Iodized salt: Friend or foe?

Monday, August 05, 2013 by: Nanditha Ram
Tags: iodized salt, iodine, sodium chloride

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(NaturalNews) Take it with a pinch of salt. All the press about iodized sodium chloride being good for the health of your thyroid is not entirely true. Salt is so vital to life, that without it we would cease to be alive. Muscles would not function properly, your memory would fail you, and there would be no beating heart to boot. Yet why is salt the black sheep of the food world?

Salt is of three fundamental types: rock salt, sea salt and table salt; each one of these main types comes with variations in terms of chemical composition and source.

Salt, when refined, loses all of its trace minerals which unrefined salt has plenty of, similar to the compositions found in blood. Unrefined salt contains magnesium and potassium, and both are needed for the optimal functioning of the body and to enable the metabolism of sodium. Potassium, magnesium and sodium are the great triad that works in tandem to regulate the body's water balance and manage the nerve and muscle impulses. To put it simply, the more sodium you eat, the more potassium and magnesium you would have to eat in order to maintain homeostasis. Our diets today, while they are high in sodium, are practically devoid of the other two.

Iodized salt can't fix iodine deficiency

Refined salt, as it is, has been stripped of all its trace elements. Once this is done, anti caking agents are added to the salt and recently it has become mandatory in many parts of the world to add iodine as well. Salt is also being refined so it can be used as an industrial grade chemical for explosives and warfare, because that would require only the purest sodium chloride. Some of this "pure stuff" is then incidentally passed off as salt that is to be eaten.

Iodizing the salt, it has been said by some experts, is not a productive way of improving the iodine levels in people's bodies as it takes a balanced diet to do so. Iodine is found in sea food, kelp and seaweed, eggs, cereals and grains. However, modern diets and packet foods are so high in sodium chloride, that eating processed food means higher salt intake, with or without iodine. Other secret sources of iodine are medications and drugs that are used regularly, such as cough syrups, expectorants, steroids, heart medications and such like. There is only one logical end to this story: iodine overload, consequent metabolic disorders and immune system malfunction.

In places such as Japan, some parts of Spain and other developed countries, according to research findings, people are at risk of iodine overdose and the various illnesses associated with that condition - from iodized salt and an unbalanced diet. Some related health problems include an over active thyroid, inflamed thyroid which can further produce other symptoms such as tremors, heart rhythm gone awry, insomnia or disturbed sleep, increased blood pressure, and even anxiety and nervousness.

Food experts are saying that if the label on the packet says "sodium chloride" then what we have is nothing more than refined salt. Another indicator is the color of the salt. Pure white would mean refined, grey-ish white or pink, for instance, would mean unrefined. The minerals are represented by the color. They say that salt that is truly unrefined could contain 90 or more different trace elements.

The right kind and the right amount could enhance the taste and healthfulness of the food. Otherwise, refined (and iodized) salt, like refined sugar is slow poison.


About the author:
Nanditha Prasad Ram is a consumer and health journalist and a practicing holistic therapist.
Her blog is available at

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