past menopause at 59 years), so I take the higher dose iodine and it helps. I check my antibodies periodically and there have been none. I was already on thyroid medication so it doesnt affect me in that respect of increased conversion, because I take T3 only medication and no T4. I was put on this before other interventions were tried like iodine or other nutrients that might have been needed. I was not converting T4 to T3 and had high reverse T3. Root cause was not explored. If I could go back I would probably not go on T3 only since I am not sure I can get off of it now despite there being nothing wrong with my thyroid gland. It is fairly easy to manage, however I have to dose all through the day. Living in a foreign country (Mexico) makes it hard to access the variety of medications available in the US, so I am where I am right now.

  27. Iodine is not for me – always react! I found out I had hashimotos in 2018. So far I have not needed thyroid hormone medication and my hormone levels have been ok.
    A naturopath put me in lugols iodine which my dr advised it could do damage (even though I was on selenium) after 5 weeks of taking the iodine I retested bloods and my tsh was high and t3 and t4 very low and increased antibodies. i felt horrible. Fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, brain fog, bad memory, constipation.
    A couple of years later a naturopath who specialises in thyroid and has hashimotos herself put me on a low dose of iodine less than the rdi as testing of iodine levels revealed i was severely deficient. Again this was done with other supplements vit d, selenium, ashwaghanda. After a couple of months i could feel symptoms getting worse again so i decreased the iodine to half the Rdi and eventually stopped it.
    Just recently started seeing a new gp who put me on thyro balance supplement. This has selenium in it and nigella and vit d too and iodine about the rdi. I was on it for 6 months and didn’t feel great, fatigue, hair snapping and dry and brain fog, bad memory.
    Retested bloods and tsh elevated (hypothyroidism) low t3 and t4 and increased antibodies.
    I stopped it and retested bloods after 5 weeks. Bloods show a decrease in tsh from 6.21 to 4.1 my t3 unfortunately also decreased more so i have been feeling worse.
    My thyroglobulin antibodies went from 9500 to 7100 and tpo from 744 to 607. So stopping iodine has pretty instantly reduced them. Still not feeling great and will retest in 6 weeks. It really doesn’t agree with me even paired with selenium. Additionally i have never been able to significantly reduce my thyroglobulin antibodies. I have always been out of range greater than 4000 but just changed pathology company which has a greater range so can hopefully see what interventions help.
    I am gluten free and predominantly grain free and paleo.
    As a child if betadine was put on a cut and any went on my skin i would get a rash so maybe i am very intolerant to iodine?

  28. I tried several times taking iodine for my hashimoto’s and always had horrible reactions. I have flares if I eat to much shellfish or seaweed. I am keto and was eating a lot of pork rinds that had iodized salt with cause a 3 week flare. I went gluten and dairy free over 13 years ago. My antibodies dropped and my thyroid levels normalized. Most of my symptoms disappear. I still had a carb addiction which helps going keto. I can’t eat nightshade, garlic and onions.

  29. In 2016 I was diagnosed with a thyroid nodule, but neither hypo/hyperthyroidism and no one mentioned Hashimoto’s to me. The endocrinologists just wanted to perform a full thyroidectomy. I refused.
    Little over a month ago I started Dr. Tennant’s Cellular Nutrition Program which contains Lugol’s Iodine solution with co-factors. The first two to three weeks the nodule shrank and my energy skyrocketed. Depression went away. So many things in my body felt better. Discovered I have MTHFR mutation which is partially why the supplement program did so much for me (its a methylated formula).

    About 30 days into the program I’ve crashed pretty hard. My hair has gotten very brittle and thin, and my energy levels have plummeted and the depression is back. My body also isn’t feeling anywhere near as well as it was those first two weeks. Found myself a Functional Medicine doctor who suspects Hashimoto’s, so we’ll be running more labs. My TSH was high and T3/T4 normal, so she wants to look deeper at antibodies, etc. I’ve read many physicians saying that this phenomenon is common after starting Iodine supplementation and TSH will level out after 6-9 months, but having experienced some dramatic side effects, I decided to stop the Lugol’s portion of my program and will await lab results and re-evaluate. I’m hopeful that I can find a tolerable level of Iodine (Lugol’s solution is VERY high) because my nodule has never shrank, only grown since diagnosis. In a few weeks it shrank quite a bit and moved further up my neckline towards the thyroid. I don’t want that to stop, but experiencing absolute havoc with my body the last week or so I decided it wasn’t worth risking damage to my thyroid.

  30. I have Hashimotos. My functional medicine dr said my iodine serum levels were low from my blood work it was at 45 mcg/L so she put me on Iodoral that has 12.5mg of iodine. Symptoms started after taking it for 9 days. Severe anxiety, feeling amped up right before bed, body aches, not sleeping much and stomach discomfort. I was on it for a month and my symptoms kept getting worse. So my dr did some labs my THYROGLOBULIN ANTIBODIES went from 2IU/ml to 5IU/ml, my THYROID PEROXIDASE ANTIBODIES went from 71 IU/ml to 95IU/ml and my TSH went from never being high ever second latest being 2.90 to 5.13 mIU/L. These labs were taken 20 weeks apart. So I told my dr I think it’s the iodine and I quit taking it. I have been off the iodine for 7 days and still feeling all the symptoms except for feeling amped up at night that symptom resolved after being off the iodine for one day.

    • Hi Trisha,

      A couple things to note based on your situation:

      #1. Iodine testing is inaccurate so you’d never want to use that to determine if you need to use iodine.

      And #2. In terms of dosing, you were given supraphysiologic doses which are much higher than recommended.

      You can learn more about iodine testing here:
      And iodine dosing here:

      The premise of this article is that as long as you use iodine correctly, it will not cause any issues. But in your situation, the testing was off as well as the dosing which is likely why you experienced problems.


Leave a Comment

Your Cart
Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
Calculate Shipping