The People's Perspective on Medicine

Kelp Supplement Corrected Thyroid Problem But Beware Serious Risks

Kelp supplements may seem like a natural way to get iodine, but beware! Too much can lead to hyperthyroidism, a hard-to-treat & devastating condition.

Thyroid dysfunction is common, so common, in fact, that Synthroid is the most prescribed drug in the country. That is a synthetic thyroid hormone, levothyroxine. But while many people take Synthroid or another form of levothyroxine, many others would prefer a natural approach. Should they take a kelp supplement?

Is a Kelp Supplement the Answer?

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 the thyroid value up 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. Your years of avoiding iodized salt may have resulted in an inadequate iodine intake for you, though.

Kelp Supplement Could Make Thyroid Problem Worse:

In a case report, a woman who used kelp as an iodine supplement aggravated her thyroid disease.  German researchers noted that this woman developed an overactive thyroid after consuming tea containing kelp (Journal of General Internal Medicine, June 2006). The following details have some doctorspeak, but is worth wading through as a cautionary tale:

We report a case of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism due to the ingestion of a kelp-containing tea. A 39-year-old woman with multinodular goiter presented with typical signs of hyperthyroidism…including tachycardia (100 beats/min), palpitations, tremor, nervousness, insomnia, fatigue, increased sweating, diarrhea, secondary amenorrhoea, and weight loss. Laboratory analysis revealed increased levels of fT3 and fT4 as well as a suppressed TSH concentration, anti-thyroid antibodies remained negative…

Considering the average iodine content of kelp of 1,500 to 2,500 μg/g, our patient was taking an estimated 580 to 990 μg iodine daily, i.e., 3.8 to 6.6 times the recommended daily allowance of 150 μg. For comparison, in the United States the estimated average iodine intake of men and women aged 25 to 30 years is 410 and 260 μg/day, respectively. In the literature, several cases of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism after consumption of seaweed have been described, this occurred mainly while taking kelp tablets…

In our patient, hyperthyroidism did not resolve spontaneously following discontinuation of the kelp-containing tea,…but required antithyroid drug therapy.”

Hyperthyroidism due to Kelp Supplement:

Hyperthyroidism is a serious condition that can be challenging to treat. Here is a more recent case report of hyperthyroidism triggered by kelp. It was published in BMJ Case Reports (Oct., 2014):

“Complementary medications and herbal medicine for weight loss have become very popular. We report a case of thyroid dysfunction following the ingestion of a kelp-containing marketed diet in a 45-year-old woman with no previous thyroid disease. Signs of hyperthyroidism occurred shortly after a kelp-containing diet. Hyperthyroidism lasted 2 months and was followed by an over hypothyroidism…

“After 3 months of levothyroxine substitutive therapy, normal thyroid function was recovered after levothyroxine discontinuation. This clinical history is compatible with a case of iodine-induced thyrotoxicosis followed by prolonged block of the sodium-iodide symporter activity as a consequence of excessive iodine consumption from kelp. Consumers of marketed diets containing kelp of other iodine-rich ingredients should be advised of the risk to develop a thyroid dysfunction also in the absence of underlying thyroid disease.”

Contrast CT Scans Can Also Pose a Hyperthyroid Risk

Many physicians are quick to warn about dietary supplements. The authors of the first article from the Journal of General Internal Medicine concluded:

“Dietary supplements and herbal remedies are used by an increasing number of patients without prior medical consultation. Therefore, patients with known thyroid disease should be advised to avoid all complementary and alternative medications that contain iodine. Before starting any such supplements, patients with underlying thyroid disorder should check with their physician or pharmacist.”

What many physicians (and some radiologists) may not realize is that when they order a CT scan with contrast or cardiac catheterization, they could also trigger hyperthyroidism. That’s because the contrast material often contains iodide. Here is just such a case that was reported on our website along with scientific documentation of the link to hyperthyroidism.

The People’s Pharmacy Bottom Line:

We’re glad you worked with your doctor and got good results, but we don’t generally recommend this approach. For one thing it is hard to control the iodine dose with dietary supplements. Some kelp supplement products may contain more iodine than is safe. Too much iodine can trigger hyperthyroidism and that can be a very dangerous situation.

