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Is it okay to stop taking Synthroid and start taking sea kelp tablets? I currently take 150 mcg. q.d. of Synthroid. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was told that iodine kills the thyroid gland. But Synthroid is 65% iodine. This doesn’t make sense to me. I do not think the Synthroid is doing me any good whatsoever as I still have the same exact symptoms as before I started taking it, and I have taken it for quite a few years. I have not had iodine level testing done. Is there any harm to me if I take sea kelp instead and if so, what exactly will happen to me?

It appears that you have been prescribed Synthroid (a synthetic thyroid hormone) which is suggestive of a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. In developed countries, hypothyroidism is most commonly caused by autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland. Rarely, hypothyroidism can be caused by iodine deficiency – but this is extremely uncommon in developed countries as the salt is usually fortified with iodine.

Sea Kelp contains high levels of iodine and may be recommended by some practitioners of alternative medicine for “thyroid support.” It is not commonly prescribed by medical doctors and most doctors discourage taking iodine supplementation for individuals without iodine deficiency. In terms of the physiologic need for iodine, seas kelp supplementation would ONLY be necessary if the person is actually deficient in iodine.

Although every individual is different, the vast majority of patients prescribed Synthroid have hypothyroidism that is unrelated to iodine deficiency. Therefore, chances are, sea kelp supplementation would not be beneficial and it is highly recommended that you continue taking Synthroid. If you do decided to take sea kelp, you should first consult the doctor who prescribed your Synthroid to determine if iodine supplementation is beneficial or safe.