Is Salt a Good Source of Iodine?

April 02, 2019

Is Salt a Good Source of Iodine?

The Answer Might Surprise You

You probably have a box of iodized salt in your cupboard. Some refined table salt sold in the United States contain iodine so you might think that you don’t need iodine supplementation. However, this is false. Read on to learn more.

History of Iodine In Table Salt

Back in 1924, the U.S. government realized that the Americans were not getting enough salt in their diet. As a result, many people were iodine deficient, which was causing serious health issues in the United States.

Before iodine was added to table salt, up to 70 percent of children in the Northwestern, Appalachians and Great Lakes areas of the United States had a goiter due to iodine deficiency.  A goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Goiters can cause problems with breathing among other things. Because of the prevalence of goiters, the U.S. government began adding iodine to salt. Enhancing salt with iodine did drastically reduce the occurrence of goiters.

Iodine offered other benefits, as well. Researchers discovered that iodine also enhanced cognition. Scientists compared the intelligence of children born just before 1924 — the year that iodization began, with those born just after. The researchers found that children who received iodized salt had stark improvements in intelligence compared to those who did not. There was a three to five point difference in IQ between these children.

The Problem With Iodized Salt

Back in the 1920s, iodine supplements were not available and so it made sense for Americans to get iodine from table salt. However, things have changed a lot since 1924 and this is no longer the best way to get iodine.

Today, the vast majority of Americans get way too much sodium. Excessive sodium intake is connected with a whole range of health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. Cutting back on salt is good for overall health. Harvard Health recommends cutting back on salt and getting iodine from other sources instead. Iodized salt only provides a fraction of the daily iodine intake

Another problem with iodized salt is that it contains tons of synthetic chemicals, which are not healthy for the body. Back in the 1920s, salt was harvested from the sea. It naturally contained the trace mineral iodine. Today, iodized salt is no longer naturally harvested because it costs more money. It is cheaper to manufacture sodium using processed ingredients. Manufactured sodium contains approximately 97.5 percent sodium chloride, which is an unnatural chemical form of salt. This form of salt is used in processed foods. Various chemicals, such as aluminum, and other toxic ingredients are added to the sodium chloride to absorb moisture.

Misconceptions About Salt

According to Lynne Farrow, best-selling author of "The Iodine Crisis", the notion that refined iodized salt is a sufficient is the most dangerous misconception about iodine.

From the time the salt leaves the factory and gets to the grocery shelf the salt has lost half its original iodine content. Once the iodized salt is opened in your home, the iodine escapes into the air. When finally ingested, only about 10% of the iodine is salt is absorbable. Furthermore, cooking destroys iodine.

Farrow also explains that the iodine in salt is actually potassium iodide. This is vital to understand because iodide is needed by the thyroid, but iodine is used by the breasts, ovaries and prostate. For this reason a supplement which contains both iodine and iodine give the body both vital nutrients.

I recommend substituting manufactured salt with natural Himalayan salt, Celtic Salt® or Real Salt®. The problem is that these types of salts do not contain iodine, so you’ll need to supplement your diet to meet your iodine needs.

Supplementing With Iodine

  • Lugol’s Iodine. Lugol’s iodine supplements are a great way to get iodine. They contain both iodine and potassium iodide, which are important for the human body.
  • Nascent Iodine. Nascent iodine is a highly stable type of iodine that does not contain any additives at all. Because Nascent iodine is atomically changed, as well as alcohol and additive-free, the body is able to utilize it efficiently.

For more information about iodine and thyroid health, check out the rest of our blog posts.

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