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Reversing Hypothyroidism Naturally

   Quick Rundown…


Hypothyroidism – or underactive thyroid gland – is a vastly under-rated problem. There can be several medical conditions directly affecting the thyroid itself, but by far, the leading cause of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency.

It is estimated that at least 72% of the world’s population is currently iodine deficient, according to the World Health Organization.

Women are especially prone to hypothyroidism because of their physical makeup and the extra demands of childbirth.

Additionally, many instances of hypothyroidism and iodine levels are missed or glossed over by the mainstream medical community.

 Summary…

However, hypothyroidism and low iodine levels can be easily addressed by both prescription and over the counter methods.

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By A. Jones, M.D., Board Certified, Internal Medicine

Hypothyroidism… How to Stop the Weight Gain, Fatigue, Brain Fog and Thinning Hair Naturally

 

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist suggests thyroid disease (hypothyroidism) could be more common in North America than diabetes. As many as 27 million people may have abnormal thyroid functions which is more than double the number currently diagnosed.

 

Women are especially at risk for this disease.

 

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “If you feel sluggish and tired, have difficulty losing weight, have dry skin, hair loss, constipation or cold sensitivity, it could all be related to hypothyroidism.”


What Is It?

What Are The Symptoms?

Who Is Most At Risk?

Women and Hypothyroidism

The TSH Enigma

What Are the Solutions – Both Medical and Over the Counter?

 


What Exactly Is Hypothyroidism?

 

Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid is basically a sluggish-functioning thyroid gland. 

The thyroid, a butterfly shaped gland found at the front of the neck just above your collarbones, makes the thyroid hormones – which control your metabolism - how the human body uses energy.

 

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to make or secret the necessary amounts of thyroid hormones needed by the body. Essential in this process of creating the thyroid hormones is the nutritional element iodine.

 

Dr. Joseph Mercola says in his recent article Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions for Poor Thyroid Function “Iodine is the key to a healthy thyroid and efficient metabolism, and even comprises a large part of the thyroid hormone molecule itself.”

“Iodine deficiency is one of the three most common nutritional deficiencies, along with magnesium and vitamin D. Since iodine is so important for thyroid function, wouldn't you expect to see an increase in hypothyroidism with insufficient iodine levels?”

 

 

 

Four Thyroid Hormones

 

There are four thyroid hormones.  Each one is designated by the number of iodine groups attached - T1, T2, T3 and T4.

 

  • T3 (tri-iodothyronine) is the most active hormone and the one crossing into every cell. T4, (thyroxin) is the most common circulating thyroid hormone, but must be converted into T3 before entering cells.
  • T4 has a long “half-life ”, meaning that it can circulate for days in the body without being metabolized in the liver. T3 (tri-iodothyronine) has a very short life span of just a few hours.

When there is insufficient (or no) iodine in the foods we eat, our thyroid gland doesn’t have the raw material it needs to do its job. In fact, think of it this way:

  • Low Iodine = Low Thyroid Hormones
  • No Iodine = No Thyroid Hormones

We’ll get into a detailed discussion of the extreme importance of dietary iodine (and why iodized table salt is of minimal use) further down.

 


 

Types of Hypothyroidism

 

There are several major types of hypothyroidism:

  • Primary Hypothyroidism - This is the most commonly seen type of hypothyroidism – and has reached epidemic proportions in the last 100 years. The thyroid simply isn’t creating enough of the thyroid hormones. The overwhelming cause of primary hypothyroidism is simply a deficiency of iodine.
  • Hashimoto’s Disease - This is the next most common type of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s Disease is an auto-immune disorder where the body’s immune system actually attacks the thyroid gland as if it were a foreign invader. In fact, about a third of all women and one in six men test positive for these thyroid antibodies.

Frequently, Hashimoto’s Disease follows an opposite condition called Grave’s Disease where the thyroid gland is too active (hyperthyroidism). The mere presence of positive antibodies does not necessarily mean that a person is hypothyroid, but once symptoms develop, then these thyroid antibodies make the condition very difficult to counter. Thyroid hormones get “attacked” by these antibodies, requiring mammoth doses of any prescribed treatment.

