Know What You’re Taking: True Facts About Iodine Supplements for “Thyroid Metabolism Boost”

Busted Trying to Boost Her Thyroid

Stephanie recently came into my office with the all-too-common complaints of increasing fatigue and difficulty losing weight. Sound familiar? What made Stephanie different than most of my patients who come to me with these complaints, however, was that she pulled out a bottle of iodine supplements from her purse hoping to find vitamins for energy and fatigue. She had purchased them on the advice of a friend, to “boost her metabolism.”

Fortunately, Stephanie got a little nervous before taking the iodine supplements and decided to check with me what vitamins to take for energy. She wanted to make sure that it was O.K. to take these iodine supplements and that they were safe. Now, iodine is a safe substance and we do include it in our vitamins, but the bottle Stephanie bought showed that each iodine tablet contained a shocking 62 milligrams of iodine and a host of other ingredients. I told her that I was so glad that she brought them in and that we had a lot to talk about.

Should everyone be taking Iodine to boost their thyroid health?

Worldwide, iodine deficiency is the number one cause of goiters and hypothyroidism. In the 1920s, the United States actually started an iodized salt program in an effort to eliminate the risk of goiter and hypothyroidism in higher risk areas. UNICEF has been spearheading a worldwide iodized salt program since the 1990s. The intake of iodized salt has helped reduce these conditions.

The recommended daily allowance of iodine is 150 micrograms (a small fraction of the 62 milligram pills in her bottle). There are a number of natural sources of iodine in our diets. These sources include dairy products, saltwater fish, shellfish, soy milk, soy sauce and seaweed (think: sushi!). While many Americans are receiving the recommended level of iodine in their diet, some people, especially those on a low salt diet, have lowered the amounts of iodine that they ingest. Some multivitamins contain the recommended amount of iodine, while most do not contain any at all. Pregnant and nursing women require even more iodine – 220 micrograms and 290 micrograms daily, respectively.

If many people need more Iodine, should we all be taking it? If so, how much?

If many multivitamins don’t include iodine, then an extra supplement is a good thing. Right?

Nope! The iodine supplement Stephanie bought had 62 milligrams (not micrograms!) of iodine. That amount of iodine could actually cause hyperthyroidism! Too much iodine can cause your thyroid to “flare-up” leading to palpitations and anxiety. It could even lead to heart arrhythmias and osteoporosis among other serious medical conditions.

How did I solve Stephanie’s problem?

Stephanie and I had a long conversation about making sure she was getting the proper amount of iodine in her diet. The first thing we did was throw away those supplements she bought! The second thing we did was design a vitamin regimen which incorporates the recommended daily allowance of iodine – 150 micrograms. This will allow her thyroid to function optimally and regulate her metabolism as it should. Periodic blood testing to assess thyroid function is also recommended. Are you getting enough iodine in your diet? To get an all in one vitamin based on your individual needs take our vitamin survey.


Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health.  She is a mother of three teenagers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients.  After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take,  Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin quiz now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice.  The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment.  You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.




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