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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Dilemma Regarding Salt


There is an interesting article in the October edition of Men's Health regarding a rising concern about our decreasing use of salt, most specifically, iodized salt. Turns out that iodine is critical for the proper functioning of our thyroid gland.

Our thyroid gland is often described as the thermostat of the human endocrine system. It regulates your body's use of energy, and creates and stores hormones that control everything from your metabolism to your growth rate.

Our intake of iodine has decreased by half in the past 25 years. The main source for our iodine intake is iodized salt. What is interesting is that most of our intake of salt is through the prepared food in restaurants and that salt is not iodized. So we may still have too much salt in our diets but not enough iodine.

One solution, which many of us are striving for, is to cook more at home so we can control our salt (and calorie) intake and now, our iodine intake. Another, perhaps easier solution, is to take a multivitamin, according to Angela Leung, MD. A multivitamin supplies the proper daily dose of iodine-- 150 micrograms (mcg)-- and also contains other thyroid-supporting nutrients like selenium.

Iodine is one of those substances that can have deleterious effects if you take in too much. The main thing is to make sure you are taking care of the daily dose. Since our thyroid regulates our metabolism, a pinch of iodized salt...or our daily multivitamin can go a long way towards helping us stay healthy and better manage our weight.