  • Secondary Hypothyroidism - This is when the pituitary gland fails to release adequate amounts of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Thyroid stimulating hormone is responsible for signaling the thyroid to manufacture T4.
  • Tertiary Hypothyroidism - When the hypothalamus goes haywire, it can affect the entire endocrine system, including the thyroid gland and its production of hormones.
  • Drug (or Toxicity) Induced Hypothyroidism – Some prescription medications (such as lithium for bipolar affective disorder and the heart anti-arrhythmia drug amiodarone) have been known to induce hypothyroidism. 47% of patients on long-term lithium treatment will develop clinical hypothyroidism.

    Likewise, amiodarone can take weeks or months to induce hypothyroidism, so patients taking these drugs should be regularly monitored for proper thyroid hormone levels.

Exposure to “Toxic Halides” - chlorine, bromine or fluorine all fall under this toxicity category. We’ll discuss exactly how in just a bit.

 

Surgery, Nodules and Hypothyroidism

 

Yet another cause of hypothyroidism is a result of deliberately removing or inactivating the thyroid gland itself. Termed “Iatrogenic” – meaning caused by medical examination or treatment, this hypothyroidism is caused by surgical removal or irradiation of the thyroid gland. These procedures are carried out in order to treat hot (potentially cancerous) thyroid nodules. Nodules are both age and gender related – mostly happening in women.

Thyroid nodules are any abnormal growth forming a lump or lumps in the thyroid gland. These nodules are many times benign. Only about ten percent of the diagnosed nodules are cancerous.

There is some speculation that nodules form because of low iodine intake. The nodules are trying to increase thyroid activity in order to make up for the lack of iodine. It’s when these nodules go out of control that cancer develops.

If the entire thyroid is surgically removed, life is difficult. Patients are totally dependent on hormone replacement medications – and unfortunately the dosages prescribed are almost always too little. Taking iodine supplements will not help those with surgically removed thyroids.

Irradiation is a common treatment for advanced thyrotoxicosis, which is a disorder especially common among women. Thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid) is most often caused by Graves disease and thyroid nodules.

Radioiodine (radioactive iodine) is used as the last gasp therapy when anti-thyroid medication fails, basically stopping the thyroid from producing hormones. The danger, of course, is that the thyroid will never return to normal after the irradiation, keeping the patient in a constant state of acute hypothyroidism.

If left untreated, thyrotoxicosis usually burns out by itself and the patient becomes hypothyroid. These people are virtually caught between a rock and a hard place, with hypothyroidism the common denominator.

 


 

What Are The Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

 

When the thyroid isn’t functioning as intended, the symptoms are many and varied. Often confused for other conditions (like depression) or simply “growing older,” hypothyroidism causes a laundry list of unpleasant and even dangerous warning signs:

 

 

 

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

 

· Weight gain

· Cold hands and cold feet

· Dry, itching and flaky skin

· Constipation

· Fatigue or feeling continually “pooped”

· Brain fog or an inability to concentrate

· Sleep disturbances, especially early morning awakening

· Depression – sometimes severe

· Thinning hair or hair falling out in clumps

There are literally dozens more symptoms, all stemming from the same source - hypothyroidism.

 


Who is Most at Risk for Hypothyroidism?

 

Hypothyroidism can affect both men and women, and in cases of illness or malnutrition - children as well. However, individuals over 40 and women in general are more prone to hypothyroidism. Here are the major factors involved:

 


Age Related Hypothyroidism

 

It’s a fact, as we age our bodies tend to slow down. Our thyroid gland is no different, and the stresses of decades of life do begin to take their toll. The thyroid just doesn’t function as efficiently as in our youth. If an individual has not been taking care of their health, this problem is, of course, exacerbated.

 

 

Women and Hypothyroidism

 

 

Dr. Joseph Mercola on Iodine, Women & Hypothyroidism

“There is simply no question that optimizing your iodine levels is essential for thyroid health. Hypothyroidism disproportionately affects women at a rate of about 9 to 1 in the US. ” Dr. Joseph Mercola, May 4, 2013

 

Women get hit with a “perfect storm” of convergences when it comes to developing hypothyroidism.

 

  • First is Age : Like everyone else on the planet, they are prone to decreased thyroid activity due to the aging process.
  • Second is Pregnancy : When a woman is carrying a child, her body gives the fetus first dibs on almost everything. As iodine is a crucial and essential substance for the unborn child’s proper development, iodine stores will be diverted from the mother and to the child.

    Fact: After even two pregnancies, a mom’s iodine reserves can be all but depleted – resulting in hypothyroidism – and that depressing weight gain. For many women who can’t seem to lose that “baby weight” the cause may simply be a much lowered metabolism due to a lack of iodine.
  • Third is Breast Tissue : Many people (and even physicians!) are unaware that a woman’s breasts demand almost as much iodine as the thyroid gland. Breast tissue siphons off the iodine needed or intended for the thyroid gland. Fibrocystic breast disease, which was one time unusual, is now almost universal in women in developed countries. The classic cause of fibrocystic breast disease is iodine deficiency and is almost always associated with hypothyroidism.
  • Fourth is Nutrition : As you read above, iodine is absolutely essential for a proper functioning thyroid gland and to help prevent hypothyroidism. But for both men and woman, we aren’t getting nearly the amount of iodine in our diets as we need.

 

The Iodine Connection in Hypothyroidism

 

Diet, Nutrition and Iodine

 

Dr. Mercola Links Health Conditions with Iodine Deficiency and Hypothyroidism

“…your thyroid problem could actually be an iodine deficiency problem.”

 

Today our nutrition is many times abysmal. Fast foods, junk food, foods grown in nutrient depleted soils – these just can’t give the human body what it needs to thrive. Now add three “modern day improvements” – fluoride, chlorine and bromine – and our thyroid is taxed to the max.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) at least 72% 0f the world’s population is currently iodine deficient. Many holistic physicians feel even this figure is far too conservative. (See article here: World Health Organization; Global Prevalence of Iodine Deficiency Disorders , May 1995, and updated information at The International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders.)

 

Dr. David Brownstein , Medical Director for The Center of Holistic Medicine, reports that out of 4000 test subjects, 96% had insufficient iodine levels.

 

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES – completed 1971-1974) shows iodine levels have dropped 50% in the U.S.A. alone. The problem has only worsened over time.

About the only populations on earth that get enough iodine in their diet are the Japanese, and Inuit, Yupik and the Aleuts (Eskimos), where hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is virtually unknown. They all eat plenty of fish and/or seaweed.

The Japanese diet typically consumes a 100-fold amount of iodine than Westerners - and Japan has no significant amount of thyroid disease. But as mentioned above, with Fukushima this can well change as the seaweed and fish being consumed is now becoming radioactive.

 

 

Why Nutritional Iodine is Plummeting

 

Iodine is tough to come by naturally in our food supply. The two good sources of iodine – seafood and sea vegetables (such as seaweed) have been adulterated by mercury poisoning and industrial wastes poured into the sea.

Food grown on large commercial farms suffers from chemical over-fertilization. Gone are the times when farmers would use fish as fertilizer – restoring the trace amounts of iodine back to the soil. Also, the soils are not allowed to recoup their natural vigor by laying fallow for several seasons, but are rather “fortified” year after year by man-made fertilizers.

Yes, the plants grow – but the fertilizers used have only a limited amount of nutrients, and iodine is usually not among them. This nutritional shortfall is passed on to the crops, and ultimately us when we consume them.

 

 

Toxic Halides - Crowding Out Iodine

Next come three other culprits in this iodine connection – fluorine, chlorine and bromine.

 

· Fluoride (Fluorine)

 

Fluoridated water is neither benign nor beneficial . To begin with, the fluoride found in our drinking water is anything but natural. It is actually hydrofluosilicic acid, a by-product of heavy industry, especially the fertilizer and aluminum industries. What are other uses for this substance? Try…

  • Pesticide
  • Herbicides
  • Rat poison, and
  • Sarin nerve gas – just to name a few.

Scrapped off factory chimneys and smelters, it is rightfully considered a poison and treated as a dangerous bio-hazard when handling. However, this EXACT same substance is then mixed into our drinking water, and by some yet unknown alchemical reaction (sarcasm) what was minutes before a deadly industrial waste suddenly becomes a so-called “healthy” adjunct to our basic water supply.

 

Problems with Fluoride

The major problems with fluoride are two-fold. The first is Iodine Displacement - fluoride slowly but surely displaces iodine in our thyroid. The second is Dosage -the more water one drinks, the more fluoride one consumes. Also, we must take into account every time we shower or bath, our skin absorbs huge amounts of fluoride (and chlorine) – much more so than drinking.

When we also consider that fluoride is found in most toothpastes, each day becomes a gamble as to just how much fluoride is actually entering the body.

FACT: There is enough fluoride in a tube of fluoridated toothpaste to actually kill a child!

 

· Chlorine

 

Chlorine is another iodine-disrupting halide. Yes, chlorine does kill many pathogens in our drinking water. However, it does have its dark side. Skin exposure to chlorine from swimming in a chlorinated pool, bathing or drinking city water leeches iodine from the thyroid gland.

Think of it, every time you take a shower from the standard municipal water supply (especially here in the USA), the skin absorbs both chlorine and fluoride - which slowly poisons the thyroid gland.

You should note that while water filters are readily available to eliminate chlorine from both your drinking and shower water, they are just about useless for filtering out fluoride. (The fluorine molecule is exceedingly small and much harder to trap.)

 

· Bromine

 

Bromine is the third bad-guy in this story. Used in baked goods, breads, pastas, upholstery, plastics, medications, fire-retardants and soft drinks, bromine is an endocrine disrupter – and similar to fluoride in that it competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine, displacing iodine from your body.

Potassium bromate is added to dough in order to make it more elastic, fluffy and white. Before bromating agents were added to our flours and pastas in the early 80’s, the substance of choice was… iodine! This is one of the untold scandals in our food industry, as bromine is banned from food in Europe and even China!

Bromine Accumulates in the Body

 

“If the body has too much bromine and not enough iodine, thyroid hormone can be brominated instead of iodinated. Studies have shown that the breasts and other tissues that normally store iodine can accumulate bromine instead of iodine.” Dr. David Brownstein

 

FACT: Bromine as a gas is used to fumigate homes for termites!

 


 

Iodized Salt and Goiter

 

In the turn of the last century it was recognized iodine was a critical nutrient – but one that was not very plentiful the further one was away from the sea. In the 1920’s, children in the Great Lakes, Appalachian, and Northwestern U.S. regions and in most of Canada (the so-called Goiter-Belt) were especially hit hard, with hypothyroidism and goiter a constant problem.

Since the amount of iodine they were eating was so low, the thyroid tried to compensate by growing larger. The end result was acute hypothyroidism and the large, bulbous nodule on the throat – a goiter.

It was found that by simply adding a miniscule amount of iodine to table salt, goiters could be prevented.

Yes, this trace amount of iodine prevented goiter – but the amount was hardly what the body needed – or needs - for optimal health.

 

Iodine Levels Down 50% in 30 Years

“Between 1971 and 2000, the average iodine levels declined by 50 percent in the US. During that same time, cancers specifically associated with iodine deficiency—such as cancer of the breast, prostate, endometrium, and ovaries—increased.” Dr. Joseph Mercola referencing Dr. Flechas, May 4, 2013

 

 

Children, Iodine Deficiency and Mental Retardation

 

Goiter is bad enough, but when a pregnant mother is severely iodine deficient, this can lead to disastrous results for the child. Iodine deficiency is the sole cause of cretinism in infants and young children.

