This “Hidden Epidemic” May Be the Reason
It’s funny how something can be good for you one day… but bad for you the next. Take smoking, for example.
Nowadays, we all know that cigarettes wreck your health. But when my parents were young, that wasn’t the case. Back then, magazine ads featured doctors recommending smoking as a healthy way to calm jittery nerves.
Salt has had a similar “hero to villain” transformation.
Salt was once highly valued as a preservative. And it enhances flavor. So we put salt into practically everything. Then we discovered that too much salt leads to circulation problems and heat trouble. And doctors advised everyone to cut down on salt.
Lately, we’ve seen more and more studies showing the dangers of salt, and the “no salt” message has gotten louder.
I agree completely you should avoid excess salt. But dumping the salt may be creating a new health problem. One that some researchers are saying may become an epidemic.
You see, salt is the major source of iodine in the developed world.
Only about 100 years ago, millions of people suffered from a lack of iodine. Your body needs it to make thyroid hormones. And thyroid hormones control your metabolism. So lots of people had no energy… had trouble staying warm… and suffered from stubborn weight gain.
The simple answer was to add a little iodine to table salt. Everybody use salt, and your body can easily separate out the iodine. Pretty soon, in countries like the U.S. and Canada, thyroid problems began to disappear.
Then we began to understand the problem with too much salt. So doctors began telling people to cut down. And cut down they did… in the only place they could control: at home.
Now here’s the catch. Even if you never use a single grain of added salt at home, chances are you still get a lot of it. Because it’s added to almost every food product you buy – even frozen vegetables! Most restaurant meals are also high in salt.
But almost none of the salt used by big companies and restaurants has iodine. It’s only added to the table salt you buy for your home. So many people have done away with their main source of iodine.
From the mid-1970’s to the mid-1990’s – when salt was getting it’s bad reputation – Americans cut their iodine levels by 50%.1 And the number of Americans short on iodine went from 1 in 40 to 1 in 9.2
Now there’s a new push on to “cut the salt,” and some are warning it will lead to an epidemic of thyroid trouble.
But I’m not saying you should salt your food. Instead, be aware that cutting the salt – at home, at least – means you have to make up for the missing iodine.
The good news is that you don’t need much iodine. Only about 150 micrograms (mcg) per day. That’s 150 millionths of a gram. But even that small amount can be hard to get.
Seaweed is by far the richest natural source. One-quarter ounce contains up to 30 times your daily requirement.
Other good sources of iodine include some fish. A serving of cod, for example, delivers two-thirds of your daily requirement. Shrimp and turkey breast each contain about 20% of your daily need. A medium baked potato (skin on) has about 40%.
Women are more likely than men to be short on iodine. So for women especially, a nutritional supplement containing iodine makes sense. Look for the word “chelate” or “amino acid chelate” on the label. These forms tend to be easier to absorb.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Hollowell, J.G. et al, “Iodine nutrition in the United States. Trends and public health implications: iodine excretion data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys I and III (1971-1974 and 1988-1994),” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Oct 1998; 83(10): 3401-3408.
2 Hoption Cann, S.A., “Hypothesis: dietary iodine intake in the etiology of cardiovascular disease,” J Am Coll Nutr. Feb 2006; 25(1): 1-11.
THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THESE PRODUCTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.