You can learn more about hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid functioning, diagnostic testing and thyroid treatment in our Guide to Thyroid Hormones. In this 25-page downloadable PDF publication you will learn why some people do not do well on levothyroxine (Synthroid) prescriptions and why some people need both T3 and T4 supplementation. You will also learn why taking your thyroid supplement at night before bed might be more effective than taking it around breakfast time.

This article was updated on September 10, 2015. The original article on kelp was published August 9, 2009 but we felt that it was important to update you on the latest scientific findings with regard to kelp, iodine and contrast material. Please vote on this article and share your own story or comment below.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I have been taking Synthroid 200 mcg and Cytomel 25 mcg for years. Two weeks ago the pharmacy refused to refill my order (I had a refill but the original script date was expired). When I saw my doctor he drew blood (5 days ago!) and the MA says the results aren’t back yet… sure!

I began taking Icelandic Kelp to try to curb weight gain, hair loss, and loss sensitivity. No dice so far. I’ve gained 12 lbs, and my hair is coming out like never before. I should also mention I do take my meds regularly but due to a broken ankle I was not paying attention to getting in to my GP on time this year to get refills. The pharmacy refuses to give me any sort of emergency supply.

Just wanted to share in case anyone else gets close to running out of their meds. Love and healing feels to all!!!

Hi Erin, my name is Rosina and I live in the UK. I bought some sea Kelp from Amazon.co.uk and have been afraid to use it due to my trying to find out if the product contains arsenic etc? due to my reading about a lady who was seriously ill after taking Kelp tablets with iodine. It was found the product amongst 9 others contained high levels of arsenic I think? I happened to print the page off, and have been looking around all the sites to find out if my 245ug is too much? I think in the UK it should be 150ug which I think is 150 mcgs?

I don’t know how much you are taking but the product the woman was taking was ICELANDIC KELP? I don’t know if that is what is causing your hair loss etc? I think the website is http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed? I also think but not sure it was stated the authors failed to admit she was taking 4 tablets a day so I think her iodine intake was 900 mcg or something? I got alarmed when I read there are about 9 products being sold that are high in iodine? But am only aware of ICELANDIC which is the one you are using?

Perhaps you can check the page out in case this might be your problem? As you say your hair is falling out etc? It might be your brand of Kelp?? I bought my Kelp from Amazon.co.uk called Sea Kelp by Lifeplan Minerals last November, and only took 2 when I read about lots of kelp products have dangerous levels of arsenic in them and the suppliers are not putting it on their products?? Hope this is of help to you. Rosina Lock from United Kingdom. x

There are many species of kelp and varying amounts of iodine in each as well as geographic areas will vary levels of iodine. You cant assume all kelp contains equal amounts of iodine. Most of my clients have seen a substantial improvement to thyroid concerns after taking small and steady amounts of kelp each day over the course of months. Blood tests improved.

Would folks please indicate the amount (dosage) of kelp, or any other supplement, they are, or were taking – micrograms, milligrams… Thank you.

I think that if anyone is confused about iodine, to look up Dr Brownstein for some great information. He is the best!

Your conclusion that very few Americans get too little iodine does not agree with the expert Dr. David Brownstein who states “very few americans have an adequate level of iodine”.

I agree with you Carrol, the medical world is happy to keep us sick with their lies. My doctor kept saying my tests were normal, not to worry, yet my basal temp was WAYYYY below what it should have been, as well as having dry skin, always cold, weight climbing for no reason, toe nail fungus for YEARS, energy levels very low. I eat very healthy, only real food, no artificial junk, low in carbs, etc. Went to a homeopath who put me on iodine supplements and my life is turning around. Dr. Brownstein is one of the few doctors who actually care about our health and is honest. If I had continued to listen to my western doctor’s advice, my health would have been ruined.

What is ug/g? The amount given on my iodine supplement is 30 mg. How do I compare amounts?

Hello. I’m a 38 female and last year my T3 and T4 are normal, however my TSH was 5.6, hence I took homeopathic and Kelp one capsule daily supplement. After 6 month my TSH comes down to 0.93 on January 2016, so I stop taking all the homeopathic and kelp at once. Maybe this is my mistake. I should continue kelp at least once a week or so. But my sudden stop again after 9 month now I tested again and my TSH is 8.6. Please help. Should I repeat the same treatment?