The most common cause of mental retardation on the planet is simply a less severe form of cretinism. This is all the more upsetting as these lifelong handicaps could be prevented with just a few dollars’ worth of iodine supplements.

FACT: In modern countries cretinism occurs in one case out of 4500 live births. This increases to as much as one case in 20 in areas of high iodine deficiency.

Iodine & IQ

“There is some intriguing speculation that a pregnant woman supplementing with iodine can actually add IQ points to her child. During my medical practice, I personally observed this phenomenon.” Dr. A. Jones, MD

 

 

“Iodine” Allergies

 

You may have read or heard some people claim they are allergic to iodine. This is all but impossible. It would be like saying a person was allergic to magnesium, oxygen or water! If a human became truly allergic to iodine, they would soon die. Every cell in the body requires iodine to function.

Many making this iodine allergy claim base their assertion of an iodine allergy when eating seafood. It’s not the iodine that’s causing an allergic reaction, but any one or more of the thousands of biological components making up the fish or sea life.

Also, so-called iodine allergies have been attributed to radiologic contrast dyes. Again, it is not the iodine, but likely one or more of the other myriad chemicals mixed in with the dye.

 

“The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect” ("W-C Effect") – Poor Science and Even Poorer Scrutiny

 

In 1948, Drs. Jan Wolff and Israel Lyon Chaikoff dropped a bombshell. In their published paper, they strongly suggested high dosage iodine intake was responsible for hypothyroidism. Their studies, conducted totally on rats, neglected to include real-world experience with humans.

Rats were injected with dosages of radioactive potassium iodine. This iodine used to inject the unfortunate rats was neither natural nor safe. Even then, the rats had no measureable or observed effects of hypothyroidism. Another thing, the doctor’s didn't even take any blood tests from the rats. Basically, they just made up an observation that was neither true nor ever reproduced.

In any event, the amount of iodine injected and considered “excess” was a mere three percent (3%) of what 60 million Japanese were eating on a daily basis. As previously noted, Japanese have an extremely LOW incidence of hypo or hyper thyroid problems.

FACT: This experiment never did explain why high levels of natural iodine (either by food or supplements) ingested by humans did not reproduce the so-called Wolff-Chaikoff effect.

But since that time, doctors have taken this one study as near gospel, never examining much less questioning the obvious faults and inconsistencies of the original paper and the “study” itself.

 

Dr. Guy E Abraham, M.D. – Medical Stupidity vs. Iodine

“The W-C Effect, combined with medical stupidity may have caused more human misery and death than both world wars combined by preventing meaningful clinical investigations of optimal levels of iodine on physical and mental health.” (emphasis added)

 

 

Testing for Hypothyroidism

 

Doctors usually will order blood tests (Thyroid Panel) to see the levels of T3, T4 and TSH ( Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) circulating in your blood. If you have low levels of T4, and higher than normal TSH, that’s usually an indication of hypothyroidism. Your pituitary gland is producing more TSH - trying to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone.

 

 

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

 

Many people experience what’s called subclinical hypothyroidism. The symptoms are slight and usually produce no overt, outward signs. Blood tests will show normal levels of both T3 and T4, but elevated levels of TSH.

 

 

Euthyroid Sick Syndrome

 

By far the most common manifestation of hypothyroid disorders - this vexing condition happens when a person shows signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, but the lab results appear normal. Patients go to see their physician, get the tests and are basically told they’re fine – even if they feel lousy. Many doctors then prescribe anti-depressants, which will do nothing for the underachieving thyroid, and only mask the patient’s symptoms.

Of course, if you are experiencing several of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism mentioned above, it’s a strong indication your thyroid isn’t creating enough hormones for optimal health.

 


 

Treating Hypothyroidism - Non-Prescription Solutions

 

In most cases, hypothyroidism is simply a matter of not getting enough dietary iodine. Thus, the first line of treatment in hypothyroidism should be the least invasive and the safest course of action – increasing one’s iodine intake.

