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Goiter, goiter everywhere

Posted May 20 2009 9:26am 1 Comment
The results of the recent Heart Scan Blog poll are in.

The question:

Do you used iodized salt?

The responses:

Yes, I use iodized salt every day
94 (28%)

Yes, I use iodized salt occasionally
56 (16%)

No, I do not use any iodized salt
41 (12%)

No, I use a non-iodized salt (sea salt, Kosher)
126 (37%)

No, I use a non- or low-sodium substitute
15 (4%)

Thanks for your responses.

If only 28% of people are regular users of iodized salt, that means that the remainder--72%--are at risk for iodine deficiency if they are not getting iodine from an alternative source, such as a multivitamin or multimineral.

Even the occasional users of salt can be at risk. The common perception is that occasional use is probably sufficient to provide iodine. This is probably not true and not just because of the lower quantity of ingestion. Occasional users of salt tend to have their salt canister on the shelf for extended periods. The iodine is then lost, since iodine is volatile. In fact, iodine is virtually undetectable four weeks after a package is opened.

In my office, now that I'm looking for them much more systematically and carefully, I am finding about 2 people with goiters every day. They are not the obvious grotesque goiters of the early 20th century (when quack therapies like the last post, the Golden Medical Discovery, were popular). The goiters I am detecting are small and spongy. Yesterday alone I found 5 people with goiters, one of them visible to the eye and very distressing to the patient.

It seems to me that iodine deficiency is more prevalent than I ever thought. It is also something that is so simple to remedy, though not by increasing salt intake. Kelp tablets--cheap, available--have been working quite well in the office population. My sense is that the Recommended Daily Allowance of 150 mcg per day for adults is low and that many benefit from greater quantities, e.g., 500 mcg. What is is the ideal dose? To my knowledge, nobody has yet generated that data.

Thyroid issues being relatively new to my thinking, I now find it incredible that endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association are not broadcasting this problem at the top of their lungs. This issue needs to be brought to the top of everyone's attention, or else we'll have history repeating itself and have goiters and thyroid dysfunction galore.

For more on this topic, see the previous Heart Scan Blog post, " Help keep your family goiter free."
Comments (1)
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Have an 11 year old who has recently developed a spongy goiter. There is mild but obvious swelling of the neck. There are 3 boys and 1 girl in his class of 24 alone that also have the same swelling. My son is asymptomatic so far. Unfortunately, where we live is swarming with quack docs that are more drug dealers than anything else. More than half of the mothers at the school are on controlled substances on a daily basis. All the children have "fashionably excellent" eating habits of choosing bottled water and decaf green tea over sodas. Organic fruits and raw vegetables are my son's favorite foods. Very little meat, bread. Plenty of tuna and salmon. But we have no salt in the house at all. I never added salt to my food- never liked the taste even as a child. I have added a multivitamin and iodized salt to the diet. But as you said, the multivitamin is for teenage boys and has no iodine. So little of the salt is added that it has no impact. Any advice would be appreciated. I worked with the World Health Organization in Asia and Eastern Europe. That is where my knowledge and background noticed it.
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