Hidden Cause Of Low Thyroid #3 – Iodine | Arizona Thyroid Institute in Scottsdale, AZ

Dr. Chris Heimlich, DC, Scottsdale Phoenix Metro area  Doctor Shares The Third of 7 Low Thyroid Mistakes Patients and Doctors Make….

As I consult with patients that suffer from hypothyroid symptoms on a daily basis at the Arizona Thyroid Institute located here in Scottsdale Arizona, I see 7 common mistakes that keep hypothyroid patients from experiencing relief from their thyroid symptoms. The third reason is this series is: Iodine Supplementation


Your Iodine Supplements May Be Making You Worse

When a patient has been diagnosed with low thyroid production, medically referred to as hypothyroidism, one of the first things commonly prescribed is iodine supplementation.  You’ve probably been told that iodine is necessary for thyroid hormones synthesis.  And it is, but here is the problem…taking supplemental iodine can be dangerous, and here’s why.

Worldwide iodine deficiency is a widespread problem. In areas of the world where iodine is deficient, iodine is the cause of many if not most cases of hypothyroidism. In areas where iodine is not deficient in the food supply, including the United States, iodine is not usually the cause of low thyroid.

In areas of the world with adequate iodine in food, or where salt is iodized, the most common cause of low thyroid is Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of cases of hypothyroidism in the United States is from this autoimmune mechanism. Autoimmune thyroid is not primary hypothyroidism; instead it is a form of hypothyroidism that is caused by immune destruction. The amount of iodine that is contained is iodine supplements and thyroid natural support products act like gas on a burning fire.

In a 2004 article in the journal Thyroid, the author stated “…the explosive mix of iodine, TPO Ab, and H202 necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis, inadvertently provide the trigger for the autoimmune thyroid response.” It is this misguided inclination to give every hypothyroidism patient high doses of supplemental iodine that leads to increased thyroid gland destruction, and more suffering on the patient’s part. Most natural healthcare practitioners possess a very limited understanding of autoimmune physiology and continue giving iodine supplements for all cases of hypothyroidism, in the same way as the medical community uses thyroid replacement hormones as a “blanket” management for all low thyroid conditions.

What that means is iodine is a trigger. It’s a trigger for Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid.

Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid is the number one cause of low thyroid in America–not iodine deficiency.

This whole issue of iodine exposes a nasty similarity between traditional medicine and “alternative” medicine.

Traditional medicine is looking at TSH and T4 and T3 and they didn’t really care about iodine.  They’re not even going to give you iodine because whatever the real cause of your low thyroid symptoms might be.  The only thing you’re going to get from them is replacement thyroid hormones. No matter what. It’s pretty much the only tool they have to offer. (And you know the old saying…”If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails.”)

They don’t care if  the cause of your symptoms is

  • Hashimoto’s…
  • T4 to T3 overconversion problem…
  • Under conversion problem…
  • Thyroid binding globulin problem

—doesn’t matter.  You’re getting thyroid hormones from the traditional medical doctor. This is why so many women STILL feel terrible.

So traditional medicine has nice little box. You’ve heard of thinking “outside the box?” Well Traditional medicine has their nice little dusty box, been sitting here for 30, 40 years and that’s how they do it.

Over here we have the not so alternative-alternative medicine approach.  And what they do is they also have their sad, outdated box way of thinking. Inside their box is the idea that everyone with low thyroid needs iodine supplementation, or tyrosine, or broad immune system support ,or they need to take thyroid glandulars.

Here’s what the not-so-alternative medicine doesn’t know…conventional medicine, they do some testing. Not-so-alternative medicine does almost no testing at all.  They’re still doing things like the Barnes underarm thyroid test and that is an ancient, prehistoric, non-useful way of evaluating the thyroid.

There are also people in this camp that are doing the iodine absorption test as if that had any real relationship to your need for iodine (it doesn’t).

The craziest thing is that these not-so-alternative practitioners ignore the fact that iodine is a trigger for Hashimoto’s.  If you wanna give yourself Hashimoto’s, keep taking the iodine that one of the not-so-alternative medicine doctors gave you. They mean well,  by the way. I’m not trying to slam them.

But that well meaning “alternative” doctor doesn’t understand the fact that what we’re really dealing with, almost 90 percent of the time, is not low iodine. The problem is an autoimmune problem.

If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism but are not sure whether is is autoimmune, then it is in your best interest to have your thyroid doctor check your thyroid antibodies. This will indicate whether your hypothyroidism is from an immune cause and will help guide you in your decision of whether to include iodine supplementation in your diet.  There are natural thyroid treatment options in the Scottsdale and Phoenix Metro area. 

In my next post I am going to discuss Low Thyroid Mistake #4: Hashimotos

Dr Chris Heimlich, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician

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