Salt, Sea Salt, Iodine: Enough or Too Much?
More or less iodine? More or less salt? Why? Blood pressure problems? Age-dependent? Health dependent? Iodine? What type of salt, iodized salt, and does it matter? Studies and opinions vary – often diametrically – on allsides of these questions. No simple answers. Different doctors will advise you differently. Diet, age, sex, condition – they all play a role. And then, there’s the pharmaceutical companies. They want….your money. They advise doctors, fund studies, and promote products to hospitals, doctors, and patients (on TV).
So what’s the truth?And what’s the truth for you, for your baby, for your family?
Here are a few basic statements- real almost-simple truths – about which few would disagree.
About Salt Types
No one would disagree that sea salt, with its wealth of micro-nutrients, is “better” and very likely “healthier” than “buck-a-box” ordinary table salt. Most would agree it tastes better. Most doctors would approve, or at least vote “no harm” for a sea salt diet.
Why better? Since we arose out of the oceans, it’s likely our bodies are acclimated, if not oriented, to sea salt. Can’t hurt, might help. Some clinicians swear by it, and have hundreds (or even thousands) of patients who’d vote for it based on personal and clinical (test) experience.
If you use salt, it probably should be sea salt.
Salt iodization is voluntary in the U.S., mandatory in many other countries. You can’t taste the difference, but in a few months, or even a few weeks, your body, your baby’s body, and your entire metabolism, will show a real difference (if you go from non-iodized to iodized salt). Every researcher on earth will tell you that iodized salt is better.
If you use salt, it probably should be iodized salt.
How Much Iodine?
A tricky question. On the one hand, there’s the World Health Organization (WHO), which in 1996 reviewed the effects of 480 mg. of a single dose of iodized oil for mothers and their babies. Conclusion: Only positive results – for up to two years. No additional supplements needed. This amount is – ready? – about 1,600x the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) by the Food & Drug Administration. The positive benefits include no brain or other neurological problem development, thyroid health, increased birth weight, lower infant mortality, healthier mothers. The dose was given as an injection (of iodine in oil). What about oral dosing? The WHO found it only lasted 6 months – again, iodine in oil. Why don’t we do this here? No answer.
Most U.S. researchers believe that the US RDA – which ranges from 70 mcg (micrograms) to 290 mcg (during lactation for mothers) is about right. (NOTE: A microgram (mcg) is 1/1000th of a milligram (mg).)
Disagreement is from cancer researchers like Dr. Carmen Aceves (Mexico), who indicate that 3,000 mcg (3 milligrams) should be taken to assist in breast cancer treatment or prevention; and a group of researchers and doctors (Abraham, Flechas, Brownstein, Derry) who promote a daily dose of about 12,500 mcg (12.5 milligrams) up to 50,000 mcg.
The clinicians who believe in the higher doses – typically several hundred times the U.S. RDA – point to the low breast-prostate-ovarian-uterine cancer rates of Japanese women, whose average intake is about 5 mg/day (from seaweed). Many studies have confirmed this level of intake, and also its efficacy. Apparently, a change to higher doses has to start off slowly.
What should you do? If you’re pre/during/post pregnancy, take at the very least the U.S. RDA values.
Here’s the table:
Here’s what the FDA (and the table) doesn’t tell you, and it’s important. First, if the salt box sits on the supermarket or home shelf, the iodine tends to dissipate. Second, the amount of iodine in “incidental” (that is, NON-iodized salt) sources has declined substantially in the last decade. It was apparently key to health and intelligence. Today, it’s disappeared, for the most part.
No longer do bread, milk, eggs and vegetables contain the iodine we need, if they contain any whatsoever. (There are various reasons for this, none of them planned or evil.) Our ONLY real source is salt. And of course, we’re being advised to restrict sodium intake (see below). It simultaneously reduces our iodine intake!
Other chemicals in daily life also inhibit our body’s uptake of iodine. These contrary chemicals include chlorine, bromine and fluorine, common in drinking water, toothpaste, bread and most bottle drinks. Even if you eat the right amount of salt, you could be iodine deficient!
So what should we do?
1. TO COUNTERACT competing chemicals
2. TO HINDER CANCERS
3. TO GUARANTEE infant and maternal health…..
in excess of 290-300 mcg daily should be considered for consumption. You have to make your own choices on this one, but these are the facts, straight-up.
ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF SODIUM :
Let’s distinguish between SODIUM and SODIUM CHLORIDE (generally, ordinary table salt). The FDA and the American Heart Association say you should eat 1,500 mg (milligrams) of sodium/day – about 3/4ths of a tsp table salt. 1/4th tsp of salt has 575 mg sodium and weighs 1.5 grams. One tsp is 6 grams of salt with 2300 mg sodium. You might aim for that. Normally, we Americans consume 2x that much or more.
Reliable authorities –
Dr. D. Brownstein, for example – say to use ONLY sea salt, due to its nutritional content. Brownstein has treated thousands of patients using quality sea salt, and “Salt Your Way To Health” is a best-selling book (http://www.drbrownstein.com/Salt-Your-Way-to-Health-p/salt.htm). Most clinical research has (apparently) been done with bleached, purified mined salt that has only.. salt. Brownstein considers this a poison.
Confused? In 2013, a respected researcher (Niels Graudel) published a study (Am. Journal of Hyperension of deaths related to sodium intake. Here’s what he found: “Both low sodium intakes and high sodium intakes are associated with increased mortality, consistent with a U-shaped association between sodium intake and health outcomes. Sodium reduction, moreover, produces several physiological effects, some of which may adversely influence health outcomes.” The research is persuasive. The message: Get enough, not too much. Without enough, you’ll get sick.