Just by increasing iodine levels, primary hypothyroidism can be alleviated and normal thyroid function restored in a majority of cases. As we noted, the amount of iodine in iodized salt is barely enough to prevent goiter, but insufficient to restore proper function to the thyroid gland.

 

Standard Iodine Supplements Inadequate

 

Please be advised most iodine supplements and multi-vitamins have far too little iodine in them to be effective. In fact, the standard 400 micrograms in most preparations is 80 - 100 TIMES LESS than what is truly needed.

 

Higher Dosages of Iodine Needed to Combat Insufficiencies – Dr. Michael B. Schachter

“The treatment dose when a person is iodine insufficient is generally between 12.5 mg and 50 mg daily. Preliminary research indicates that if a person is iodine insufficient, it takes about three months to become iodine sufficient while ingesting a dosage of 50 mg of iodine and a year to become iodine sufficient while ingesting a dosage of 12.5 mg of iodine daily.” Michael B. Schachter, M.D., Director of the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine

Dr. Guy E Abraham, M.D. on Optimal Iodine Intake:

“Today, the optimal requirement of iodine for whole body sufficiency is still unknown. We have attempted to calculate this amount based on a review of the literature and it turns out to be 100 times the RDA.”

 

At the end of this review you’ll find our recommendations for high-potency iodine supplements needed for optimal health and combatting hypothyroidism.

 

 

Treating Hypothyroidism – Prescription Hormone Supplementation

 

The second line of defense in treating hypothyroidism is supplementing with thyroid hormones. Many doctors consider the best hormone treatment is using desiccated thyroid, of which the most well-known brand is Armour, followed by Westhroid, Nature-Throid and many other generic versions. The reason why desiccated thyroid is used is because it most closely resembles the natural human ratios of T4 to T3.

However, most doctors are not familiar with desiccated thyroid and will instead, prescribe daily doses of a synthetic thyroid hormoneLevothyroxine (Synthroid).

Levothyroxine (Synthroid) is simply the “backwards” mirror image version of T4 or thyroxine. Since this type of T4 is created in the lab, it can be patented. It helps, but not as effectively as desiccated thyroid. Plus, when Levothyroxine is combined with other prescription drugs such as beta blockers, the results are severely limited. Additionally, T4 does not have the biological activity that T3 has.

FACT: About one third of those prescribed Levothyroxine (Synthroid) do not get a decent response.

Incidentally, many doctors do not prescribe large enough doses of any thyroid hormone, regardless of the brand. They keep looking at the blood tests and not the patient.

The patient (many times a woman) knows something isn’t right. They instinctively know the dosages they are being prescribed for thyroid hormones are too low. And they know their doctor is just placating them when they voice their concerns, which frustrates these women even more.

But by supplementing with high dosage iodine, the thyroid gland begins to work better, pumping out more of the patient’s own natural hormones, even if the prescription dosage is inadequate.


 

Thyroid Medication Side Effects

 

Prescribed thyroid hormones can cause hyperthyroidism symptoms if the dose is too high:

  • Rapid resting heart rate
  • Palpitations (extra heart beats)
  • Tremors/tremulousness
  • Nervousness, anxiety or irritability
  • Inability to sleep
  • Hyperactivity or feeling hot

Physical findings include hyperreflexia (increased deep tendon reflexes or “knee jerk”) and resting heart rate above 80 or 90 beats per minute.

The biggest dangers (if the dose is too high) are the cardiac effects, where the heart rate can switch into arrhythmias or beat so fast that chest pain results. However, it takes WEEKS to get to this point and never happens overnight, even if someone intentionally overdoses.

The easiest way to follow proper dosage or over-dosage is to check the resting heart rate. Normal is anywhere from 60 to about the mid 70’s. If it crosses into the 80’s, then the dosage should be reduced. If the heart rate reaches over 100, dosages should be suspended for a while.

This is why doctors are afraid to prescribe adequate doses of thyroid hormones. They don’t trust their patients to monitor their own heart rates, and instead simply rely on blood tests for guidance. Simple education can do this with motivated patients. It takes about three weeks for the elevated heart rate to become a problem, so there is plenty of time to make dosage corrections.

