It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Should I take a thyroid supplement?

I have had all the clinical signs of hypothyroid for decades but my "numbers" are always within "normal" range. I've heard a lot over the years about use of natural thyroid supplements and now iodine but only if it contains iodide (see this link). Should I try this supplement?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

foods high in iodine

As you may know, I don't often comment on supplements. There are not many that are truly necessary, and taking supplements, even those that might seem to be good for you, like Vitamins A and E, have in some cases been associated with poorer health outcomes.

The supplement that is described on the page you pointed me to is iodide. As with many such supplements, the science is faulty and the use of high doses of iodide can be a problem. It was the primary treatment for those with overactive thyroid (not underactive) until the 1940s. There are a number of issues with its use, including that the effect of suppressing release of thyroid hormone can wear off and then cause a surge in hormone.

Sadly, there are many misguided physicians out there (more than we'd like to see) who can't understand the science or who allow themselves to be misled. In most cases the profit motive is involved.

If you are concerned about your thyroid, seek a second opinion from an endocrinologist. Ask around in your area about one who specializes in thyroid. There are many who will look at the "numbers" in the light of new research and that may help you.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet