Iodized Salt

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In 2010 in this very useful and informative video Dr Richard Cooper, a Harley Street based Private GP, discusses the potential great danger of Iodine deficiency in the UK and that the iodization of table salt would be important. We would like to add a few thoughts here about Iodized salt:

1, Iodized salt is beneficial to the general public, in the same time there is growing evidence that iodised salt may not provide a complete solution for pregnant and breast feeding women. The reason for this is that a woman’s iodine requirement increases by about 50% during pregnancy (to ensure adequate supply to the foetus). We collected a few statements from the medical research literature below discussing this issue:

– According to Elizabeth N. Pearce:“ Whereas salt iodization programs remain essential, the addition of adequate iodine-containing prenatal multivitamins should be strongly encouraged for women from regions of even borderline iodine deficiency who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.”

 – “While most of the US population has adequate iodine levels, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that more than half of pregnant women have urinary iodine concentrations below 150 mg/dL (Thyroid. 2011;21:419-427)” – “Surveys show that many pregnant women in the United States may not get quite enough iodine”

 – A study from North-East Italy shows – “Though using iodized salt improved iodine status in all groups…a mild iodine deficiency emerged in women of child-bearing age that could have consequences during pregnancy and lactation.”

 – “In Austria, iodine deficiency has been considered to be eliminated owing to table salt fortification with iodine, but whether this also applies to pregnant women is unclear…. This study shows that pregnant women in the Vienna area have a potentially clinically significant iodine deficiency and that currently recommended doses of iodine supplementation may not be sufficient.”

– “Research from the University of Adelaide shows that iodized salt used in bread is not enough to provide healthy levels of iodine for pregnant women and their unborn children.”

– In Sweden a 2009 study concludes that “The iodine nutritional status of the Swedish population is adequate. Iodized table salt remains the main dietary source of iodine in Swedish diet… Pregnant and lactating women with high iodine requirements may still be at risk for low iodine intake.“ Six years later, in 2015 a new study by Dr Michaela Granfors of University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden says: “Our research reveals an insufficient iodine intake among Swedish women and highlights a need for targeted interventions that optimise iodine nutrition during pregnancy,”

 – Nancy L. Morse says in her study: “Numerous population studies from a variety of countries including China, Hong Kong, Iran, India, Kyrgyzstan and England have reported iodine deficiency in girls of child bearing age [76], in pregnant [154,155,156,157], and in pregnant and lactation women [158,159]. Some of these studies included regions where salt iodization is practiced, yet a significant proportion of pregnant and lactating women were still deficient [155,156,157,158,159,160,161].”

2, The iodized salt consumption of a country’s population is influenced by several factors:

According to Sarah Bath: “In contrast to other countries, iodised household table salt is unlikely to contribute meaningful amounts to UK iodine intake as (i) availability is low, (ii) table salt is only a small percentage of total UK salt intake and (iii) UK public-health campaigns have encouraged reduced salt consumption.”

3, Often we may not receive the desired amount of iodine when using iodized salt due to the following:

– The iodized salt may lose some of its iodine content during the production, delivery and warehousing.

 – Sometimes the packaging of the iodised salt is contributing to the iodine loss.

– When you keep an opened pack of iodized salt in the humid air of your kitchen cabinet for a long period of time, the salt can quickly lose significant amounts of its iodine content.

 – During the cooking process the iodine can quickly evaporate. Depending on the cooking method potentially 63% of the Iodine content can be lost.