Total Pageviews

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A Bit of Salt -- if it's iodized--is important

Western diets notoriously are high in sodium. There's been a new push to decrease our sodium even more than ever so as to help prevent exacerbation of incidence of hypertension, stroke, and other sodium-high sensitive conditions and diseases.

However, it has been observed that just because sodium or salt intake is high doesn't necessarily mean that people are getting their necessary requirements of iodine.

Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormone and functioning and brain development. Very few foods naturally contain iodine. The best sources are seawater fish, seaweed, and dairy products. But the amount of iodine we need, especially women, during pregnancy, requires the addition of an iodized salt to our daily diets. We don't need ALOT -- about 1/2 teaspoon per day and it's important to mention that TOO much can and DOES result in exactly the same symptoms as too little! So, just 1/2 teaspoon TOTAL per day. This yields about 200-300 micrograms of iodine. Our daily requirements of iodine range from 600 micrograms/day in childhood to 900/day in adults (18 y.o -- 70 y.o)and 1100 micrograms in pregnant women. If children, teens, and adults are eating a balanced, healthy diet that includes milk and other dairy products and fish, chicken, and other lean meats -- then with the 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt, they should get the iodine necessary to stave off conditions associated with deficiency or overload -- goiter, hypothyroidism, low metabolic rate,sluggishness, chronic fatigue, poor mental function. Pregnant women will need additional iodine provided from their multivitamin/mineral supplement to offset the risk of having a baby born with cretinism.

Iodization of salt was started only in the 20th century as the detrimental effects of iodine deficiency were so widespread and iodine deficiency was unequivocally determined to be the cause of mental underdevelopment, especially in poor nations, but also in developed countries. Many salt-producing companies have schemes in developing nations to deliver iodized salts and studies have shown marked improvement in mental development and functioning of these populations, but also in overall growth and health of children.

Ironically, with the production and marketing of designer salts and salt blends in recent years, it has been shown that iodine intake has dropped by as much as 50% in wealthier nations. Many of these rock salts, kosher salts, and other fancy blends are not fortified. Even 'sea salts' don't have appreciable amounts of iodine.

To assure receiving necessary iodine in your daily diet, do the following:

Use iodized salts -- at least to 1/2 tsp/day. This does not mean a license to use salt freely. Remember there still IS a need to limit use of too much salt in the diet -- whether it is iodized or other salts.

Include 2-3 portions of dairy products daily.

Include seawater fish at least 1/week, preferably more, if possible.

Look for and consume other good sources of iodine -- seaweed, sushi, eggs.

If necessary, take multivitamin/mineral supplement that contains iodine -- only up to 100% of requirement.

N.B.!!!! You DO NOT need therapeutic doses of any vitamin or mineral supplement unless PRESCRIBED -- EVER. Overdosages of iodine and any other nutrient can cause exactly the same results as a deficiency of nutrients

No comments: