Often referred to as the “master gland,” the thyroid manages important body processes, including protein creation, energy levels, and metabolism. Because metabolic output is often related to body mass, proper thyroid function is instrumental when you're trying to regulate your body weight. Thyroid deficiencies can lead to weight gain or concerns such as hypothyroidism, which is a lack of thyroid hormones and commonly is preceded by iodine deficiency.
How Iodine Affects Your Thyroid
Length: 2 minutes
Thyroid, Hormones, and Metabolism
The thyroid manufactures two very important hormones, T3 and T4, which are critical to controlling the body’s metabolic rate. The key ingredient in these hormones is iodine. When the body suffers from an iodine deficiency, production of these hormones ceases, your metabolism crashes, and weight gain is inevitable. This offers insight into why persons who suffer from hypothyroidism have a difficult time losing weight: They lack the energy to exercise, and even with proper diet, their metabolism may be too slow to burn fat.
Thyroid hormone levels and body weight have a relationship that quickly becomes cumulative and can easily spiral out of control. Researchers in Spain reported decreases in thyroid hormones when body mass increases. They surmised the change in hormone levels are influenced by increased body mass, rather than vice versa.
Iodine is to the Thyroid as Gas is to a Car
Boosting iodine levels in the body may help stimulate the thyroid and support proper thyroid function. There are two simple methods for getting enough iodine. Eat foods that are rich in iodine; or invest in a high quality, natural iodine supplement.
Across the board, research strongly supports iodine supplementation for those with thyroid concerns. Italy's Department of Internal Medicine and Diabetes Center at the Catholic University arranged a study to examine the relation of thyroid function and insulin sensitivity following bariatric surgery. Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) increases the prevalence hypothyroidism which can hinder iodine absorption. Iodine supplementation was recommended for patients who reported thyroid discrepancies.
Iodine Intake Must be Adequate and Planned
There are a number of foods that will naturally boost the body’s level of iodine. Strawberries and cranberries are rich in iodine, as are dairy products, though you should be careful here; I commonly recommend avoiding pasteurized milk. Potatoes and organic navy beans are two vegetables you can integrate into your diet to increase iodine levels; and kelp, an edible sea vegetable, has the highest concentration of iodine on the planet.
In addition to eating more iodine-rich foods, iodine supplements can boost iodine levels in your body. Generally, there are three types of supplements that offer maximum benefit to the thyroid gland: nascent iodine, Lugol’s solution iodine, and potassium iodide.
I recommend nascent iodine, and specifically Detoxadine®. Nascent iodine does more than just support thyroid function and optimal metabolism. Since the body uses iodine for much more than hormone production, a high-quality supplement supports the body in other ways too, including neurological health. The Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health at Switzerland's Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that iodine-deficient populations experience an average reduction in IQ of 12 to 13.5 points below the norm! 
Have you taken iodine supplements for metabolism, thyroid issues, or other reasons? Share your experiences in the comments below!
- Gessl A, Lemmens-Gruber R, Kautzky-Willer A. Thyroid disorders. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2012;(214):361-86. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-30726-3_17. Review.
- Soriguer F, Valdes S, Morcillo S, Esteva I, Almaraz MC, de Adana MS, Tapia MJ, Dominguez M, Gutierrez-Repiso C, Rubio-Martin E, Garrido-Sanchez L, Perez V, Garriga MJ, Rojo-Martinez G, Garcia-Fuentes E. Thyroid hormone levels predict the change in body weight: a prospective study. Eur J Clin Invest. 2011 Nov;41(11):1202-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2011.02526.x. Epub 2011 Apr 7.
- Gniuli D, Leccesi L, Guidone C, Iaconelli A, Chiellini C, Manto A, Castagneto M, Ghirlanda G, Mingrone G. Thyroid function and insulin sensitivity before and after bilio-pancreatic diversion. Obes Surg. 2010 Jan;20(1):61-8. doi: 10.1007/s11695-009-0005-6. Epub 2009 Nov 3.
- Zimmermann MB. The effects of iodine deficiency in pregnancy and infancy. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;26 Suppl 1:108-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2012.01275.x. Review.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.