FACT: Iodine administration alone will never result in hyperthyroid effects because the body will only use what it can manage and eliminate the remainder through sweat or urine.

 

 

The TSH Enigma – Why Thyroid Test Results Can Go Through the Roof

 

When diagnosed with hypothyroidism (low thyroid) one of the thyroid panel tests given is for circulating TSH levels. The higher the TSH numbers on the test, the greater the presumed deficiency.

There is logic to this. As thyroid levels drop, the body desperately tries to increase circulating thyroid hormone levels. TSH – or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – is released to do just this, attempting to convert every last molecule of iodine it can find into usable hormones.

When given thyroid hormone preparations, TSH levels do drop . Again, logical because more thyroid hormone is being artificially introduced into the system.

 

The Iodine Connection

But here’s the problem – your body is looking for iodine in order to manufacture the thyroid hormones on its own. The thyroid preparations supply the hormone (or a somewhat near equivalent of it) but not the essential iodine.

The result?

Your body now becomes dependent upon these manufactured hormonal substances.

Now here comes the paradox:

When we introduce high potency quality iodine in the form of a supplement – an interesting paradox happens. TSH levels literally soar! Most physicians seeing this would press the panic button then and there. Which would be a mistake.

As soon as the iodine levels are increased, the body recognizes this and starts pumping out TSH at increased (sometimes phenomenal) levels in order to take full advantage of the situation.

It’s like coming home after a sweltering hot day and downing several glasses of cold water. Your body is responding to the stimulus of dehydration by making you incredibly thirsty.

On full supplementation, TSH levels can remain high for a year or more before they finally start dropping. Even after levels drop, iodine supplementation should continue. Logical, because low iodine was what was getting the thyroid into trouble in the first place. Having a steady, adequate supply ensures this won’t re-occur.

So yes, taking a supplement is safe. However, it is always recommended you consult with your doctor or primary health care provider if you are taking prescribed thyroid hormones and start on iodine supplementation.

 

Treating Hypothyroidism – Non-Prescription Hormone Supplementation

 

There are also non-prescription thyroid hormones. These are dried thyroid/adrenal combinations derived from animal glands.Raw Thyroid from Natural Sources is one such product, and Biotics Research also has similar formulations. The only downside is that one must literally take handfuls of pills to get the full, natural T4 and T3 effect.

Both these companies sell their products through a wide venue of vendors, from Amazon.com to Swansons to eBay – and dozens of other suppliers.

Additionally, if you have the financial resources you can go directly to a compounding pharmacy and have them custom-formulate a T3 T4 blend to you or your physician’s own specifications.

You might even wish to contact a bio-identical trained doctor for advice and guidance with your hypothyroid issues. One such group is Body Logic, but a simple Google inquiry will reveal dozens if not hundreds of alternatives – many specifically in your geographical location. (Note: We do not receive any financial remuneration from any of the companies listed above.)

 

 

 Iodine Supplements – Our Recommendations      

 

There are many iodine supplements on the market, but unfortunately almost all of them are very low dosage, and won’t go far in reversing the effects of hypothyroidism.

A handful of supplements however do have a higher concentration of the elemental iodine necessary for a proper functioning thyroid gland.

Two of the better ones we’ve run across are Iodoral from Optimox and Iodine Plus2 from Natural Living. While both these formulations are high-potency, high quality supplements, Iodine Plus 2 is less expensive. Their free shipping option on qualifying orders is yet another plus.

 

 

Iodine Plus2 – Top Recommended Supplement

 

We do lean more towards Iodine Plus2 because of these advantages:

  • Iodine Plus2 contains the two forms of iodine necessary for good health – Iodine and Potassium Iodide. These two forms of iodine are balanced for optimal biological efficiency – 5 mg of Iodine and 7.5 mg of Potassium Iodide.
  • Iodine Plus2 contains 15 mcg of Selenium . Selenium is necessary for proper functioning of the enzyme, iodothyronine deiodinase, critical for conversion of T4 into T3 (the active thyroid hormone).

