26 Jan

Iodine and Graves Disease


Iodine and Graves Disease is not a topic that I deal with too often.  In many cases hyperthyroidism is only a temporary swing in thyroid hormones due to a Hashimotos condition.  In Hashimotos the thyroid gland may go from hypothyroid to hyperthyroid and back until it finally burns out.

This post is for those who are truly hyperthyroid or have Graves Disease which is an autoimmune thyroid condition where they body attacks its own gland.

There is a common theme that you will find on the internet that iodine and Graves / Hyperthyroidism are incompatible.  This however, is not the case.  Prior to anti-thyroid medications, Lugol’s formula was a common antidote to a thyroid storm. This Merck manual describes the dosing of potassium iodide for the reduction in thyroid hormone creation.  I know that I have read about Lugol’s in this manual as well but have been unable to find a link for you.  The current manual is a subscription service.  If I am able to track down a link I will update this blog with the information.  The following is quoted from an older version.

Iodine: Iodine in pharmacologic doses inhibits the release of T3 and T4 within hours and inhibits the organification of iodine, a transitory effect lasting from a few days to a week, after which inhibition usually ceases. Iodine is used for emergency management of thyroid storm, for hyperthyroid patients undergoing emergency nonthyroid surgery, and (because it also decreases the vascularity of the thyroid) for preoperative preparation of hyperthyroid patients undergoing subtotal thyroidectomy. Iodine generally is not used for routine treatment of hyperthyroidism. The usual dosage is 2 to 3 drops (100 to 150 mg) of a saturated K iodide solution po tid or qid or 0.5 to 1 g Na iodide in 1 L 0.9% saline solution given IV slowly q 12 h.

The naysayers for iodine with hyperthyroidism will point out that iodine is needed for the formation of thyroid hormones.  Very true!  As I have discussed in other blogs, the number in the thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) represents the number of iodine molecules on the hormone.  It is rare to have hyperthyroidism without an autoimmune condition.  This condition is called Graves disease.  When this disease is present, one of the antibodies that may be present is against the TSH receptors (TSH Ab) which causes the body to attack them.  This results in the over production of thyroid hormones.  Iodine in this case will not result in an increase in thyroid hormone creation.

If you are attempting to do the iodine protocol using Lugol’s formula and you have a hyperthyroid condition you will still follow the basic iodine protocol.  I won’t repeat it again here.  You can refer to the blog that I wrote previously about the importance of the components of the protocol.

There are two additional nutrients that should be considered as part of the basic iodine protocol to support the thyroid in a hyperthyroid condition.  These nutrients are described below with their benefits.

L-Carnatine (2,000 – 4,000 mgs / day) – Inhibits T4 / T3 entry into the cell nucleus.

Lithium (300 mgs / 3x per day) – Decreases thyroid hormone synthesis and release and reduces the peripheral deiodination of T4 (conversion of T4 to T3 – the active hormone).

The next question always asked is “How much do I start with?”  Unfortunately there are no absolutes or one size fits all.  We know that 15 mgs is the dosage where we have seen in research that iodolipids are created which assist in managing the proper hormone creation.  In practice however, many of the group members on the Facebook Iodine group have found that 50 mgs or more is where they find the greatest level of health.  It is something that you will need to experiment with and monitor your lab values to find what is appropriate for your condition.