In 6 months, my TSH has gone from 5.6 to 7.04. I have been gaining weight and having depression. My doctor wants me to go on Synthroid, but I am scared that my thyroid will get addicted to it and will stop creating what little hormones it is creating naturally. I don’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life. My diet is pretty good–I eat mostly organic except when I go out to eat. I do not eat pasta and very little wheat. I do not eat junk food or fast food, hardly any sugar at all–except in fruit. I do not overeat or consume too many calories. I am starting to take powdered Kelp supplement every other day at 600 mg of kelp/300 mcg of Iodine. I do not eat iodized salt for many years now, except if it is in food when I eat at restaurants. I only keep sea salt in my house. My current plan of action is to start exercising more and keep taking Kelp every other day and get on a Selenium supplement. I have refused fluoride treatments at the dentist for years, and occasionally buy the Tom’s of Maine toothpaste with fluoride. I drink only spring water from a local spring, so I am not getting fluoride in the water I drink. I think my endocrine system has been compromised this year from the formaldehyde in some new furniture I bought. The day it was delivered, I immediately had watery eyes, runny nose, a cough and dizziness for a few months. Formaldehyde is an endocrine disruptor, as so many things are! Hoping to do a cleanse soon to see if it will help my thyroid get working again!

Am on Propycil for some years now , sometimes It hard to find it, where we live in the Caribbean, I will try the Kelp to see how it works am sufferings from Sinus, every morning i wake there’s mucus in my eyes, Sweating a lot and also in my head had to cut my hair low, to help to dry, have curly hair.

I recently discovered dried, roasted seaweed snacks, which are high fiber, low calorie (50/5g. pkg) and (relatively) low salt (50mg). I use them as a substitute for potato chips, and to alleviate acid reflux. I do have a multinodular goiter, but my TSH is within normal range (2.6). I am 72. I cannot find out what the iodine content is. Could these be harmful? I eat about 5 g. a day.

Since testing for iodine levels is rare, how can I be sure I do have enough in my body?

The other halogens: bromine, chlorine and fluoride do restrict how much iodine can be utilized by the body.

I keep hearing that most of us are not deficient in iodine. With the increase of mercury in seafood, we probably get less iodine than we did in the past.

Iodize salt is a placebo. Look at how much salt you would need to consume to get much benefit. I purposely went to gourmet salts w/o added iodine.

Since most of us are exposed to the halogens fluoride, bromine, and chlorine, and all make it impossible for the thyroid to receive iodine, AND we are not being tested for our levels, HOW can they know that most of us get sufficient iodine?

Iodine is needed throughout the body, not just the thyroid. Breasts are high on the list.

Iodized salt is an effective public health measure, but we are being admonished to cut back on salt. The high levels of salt in our food come mainly from processed foods, and that salt is not necessarily iodized.

Thank you for this article. It was very informative. Kelp is one of those very touchy supplements. Now I know I will stay away from it.

I was taking Kelp for one year and found that my tsh level went from 5 to 9. Should this happen?

Hi all I to am having problems with hypothyroidism and my doctor does not believe in treating it with meds because it is on the low side of normal, I als have an enlarged womb and a very large fibroid that I am waiting to have removed but my ob gynaecologist is thinking about a hysterectomy so I await further tests, I put myself on kelp without any advice from anyone and it seems to work on my hair and nails but nothing else and now after reading about the possible over dosing off kelp , I am wondering if my selinium supplement might be better, I have also taken both together with terrible side effects. So I would be so grateful for any advice, kind regards Sharon

I just started using the powdered kelp because my thyroid is not functioning properly. I’m always tired, thinning hair and eyebrows, brittle nails and can’t seem to lose weight no matter what I do. I’ve been using the powder for almost a week now and it makes me tired but when I sleep, it is very soundly. I have also noticed my memory has improved.

I tested low for thyroid 5 1/2 weeks ago. Was prescribed synthroid but only took one pill. My sister has relieved some of her symptoms by adding kelp powder to her salt. Took her a year to test within the normal range, but that inspired me. I’m always leery of prescriptions, try and take a natural approach ( I have my babies at home in a birthing tub, haha) I was not happy with the prospect of a life long pill that comes with its own side effects.

