Question from our inbox:  Regarding iodized and non-iodized salt — the use one or the other should be in moderation, of course. Does a thyroid condition enter into which type of salt to use?

Thanks very much.

Linda W.

Yes it can matter if you chose iodized or non-iodized salt in requires to a thyroid condition.  This article address iodine only, and not the sodium end of the iodized-salt equation. Any specific questions regarding thyroid condition and the amount of iodine that is right for you should be discussed with your medical doctor.

The main reason that we need iodine in our diet is because of our thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is essential to how our body functions and operates. It helps control our metabolic rate by producing thyroid hormones. The two major hormones produced by the thyroid are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Without these hormones you start to feel tired, depressed, cold, weak, etc.    If your diet is lacking iodine you are not producing enough of these important hormones which causes the thyroid cells and the thyroid gland to  become enlarged resulting in hypothyroidism and/or goiter.   On the other hand, the over consumption of iodine does just the opposite. The thyroid gland is pushing the thyroid to produce too much hormone which results in hyperthyroidism.   Excessive sweating, increased bowel movements, nervousness; agitation, rapid heart rate, weight loss, fatigue, etc, may be signs of hyperthyroidism.

Iodine is a trace mineral and an essential nutrient found naturally in the body.   It was initially added to salt back in the early 1900s when goiters were on the rise.  During the past two decades, however, reductions in salt intake for health reasons, reduced use of iodized salt in processed foods, and the fact that iodization is not mandatory in the U.S. has resulted in a cutback in iodine intake even in countries like the U.S. So after a period where iodine deficiency in the U.S. had been all but eliminated, it is now on a slow but steady upward rise.

Recommendations:  The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following dietary intake for iodine:


 0 - 6 months: 110 micrograms per day (mcg/day)

 7 - 12 months: 130 mcg/day


1 - 3 years: 90 mcg/day

4 - 8 years: 90 mcg/day

9 - 13 years: 120 mcg/day

Adolescents and Adults

Males age 14 and older: 150 mcg/day

Females age 14 and older: 150 mcg/day

Getting your daily requirements for iodine is easily attainable via food sources.  If you have a varied diet and frequently consume the foods from the list below then purchasing iodized salt may not be necessary. On the other hand if you have a very limited diet, eating a lot of processed/fast foods you should probably consider sticking with iodized salt.

Good Sources of Iodine:

•Cod, sea bass, haddock, perch and tuna, as well as shrimp and seaweed.


•Plants grown in iodine-rich soil.


•Yogurt, Milk, and cheese.

•Iodized salt

FYI: As a reference point,  A 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt provides 95 micrograms of iodine where-as  a 6-ounce portion of ocean fish provides 650 micrograms.

Remember, the best way to get the daily requirement of any essential nutrient is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from all of the food groups.

If you have a nutrition question you’d like answered in this column send it to with “Question for the Breeze” as the subject title.

Lisa Eisele, RD, CSO, LD is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. She also holds a Board Certification as a Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. Lisa and her partner Stacy Paine, RD, LD own Oconee Nutrition Consultants, LLC located at Cowles Clinic. (706) 473-5801.

React to this story:


This Week's Circulars