Mayo Clinic: I rarely use table salt anymore when cooking.
Instead, I like to use sea salt. But Iíve noticed that a lot
of sea salts donít contain iodine. Do I need iodized salt,
or are there sources of iodine other than salt that are likely
giving me all of the iodine I need?
most people, iodized salt is probably the easiest way to
maintain sufficient iodine intake. Iodine is an important
nutrient that your thyroid needs to produce certain hormones.
Not getting enough iodine in your diet can lead to problems
such as an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) and an abnormally
low level of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism).
is a trace element present in the earth. Distributed variably
around the world due to the effects of the ice age, iodine has
accumulated primarily in coastal areas. The most common
dietary sources of iodine are seaweed, fish and dairy
products. Inland areas have fewer natural sources of iodine.
In the U.S., areas where iodine deficiency was common in the
early 1900s ó the Great Lakes, Appalachians and Northwest
ó were known as the "goiter belt." Researchers
from these areas encouraged the U.S. to adopt table salt
iodization as an inexpensive, yet universal, way of providing
iodine supplementation. Although salt iodization never was
made mandatory, estimates are that more than 90 percent of
U.S. households today have access to iodized salt.
sources of dietary iodine include eggs, enriched grain
products and plant foods grown in iodine-rich soils.
Unfortified sea salt contains only a small amount of iodine.
itís hard to determine precisely how much iodized salt
contributes to an individualís iodine levels. Iodized salt
in the U.S. contains 45 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt.
The recommended daily intake for adults is 150 micrograms,
which can be obtained from about one-half to three-quarters of
a teaspoon of table salt. Testing of the general population
indicates that most Americans consume sufficient levels of
iodine through their diets. Pregnant women and nursing mothers
are the only groups in the U.S. that are advised to take a
daily iodine supplement, usually as part of a prenatal
on where you live and how much seafood you eat, you may not
want to substitute all of your table salt with sea salt.
However, that shouldnít stop you from using sea salt when
you want that particular flavor. Be cautious with the amount,
however, as all salt is high in sodium.