Anyway, the day after the diagnoses I started taking kelp tabs (600 mcg). I also started eating a few Brazil nuts (2-3) every day or so for the selenium. I was making Maca smoothies every morning.

I started wondering if I was just feeling worse because I know “knew” I had low thyroid, like if was all mental, but I was feeling soooo low energy. I happened to accidentally miss my maca smoothies two days in a row and felt better. I decided to test the theory and do a week on and a week off of Maca root powder. After the week off I felt so much better that I didn’t want to go back on them. I don’t want to feel like crap again for the sake of fulfilling my experiment. So pretty sure it was the culprit, but not positive. I continued with the kelp and Brazil nuts for about 3 more weeks without the maca.

Found out I was pregnant 4 days ago and I know that low thyroid can cause miscarriage and even birth defects / low IQ in babies. Heaven forbid! I went and had my TSH levels rechecked just to make sure the kelp was working for me. IT WAS NOT!! It apparently does not work for me like my sister. My TSH levels went from 7.3 five and a half weeks ago to 11. 7 today. I’m soooooo bummed. I really want to treat this naturally but I can’t endanger my baby to figure it out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I’m in a position where I need to just do what the doc says because everything I tried backfired and there’s too much riding on my figuring this out NOW.

Just my experience, but know that kelp and/or maca doesn’t work for everyone.

Two members of my family is with goiter, my mom and one sister. They took natural vitamins and big lump in the neck was gone. For me, it didn’t work as I didn’t religiously took the vitamin. After 3 years, I notice my lump gets bigger and bigger. Although I had normal TSH yearly, I had to consult a doctor. When I took levothyroxine, I have fainting spells in the morning and night time.
I’m very scared I might fall when walking without someone to look at me. There was a time, when I look at the switched lights at home, computer monitor or any glaring glass in the office, street lights in the city. I have to close my eyes for a second not to fall. I knew I might loss consciousness. So I researched and this is the side effects of levo in the eyes. I told my doctor, he laughed at me. He said, I’m dreaming. No I am not as I really fall in the bathroom after switching ON the lights with my head up and looking at my things to use.
Sure, he doesn’t tell me side effects. I respect my doctor’s advice, but I insisted, I stopped the levo. My TSH were normal anyway but with enlarged thyroid growing bigger. I had been to three doctors prior to that. 2 doctors recommend surgical operation which I’m very scared of. The other is a homeophatic doctor. I remain with 1 medical endocrinologist doctor. AFter 1 aspiration, I felt better, 2nd aspiration, quite bit painful but I felt good. I started using kelp (dried seaweed by Korea) available in natural vege stores. I have read this is available in the City as there are many koreans. I knew I feel better concentrating in my work this time. I work in a bank and for the past years, I felt my memory is so bad. I’m sure I am lack of iodine.
I want to share in the future what’s gonna happen to me after me taking up this kelp, spirulina tablets (green algae) in AM and a natural green tea with honey. Wish everyone to be well.

I have been told I have low thyroid readings. I know nothing about thyroid but in 3 months I will see if it has changed and may have to take meds at that time if it is worse. Meanwhile, I have been told to take kelp and also selenium supplements. I guess I am to take them together….?
Has anyone tried this before meds were prescribed? Can I get some feed-back on your experience and if it helped or made you sick? I have had hair loss and fatigue, high cholesterol, thinning brows, weight gain and dealing with osteo-arthritis and fibromyalgia so I ache everywhere anyways and may not be able to detect side effects of kelp and selenium. I would love to hear your comments on this, Thanks.

20+ years ago I was having thyroid problems, missed periods, couldn’t get pregnant, tired ALL the time. Sleep all day and night and still be tired. A friend suggested I tried kelp. 6 months later I had more energy, periods were regulated, then I got pregnant. YAY KELP
My fiance is having problems with his tyhroid and would like to try a more natural supplement so I’m going to start him on some kelp.

How to decide the dosage of kelp for hypothyroid patient who is on 100 mcg Synthroid tablet daily?

Where are any of the answers to these questions being asked ?

