If you are concerned about getting enough iodine when switching to sea salt or Himalayan salt, you are not alone. Allow me to shed some light on this topic so that you can make your own decision. Iodine deficiency is real. Every cell in our bodies need it. And of course, it is normal to question how one would obtain the necessary requirement of iodine elsewhere. In review of the literature, the consensus is that we should not rely upon iodized salt to fulfill our daily iodine requirements.
It is even questionable how much iodine is contained in iodized salt. Research conducted by Dasgupta et. al. (2008) showed that over half of the 88 iodized salt samples tested contained less than half the FDA recommended quantity of iodine (45 milligrams per kilogram). This same source further indicates that humidity significantly impacts iodine quantity and the substance is greatly prone to evaporation. Sircus (2014) describes iodized salt as a poor source of iodine suggesting it is unwise to ingest because it has been robbed of all its minerals. Haas (1992, p.197) reports iodized salt is “not highly recommended” and that iodine may be obtained from better sources such as fish, seaweed, eggs, and vegetables grown in iodine rich soil to name a few. This same source presents a quality multi-vitamin as an alternative option. Harvard Health Publishing (2011) does not recommend relying upon iodized salt for our iodine consumption. Lynne Farrow (n.d., para. 2), author and health information investigator, states that iodized salt is “actually a nutritional scam which provides a false sense of security.” She further presents concerns about the aluminum contained in many types of iodized salt. This is an anti-caking agent which could be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Farrow purports that the type of iodine most beneficial for women is iodine, not iodide. Unfortunately, the processed iodized table salt that I have examined contains iodide. In speaking with one company, dextrose was also added to their salt product.
You may first think of goiter as the major consequence of being deficient in iodine. While true, that is not the only concern. Iodine plays a role in intellectual functioning, metabolism, breast cancer prevention, mental health and other complications. Overall, it makes more sense to obtain iodine from real food sources and not from the shaker. The recommended daily amount of iodine for adults is 150mcg. Keep in mind that it is micrograms, not milligrams. Better sources of iodine include kelp, nori, and eggs. For those who would like to employ a more ambitious approach, an iodine supplement can be considered such as that from Lugo’s. Consultation with your natural health professional is advised prior to undergoing any supplementation.
Himalayan rock salt is unprocessed and free from additives or anti-caking agents. It contains over 84 minerals. Fayeytte-Moore et. al (2020) reports Himalayan salt contains substantially more minerals compared to table salt such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, silicon, sulphur, and more. Some of the benefits include improved digestion, facilitates stabilization of blood pressure, aids in weight loss, and serves to improve the immune system to name a few (Sarcu et al., 2016). It also contains lower levels of sodium than regular table salt.
Of special interest is that most antidepressant medications contain fluoride. Fluoride and iodine do not play well together. Research states that fluoride decreases the absorption of iodine (Waugh, 2019). For those who are concerned about their levels of iodine, tests to measure such are available such as skin, blood, and urine assays each with varying levels of accuracy.
As you navigate this decision, you may decide for whatever reason that you would like to stick with regular iodized table salt. If that is your choice, consider using Himalayan salt in your bath or even obtain a salt lamp. Neither of these will provide iodine for your body but both carry many other health benefits. According to the literature review, the bottom line is that iodized table salt does not supply a sufficient quantity of iodine.
Dasgupta, P. K., Liu, Y., & Dyke, J. V. (2008). Iodine nutrition: iodine content of iodized salt in the United States. Environmental science & technology, 42(4), 1315–1323. https://doi.org/10.1021/es0719071
Farrow, L. (n.d.). Lynne Farrow – Author and Health Information Investigator. http://lynnefarrow.net
Fayet-Moore, F., Wibisono, C., Carr, P., Duve, E., Petocz, P., Lancaster, G., McMillan, J., et al. (2020). An Analysis of the Mineral Composition of Pink Salt Available in Australia. Foods, 9(10), 1490. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/foods9101490
Haas, E. M. (1992). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Celestial Arts Publishing.
Harvard Health Publishing. (2011, June 1). Cut Salt – it won’t affect your iodine intake. Health.harvard.edu. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/cut-salt-it-wont-affect-your-iodine-intake
Basu, D., Ghosh, A., Sarker, A., Sarker, K., & Sen, D. J. (2016). Halite; the Rock Salt: Enormous Health Benefits. www.saltcavenz.co.nz. Retrieved from https://saltcavenz.co.nz/assets/public/images/uploaded/1601542011/dhrubo-jyoti-sen-halite-the-rock-salt-enormous-health-benefits-2016.pdf
Sircus, D. M. (2014). Iodine. (n.p.): Lulu.com.
Waugh D. T. (2019). Fluoride Exposure Induces Inhibition of Sodium/Iodide Symporter (NIS) Contributing to Impaired Iodine Absorption and Iodine Deficiency: Molecular Mechanisms of Inhibition and Implications for Public Health. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(6), 1086. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16061086