THURSDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- As Americans decrease
their salt consumption, thyroid experts worry that some may obtain
too little iodine.
"Iodized salt is an important source of dietary iodine in the U.S. and worldwide. Iodine, essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, is obtained solely through diet," several members of the American Thyroid Association wrote in a letter published June 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Iodine helps prevent thyroid conditions such as goiter and
neonatal iodine deficiency. Iodized salt has been sold in the
United States since the 1920s, but Americans' iodine levels have
decreased 50 percent over the past three decades, the experts
Overall, Americans still receive sufficient iodine, but research
suggests that many pregnant women may be iodine-deficient. Iodine
is essential for proper synthesis of thyroid hormones, which are
critical to normal infant brain development and to prevent
neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral problems.
While they agree with calls for reduced salt consumption in
order to improve heart health, the ATA members "recommend that all
producers of commercially prepared foods -- accounting for up to 70
percent of all salt consumed in the U.S. -- use iodized salt, a
step not currently practiced by commercial food manufacturers. Any
decrease in salt intake should not cause a reduction in dietary
The ATA recommends that women take 150 micrograms of iodine
supplements daily during pregnancy and breast-feeding, and that all
prenatal vitamin/mineral preparations contain 150 micrograms of
The American Thyroid Association has more about