Check your vitamin D. I have been in pain and stiff joints for years. 3 months ago I was tested for vitamin D and came out low. The doctor started me with Vitamin D3, 50,000 iu weekly for 3 months then she will check again to lower it to 2000 iu weekly for the rest of my life. Within 3 weeks my pain and stiffness got like 50% better and energy improved.

hi there, I’ve been hypo for over 7 years. check out the mary shomon site – she has lots of great advice. also learn to read your own tsh results, be leery of doctors who won’t Rx Armour, and be leery when they tell you that your TSH is normal- in the greater scheme of things this is almost irrelevant. normal doesn’t mean optimal for you. if a dr. treats you based on your test results only and not your symptoms, immediately find a dr. who will treat you based on your symptoms. you may want to try a naturepath dr.

good luck,
G

Kelp, selenium, Maca, this combo is very powerful.

I was diagnosed with hypo around 13 years ago. 16 yrs ago I had my first son. Soon after that I had to have my gallbladder removed due to gall stones. It has been brought to my attention now that being hypothyroid can cause gallbladder problems. When they removed mine they did not mention or check my thyroid. At this point in time I do believe I would have been diagnosed hypo if checked.
After removal of gallbladder I became pregnant with my second child. After the birth of her I felt like I was ovulating every day all day. Very weird feeling so I went to my OB and explained to him the problems and he immediately tested my thyroid. Back then I was started off at .5mg synthroid. Got the medicine and went on my way. Got it checked every 6 months like I was told and eventually my dose started getting increased. I still didn’t think twice about it. I had my last child 9 years ago. After having him my thyroid function decreased even more so again my dose kept increasing. I still was not informed of the thyroid and the role that it plays in your health. Completely my fault for not researching before now to make myself more knowledgeable on this disease. In January of this year my health started taking a big dive. I was having panic attacks, breaking out in hives, I didn’t want to leave my house. I felt like crap every single day so what do the docs do put me on 200mg of Zoloft. At that point I was ready to try anything.
Here I am almost 10 months later still on the 200 Zoloft, still going through all the symptoms back pain, extreme leg pain, extreme fatigue, no eyebrows, hair falling out, loss of toenails and I can not keep any weight on. Yes I am hypo. So they tell me. My body temp is always low. My blood pressure is always low. I am on .150 synthroid daily and still feel no improvement. :(. I am so confused as what to do. I can’t continue feeling like this. Someone just told me today of kelp.
Is it dangerous to try kelp while taking synthroid ??? Please help

I know I’m late, but I wanted to know how did everything with the kelp work out? I’m on levothyroxine 0.05mg and I think my test for august came back fine. But I’m gonna lay off that once my kelp supplements come from walgreens and take that until my next blood test which will be like in november.

Brandi,

If you read this – try switching to armour – this has t4 and t3 and it’s natural. synthroid only has t4 that’s suppose to convert to t3 but this is not always the case. also find a dr. that will treat your symptoms and not your labwork. you must learn to interpret your own labwork.

good luck,

g

Curious – Did the kelp work for you? I know that the medical community does not recommend getting off and on Levo so, I was wanting to follow your results!

I am still not taking the thyroid hormone which was originally prescribed for me years ago. I buy as many things as possible. “low salt or no salt” and then add iodized salt for flavor. I feel fine and have plenty of energy. Body temp is usually 98.6F or close to that. I also try to eat foods fairly high in iodine, such as fish or other seafood.

Hypothyroid, but underweight, exercise 90min/day, vegetarian 25 years – am now 44, no blood disorders, eat very little ‘junk’ or sugar but plenty fruit. Think am low vit b12. Vestibular problem due to traumatic head injury. How ‘hypo’?

Jean I just read your post and I would like to know how your Hypothyroid symptoms are now after several years. Are you still supplementing your RX for a more natural approach? I just started on kelp caps and I have been hypo for many years. Looking for alt thyroid help for if there comes a time when prescriptions might now be available.

I was diagnosed with low thyroid function and prescribed Levothyroxine over a year ago. I started to have itchy skin rashes about one month after commencing Leevothyroxine. I have been prescribed many different ointments and creams, and have taken three courses of prednisolone. The rash always comes back, and at present is widespread. I have decided it must be caused by the thyroxine and have just stopped taking it and am taking Sea Kelp 800mg daily. This is only day 2 so no improvement yet. What do you think?

i’m newly hypo & took levothyroxine & had what i would call cystic acne around my mouth & jawline. it was red under the skin bumps that hurt & some fluid filled, itchy & very ugly. i went to the doc & he took me off so waiting six weeks to go back. was wondering if yours was like that & if it cleared up & are you still taking kelp & how is your low thyroid & TSH levels now? I did find a site that had 80 comments from people who had cystic acne from taking the levo & took it to my dr because he said he had never heard of it. Thanks for any help.

