Iodine and I: Do Food Producers Use Iodized Salt?

I was perusing this thread about frou-frou sea salt and how to grind it, and someone mentioned table salt containing added iodine.

I became curious about where people got their dietary iodine before it was added to salt as a supplement. Poked around a little (very little) on the interwebs and found out there are several different types of foods that have enough natural iodine for you and your thyroid to get by on. Question answered.

But then I wondered whether I get enough iodine in my diet because the foods naturally rich in it-- seafood, seaweed, meats, eggs, and various vegetables–are foods that I almost never eat (NEVER seafood or seaweed, NEVER eat eggs, occasionally a bit of meat, and not NEARLY enough quantity and variety of vegetables.)

On top of that, I absolutely never add salt to food I cook or put it on to my food at the table or in a restaurant. I don’t own a salt shaker and I’m not sure if I have any salt at all in my home.

None of that is to say I don’t consume salt. I’m sure I consume far too much, actually. It’s in anything from a grocery store that is prepared or processed in any way.

My question is–do food manufacturers use iodized salt when they make all that salty–crappy–processed food? 'Cuz if they don’t, my thyroid is SOL!

Actually, it depends on where you live. The landlocked regions of Germany like Bavaria had in history no access to either seafood or sea salt (salt was mined in the mountains and transported to the North), and because the region had been used for thousands of years for agriculture, all iodine had been washed out long ago, so many people got a crop. (There’s still a small band as part of the traditional wear that’s supposed to either hide the crop or the scar from the operation removing it).

Only with iodized salt and ready access to sea food in this century has this been reduced, but Bavaria, and Germany as a whole, is still iodine-scarce.

Still, people react differently, not everybody gets a crop even when there’s not enough iodine in the same diet.

Veggies and meat only have iodine if the ground has some, which - again - depends on your region (In Bavaria, there’s no iodine left in the ground, so neither veggies nor meat help in that regard).

Seafish or certain kinds of algae have high iodine, alternativly, iodine can be supplemented with tablets.

Generally, it’s riskiest during childhood due to growth, but sometimes, it can also start later.

The best way to find out is to go to your doctor for two things:

an inspection of your thyroid directly (touch or ultrasonic)

a blood test of your thyroid hormones as indicator of how your thyroid is doing.

If you have the disposition to hyperthyrodism and start taking additional iodine tablets, things can get worse in the other direction, so you need an accurate diagnosis of your body.

Depends, again. Look at the label of the manufacturer - some trying to be healthy have a sign that “this was made with iodized salt”. Others don’t, in which case they probably didn’t. It can also depend on your local law demanding everybody use iodized salt, or not.

In English, we call a ‘crop’ (in this sense) a goiter (or, in the Commonwealth realms, a goitre); a ‘crop’ usually means ‘a plant grown for food or other economic purpose’, which just seems odd in that sentence.

As constanze says, it depends. Here is a link to a European salt manufacturer who says that most salt there is iodized.

In the US it depends upon the application and so it is provided in both iodized or plain.

A terminology clarification for those who want to do their own Google thing: when you see ‘feed grade’ that is for use in animal feed, ‘food grade’ is for human food. Seems obvious but…

I’ve wondered that, too, now that I’m in my forties and trying to reduce my sodium intake. I actually asked my doctor about that (lacking iodine if I cut out salt), and he thought an iodine supplement wasn’t the worst idea ever.

I would presume that constanze was using crop in the (traditional) sense of referring to the similarity in appearance between between a goitre and a bird’s crop when full.

Actually, I was using the wrong wikipedia link - the first thing that came up was the bird crop; the article on human iodine deficiency linked to English goiter, but that was too late to edit.

If you take a multivitamin, they sometimes include iodine. It’s useful for people like me and others here who don’t routinely use salt in cooking.

Interesting - I wonder how often people hit on traditional idiom like that by mistake? I’ve often marvelled at some of the idiom used by second-language English speakers and wondered how they learned it. Maybe bad Wiki links is all it is! :wink:

I can’t help with your iodine question.

But I do have a counter-question: What *do *you eat? What I see left over from your exclusions above is dairy, potatoes, bread/grains/pasta, & beans. Unless maybe “meat” means only “red meat=beef” to you & so perhaps you eat chicken & pork & maybe fish.

So what do you eat? And if it’s really as limited as I describe, I suspect your lack of iodine from salt is probably not the worst of your nutrient deficiencies.