For decades, scientists have known there's a link between thyroid disease, metabolism and weight gain, and that iodine plays a major role. Iodoral is an iodine supplement that the manufacturer claims can restore healthy thyroid function, while promoting increased stamina and a trimmer figure. But it's not specifically a weight-loss aid and has potentially serious side effects, one reason Iodoral may not be right for you if you're otherwise healthy.
Iodoral is produced by Optimox and sold through the manufacturer's website and other online stores. It contains both iodine and iodide, a form of iodine with a slightly different atomic charge that's chemically bound with potassium salt. Iodoral is available in two strengths, 12.5 mg tablets and 50 mg tablets. To prevent an upset stomach, Iodoral also contains colloidal silica, and to eliminate the unpleasant taste of iodine, the tablets are coated with a thin pharmaceutical film.
The manufacturer's suggested daily amount is one to four tablets a day, a dosage they claim supplies levels of iodine comparable to the average daily intake of people on mainland Japan, who have a very low rate of fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer. They also assert that iodide is a potent substance that may improve thyroid function and make it much easier to lose weight. However, there are no clinical studies that have investigated such claims specifically for Iodoral.
Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP, founder of the Women to Women's Healthcare Clinic in Yarmouth, Maine and author of "The Core Balance Diet," notes that if you have an underactive thyroid with a low basal metabolic rate, one of the main symptoms may be weight gain or problems losing weight. If you try to diet, your rate of metabolic burn may continue to fall, one reason you gain weight even if you're cutting back on calories. She recommends talking to your health care practitioner about getting a thyroid test to measure your levels of TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone, and also supplementing your diet with selenium and iodine, as contained in a product such as Iodoral.
Iodoral contains no added starch, salt, wheat, gluten, corn, coloring or dairy products, so it won't cause a reaction if you have an allergy or intolerance to any of those ingredients. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Dietary Amount for iodine intake is 150 micrograms -- mcg -- daily for anyone over the age of 14. For pregnant women, the RDA is 209 mcg, and breastfeeding women, 290 mcg a day. The highest amount you can take without a likelihood of side effects is 1100 mcg a day if you're over the age of 19.
Optimox recommends you consult with your health care practitioner before taking Iodoral to avoid side effects, which can include acne-like skin lesions, headaches, an unpleasant brassy taste, increased salivation and sneezing. The U.S. National Library of Medicine adds that in sensitive people, iodine can cause swelling, severe bleeding and bruising, fever, joint pain, allergic reactions including hives, and even death.