Hi you all need to eat healthy green tea high protein foods low carbs I was a size 6 uk and went to a size 14 in space of a couple of months then got diagnosed with underactive thyroid and now with in the year I am a uk size 8 I’m on levothyroxine on 50mg I double up on my tablets don’t care what doc said in space of 6 mths was level I also take t9s they help too

In case you want to try kelp in food, let me suggest a very simple combination that tastes pretty good. Be sure to use granulated kelp, not powdered. Take half a sliced Haas avocado and spread it over a slice of whole grain toast. Sprinkle the granulated kelp on top. I like about a quarter teaspoon. I used to eat this in the 1970s, but I tried it a couple times lately and it is still pretty tasty and pretty healthful.

i have gained 50+lbs since I had my thyroidectomy + feel worse than before an extra moody even on 150mg of thyroid meds. why? if would have known this I prob. wouldnt have done it.

I have had low TSH readings for the past 4 years, however my doctor, responded that it was not out of the range when I mentioned this several times. (I am over 60, and still very active, but gaining belly fat, losing eyebrows, last winter began losing massive amounts of hair, plus weak fingernails).
I decided to take action on my own, and tried powdered kelp sprinkled on a cracker. I also used a salt substitute with kelp. My mood and energy level improved. The sprinkling thing became tiresome. I then went to my local high quality vitamin shop and purchased a bottle of kelp (100mg). After taking 1 per day in the AM,Two weeks ago, I decided to increase to 1 in the AM, and 1 in the PM. My nails are now growing, and seem to be stronger. Eyebrows are still sparse. My belly seems to be getting smaller… and I do have good energy.
I am taking no other medication, except for 1 baby aspirin per day. By the way, my cholesterol level (previously in the high 200s,) has now gone down 22 points. Can’t wait to see what the doctor says about this!! I forgot to mention that drinking any alcohol, even wine, causes my thyroid gland to flutter the next day. So I have stopped drinking any form of alcohol.

Where did you order the saliva test from?
Where did you get Naltrexone?
What test did you do to see your antibodies?
I am trying to combat menopausal symptoms eg: hot flashes, and took Estrovan. I have not eaten soy since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s almost 9 years ago, so this supplement threw me for a loop. I gave it 28 days (amount in package) and gained almost 10 pounds! I feel bloated, my breasts seem larger. I know it was a mistake but now I have to reverse what I did. I also think my numbers were thrown in a tizzy because I also have the fuzzy thinking that is indicative to me and high TSH.

I’ve read and heard varying information about kelp to help with hypothyroidism. I’m a little reluctant to try it as I’ve been working on balancing my thyroid for the past 6 years. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroiditis appx. 6 years ago at age 44. I wanted to stay as “natural” as possible, so decided to use Armor. I’ve been on many different doses of Armor over the years, but finally settled on 180 mg. for the past couple years. In addition, I also take Low-Dose Naltrexone to help lower my antibodies associated with Hashimoto’s.
Over the course of 3 years I’ve lowered my antibodies from a staggering 8,830 to 1,470 (a normal antibody reading is 35 and under, so I’m still working on getting to that number). I also began using bio-identical hormone replacement therapy 3 years ago in capsule form (200 mg.) After doing everything I could think of over the past 6 years to help with the symptoms of Hashimoto’s and a hormone imbalance I was still experiencing all the annoying symptoms.
I heard saliva testing is a more accurate way to test for a hormone imbalance, so I recently took a saliva hormone panel test. The results showed I was still in estrogen dominance, which means my hormones are not balanced, I have too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. My cortisol levels are too high, which explains the belly fat (I work-out 6 days a week and watch my diet) and I’m also suffering from Hypo-Adrenia, a non-Addison’s form of adrenal fatigue disease, which explains my lingering fatigue.
Western medical doctors only test for Addison’s disease by way of a blood test, so unless you’re suffering from Addison’s disease, they will tell you your adrenals are fine. As a result of the saliva test I’ve switched to a cream-based bio-identical progesterone. After only one month of taking the recommended natural supplements, my TSH levels are now too high, so my medical doctor recently lowered my dose to 150 mg. of Armor.
I’m currently taking all natural supplements to help offset the effects of estrogen dominance, to help lower my cortisol levels and to give my adrenals a boost. I’m also working on changing my eating and sleeping habits associated with adrenal fatigue After only 2 weeks of adding more progesterone and a month or so of taking supplements and changing my eating and sleeping habits, I’m already feeling my energy levels increasing and my symptoms receding.
I’m thinking of adding kelp to my diet to help boost my thyroid even more. I will do another round of bloodwork in 3 months to test my thyroid and another saliva test in 2 months to test my hormone levels. I will let you know the results and if I think the kelp helped improve my thyroid levels.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: HIGH TSH LEVELS SUGGEST THE DOSE OF THYROID IS TOO LOW. KELP IS RISKY; YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING WITH IT. CHECK THIS LINK: http://thyroid.about.com/cs/drugdatabase/f/kelp.htm

