A recent article in the New York Times (July 25, 2017) asked the question, “How important is iodized salt to the American or European diet?” The answer to the question was convoluted. At the beginning of the article the author stated, “Most Americans who eat a varied diet get enough iodine even if they don’t use iodized salt.”
This statement is a perfect example of “fake news.” According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, U.S. iodine levels have fallen nearly 50% over the last 40 years. (1) And, studies of women of childbearing age show that nearly 60% of U.S. women are deficient in iodine with over 10% severely deficient. (2)
Iodine deficiency in pregnancy can lead to many health issues including lowered IQ as well as thyroid and other endocrine problems. The article in the New York Times acknowledged that “…some pregnant women are at risk of low iodine levels, which potentially endanger their babies.” I do not think 60% of women who are at an age for pregnancy and deficient in iodine should be referred to as “some pregnant women.” Folks, I have written and lectured extensively about iodine deficiency. At my office, my partners and I have checked iodine levels on over 6,000 patients and the vast majority—over 97%–are iodine deficient. Iodine deficiency may be responsible for the epidemic increase in cancer of the breast (one in seven U.S. women currently have breast cancer), prostate, ovary, uterus, thyroid and pancreas. Every one of the cancers listed is increasing at epidemic rates. There are a whole host of illnesses that are increasing at epidemic rates that may reflect falling iodine levels including ADHD, thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid problems, and cystic breasts.
The U.S. Government’s own data shows that iodine deficiency is affecting more and more Americans. The New York Times Article states that Americans can get enough iodine in their diet from eating varied diet. That is wrong. The standard American diet is notoriously deficient in many nutrients, iodine included. And our requirement for iodine has increased over the years due to our exposure to toxic halides–such as fluoride and bromide– that have increased in our environment.
Iodine deficiency is, unfortunately, alive and well in the United States. It is important to educate yourself about iodine and to supplement with adequate amounts of iodine if you are deficient. More information about iodine can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 5th Edition.