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Cut the salt! There are much better ways to get your iodine

Mar. 06, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

"When it rains it pours" is a catchphrase that lets you know an anti-caking agent has been added to your table salt. But far more important is the fact that many kinds of salt (although not Kosher or sea salt) contain added iodine, and for good reason. Iodine deficiency reduces production of thyroid hormones, and that can cause mental retardation in children and poor thinking skills, infertility and thyroid problems such as goiter in adults. (FYI: Cleveland Clinic's co-founder Dr. G.W. Crile pioneered anesthesia and safe surgery for goiter patients; he did more than 25,000 procedures!) When the U.S. and Canada first put iodine in salt in the 1920s, the goiter rate plummeted from 30 percent to 2 percent of adults in Michigan, for example!

So it may surprise you to find out doctors have recently sounded the alarm that pregnant and breastfeeding women aren't getting the added iodine they need. The recommended daily allowance during pregnancy is 220 mcg/day; while breastfeeding, 290 mcg/day.

But put down that saltshaker! Good sources of iodine are low-fat yogurt, strawberries, seafood (4 to 6 ounce serving of fish might deliver 100 to 1,000 mcg or more, so we say, stick with salmon and trout for omega-3s and to avoid mercury pollution). Even poultry, fed iodine-enriched grain, can deliver 16 to 60 mcg per serving. And many multivitamins contain up to 150 mcg. Bonus alert: Expecting and breastfeeding moms should go easy on seaweed. It can pack an over-the-top wallop of iodine, and you want the benefits without the risks.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

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