Q. When my internist noted a low-normal thyroid value, he suggested a thyroid supplement. I suspected I had an iodine deficiency from years on a low-salt diet. I proposed a trial of sea kelp and he agreed. Two 100 mg tablets a day brought up the thyroid value to normal and warmed my cold toes. I also noted my foot fungus receded 90 percent.
A. Using iodine to treat an underactive thyroid gland is controversial. Very few Americans get too little iodine, though your years of avoiding iodized salt may have resulted in an inadequate iodine intake for you.
In a case report, a woman who used kelp as an iodine supplement aggravated her thyroid disease (Journal of General Internal Medicine, June 2006). We’re glad you worked with your doctor and got good results, but we don’t generally recommend this approach.