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Published on April 30th, 2011 | by Jeannie Moulton

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Are You Getting Enough Iodine?

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Fancy salts (sometimes called ‘designer salt’, not to be confused with Pepsi’s designer salt) may lack iodine, an essential mineral that helps the regulate the metabolism.

Iodine is a micronutrient, meaning it is only required in very small amounts and typically is consumed in vegetables that have absorbed it from the ground. However, when the soil is deficient in iodine, so are the vegetables.

The Goiter Belt

In the US, some areas have particularly low levels of iodine in the soil and drinking water. This area is known as the Goiter Belt. Goiter is a condition where the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, swells when it is not functioning properly. People in the belt typically suffer from thyroid problem more than people who live outside the Goiter Belt because of the low iodine levels.

The remedy for low levels of iodine in the soil is to supplement the diet with iodine. This is primarily done through iodized table salt.

Check your salt

If you buy regular run-of-the-mill table salt like Morton’s (think: when it rains, it pours), it contains iodine.  When used as part of a normal diet, this type of salt can make up for the potential absence of iodine from vegetables.

However, with the popularization of fancy salts like sea salts, kosher salts and whatever other kind of expensive salt you can buy, the amount of iodine people consume has dropped. Most of these types of salts do not contain iodine.

It’s unfortunate because many people do not even know about this, and potentially could be on thyroid medication unnecessarily.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid

  • hair loss
  • lethargy
  • cold intolerance
  • weight gain.

If are experiencing these symptoms, it may be worth checking your salt.  Of course talk to your doctor as well.

Source: Wikipedia – thyroid

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons by nate steiner

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About the Author

I spent the last five years earning my PhD in Engineering. I enjoy all types of science and writing, so I am trying out a new career path in science publication and communication. Recently, I have moved to Oxford, England. As an environmentally-conscious person, Oxford is a great place to live...notably there is no car required. I love to talk about vegan cooking, plant-based diets and the benefits of such, so just ask if you are interested. I do ballet for fun and love kitties.



  • http://www.deliciousobsessions.com Jessica @ Delicious Obsessions

    I think this post might mislead some people. I would not recommend anyone with thyroid problems start supplementing iodine w/out speaking to their doctor. I have spoken with a few nutritionists and naturopathic doctors (and an MD) who have all said that people who supplement iodine for many thyroid problems are “adding fuel to a fire”. It comes down to what type of thyroid problems you have. Just being hypothyroid doesn’t mean enough – you need to figure out if it’s autoimmune (aka Hashimoto’s), if it’s being caused by poor nutrition, if it’s being caused by environmental factors, etc. Before anyone starts eating more salt or adding iodine supplements to their diet, they need to speak to their doctor.

  • http://Web Cynthia Shahan

    The need of Iodine in ones diet, is absolutely real. As for white salt with iodine added, t a question of balance and integrity in salt, arises.
    White salt, like white sugar is stripped of the holistic balance of naturally occurring minerals that are necessary for healthy kidney metabolism (I am an acupuncturist, TCM, classical homoeopath). I love that heavy rich wet dark salt, one can buy these days, full of the correct balance of minerals. This type of salt grounds one, as well as helping to offset radiation overload.
    Stripping my salt down to a bleached white and adding back iodine just seems ridiculous. Like with white sugar — what does one have to do, one has to go out and buy black-strap molasses to get the minerals robbed from the sugar back. Where is are the minerals robbed from that white salt.

    Yes, we need good sources of iodine. Keep eating Kelp, one of the most important seaweeds for iodine in full safe amounts. All seaweeds, as well as other foods rich in iodine, should be in a normal diet. If one is iodine deficient, go to ones holistic physician, who is able with simple non-invasive tests, to find out and also to supplement easily.
    – Show quoted text -

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