Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Quitting Medications

Monday, 12 September 2011 08:34 AM

Question: After reading about Iodine Plus and its good reports, I took myself off of levothyroxine and metformin and I feel better. Am I harming myself?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Iodine deficiency in North America is actually very uncommon. In the United States, iodine is added to salt and bread (not organic bread, however), and is present in dietary sources (fish), dietary supplements, medications, and water sources.
Using iodized salt is the best preventive we have against iodine deficiency in adults, but young children in the United States should avoid using salt added in cooking or at the table.

Typical iodine intakes are 200 to 700 micrograms (mcg) daily in the United States compared with much lower intakes in other countries such as Chile and Germany where they are at 20 to 150 mcg daily. Recommended intakes are 150 mcg in adults and 200 mcg in pregnant women and 90 to 120 mcg daily in children.

The higher intakes in the United States are mainly due to salt. As you can see, the amount of iodine we need is very small and easy to attain absent starvation and malnutrition. In fact, the amount of iodine needed to sustain normal adult function throughout an entire lifetime amounts to no more than a teaspoon.

So does Iodine Plus have a role? Given the fact that it contains iodine, "two other growth supplements," and magnesium, I believe you have been suitably bluffed by an aggressive advertising claim. While their claims are true when placed in worldwide perspective, the product probably has little to offer those in the United States with normal health.

I have a hard time fighting with success claims, but I want to caution that you should monitor your glucose control and thyroid management periodically with your doctor to be sure further intervention is not needed.

Metformin is used for prediabetes and for diabetes management, so you need to consult your physician regarding the advisability of remaining off this medicine. You can probably remain off your thyroid medication and have it periodically monitored for worsening, and resume supplementation as your doctor deems appropriate.

We do see remissions in diabetes and hypothyroidism with appropriate diet, weight loss, and exercise, so power to ya gal! I am pleased for your remission of symptoms and wish you well, but would be not so fast to credit this to your Iodine Plus supplementation.

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