By Laurie Sweig

I can’t say that I give a lot of thought to the amount of iodine I’m consuming. I’m only thinking (and writing) about it now because it came up during a workout session with a client.  She was experiencing physical changes that led to a blood test that revealed she was suffering from an iodine deficiency. Iodine is an element that is needed for the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones have an important role in the regulation of weight, energy levels, internal body temperatures and the growth of skin, hair and nails. Signs of an iodine deficiency can include:

• Feeling tired
• Weight gain
• Feeling cold
• Muscles/Joint weakness and aches
• Hair loss
• Itchy/dry skin

Iodine is a trace element present in the earth. The human body does not produce iodine so we have to get it from other sources. Common sources are  fish and dairy products. Here’s a more comprehensive list:
• Seaweed
• Fish – especially cod
• Dairy – the amount of iodine is dependent on the iodine content of the feed given to the cattle
• Shrimp
• Tuna
• Eggs – again, this dependent on the iodine content of feed given to the chickens
• Prunes
• Lima beans

Inland areas tend to have fewer sources of natural occurring iodine.  That’s why it was added to table salt. That makes table salt the most convenient method to get iodine into our bodies. Of course, that creates a double-edged sword situation. We need iodine but generally speaking we tend to consume far too much salt and that leads to other health problems. Sadly, there are no easy answers. It’s a matter of paying attention to what we’re eating and how we’re feeling.

Of late, there has been a real push to use sea salt instead of table salt. It might be time to rethink that idea. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The recommended daily amount of iodine for adults is 150 mcg (microgram). In the United States (couldn’t find information for Canada) there is 45 mcg of iodine in a gram (between 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon) of table salt. The best option might be to ensure that we’re consuming foods that contain iodine and add a bit of iodized salt to them.  It might take a bit of experimenting. Guess it’s time to check out some seaweed recipes!
Something to think about.

Laurie Sweig is a certified personal fitness trainer and spinning instructor. She owns and operates The Point for Fitness. She can be reached at laurie@thepointforfitness.com.