Can iodine supplements help regulate thyroid function in a person with hypothyroidism?
Answers from Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.
Iodine supplements usually aren't necessary if you live in the United States or in most developed countries. Some alternative medicine practitioners recommend iodine tablets or kelp supplements — which are high in iodine — for people with hypothyroidism.
It is true that severe iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism. But iodine deficiency is rare in the United States and other developed countries since the addition of iodine to salt (iodized salt) and other foods.
If iodine deficiency isn't the cause of hypothyroidism, then iodine supplements provide no benefit.
Hypothyroidism is safely and effectively treated with the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levothroid, Levolet).
July 19, 2012
- Ross DS. Disorders that cause hypothyroidism. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed April 13, 2012.
- Iodine deficiency. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/patients/brochures/IodineDeficiency_brochure.pdf. Accessed April 13, 2012.
- Hypothyroidism. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service.http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/hypothyroidism/index.aspx. Accessed April 16, 2012.