The Iodine Protocol

What is hypothyroidism?

It is when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Low production of thyroid hormone can happen due to heavy metal toxicity, low iodine, low selenium, bromide toxicity  and for other reasons as well. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid condition in the United States. And is greatly under and undiagnosed.

Most western doctors diagnose hypothyroidism by testing the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is what my first doctor did when she said I was fine, with twenty some odd symptoms. Unfortunately the TSH lab is a measure of the pituitary hormone, not the thyroid hormone. This hormone, TSH, stimulates the thyroid which then produces  T3 and T4. Since it is not a measure of the thyroid hormone/hormones, many naturopathic and wholistic practitioners suggest testing the T3 and T4 and not just relying on the TSH lab.

T3 (free T3) controls metabolism, body temperature, development and growth. Most of T4 is converted to T3 in the kidneys and the liver. That is why, if these organs are sluggish due to heavy metal toxicity or too much alcohol, they can’t perform this conversion as effectively. And the thyroid gland needs iodine in order to make T4.

Most people are iodine deficient. Every cell in the body, for proper regulation, needs thyroid hormone. Those suffering from hair loss, brain fog, slurred speech, weight gain, fatigue, aching joints, dry skin, depression and more, go to their doctors for help and more often than not are prescribed ani-depressants, as I was. When what they actually have, in most cases is low free T3. With low free T3, all the bodies processes begin to slow down. I remember feeling my heartbeat going ever so slowly when I felt fatigued. People are often prescribed synthetic thyroid hormones such as Levoxyl, Levothyroxine, and Synthroid. But these are not treating the source of the problem just the symptoms. A good doctor or naturopath will treat according to symptoms and not just labs.

Natural Thyroid Hormones

With Hypothyroidism, initially you need to increase your thyroid hormone levels, and desiccated thyroid hormone/natural thyroid hormone from a cow/bovine or pig/porcine is the healthiest choice, I have found. I prefer Naturethroid or Armor Thyroid hormone. It can be hard to find a doctor to issue a  prescription for natural, desiccated thyroid and that is why I plan to list recommended doctors on this site. And welcome your recommendations. Most doctors will prescribe a synthetic drug and so you have to be firm and say, no I only want desiccated thyroid hormone. And find another doctor if he or she will not prescribe it. What some have experienced is Endocrinologists telling them things like desiccated thyroid can give you mad cow disease, or pills vary in strength and are not regulated, thus can’t be trusted or that they will raise you risk of thyroid cancer, all of which are false. Desiccated thyroid hormone increases your metabolism thus decreasing your risks for cancer.


Another issue I found is that the laboratory’s that many doctors use to diagnose Hypothyroidism  use a narrow window of ranges. The results leave a lot of people out of being diagnosed as Hypothyroid, when they should have been diagnosed. And so it is really important to use a good lab. I use ZRT Labs which can be ordered on the Canary Club website link below. The full hormone panel is performed by you at home and costs around $300. It is also important to get your adrenals checked performing the 4X per day saliva test, as well as checking your vitamin D levels. I know the costs can be prohibitive. I have been paying out of pocket for fifteen years now, because I want to use a lab I trust. Another good lab is

Why am I Hypothyroid?

Bromide also called bromine is a halide and common endocrine disruptor. Also in this halide family are fluoride, chlorine and iodine.  An endocrine disruptor disturbs the homeostatic mechanisms of the body.

Examples from European Commission site below:

  • They may mimic the biological activity of a hormone by binding to a cellular receptor, leading to an unwarranted response by initiating the cell’s normal response to the naturally occurring hormone at the wrong time or to an excessive extent (agonistic effect).
  • They may bind to the receptor but not activate it. Instead the presence of the chemical on the receptor will prevent binding of the natural hormone (antagonistic effect).
  • They may bind to transport proteins in the blood, thus altering the amounts of natural hormones that are present in the circulation.
  • They may interfere with the metabolic processes in the body, affecting the synthesis or breakdown rates of the natural hormones.

What I learned through my research was that particularly flame retardants are sprayed on absolutely everything: clothing, bedding, mattresses, furniture, phones, electronics, rugs etc. An ingredient in flame retardants is bromide. And more in California homes because at one time the chemical companies had a law passed that flame retardants must be sprayed on everything. The law has changed in recent years.What happens then is the bromide flakes off over time creating a dust in our homes which we then breath in. In fact firemen were becoming bromide toxic from flame retardants, see article.

Once the bromide is in ones body it attaches to the receptors and causes hormone imbalances, including estrogen dominance and a decreased production of thyroid hormone. As you may know, estrogen dominance is a common hormone imbalance which can be a precursor to cancer, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, cysts, etc. Chlorine, bromide, and iodine compete to attach to the receptors, so if you are iodine deficient, bromide or chlorine win out over iodine. But if you have plenty of iodine in your body, the iodine wins. I was not one to just believe this information suggesting I was bromide toxic. And so I ordered labs from a reliable source, performing them at home.

