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What is the influence of iodine on thyroid function?

Research shows that there is a link between low iodine levels and the incidence of autoimmune thyroid diseases. European researchers have done research on hyperthyroidism by comparing its incidence in two areas of Denmark, Alborg and Copenhagen. The study showed clearly that lowered iodine levels in Alborg were associated with a 260% increase in the incidence of autoimmune thyroid diseases compared to Copenhagen, an area with slightly higher iodine levels. Further research shows that up to 92% of sufferers from thyroid diseases have insufficient iodine. These peoples’ symptoms improved after using a combination of iodine and iodide to correct their iodine levels. Once iodide enters the thyroid gland, it is oxidized via hydrogen peroxide and thyroperoxidase and becomes iodine, which becomes part of cholesterol, fats and proteins.

Iodine can be bound to thyroglobulin and can make thyroid hormones T1, T2, T3 and T4. Some doctors are concerned that iodine use in autoimmune thyroid disease can exacerbate thyroid toxicosis, because iodine therapy increases the TSH levels. This rise in TSH may persist for six months and then return to normal. Remember, however, that TSH not only stimulates the thyroid to make more thyroid hormones, but it also has another function – it stimulates the body’s iodine transport into cells.

It would be wise to do an iodione challenge test on all autoimmune thyroid disease sufferers and to replenish iodine when depleted. You cannot have a healthy thyroid if it is iodine deficient.

How can I have my iodine levels tested?

It can be done with an iodine loading test in a laboratorium. Do this in conjunction with your doctor.

 

    • Discard your first morning urine.
    • Take 50mg of iodine/iodide (Iodoral) with a glass of water.
    • Collect your urine over 24 hours.
    • Include the first morning sample at the end of the 24 hour collection.
    • Send a sample of the 24 hour urine to your doctor for evaluation of your iodine status.

 

What are the conventional treatments of autoimmune thyroid diseases?

The conventional treatments of autoimmune thyroid revolve around alleviating the symptoms and not the cause. But how can the condition be cured if a cause is not found?
One conventional treatment is the use of thyroid blocking drugs such as propylthiouracil or methimazole (Neomercazole).
Other conventional treatments include surgery and the use of radioactive iodine. Both these methods reduce the thyroid volume or size.
If the underlying desire in the treatment of the thyroid problem is to destroy the thyroid gland, one can understand the choice of these treatments. If the cause of the autoimmune disease is too much thyroid tissue, then the use of radioactive iodine would be effective. However, too much thyroid tissue is a consequence of the disease, not the cause!

How safe is the treatment with radioactive iodine?

Radioactive iodine not only destroys thyroid gland cells, it also binds to other sites in the body. Remember, iodine is present in all of the cells of the body, so iodine will concentrate where iodine is concentrated in the human body, including the breasts.
With breast cancer at an epidemic (1/7 women get breast cancer), should we be using therapies that may increase the risk?
Researchers have reported a 400% increased incidence of death from thyroid cancer due to radioactive iodine; a  56% increase in mortality for people who were treated with radioactive iodine; a 40% increased risk for stroke and a 29% increased risk in mortality from cancer.
To be fair, I have to add that there is other research that point out no increased risk of illness from radioactive iodine treatment.

Have I personally used radioactive iodine in the past? Yes.
Would I use it now with my updated knowledge? It would be my last choice in any treatment program; it also is an expensive treatment that does not treat the underlying cause of the problem.  And in antiaging medicine we treat the underlying cause of the problem, not the symptoms.

What would be an appropriate treatment of autoimmune thyroid disease?

 

    • A nutritional program that includes Vitamins B2 and B3, Vit C,  magnesium and unrefined salt.
    • Use antioxidants, e.g. 3-10g Vit C. Intravenous Vitamin C may be helpful if the condition is severe.
    • Ensure adequate magnesium levels . Red blood cell magnesium levels  are required to diagnose deficiency, not serum.
    • Eat a healthy diet and drink enough water.
    • Fix a suspected leaky gut with probiotics, glutamine and quercetin.
    • Reduce stress.

 

If you suspect that you have thyroid problems, consult your doctor.