What Is Iodized Salt?

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on July 14, 2023
3 min read

Iodized salt is salt that contains small amounts of sodium iodide or potassium iodide. It's normal salt that has been sprayed with potassium iodate. It looks and tastes the same! The majority of table salt used nowadays is iodized, and it comes with many benefits. 

Iodized salt is essential for your health, but you should have it in moderation. Iodine is a trace mineral common in dairy products, seafood, grains, and eggs. People combine iodine with table salt to reduce iodine deficiency. There are many other health benefits to using iodized salt in your diet, as well.  

Boosts thyroid function. Your thyroid gland relies on iodine to increase the production of thyroid hormones, like triiodothyronine and thyroxine. These hormones are vital to your health, as they regulate blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate. Proper bone and brain development in pregnancy and infancy are also dependent on these thyroid hormones. Lacking iodine in your diet may also cause enlargement of your thyroid gland. This condition is called goiter.

Keeps weight under control. Your metabolism is directly affected by the healthiness of your thyroid. When you have a super high metabolism, you might not gain a healthy weight. Slower metabolism allows the body to store more fat, thus leading you to gain weight. Since your thyroid depends on a healthy dose of iodine to perform its duty, your metabolism also depends on your iodine levels.

Supports a healthy pregnancy. Not only does iodized salt assist in bone and brain development, it can also help combat cretinism, which affects both the mental and physical growth of the unborn child. After birth, cretinism may lead to loss of speech and hearing as well as affect a child's body movements. A balanced iodine level in pregnant women can also help prevent miscarriages and hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism happens when the body can't make enough thyroid hormones. Any problems with the thyroid gland can start or worsen during pregnancy, and can often be helped by raising iodine levels. 

Removes toxins and prevents bacteria. Iodized salt has a counter effect on harmful metals like mercury and lead. It acts to repel these toxins and restore the right pH level in your body. Iodized salt also helps prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying in the intestines. Research shows that harmful bacteria can cause fatigue, constipation, and headaches.

Promotes heart health and keeps you hydrated. Iodized salt helps create the hormones that regulate heart rate and blood pressure. It also helps to burn extra fat deposits that could lead to heart disease. Salt promotes healthy hydration levels and creates a balance of electrolytes. This balance is crucial for the proper functioning of the cells, muscles, tissues, and organs. All the body components require water to function, and salt helps maintain the proper water levels. Dehydration makes you more prone to dizziness, fatigue, and muscle cramps.

Not having enough iodine amounts can lead to severe health conditions including:

  • Impaired fetal and infant development
  • Difficulty in learning during childhood
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Radiation-induced throat cancer
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter
  • Weight gain
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Dry skin

The amount of iodine you should consume in a day depends on your age. If you are female, pregnancy and breastfeeding also play a crucial role. Here are the recommended amounts of iodine one should take in a day:

  • Birth to six months: 110 micrograms
  • Infants 7 to 12 months: 130 micrograms
  • Children 1 to 8 years: 90 micrograms
  • 9 to 13 years: 120 micrograms
  • Teens 14 to 18 years: 150 micrograms
  • Adults: 150 micrograms
  • Pregnant women: 220 micrograms
  • Breast feeding women: 290 micrograms

Do not consume salt in high amounts as it can pose a danger to your health.