Should I Take Iodine to Treat Hypothyroid?

Monday, 23 Sep 2013 05:21 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: I have hypothyroid, and am taking levothyroxin, but can't seem to lose weight. Should I be taking a higher dosage or more idodine? 
 
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Weight gain in hypothyroidism can occur over many months and it can take one to two years for the proper dosage of your thyroid medicine to moderate it.
 
The best way to be sure you are getting the correct dose of L-thyroxine is your TSH, but be aware that the ultrasensitive TSH test used does take 30-90 days to stabilize, so don't look for this test to be fully reliable until you have had stable dosing for 90 days.
 
Iodine can easily be measured from a single urine specimen and your doctor can reliably tell if iodine supplementation is needed. But do not supplement without measuring for your needs.
 
Iodine is used by your thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone, so it does make sense to measure your iodine needs — especially if your thyroid still is producing some hormone, you do not use iodized salt, or have a diet free of iodine-fortified food.
 
Iodine deficiency does occur in the U.S., but is far more common in Third World countries and in areas where food rationing and supply sources are hard to find.

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