Iodine, a critical mineral in the prevention of cancer, has been used in one form or another for centuries. First as medicine (for everything from breast cancer to syphilis) and consumed in the form of seaweed, and eventually added to bread. Then, in 1948, iodine was suddenly thought of as dangerous and was removed from medical arsenals – as well as from our food in the 1970s.
Our politicians suggested that people could get trace amounts of iodine in iodized salt, but then two things happened. First, recommendations were made to reduce sodium intake, and second, few realized that the iodine in salt evaporates under certain conditions, such as moisture, storage, and exposure to oxygen. One study showed that among samples all lost iodine over the 12-month sampling period, many as much as 100%. The rate of iodate loss was influenced by the salt’s origin and composition, the packaging material, and the relative humidity during storage.1 Plus, when iodine is added to salt, including potassium iodide, it includes an anti-caking agent, which isn’t a particularly healthy option. Unrefined salt is made from seawater and contains many more minerals than iodized table salt, but not much iodine.