The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I (NHANES – completed 1971-1974) and NHANES 2000 show iodine levels have dropped50% in the U.S. in the past 30 years. The study noted that the drop iodine levels were seen regardless of region, economic status or race. The percentage of pregnant women with low iodine concentrations increased 690% over this time period! In the 1920’s the government health officials in the mid-west were alerted to an alarming increase of goiters (enlarged thyroid) in the female population. Scientists discovered extremely low levels of iodine in the soil and therefore low levels of iodine intake, and determined this was the cause of the endemic thyroid disease. The government partnered with salt companies as a means of increasing iodine intake to the masses. So iodine was added to salt in the 1920’s to help combat thyroid goiter. Since that time, iodine is still being added to many brands of salt.
Medical students have been taught that there is enough iodine in salt to supply the body’s need for iodine. However, there were no studies to back up this claim and the NHANES data clearly shows that there is some phenomena causing iodine levels to decrease 50% over the past 50 years. Furthermore, studies show that the iodine in salt is not readily bio-available. Based on a study in 1969, comparing two groups ingesting about the same amount of iodine, one from bread and the other from salt, the salt group was only 10% bio-available. Lastly, iodized salt is a refined, devitalized product that is exposed to harsh chemicals. It is valid to say that refined salt leads to many health problems and should be avoided. (Unrefined sea salt containing upwards of 80 minerals is our recommendation.)
Why are the vast majority of Americans deficient in iodine?
Stay tuned nest week for the answer in our iodine series!