Iodine deficiency – A pitfall of low-carb diets

Many decades of farming have depleted our soils of important minerals such as Magnesium and Iodine.   Years of intensive well-meaning health advice have steered us away from table salt.  Well meaning advice to lower carbohydrate consumption  have steered us away from bread.  The end result of this is that many of us may not be getting the Iodine that we need.

Iodine deficiency has been long known to be a problem in many countries, including Australia.  To combat this,  manufacturers were encouraged  to add Iodine  to table salt – hence the term “Iodised Salt”.   However, pretty soon, salt became the bogey-man and we were told to avoid adding any more salt to our diet.   To address this, the Australian government mandated that all bread, other than that labelled “organic” must have Iodine added to it.

If you have been eating bread, you have probably getting enough Iodine.  But if you have switched to low carb, and are still afraid of salt, chances are that you are missing out on this essential mineral.

The easiest way to get Iodine on a low carb diet, is to sprinkle iodised  salt on your meals.  A low carb, whole food diet is generally low in salt anyway and the body’s demand for salt is a couple of grams higher than just consuming food would provide – so don’t be afraid of using salt.  And always buy “Iodised Salt”.  If you are not convinced, then seek other forms of supplementation.

In severe forms, lack of Iodine causes severe mental damage to developing fetuses.  Google “cretinism” if you are doubtful.  It is estimated that 2 billion people world-wide are not getting sufficient Iodine. The World Health Organisation in 2007 described Iodine deficiency as the single most preventable cause of intellectual disability.

Iodine deficiency affects thyroid function with Goiter being a well known thyroid condition caused by lack of Iodine.  Other symptoms include hair loss, dry flaky skin, fatigue, mental slowness, depression, weight gain and low basal body temperature.   As discussed, pregnant mothers must have sufficient Iodine to prevent permanent mental and physical impairment of their offspring.

There are health advocates that recommend between 5-12mg per day (100x RDI) of Iodine, so please take time to do your own research.







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