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Is Iodized salt good for you? Here what should you know

Iodized salt is a standard for many Americans and it can be a crucial item to include in your diet. 

Without a proper supply of iodine in your system, you run the risk of developing an iodine deficiency which can affect the way our thyroid functions and lead to the chance that we could suffer from a number of potential health problems over time.

Iodized salt is not only good for you, it can help you to regulate your health when enjoyed with food. 

Restricting your salt content is important and you will have to practice some moderation. 

Most adults can enjoy seeing the benefits of iodized salt when taking it at a rate of roughly ½ teaspoon each day. 

This won’t take much diet modification for most people because iodized salt can often be found as an ingredient in many foods and it can serve as an easy way to flavour some of your favourite dishes as well. (1)

What do they add to salt to iodize it?

Iodine is the main nutrient that is added into salt to produce iodized salt. A mixture called potassium iodate is added into the salt after the process of drying and refining. 

This can be done in a few ways and it needs to take place with a salt that has a high quality packaging, or it can simply leak out of the packaging that has been used.

The wet method involves using Potassium iodate and dissolving it in water to make the concentrated solution. This solution is then sprayed or dipped along the salt to produce an even and uniform coating. 

The dry method involves spreading the potassium iodate with a filler like dry salt powder or calcium carbonate and then sprinkling the mixture over the produced dry salt. 

After the mixture has been spread over the system, it is mixed up vigorously in a vat to ensure that the nutrients are dispersed evenly. 

The company producing the salt will perform regular testing to ensure that the salt is going to be of a better quality and to ensure that the iodine is spread appropriately throughout the mix. 

Dry mixing can be another simple method that uses a screw conveyer in the last stage of packaging and the mix to continually mix the salt before it is packaged. 

The salt is also crushed repeatedly to make sure that it is well blended throughout the product. (2) (3)

What is iodine?

Iodine is a mineral that can be found naturally in the ocean as well as in soil. Many plat based food and food that is derived from the ocean will contain iodine and it is a mineral that is crucial for our diets. (4) (5)

The benefits of Iodine:

Iodine can provide us with numerous benefits including support for: (6)


Thyroid health:

Iodine is best known for its ability to improve thyroid health. The thyroid gland is an item that is responsible for regulating your production of hormones and without iodine you could have a thyroid that is far less active. 

An underactive thyroid gland can lead to a number of conditions like Hypothyroidism or enlarged thyroid glands which is called Goiters. 

Radioiodine is another treatment that is common in forms of thyroid cancer as well. 

Taking this radioactive iodine will destroy cancerous cells as well as the thyroid cells to remove the negative symptoms from the body.


Improving neurodevelopment:

Taking iodine during pregnancy can be an important way to improving brain development in foetuses. Babies that get more iodine often grow up with higher iq’s and less chance for intellectual delays. 

Taking Iodine for neurodevelopment is best done at a rate of 220 mcg per day, or slightly above the rate that you would get from a half teaspoon of iodized salt. 

Regularly taking iodized salt while breastfeeding is important too and the recommend amount is around 290 MCG at this time. 


Fibrocystic breast disease:

Iodine supplements and salt can be beneficial in treating fibrocystic breast disease. 

Rather than having painful breast lumps, women may be able to prevent cysts from forming by regularly using iodine as a supplement. 


Treating infections:

Iodine can be useful for treating and preventing infections. Using iodine on a wound can be beneficial to killing off bacteria can be useful for preventing problems with infection rates later on. 

Taking iodine orally may not produce the same results, but the antibacterial properties can be helpful to have for boosting your immune system.


How safe is iodine to consume?

You can consume up to 1,100 micrograms of pure iodine without experiencing any type of negative health effect. 

This is the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of salt all at once, or sustained over time on a daily basis.

The world health organization would suggest that that intake of salt in large amounts is not recommend for your diet. 

Less than 5 grams of salt each day is considered to be a safe amount. Exceeding your daily recommendation of salt by the standards of the world health organisation will also have you exceeding your daily value of safe iodine too. 

A high intake of iodized salt will lead to an increased risk of thyroid conditions. 

This can have people running the risk of thyroid dysfunction, and this can be particularly powerful in mothers carrying babies, newborns, the elderly as well as people that have some type of pre-existing thyroid condition. 

