In 1924, the U.S. government requested salt processing companies to begin adding iodine to their salt. This made the Morton Salt Company the first company in the U.S. to produce salt with iodine. The process is known as iodization. The idea came up after it was discovered that in the Pacific Northwest and around the Great Lakes, the soil did not contain enough iodine. As such, the people living there did not have enough iodine in their bodies.
The lack of sufficient iodine causes the thyroid gland to swell, a disorder popularly known as goiters. Of all the reported cases of goiters, about 90 percent of them are caused by eating diets without enough iodine in them. As such, the U.S. government went for salt as the product that people cannot go without and chose iodine to be included in it. Other nations in the world begun doing this, and that is why all salt is iodized today.
On average, you should consume about 150 micrograms of iodine daily. Women consume about 210 micrograms daily while men consume about 300. However, only 70 micrograms of the mineral are required daily to prevent the development of goiters.
Apart from preventing goiters, iodizing salt will encourage normal brain development in fetuses and infants. In its absence, the children may not develop fully-functional brains. Women’s reproductive systems also suffer due to iodine deficiency.
Iodine also carries out critical functions in your body. They include stable nerve responses, normal metabolism, and better heart functioning. Lack of the mineral affects information processing abilities, causes extreme fatigue, lowers motor abilities, encourages depression, causes low basal body temperatures and contributes to weight gain.
Now that you know why salt is iodized, here are additional facts about the process:
- Iodization is the leading preventive measure of mental disabilities
- In the Cold War, soldiers carried iodine pills to prevent radioactive accumulation in their bodies
- The Chinese were first in discovering that iodine prevented and cured goiters
- Adding iodine to salt reduces the shelf life of salt from forever to just five
Interesting facts, right? The information in this post is not all that can be said about iodization. In case you have additional information, facts, or comments, kindly share them in the comments section below.