I started taking kelp capsules after hearing it could possibly correct the swelling of my thyroid. A biopsy didn’t show up anything but it remains swollen. Unfortunately, although I am not sure the capsules are the reason, I noticed that shortly after starting the kelp my urine has an awful odor. Could that be the reason?

I just started using kelp.. I took the online test and I am confused cuz I have symptoms of over and under active thyroid… I am hoping this herb will help me… I have three months til I see my doc again….

Kelp is wonderful for thyroid and just about anything for metabolic purposes. Whole Foods has a great kelp tab. I also like cod liver oil and sharks cartilage for joint mobility. Marine protein is really good for me. Try it, you will enjoy the benefits.

hi there, just after some advice…
I’m 27 and was diagnosed with hypothyroid in Oct 09. my thyroid level was 98. I was always so tired I would sleep for 15hrs and still wake up tired, was so cold that would suffer from chill blaines, my hair and eyebrows began thinning out. I was also told I was anemic and had vitamin D deficiency which made me feel worse. My immune system was so weak I was constantly ill.
I’ve been taking 125 Levothyroxin since diagnosed and now my thyroid level is within the correct range but still feel so tired. I’ve also gained loads of weight, uk size 10 to 14. I’m trying to lose the weight but nothings working. I go gym/swimming 3/4 times a wk, cut out carbs + fizzy drinks, eat 5 smaller healthier meals but just doesn’t work. What would you suggest?
Also I’m thinking of taking kelp but worried in case it makes my health worse…

I take 175 MCG Levothyroxin, and on my last two blood test done, it showed low. I called the doctors office, and he does not want to change the dosage at this time. I am losing my eyebrows, have a hoarseness to my voice at times, and seem to be more tired. (I don’t sleep very well). I bought a bottle of kelp, and thought I’d try taking 1 tablet a day… but now I am afraid to try this. I am now thinking of taking an all natural supplement. Very confused as what to do. I also take Lisinop-HCTZ TAB 10 – 12.5. (I am 66)
Thank you in advance!
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: KELP MIGHT NOT BE A GOOD IDEA. DO CHECK IN WITH YOUR DOCTOR AGAIN, SINCE YOUR SYMPTOMS AND TEST RESULST SUGGEST THE MEDICINE IS NOT WORKING PROPERLY. ALSO TAKE A LOOK AT MARY SHOMON’S WEBSITE, http://www.thyroid-info.com/

I am hypothyroid and on Armour. I do take kelp too. I got my thyroid levels correct first and then I did a few iodine patch tests to see if it picked up a deficiency. It showed I was deficient, so I started the kelp. Many people do fine with a little bit of iodine, then there are others that don’t.
I started out by taking powdered kelp, but the problem with powdered kelp is that there are no dosages. Plus, iodine deficiency is a symptom, not a cause. There are other, more pressing headaches associated with hypothyroidism. Metabolism, for starters, which can play hell with your immune system, and also your mental health. If you look at a nurses’ guide, you’ll see that thyroid issues can lead to some chemical difficulties in brain/body day-to-day functioning.

I would check your TSH level again and see how you are doing?

