Iodine and hyperthyroidism (or autoimmune conditions like Graves Disease) is not a topic that I deal with too often.  It is important to have a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and not just a feeling.  Symptoms like heart palpitations and sweating can also be a result of adrenal fatigue due to low thyroid.  So testing is imporatnt.  In other cases hyperthyroidism diagnosis based on symptoms may be a temporary swing in thyroid hormones due to a Hashimotos (low thyroid autoimmune) condition.  The eventual result will be the thyroid burning out.  This is often an issue when the individual is not well managed by a doctor or not under a doctors care at all.

This post is for those who are truly hyperthyroid or have Graves Disease.  It can be verified by looking at TSH (very low to undetectable levels) along with a high FT3 value.  Both must be true.  If the TSH is normal and the FT3 high then further testing of the RT3 levels is warranted.  To determine Graves you will need to test TSI antibodies or TR Antibodies and TPO Antibodies.

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 and Potassium Iodide were common antidotes to a thyroid storm. This Merck manual archive from 2013 describes the dosing of potassium iodide and Lugol’s for the reduction in thyroid hormone creation.

I collect old Merck Manuals.  I have the 1930 book but could not locate the hyperthyroidism information if it is in the manual.  So I used the following excerpts from the 1950 – Eighth Edition Merck Manual.


20 drops / day of Lugol’s Strong Solution (5%) would be 125 mgs / day.

If this was the same formula as SSKI there would be 250 mgs of Potassium Iodide which would be 1,250 mgs per day.

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 hear of 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.

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-Carnitine (1,000 – 3,000 mgs / day) – Inhibits T4 / T3 entry into the cell nucleus.

Lithium Carbonate (250 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). [1]

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.

[1] Use of lithium in the treatment of thyrotoxicosis,  Hong Kong Medical Journal Aug 2006