Iodine in Salt: Why Is It Added?


If you go to most kitchen cupboards in the United States, you will find a box of “Iodized Salt.” Indeed, most salts commonly sold in supermarkets bare the label, “This salt supplies iodine, a necessary nutrient.”

Tiny amounts of several different iodine-containing salts are added to table salt due to the fact that the common American diet provides very little amounts of this necessary nutrient. However, most people do not know how damaging Iodized Salt can be.

The History of Iodine in Salt

Iodine was added to salt around 1924, at the request of government initiatives, due to the growing need for regulation of iodine deficiency disorders. In the 1920?s era in the United States, the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest region of the country experienced high incidences of goiter (a common thyroid-malfunction-based condition). This was because their soil levels were extremely low in iodine, and people weren’t eating iodine rich foods.

Researchers at the University of Michigan decided to copy a Swiss practice of adding iodine to cooking salt, in order to attempt to remedy the problem. Goiter occurrences dropped drastically as a result, and the practice soon became standard.

In fact, due to the successes seen in Michigan, iodine-enhanced salts were sold by the Morton Salt Company for the first time, on a national scale. Regulations committees saw that it would be easy to take a simple and cost-effective measure to prevent this health imbalance, and for about $0.05 per person per year, salt became iodized.

Salt itself was used as the carrier for iodine because it was an easy, spoil-free method of getting iodine into the food chain. And, more importantly, salt is a food that almost everyone eats throughout the day, and everyday. Iodized salt was also added to animal feed, as it also offered thyroid support benefits for livestock as well.

So, Why is Iodine in Salt Bad?

Times have changed since the 1920?s with the manufacturing of toxic chemicals and more cost effective ways of harvesting salt. Most of the salt harvested back then was natural salt from the sea or from natural salt deposits and contained the beneficial trace mineral iodine was added.

Table Salt or “Iodized Salt” is not a healthy naturally occurring rock, crystal or sea salt. It is a manufactured type of sodium called sodium chloride with added iodide.

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