Question

Can iodine supplements help regulate thyroid function in a person with hypothyroidism?

Answer

Iodine supplements usually aren't necessary if you live in the United States or in most developed countries. Some alternative medicine practitioners recommend iodine tablets or kelp supplements — which are high in iodine — for people with hypothyroidism.

It is true that iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism. But iodine deficiency is rare in the United States and other developed countries since the addition of iodine to salt (iodized salt) and other foods.

If iodine deficiency isn't the cause of hypothyroidism, then iodine supplements provide no benefit and should not be used.

In fact, for some people with abnormal thyroid glands, too much iodine can cause or worsen hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism can be safely and effectively treated with the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levothroid, others).

Last Updated: 05-11-2018
FAQ-20057929
content provided by mayoclinic.com
© 1998-2020 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.