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What is Iodized Salt

What is iodized salt? Are there any health consequences if one does not include idolized salt in their diet? Find out the components of this salt and its health implications, in the following Story.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Feb 14, 2020
You must have bought a packet of salt from your local grocery or the supermarket. Look closely and you may notice the words 'iodized salt' printed over the packet. They say it is very important to include iodized salt in your diet or it may cause many health problems. The following paragraphs will provide details on this salt type.

Information on Iodized Salt

This is your normal table salt that is fortified with minute quantities of an essential trace mineral called iodine. This mineral is very important for good health and required in minute quantities by the human body.
Iodine is a part of a very important hormone thyroxin, secreted by the thyroid gland. It is the hormone responsible for maintaining the metabolic rate of an individual. Iodine was found to be present in sea and soil that was once upon a time under water.
Thus, most of the seafood like shark, trout, shrimp, etc., contained iodine. Vegetables that were grown in soil containing iodine also contained this mineral to some extent.
But, it was not possible for all people to get their share of dietary iodine through these sources. Many people suffered from different health problems like goiter, a thyroid gland problem. It also caused development and mental delays in children, a condition called cretinism.
Deficiency of iodine was found to be the leading cause of mental retardation in children. Thus, the best solution that will help include iodine in the diet of the masses was found to be salt. Experts pushed forth a policy of salt fortification that helped in elimination of endemic goiter in the US. Today, iodized salt is manufactured all over the world.

What is it Made of

Iodized salt is made by adding either of the four inorganic compounds. These four inorganic compounds include potassium iodate, potassium iodine, sodium iodate and sodium iodide. These compounds are added according to the manufacturer or producer of the salt.
Any of these compounds can supply the body with iodine required for biosynthesis of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Edible salt is iodized by spraying potassium iodate solution over it. The World Health Organization recommends 1 part in 100,000 iodide. Manufacturers of this salt in the United States follow the WHO guidelines.
Animals are given their dietary iodine through iodine supplements and hydrogen iodine derivatives added to livestock feed.

Non-iodized Salt

This salt is also known as table salt or rock salt. It is made up of sodium chloride and is not fortified with iodine. It is required for food preservation and as a food seasoning. It is produced by harvesting ocean water that is evaporated.
The crystals left after the water evaporates are salt crystals. It is used for canning pickles, fish aquariums, tanning cow's hide, smoking meat, and even for making ice cream. In some cases, non-iodized salt is also used in the cosmetic industry.

Sea Salt

Sea salt is produced by evaporation of seawater. It was also known by different names like bay salt and solar salt. The minerals in the sea salt give it a different taste from table salt that is made of pure sodium chloride crystals.
Sea salt is expensive as compared to table salt and used in gourmet cooking. Pure sea salt lacks the required concentrations of iodine. Thus, many manufacturers are now adding iodine to produce iodized sea salt to overcome the health concerns related to deficiency of iodine.

Kosher Salt

If you are wondering what is Kosher salt or Koshering salt, it refers to the common variety of edible salt used in American kitchens. Kosher salt has larger grains as compared to table salt. Kosher salt is made up of sodium chloride crystals and does not contain iodine. It is generally used for baking and recipes where there is more liquid present to dissolve salt.

Iodized Salt Benefits

There are many benefits. It helps in production of thyroxine and triiodothyronine by the thyroid gland, thus helping in regulation of the metabolism as well as growth and development of the body. Iodine helps in improving brain functions like memory, concentration and learning ability. It has been found that IQ is reduced by 15 points in people with iodine deficiency.
The benefits also include reduction in the number of miscarriages and still births. It helps in reducing the occurrence of cretinism in the womb. A child with cretinism may have problems with speech, hearing and other body movements. Depression and anxiety can be controlled by overcoming iodine deficiency. Iodine also helps in regulation of metabolism and controlling weight. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are controlled by the presence of iodine in the body.
Iodine has an important role in maintaining healthy teeth, hair and nails. It also helps in curing dry, flaky skin. Iodine deficiency may lead to different types of cancers like breast, ovary, lung and prostate. Heart rate and blood pressure can be controlled by using iodized salt.
Iodine is not only added to salts, but also different food products like bread, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, etc. An adult individual needs to consume 150 micrograms of the salt according to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) guidelines. You should include iodized salt in your diet, if you wish to avoid various growth and thyroid problems.