If you had been on a certain bridge in Sarajevo in late June of 1914, you might have been unfortunate enough to witness the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. If you were particularly savvy, you might have predicted that the assassination would change the world forever–it was the spark that ignited the first world war–but you probably wouldn’t have guessed that it would also change salt forever.
A few years later, the United States military noticed something about the young men from America’s Midwest: many of them were unfit for service because of enlarged thyroid glands. A panel established to determine the cause discovered that soil in the Midwest (and therefore much of the region’s population) had become iodine deficient. Without iodine we humans tend to develop goiter, and as any general knows, men with goiter make poor soldiers.
So a group of Very Smart People set about finding ways to supplement our diet with iodine. (We could have started eating more fish, seaweed, cow’s milk, onion, garlic, pineapple, or artichokes, but Very Smart People have always thought that relying on nature is old-fashioned.) Eventually, these Very Smart People discovered that potassium iodide could be added to table salt, and as long as they also added sugar (dextrose) to prevent the iodide from yellowing the salt, the population wouldn’t be able to tell much difference.
Fortunately, another group of smart people has more recently examined the usefulness of iodized table salt and found it to be less effective than the Very Smart People had hoped. Dr. David Brownstein and others have discovered the iodine added to salt is at best about 10% bio-available — which means that if you consume 100 micrograms, your body will only be able to use 10 micrograms. Iodine that occurs naturally in food is almost 100% bio-available.
I know, you’re thinking I’m dodging the question. Here’s the answer. Real Salt does contain naturally-occurring iodine, but not enough to satisfy the recommended daily allowance of 150 micrograms. Real Salt doesn’t provide the recommended daily allowance of protein, either. Or fat. Because nature intended salt to provide our bodies with sodium chloride and trace minerals!
So, instead of using chemically-processed, unhealthy salt in order to get iodine, we like to stick with Real Salt and get naturally occurring iodine from other delicious sources like kelp, yogurt, eggs, strawberries, and mozzarella cheese. Yum!