Sea salt is produced from the sea in a natural process going back more than 8,000 years (1). It is a comforting thought to eat salt that follows a proven and natural approach without any added chemicals and that is produced without machines that you would expect to see in a coal mine. Sea salt also tastes better than regular table salt due to the many healthy minerals that it contains.
But, does sea salt have iodine in it?
The short answer is that most sea salt brands have very little iodine in it. If you want to add more iodine to your diet, look for iodized versions of sea salt or increase your intake of iodine-rich food like seaweed, milk products or seafood.
Does Sea Salt Contain Iodine?
Sea salt is produced through evaporating water from the sea until all that remains is salt. Since the sea naturally contains iodine, there will almost always be some small amounts of iodine in sea salt.
In contrast, most regular table salts are iodized, meaning iodine is added during the production process. It is difficult to examine the exact amount of iodine in table salt. If you eat too much table salt, you might consume too much iodine.
Why Do We Need Iodine?
An iodine deficiency can lead to an enlargement of the thyroid causing a bulge in the neck (goiter), weight gain, fatigue and other symptoms. Iodine deficiencies are particularly dangerous during pregnancies because they can result in brain damage for the child (2).
Why Is Sea Salt So Healthy vs Table Salt?
Table salt is produced through underground mining, similar to coal mining (3). After regular table salt is mined, it is purified, and mixed with a number of different anti-baking chemicals to prevent the formation of lumps. In addition, iodine is added as well. Every time we eat regular table salt, we essentially eat a number of chemicals. Not a great idea. Sea salt is pure and does not contain added chemicals.
We all need to eat and include minerals in our diet. In a well-balanced diet, we get the majority of our mineral needs from vegetables. Since most of us don’t eat as many vegetables as we should, sea salt can help in filling that gap. Regular table salt contains no minerals.
In this short 2 min informational video, Dr. Berg talks about the benefits of sea salt vs regular table salt.
Given the many benefits of sea salt and given the fact that we need iodine, you are better off buying sea salt and getting iodine either through food or through a supplement.
Dietary Iodine Needs
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements from the National Institute of Health (4), we all need about 150 micrograms of iodine per day. If we don’t get our daily iodine from salt, we can also get it through foods rich in iodine such as milk products, seafood and seaweed, or from iodine supplements.
Select Food Sources of Iodine
Sea Salt Tips
When you go shopping for sea salt, go for unrefined sea salt. Refined sea salt is washed, which strips it of its valuable minerals. Ideally it should also state that it does not contain anti-caking agents or other chemicals. Most sea salts don’t and should not, but with the growing popularity of sea salt also come some sellers who take short cuts and sell lesser quality sea salt.
(1) History of Salt – https://www.seasalt.com/history-of-salt
(2) Dr. Weil – Why buy iodized salt – https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/cooking-cookware/why-buy-iodized-salt/
(3) Salt Production – https://www.mortonsalt.com/salt-production-and-processing/
(4) Office of Dietary Supplements from the National Institute of Health – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/