Salt iodization and Hashimoto’s disease. Is it worth supplementing iodine?

Does Salt Iodization Cause Hashimoto’s Disease?

When we buy salt, we often reach for the one with the note "iodized". This means that iodine has been added to the salt – a microelement necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Both deficiency and excess of this element have serious health consequences, especially the thyroid gland. Many people are concerned that eating salt with added iodine leads to Hashimoto’s disease. Is it true?

Significant iodine deficiency causes hypothyroidism, including its most common form – Hashimoto’s disease. Long-term exposure to large amounts of iodine can also lead to Hashimoto’s disease. Excess of this element primarily promotes enlargement of the thyroid gland, hyperthyroidism of this gland and increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer. So it turns out that the most important thing in iodine intake is to maintain the "golden mean".

We get iodine from the environment and through the diet: it is present in the air, water, plants and animals that we eat. The problem is that its amount is not evenly distributed in the environment. Our areas are not very rich in this element. Therefore, in order to improve the health of Poles, in 1997 the obligation to iodize table salt was introduced . It is salt intended for use in households (the obligation does not apply to many types of salt, e.g. Himalayan salt, sea salt, so read the labels, and salt used in the food industry).

Does iodizing salt cause Hashimoto’s disease?

This is a popular myth. Iodizing table salt does not provide so much element to the body to cause any harm. Although excess iodine can actually promote the development of Hashimoto’s disease or worsen its course, as research shows. This applies mainly to people who are genetically predisposed to develop the disease, especially with selenium deficiency. Polish experts agree that the benefits of a common salt iodization program outweigh the possible risks.

Is it worth supplementing iodine?

If hypothyroidism is not caused by iodine deficiency, there is no need for supplementation of this element. Do not take high doses of iodine, Lugol’s liquid or other preparations with iodine without consulting a doctor.

The daily requirement for iodine is:

  • children up to 5 years of age: 90 μg,
  • children 6-12 years: 120 μg,
  • children > 12 and adults: 150 μg,
  • pregnant and lactating women: 250 μg.

A simple way to check the level of this microelement in the body is to test urine for iodine concentration (in healthy people , 90% is excreted by the kidneys). In adults, urinary excretion of iodine should not be lower than 100 micrograms per liter and not higher than 200-300 micrograms per liter.

Do we take the right amount of iodine with our diet?

Table salt is the main source of iodine in the diet. One teaspoon of iodized salt (5 g) contains about 150 micrograms of potassium iodide. Iodine constitutes about 77% of potassium iodide, so this amount does not meet the daily requirement of an adult, but the source of iodine is also a diet. Algae, sea fish, seafood, as well as plants that grew in the soil with a high content of iodine contain a lot of this element (the closer to the sea, the more iodine; the least element occurs in mountainous areas). Remember that you should not overdo it with salt. The WHO recommends limiting its consumption to 5 g per day…

Everything indicates that many people are at risk of iodine deficiency. According to the Krakow declaration on iodine signed in 2018 by scientists from 27 countries, iodine deficiencies occur almost throughout Europe. Children, pregnant women and pregnant women are particularly exposed to them. Scientists postulate in the document that governments should also introduce the obligation to add iodine to industrial salt used as an additive to food products.

What salt should I use for Hashimoto’s disease?

Nutritionists currently recommend that you choose iodized salt regardless of whether you have Hashimoto’s disease or not. According to the research of the Institute of Institute, a diet without iodized salt provides too little iodine in relation to the recommended standards and increases the risk of deficiencies of this element.

Since the introduction of the obligation to iodize salt, the number of goiter of the thyroid gland and the incidence of thyroid cancer has decreased significantly. Of course, it is worth remembering not to exceed the recommended amount of salt, because its excess also promotes other diseases, e.g. hypertension. A reasonable approach seems to be to check the level of iodine in the body, as well as consult an endocrinologist who can professionally assess our need for additional iodine.



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: