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Hashimoto's & Iodine Supplements

By Janet Renee

If you have Hashimoto's disease, it is important for you to avoid supplements that may aggravate your condition. Hashimoto's is the result of an abnormal immune response that triggers the production of antibodies that attack your thyroid tissue. Your thyroid is an important metabolic gland that produces hormones. Clinical data suggests that iodine supplements and dietary iodine may aggravate this condition. It is best to avoid iodine supplements if you have Hashimoto's and consult your doctor.


Your immune system produces antibodies that attack and destroy foreign substances. When functioning normally, this process helps to protect your body. However, if you have an autoimmune condition, your body produces antibodies against healthy tissue. These are called auto antibodies and they can destroy healthy tissue and prevent organs from functioning properly. Autoimmune diseases affect close to 24 million Americans and there is no known cure, according to

Thyroid Function

Your thyroid gland produces hormones that control the rate your body uses fuel. Thyroid hormones exert a wide range of physiological affects and can influence your energy, mood, appetite and sleeping pattern. Hypothyroidism refers to a situation where your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. Hashimoto's is the most common cause. Typical symptoms include fatigue, low mood, hair loss, weight gain and swelling of the thyroid gland.

Iodine Significance

Iodine is an essential trace mineral. Your body needs 150 micrograms per day and about 80 percent of your body's iodine is concentrated in your thyroid. Iodized salt is the primary iodine source. Sea life contains most of the world's iodine. Sources include sea vegetables and fish such as cod, pollock, perch and haddock. Iodine plays an important role in thyroid function because your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormones.


Health care providers generally advise Hashimoto's patients to restrict iodine consumption, both from supplements and in their diet. Excess iodine is commonly associated with triggering or exasperating hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's in susceptible people. A study published in the April 2003 issue of "Yonsei Medical Journal" found that 80 percent of Hashimoto's patients experience a return to normal thyroid function when they restrict iodine consumption to less than 100 micrograms per day.

Negative Impact

A study published in the July 1998 issue of the "European Journal of Endocrinology" examined the effect of supplementing 250 micrograms of iodine per day and found that it negatively impacts the thyroid function of patients with Hashimoto's disease. Another study published in a 1999 issue of "Nuclear Medicine" found that supplementing 1.5 milligrams of iodine per day causes a significant increase in anti-thyroid antibodies.

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