About 4 years ago I decided to stop using the synthetic thyroid hormone doctors had prescribed for me for many years. It was a fairly low dose anyway. Also I never felt very good. I was a little overweight and my doctor said my blood pressure was pre-hypertensive. Also I was always chilly (my body temp was usually only about 97 deg, even in the late afternoon) and had very dry skin in the winter.
I was a little worried about dropping the synthroid, but I had heard of several people who did it and felt fine afterwards. To try to boost my own thyroid gland to compensate for the loss of synthroid I started using iodized salt and started substituting distilled water for tap water to avoid the fluoride. I also started using a no fluoride toothpaste. It took about 6 mos. but then I think my thyroid gland gradually started producing more hormone. My blood pressure was normal, I was not so chilly all the time, and my body temp was usually 98 or 98.6 F.
At the very beginning my neck seemed to swell just a bit and I was really worried I was going to get a goiter, but this subsided after a month or two. I feel great, have lost about 5 lbs without trying, and have plenty of energy. One of the main reasons I wanted to drop the thyroid pill is that I was worried about how I would get the pills if we had a major natural or unnatural disaster happen.

Can you please explain the iodine/thyroid connection and the thyroid/skin and nails connection? Is there a thyroid/weight control connection and will iodine help?
I read an article that indicated fluoride and other chemicals that are added to drinking water can give a false read on thyroid test results. Apparently they are in the same classification as iodine. So a lot of people that have been diagnosed with “metabolic syndrome” may actually just need to have their thyroid “tweaked” to enable them to lose weight which in turn will lower cholesterol readings and blood pressure.
Is any of this true? I use sea salt all the time – I can’t remember the last time I consumed iodized salt. And I am trying to keep my salt consumption to a minimum.
I have endured eczema and dry brittle nails for years. Several different medications from a dermatologist have not helped at all – 2 different cortisone type creams, an anti-fungal cream as well as anti-fungal oral medication, antihistamines (in addition to Singulair and Clarinex that my other doctor has prescribed – and no, she didn’t think that 3 antihistamines a day was unwise) have done nothing to resolve either the itchy, dry, scaly skin or the breaking, peeling nails.
I was desperate. A woman at my local health food store suggested I try kelp tablets to see if the extra iodine would help. After 2 weeks of taking 2 tablets a day I can report that my face no longer is dry and itchy. My nails seem to be growing, and I have lost 2 pounds for no apparent reason (no increase in activity or decrease in food consumption).

Presently I am taking Levothyroxine 0.125mg daily. Can I also take some Kelp with it or take Kelp alone for some trial?
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE ADVICE WE HAVE SEEN SUGGESTS NOT MIXING KELP WITH LEVOTHYROXINE.

In 1959, I was a 19 year old nursing student at a big teaching hospital. In those days the med. students used us as part of varying research projects and took blood tests and other data. From these studies I learned I had low thyroid values. The older doctor in charge of our student health told me I was too young to be placed on thyroxin and to have it checked again in 5 years. I forgot about it completely until I was 29 and had occasion to have it drawn again. My Dr. suggested I try kelp tablets since we rarely ate fish at home, and the level was still just below normal. So I did, once a day. To my surprise I began having once a month menstrual periods! All my life I had had a period once every two or 3 months. My hands and feet weren’t freezing any more.
Several years later, my oldest son complained to me that he was worried, at 15, because he hadn’t showed signs of puberty yet and his younger twin brothers were showing signs already at 13. I thought maybe because I had been skinny and low thyroid during his pregnancy maybe his thyroid might also need a little iodine as I had. So we gave him 1 small kelp tablet daily. In a month he began showing secondary sexual changes. Boy was he relieved! Was it the kelp or just his time? I don’t know.
I stopped taking it many years ago when our diet became more healthful and the thyroid tests were at normal and still are. Thyroid is complicated business.

Great to know your experience with Kelp. I am totally amazed that Kelp could correct Thyroid values and would like to know more if you can share. I currently am thinking of taking up Kelp, but fear of overdosing is stopping me.

I don’t use iodized salt, so I take a daily kelp supplement with 225 micrograms (mcg) of iodine. According to the NIH, a normal adult needs 150 mcg daily, but up to 1100 mcg is considered safe (This is the “Tolerable Upper Intake” level). When researching supplements, I saw several with considerably more iodine than that! Since getting too much iodine can actually cause thyroid problems, make sure you do your research and don’t overdo supplementation. The NIH data is here: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/.

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