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Supplementing with Iodine to Treat Goiter

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Thyroid Conditions related image Photo: Getty Images

Treatment for goiter is not often given unless other symptoms develop and one has a thyroid disease such as hyperthyroidism. If symptoms occur, you may be given hormone replacement pills or surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland.

Some cases of goiter are caused by iodine deficiency and patients may be given iodine solution.

A study in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation showed that iodine supplementation on its own was equally as effective as hormone therapy, either alone or in combination with iodine.

So before you have hormone replacement pills you may want to see if iodine supplementation corrects your goiter without them.

Researchers from Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Hospital and Göttingen University Department of Nuclear Medicine studied 166 patients with goiter. They were separated into three groups.

Group one received levothyroxine (artificial thyroid hormone) daily, group two received iodine supplementation daily, and group three received a combination of both daily.

In all three groups there was a decrease in goiter during the treatment, but when the treatment was stopped, group one’s goiter increased to pre-treatment levels while the group who received iodine had a sustained positive effect from their supplementation.

The combination group only had a slight rebound effect after their treatment ceased, leading researchers to conclude that giving iodine supplements could be used as a first line treatment for people with iodine deficiency related goiter.

In addition to thyroid problems, iodine deficiency can also cause miscarriages, stillbirths, stunted growth, speech, hearing and mobility problems, brain damage and cretinism.

Sources of Iodine

Iodine is found in plants grown in iodine-rich soil. Deficiencies are more likely to occur in communities that don’t have much iodine in the soil, typically in land areas. Sources of iodine are:

Iodized salt
Iodate (a bread stabilizer, not often used)
Food coloring erythrosine, although this is not totally available to the body and may not be completely utilized

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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