If you are taking any type of prescription medication, it is important to check on the iodine inside the medication as this could place you beyond your unsafe levels too.

Checking with your doctor if you have a higher salt diet and you are going to be taking new medication can be important. 

If you are going to be getting iodine from other sources like your medication, you could be in need of finding natural salt that does not contain iodine. 

Making the choice to switch over to this salt can be much safer for you later on if you run the risk that you could be putting yourself over your daily requirements. 

Getting too much iodine over a long term could lead to a series of effects like nausea or vomiting, fever, diarrhoea, stomach pain or a burning sensation in the throat. (7) (8) (9

Where else can we get iodine in our diet?

Iodine can be delivered into our diet in items like:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Dairy Products
  • Seafood
  • Some breads
  • Eggs

and more.

Even though Iodine can be found in these items, you may need to eat fairly sizable portions in order to get the amount of iodine that you could receive from half a teaspoon of salt. 

You would need to consume 6 and 1/3 eggs to get access to the same amount of daily iodine you require or around 3 glasses of milk in a day. 

These types of foods that inhibit and regulate hormone product can be perfect for preventing thyroid issues and for making sure that you do not experience goiters. 

Adding iodine into table salt has been an easy way to supplement diets for people who would regularly find it difficult to eat cauliflower or other items that would regularly contain iodine. 

Some people shy away from vegetables, but as long as they continue to use salt, they can work at preventing the symptoms of iodine deficiency.

What is a goiter?

A goiter may not cause a symptom but some of the earliest signs of enlarged thyroid activity and goiters can be coughing, difficulty with swallowing, breathing, 

hoarseness, an ongoing and tight feeling in the throat as well as a swelling at the base of your throat that can become obvious when you put on makeup or shave.

Does all salt contain iodine?

The salt does contain iodine. Most iodized salt in the USA will contain 45 micrograms of Idone in each gram of the salt. 

Adults have a daily intake level of 150 micrograms or around a half teaspoon of table salt each day. 

If salt is labelled as Iodized salt it will contain iodine but this is not the case for many types of sea salt or other types of natural salts.

Why did manufacturers start using Iodine in salt?

In the 1980s a series of salt manufacturers began to use iodine in salt as a means to combat iodine deficiency. 

Most of the salt that is produced in the USA that doesn’t carry a natural label will still have iodine in it because this has been the standard to combat the deficiency.


The history of Iodized salt:

David Marine was a physician that was working towards a treatment for a series of thyroid problems. As Goiters were very common throughout the early 1900’s, Marine set to work in 1917 to develop a solution. 

His goal was to find a way that he could help the American public to reduce the rate of goiters across the nation.

Before the year 1920, the rate of goiters in the United States in children younger than 12 was around 70%. 

It was a part of life for families that could not access iodine rich foods regularly. This was until after the 1920’s when Marine created a solution. 

Based on his findings, it was fairly easy to include table salt that contained iodine while preventing the deficiency. 

After extensive testing, iodized salt production increased and soon there were many other nations across the world that were adjusting their salt production techniques to include the Iodized salt because of the results that were being experienced in the USA.

Rather than people having to make a major modification to their diet, the salt could include the supplement and offer support to people across almost every walk of life and dietary taste. 

Because there was no need for massive modifications to routine or a change in flavour to the salt, the use of Iodized salt became widely adopted.

90% of the USA now has access to iodized salt as their main brand of salt and the population has seen a massive drop off in the rate of thyroid related health concerns like goiters. (11)


Testing salt for iodine:

If you have older or unmarked salt or you would like to know if your salt contains iodine, you can do a quick test with a small amount of it. 

Using distilled water and laundry starch, you can check for the presence of iodine by combining together these items and waiting for a chemical reaction. 

The laundry starch and water will form a blue color when they are mixed together and this will showcase the presence of iodine in the salt supply that you have.


Iodine is an essential nutrient that we have to get in our bodies daily. Using iodized salt, eating seafood and keeping a balanced diet can make sure that you can avoid an iodine deficiency. 

Using Iodine can be highly beneficial in preventing conditions like underactive thyroid or goiters as well as for managing your health over time. 

Taking iodized salt is good for you and a necessity for many people that are not receiving the natural iodine in their diet they need to improve their health.

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