“Selenium acts as a ‘thyroid antioxidant’ and is vital for the production of thyroid hormone… Selenium also can protect the thyroid by binding to mercury and making it completely inert. Mercury is a major thyroid disrupting chemical but not when selenium is present.” Dr. Nikolas Hedberg

 

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin - 15 mg) is also part of their exclusive formulation. Vitamin B2 apparently exerts a synergistic effect in conjunction with the iodine in helping the body make proper amounts of active thyroid hormones. B2 also helps iodine properly oxidize in the thyroid, while stimulating the mitochondria to produce more energy.

“The importance of magnesium and the vitamins B2 and B3 in ATP synthesis and overall well-being emphasizes the need for a complete nutritional approach.” Guy E. Abraham, MD and J. D. Flechas, MD 

 

  • The cost per tablet is 33 cents for Iodine Plus 2 versus 46 cents for Iodoral

Please see Reviews for Iodine Plus 2 on Amazon.com or you can buy direct and save more from the manufacturer's site.

 

 

Super Low Price Competitors – Are They Safe?

 

Beware of knock-off brands. Many times a successful supplement or product is soon followed by a succession of copiers – usually selling the “exact same product” at a much lower cost.

The little known fact is that many times these alternatives come from nameless Chinese factories , with little oversight as to quality or production. The label can say anything. Unless one is willing to laboratory test each batch, it can be a crap-shoot if the ingredients are really all they are supposed to be.

Iodine Plus 2 (our recommendation) is manufactured in the USA to strict USP standards in FDA inspected facilities.

 


 

Summary of Recommendations

 

  • The first line of treatment should be supplementing with quality, high-potency iodine preparations.
  • If your symptoms don’t improve, then by all means seek professional help and get your iodine levels and thyroid activity checked and monitored.
  • Ask your doctor or health-care professional about the various choices available in prescription medications. In our opinion, it is almost always better to use natural hormonal substances like desiccated thyroid than chemically altered mimics (such as Synthroid.)
  • Please remember that thyroid panel blood tests will in all likelihood not catch hypothyroidism in its early stages. It can take up to 15 years before the tests catch up with the actual condition. Many physicians simply look at the test results, and automatically dismiss hypothyroidism if the raw numbers fall within a certain range.

 

Slowly but Surely – No Overnight Miracles

 

One thing you must remember about the thyroid – any changes will come about slowly! Even with prescription medications, overnight results should not be expected. It will take at least two weeks, and maybe a month or more, before you start to see and feel demonstrable results. The most common benefits many people soon experience after starting on iodine are more energy and a better, more restive night’s sleep.

Hypothyroidism can take years or decades to manifest itself. If you are experiencing symptoms of this disorder, give yourself and your body the time and the nutrients it needs to correct and heal itself.

 

 

Special Note on Weight Loss

 

Many people experience runaway weight gain as their thyroid slows down. When starting on iodine supplementation, they may believe all that’s needed is to pop a little pill and the pounds will magically disappear. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.

FACT: Iodine supplementation alone can’t address your entire weight gain problem.

Those excess pounds aren’t just due to your sluggish metabolism. One of the most important issues that must be addressed when losing weight is sugar and carb intake.

 

Sugar is Slowly Killing Us

Frankly, modern man and woman are drowning themselves in too much sugar. In 1900, the average American ate four pounds of sugar a year. Today it’s almost 160 pounds – 40 times as much! In a single week, we eat more total sugar than our great grandparents consumed in an entire year.

To accelerate losing those extra pounds, start cutting out the sugar – including pasta, breads, cookies and empty calorie snacks.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Dr. A. Jones M.D. graduated from medical school in 1986, becoming Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1989. For 20 years he was involved in direct patient care, and now devotes his attention and efforts to the fields of alternative health and natural remedies, while constantly warning about the very real (and under reported) dangers of many prescription medications.

He is the author of dozens of holistic medicine articles and reports, and has appeared on national radio and television programs.

 

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