Hakala Labs :

Bromide Toxicity

I didn’t fully understand the results and so I called the lab and they explained them to me. They said that I was something like 90% undersaturated with iodine, meaning I had hardly any iodine in my body. The bromide test revealed that I had a level 17, and 4-7 was the normal amount in adults to not be exceeded. I was seriously toxic. I tested my husband who was also at a bromide level of 19! My five year old daughter had a bromide level of 10! And I didn’t typically buy new things that had just been sprayed with flame retardants. I shopped at second hand stores, and preferred antiques.

So my family also had hypothyroidism, but getting my family to take vitamins has never been easy. I have been trying but at the time I had to focus on getting me well.

Why was I sick and not them? I will discuss that more in a later blog, but it has to do with an inherited gene. Can some people become sicker then others because of their genetics? Yes, if that gene that they inherited makes their body less efficient at cleaning out all the junk and chemicals that we absorb through water, food, air and skin.


Over the course of my journey I found a group of people that I felt a kinship with. The “Stop the Thyroid Madness” book author Jamie Bowthorpe who also hosts the yahoo support group, . She actually had a very similar experience to mine. She had a ton of debilitating symptoms and her doctor was dismissive, so she was left to cure herself. As a result, she did cure herself and in doing so became a thyroid expert, wrote the book, “Stop the Thyroid Madness,” and started the online support group, which the rest of the world have gotten great benefit from, receiving free advice and most importantly guiding people who were sick and not finding the answers they needed from their doctors.

Her site is:

Another person who has been a beacon of hope for me is Stephanie Buist ND who runs the Iodine yahoo group. She  offers free advice on the iodine group and offers paid consults as well. She became a Naturopathic Doctor after suffering from thyroid cancer, and crediting the iodine protocol as the cure in preventing its return. And she is super smart. She has worked with Dr. Brownstein an iodine protocol pioneer, MD, and author who cures many diseases with the iodine protocol. I could not have made it through the iodine protocol without having Stephanie there to answer my questions.

See links below.

Her sites are:

She recommends the following tests on  :

Thyroid Panel II  – Includes TSH, Free T3 & Free T4

VIP Plus – Includes Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and Ratios, Triglycerides, Glucose (Diabetes), Kidney, Liver, and Heart Functions, Potassium, Calcium, Uric Acid, Electrolytes, Iron, Ferritin, PLUS a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and Comprehensive Thyroid Profile I: T3-Uptake, T4 Total, T7,& TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).

Basal Body Temperature

One test you can perform at home to see  if you may have hypothyroidism is to monitor your body temperature. Your temperature should be between 97.8 – 98.2 degrees. Upon waking, before you move, take your temperature, then plot it on a Basal Body Temperature chart, see below. Do this each morning for a period of two months. If your temp is below 97.8 you are probably hypothyroid.

The Iodine Protocol

The iodine protocol is a vitamin regime that detoxes bromide and chlorine, kicking the chemicals out of your body and helping to bring hormones into balance again. It is the regime that cured me of my chronic fatigue.

What happens in the body is the iodine replaces bromide on the receptors. The bromide then circulates throughout the body and the companion nutrients then help it to exit the body in ones urine. If you begin to have detox symptoms such as a headache, itchy skin, acne or gout type symptoms, drink a cup water with a 1/2 of a teaspoon of sea salt. This helps the detox process.

(Sea salt has more nutrients than other salts. Yes, salt is actually good for you.)

These symptoms usually go away after drinking salt water and within 2-3 days. This is called salt loading. Each time you increase your iodine (monthly) you may get the detox symptoms again. Because my liver processes things more slowly than others  I would stop the protocol on weekends and now after fourteen years I take iodine every other day to give my liver a chance to recover. But I take the rest of my vitamins almost every day.

I began with 12.5 mg of iodoral and gradually increased it by 12.5  every month, along with the companion nutrients. At one point I was on 350 mg of iodoral. Most western doctors will say this is dangerous. Dr. Brownstein and those familiar with the protocol disagree with that theory. Please read  the sites listed below for further explanation. They will not outright tell you to take high doses of iodine because the medical establishment will no doubt attack them. What I can say from personal experience is that I was fine on the high doses as long as I also did the salt loading. One must gradually work their way up to it though, on a monthly basis. Just pay attention to how you feel. And yearly retest thyroid hormone levels, and iodine saturation levels as well, to see how your levels are. As I have gotten older I need to support my liver in a variety of ways, so it’s ok to go on and off the protocol as needed and regularly take liver supplements as well as cleansing the liver twice a year.

