Apologies for the slightly sensationalist title, I felt like a Daily Fail reporter for a second there, but I needed to grab your attention. I know that for every post like this, there’ll be a post extolling the virtues of the very same product, or a person who thinks that we all worry too much and shouldn’t restrict ourselves, but I was asked to share this story by the lovely Lisa at The Mummy Whisperer as she thinks this might help others. She’s passionate about helping Mums to reach their weight goals through healthy living and this post totally backs up her ethos.

Back in about 2002, I was 18 and in a horrible relationship (although didn’t realise how horrible it was at the time). We didn’t go anywhere or do anything, life was spent either at work or in front of the telly with a takeaway and my weight crept up. A friend at work was dieting and I decided to join in to try to shift a few pounds, so I started a High Street stores equivalent of Slim Fast and also bought some of their own-brand slimming supplements. I’ve looked on their site today and they don’t appear to sell it anymore, but there are equivalents out there.

At the time, it didn’t occur to me for a second that something made of kelp, a completely natural product, could make me ill so I took the tablets despite not really feeling that they were making a difference. I lost some weight and gave up on the dieting, choosing to try to improve my lifestyle a bit but something was amiss.

I can’t remember which symptom came first, but the next year saw me losing patches of hair, developing skin conditions, feeling so fatigued that some days it was like walking through jelly, gaining weight again, having headaches, anxiety attacks, irregular periods, swelling around my throat and neck…the list goes on.

I went back and forth to the doctors and had blood tests, several rounds of the same tests in fact, but sometimes they were totally clear, sometimes they showed my thyroid levels to be slightly low or slightly high. The doctors refused to give me any tablets to help with the symptoms and I basically spent a miserable year feeling ill and depressed with an untreated case of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Life went on and the symptoms seemed to recede, until about 2006 when I started to feel the symptoms all over again, only this time it was worse. I honestly felt like I was about one step away from slipping into a coma. This time, I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) and prescribed thyroxine to bring my levels back up to normal as they had got dangerously low. During all of this, I spoke to my doctor and while he was asking some questions, he asked if I’d ever taken any weight loss supplements. I told him about the kelp and it was like a lightbulb went on over his head. He explained that while iodine can improve thyroid function, it can also aggravate autoimmune thyroid disorders and cause permanent damage.

I may have suffered from Thyroiditis anyway and it may have gone away and never come back, but because I took a pill that was sold with no warnings, no restrictions and no information, I’ll now have to take tablets for the rest of my life. And the thing with an under-active thyroid is, even when your levels are okay on paper, it’s still possible to feel the symptoms, so some days I feel rubbish no matter what I do.

My advice is this: don’t take ANY supplement for weight loss without doing some research, speaking to a doctor and really thinking about what you’re doing. Natural products can still have a profound effect on the body and shouldn’t be taken lightly, even if they are for sale on the shelves of a high street store. And most importantly, weight loss is a really simple equation:


Don’t let snake-oil salesmen baffle you with bullshit and let you believe that you can’t do it without their ‘wonder product’, because you can and it’ll be so much more satisfying when you do.

More info:

 5 Lies About Your Thyroid Disease That You’re Likely to Hear

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis