Ever have a small event completely shift your life’s trajectory? I had no idea how much my life would become defined by iodine and how it relates to thyroid disease!
Another reporter for a national magazine asked to interview me recently. I think the megadose iodine fad is calming down. At least I have not seen any new proponents of the theory in the last few years. After a discussion about how I call it the Goldilocks nutrient because you want it just right. Not too much and not too little. The logical follow-up question is: ‘How can someone know how much iodine they need?’ Or what are the best tests for iodine?
Here is a paper I wrote a few years ago that gives a detailed answer. I talk about skin tests, urine tests, and blood tests. It is a deep dive into all things iodine. If you’re just concerned about testing, skip ahead to the section on Assessment of Iodine Status. Be sure to read about the iodine skin tests. It’s a pretty surprising story about the cadaver tests that were done in the 1930s!
If you just want cliff’s notes on what to do, here is some advice.
There are no great iodine tests. Don’t bother.
If you’re on thyroid medications, limit extra iodine:
- Use non-iodized salt
- Only use iodine-free multivitamins
- Avoid all iodine-containing supplements
- Avoid high iodine sea veggies: Kelp, Dulse and Hiziki
If you’re not on thyroid meds:
- Iodine supplementation is not necessary
- Do not exceed 50 mcg of iodine from all combined supplements and medications
If you’re not on thyroid meds and you’re a raw food vegan:
- Use iodized salt (iodized sea salt is OK)
- Include 3+ servings per week of moderate iodine sea veggies like Nori, Wakame or Arame