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Iodine Quick Reference

Inner Circle Member Forum >> Iodine and Thyroid Health >> Iodine Quick Reference


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Posted: 6/6/2018 9:03:56 AM
Edited: 8/4/2019 1:20:42 PM (2)
Iodine Quick Reference

Iodine Quick Reference


Overall context for this topic
General information
Program target
Supplement considerations
Supplement suggestions
Testing considerations

Page edition: 2019-08-04


This is a two-part sticky article. Iodine supplementation
must be considered within the context of what is known about
Part 2: thyroid status. Testing is strongly recommended.

Iodine (element I) is a core program supplement. Due to several modern issues, iodine intake is subclinical for many people. Your level, on starting the program, is almost certainly suboptimal. Challenges include:

  • low salt mania resulting in reduced intake of iodized salt;
  • inland crops, and industrial-scale crops providing less iodine;
  • seafood consumption often reduced vs. historical levels;
  • iodine out-competed by non-native halogen compound exposure;
  • other endocrine disruptors in diet altering thyroid needs, and
  • diets no longer include game thyroid glands.

General Information

The need for iodine has been part of the program, going back at least a decade, and is extensively discussed in all the books and program materials:
Book: Undoctored: starting page 278 of print edition
Blog: Everything you need to know about iodine (WB Blog members)
Video: Track Oral Temperature on Iodine (members)
Video: Iodine and Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions (members)
Video: Video Forum: Megadose Iodine? (members)

Program Iodine Target

Program target is based on a suggested daily intake, ideally confirmed by complete testing of thyroid status:
 500 to 1000 micrograms (µg, mcg) per day (for adults)
The daily dose is micrograms (µg, mcg) of elemental iodine, and not the total weight of the iodine compounds consumed, nor that of the total dosing unit. For comparison, the U.S. RDA for adult males is presently 150 µg, which is enough to prevent goiter, but has nothing necessarily to do with optimal.

The program target usually requires an iodine supplement, in one or more forms, from a very small selection of compounds.

Iodine is needed even you have no thyroid. It is not just for supporting production of thyroid hormones.u21f1_north_west_arrow_to_corner Return to ToC


u26a0_warning_sign Do not exceed RDA (150 µg) with an active hyperthyroid condition, or with a reactive autoimmune thyroid condition (such as Hashimoto’s or Graves). If there is a reaction to increasing dietary iodine, back off on the dose until the issue is corrected.

u26a0_warning_sign Micrograms; not milligrams. Beware of megadose iodine supplements providing daily doses stated in mg, if not actual full grams.

u2620_skull_and_crossbones Never consume tincture of iodine. It is a topical antiseptic and is frankly toxic if consumed orally.u21f1_north_west_arrow_to_corner Return to ToC

Supplement considerations

Supplement form

Before considering a supplement, have a rough idea of how much iodine you get from foods. If you eat a lot of wild-caught seafood (i.e. daily), you might not actually need to supplement. Unfortunately, many otherwise-useful sources of nutritional breakdowns entirely neglect to report iodine content.

u26a0_warning_sign The majority of iodine supplements on the market are megadose, and need to be avoided (or highly diluted). Iodoral® and Lugol’s are the most common of these, but even brands you’d expect to be modest dose (such as Mercola, 1500µg) can exceed suggested optimal. Radio-protective potassium iodide tablets are likewise too high in iodine for use as a supplement.

The supplement formulation suggested is:
Kelp capsules:
“i.e., dried seaweed, essentially mimicking the natural means of intake that also provides iodine in all its varied forms (iodide, sodium iodate, potassium iodide, potassium iodate, iodinated proteins, etc.)”
Keep the container well sealed to prevent out-gassing of the iodine. Refrigeration might be helpful. Mind the expiration date at time of purchase.

Capsules, tablets, or drops that are specifically for use as iodine supplements might be suitable for use until a kelp product can be located, but mind the total dose of elemental iodine. Most products on the marker are either just RDA, or are far too high in iodine.

Low dose potassium iodide drops can be very useful in challenging a receding autoimmune thyroid condition. Look for a product that is 50 µg elemental iodine per drop (or less).

Supplement forms that are definitely suboptimal include the megadose products warned about above, plus:

  • Nori:
    Due to the way this these sheets are formulated, packaged, stored, displayed, and the ways in which they are consumed at home, and rate at which they are consumed, the iodine is usually long gone before you eat it.
  • Iodized salt:
    In modern life, these salts are used too slowly to provide even RDA dosing. The iodine evaporates before the container is even partially used. Further, if you’re using an ancient mined salt, or even modern sea salt, these are typically not fortified with iodine.
  • Seafood:
    Eating enough seafood to obtain program target for iodine is tricky. Even with authentic wild-caught (higher food chain) fish, that could easily present a toxin exposure risk (mercury being only one such). Too much market fish today is farmed, if not GMO, and the iodine content is anyone’s guess. Eating enough wild baitfish has other issues, particularly when canned.

Dose timing

There is no specific advice on time of day to take iodine.

If taking selenium, the iodine can be taken with it.

Take any iodine supplements at a different time than any probiotics or live-culture fermented foods, due to the antibiotic effect of iodine.

Dose adjustment

Where no autoimmune or hyperthyroid conditions are suspected, consuming the program target amount of iodine can commence with the program. Where a reactivity is being challenged, adjust no more sharply than 50 µg per every 4 weeks.u21f1_north_west_arrow_to_corner Return to ToC

Supplement suggestions

The Wheat Belly Marketplace lists several kelp and iodine products.

Unfortunately, the ConsumerLab testing service has not yet tested iodine supplements (other than as the radioprotective KI compounds, which are not suited to our purposes). So we have to rely on brand reputations to a large extent.

An example regimen could be Life Extension Two-Per-Day multivitamin capsules, which provide an RDA amount of iodine (150 µg), plus Vitacost Kelp 660mg (which provides 400 µg of iodine). This would work out to 550µg/day.u21f1_north_west_arrow_to_corner Return to ToC

Testing considerations

Test Name Target Range Discussion
{none} {none}  

Specifically testing for iodine is not presently recommended in the program, both because the available tests aren’t terribly useful, and because what we are more interested in is thyroid status, for which various useful tests are available. They are covered in the Thyroid Optimization Quick Reference article.

Although an initial thyroid panel is always useful (especially the antibody tests), wait two months before checking for an initial response to iodine deficiency.

When making later adjustments to iodine intake, wait 4 weeks for re-test of thyroid status.

  ue000_private_use_area_enso.png u21f1_north_west_arrow_to_corner Return to ToC

Bob Niland

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Posted: 6/6/2018 9:04:41 AM
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Vicki Bowman

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Posted: 1/14/2019 7:02:37 PM
Thanks again, Bob! Sure do appreciate you! 


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Posted: 10/10/2019 9:47:40 AM
I cannot determine if I should be taking iodine if I do NOT have a thyroid, which, if I understand correctly, makes me automatically hypothyroid. 
please advise.
thank you, Nancy

Tags: ,Iodine,Thyroid

Dr. Davis

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Posted: 10/10/2019 10:34:00 AM
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Posted: 10/10/2019 9:53:59 PM
and for men, prostates are equivalent to breast tissue.

Prostates need iodine.