Supplements of the Iodine Protocol:

Companion Nutrients needed to help with the utilization of iodine per day:

  • Iodine (Lugols Liquid or Iodoral pills- contains  iodine & iodide) 25 – 50 mgs to start
  • (excess Calcium, 2000 – 4000 mgs per day has been the cause of a poor response to iodine)
  • Vitamin C – 2,000 – 4,000 mgs
  • Selenium 200 mcg (selenomethionine version is preferable)
  • Magnesium 200 – 400 mgs
  • Celtic Sea Salt – 1/2 – 1 tsp
  • ATP Cofactors – 2 – 2x per day (niacin/VitaminB3 and riboflavin/Vitamin B2)
  • (500 mg of niacin 2x per day, starting lower to avoid flush)
  • (Vitamin B2, 100 mg three times per day
  • Vitamin A – 1 per day (Cod Liver Oil is another great source of Vitamin A)
  • Adrenals

It is also important to support your adrenals and one symptom that you need adrenal support are heart palpitations, middle back pain, and hypoglycemia. Although you should seek the assistance of a healthcare practitioner if your symptoms persist. The four times per day cortisol test is suggested, with ZRT Labs.

The following supplements help support the adrenals:

  • Magnesium – 200 – 400 mgs
  • Vitamin C   – 2,000 mgs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
  • Cytozyme AD, Biotics Research
  • Liver & Kidney Support
  • Milk Thistle
  • Dandelion
  • Metagenics Ultra Clear Plus pH
  • Coffee Enemas

Where to find products, and brands I recommend:



More iodine info:

Vitamin C:



Celtic Sea Salt:


To assist with the utilization of iodine these are additional nutrients:

  • ATP Cofactors –  2 – 2X/day
  • Vitamin A – 1/day or from carrots or cod liver oil

ATP Cofactors

Vitamin A:


One important piece of information to know is that many labs have narrow parameters as to whether a patient has hypothyroidism. What happened with my doctor at the time is actually very common. Hypothyroidism is commonly undiagnosed. And so it’s very important to get good labs.

You can order labs here and perform them yourself  at home. They cost around $300:

The Canary Club uses ZRT Labs:

ZRT does not recommend higher doses of iodine. Just keep in mind that that is the western medical establishment perspective, and it is just one perspective.

You can check your iodine levels (iodine loading test) and bromide toxicity levels by ordering from this lab and again, performing the tests at home:

I strongly suggest, once you get the results back, call the lab so they can interpret it for you. I thought I was fine after reading the labs. Then I called them and they said that I was severely deficient in iodine.

Read, Read, Read

I read a lot to gather knowledge to heal. Feeling crappy inspired me to educate myself to feel better. And I believe every person has something valuable to contribute. I strongly encourage you to read everything on the sites I have links to here, as they have a lot more great information, and they explain the science much better than I can.

Body Temperature

One symptom is low body temperature. And one thing you can do right away is begin to take your temperature as soon as you awaken in the morning and keep a record of it on a chart. It’s called your basal body temperature and it can help you diagnose your metabolic health. As people gradually increase their iodine, their body temp increases to normal, also increasing the thyroid hormone, and bringing your hormones in to a greater state of balance. Healthy first morning body temperature should be between 97.8 – 98.2. Everything you need to know about healing is either on the site or in the book, “Stop the Thyroid Madness.”

Here is a chart to print and track body temperature:

Other temp related information:

Thyroid Hormones

Ultimately one may need to take a thyroid hormone because as you get older your body just produces less of it. I strongly recommend a natural desiccated thyroid hormone and not a synthetic hormone which most doctors will prescribe as the body processes the natural thyroid hormone better and it  comes from either a cow/bovine or a pig/porcine. I prefer Naturethroid and if that is not available, Armour Thyroid. You may have trouble getting a prescription for them from your regular doctor. The site, and the site both have lists of doctors around the country that may be more likely to support natural methods of healing and prescribe desiccated thyroid hormone. Because desiccated thyroid hormones and iodine raise your thyroid hormone and change the balance of other hormones in the body, it is a good idea to do regular labs (twice yearly if possible) to keep tabs on your levels over time. And I hope that over time, with your recommendations, we can build a directory of great doctors and holistic practitioners as well here at

Bringing all the information together in one place is what this site is dedicated to, so that your journey to wellness is not about reinventing the wheel. Plan on feeling better after starting the iodine protocol within a couple of months. And plan on detoxing for the rest of your life, because we are constantly being bombarded with toxins like bromide and fluoride. And so we have to keep cleaning them out for optimal health.

Be Well,


Alison Trotta-Marshall

Websites that go into more detail about the iodine protocol:

sagemaiden seaweed