Real Salt, iodine, and radiation

The recent earthquake in Japan has affected millions of people directly and much of the world emotionally.  Beyond the heart-wrenching images coming from Japan, damaged nuclear reactors have released radiation into the surrounding area, leading to speculation that unusually high levels of radiation will soon follow weather patterns around the globe. As a result, many people are looking for ways to supplement their body’s supply of iodine, and several have contacted us here to ask if the iodine in Real Salt will help.

Iodine and Radiation

Your thyroid gland uses iodine to make hormones, so it tends to concentrate iodine whenever it is introduced into your body.  One substance released during nuclear accidents like the one in Japan is radioactive iodine called I-131.  Your thyroid can’t distinguish between natural iodine and I-131, so if you were to be exposed to nuclear radiation your thyroid could potentially stockpile enough I-131 to lead to cancer some years later.

The thyroid is particularly good at absorbing iodine, but if it is already saturated with iodine–say, from potassium iodide tablets or naturally occurring sources–it is less likely to absorb the damaged I-131. That is why the Japanese government issued potassium iodide, and it also explains why so many people the world over are suddenly interested in the supplement today.

Real Salt and Iodine

The trace amount of iodine found in Real Salt is not sufficient to saturate thyroid tissue with natural iodine and prevent the absorption of I-131. In fact, even artificially iodized table salt would be insufficient–you would have to eat so much you’d be sick.  There are natural foods rich in iodine that certainly wouldn’t do you any harm — kelp is the iodine superstar, but yogurt, cow’s milk, eggs, strawberries, and mozzarella cheese are also high in iodine. (You can read more about the iodine in Real Salt.)

Chance of Exposure

The destruction in Japan is spectacular and visually arresting, so it’s easy for us to imagine the worst possible global scenario. But despite what you may have read in that forwarded email,  experts agree that radioactive particles from the failing reactors will not reach the United States–not even the islands of Hawaii, which are far closer to the failing reactors than most of the country.

What Can We Do?

The United States has 104 nuclear power plants, and if you live within 20 miles of one you might consider stocking up on potassium iodide tablets.  For most of us in America and around the globe, though, perhaps the best thing we can do is donate what we can to ease the suffering of the victims of this horrible destruction.


Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • John Bayne says:

    Can you tell us that your Redmond RealSalt is not iodized (artificially added iodine)? I would appreciate knowing because I am one of those natural health people who do not believe in consuming iodized salt nor drinking flourodated water nor any other artificially added minerals. As far as I am concerned only the plant kingdom is equipped to metabolize inorganic minerals and any ignorance on this matter, like synthesizing and genetically modifying things causes much of today’s sudden death syndromes, brain tumours and so forth (I am particularly referring here to asparteme and that which followed after asparteme was condemned by the FDA).


    John Bayne

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Hi John. Real Salt really is real salt, just the way nature made it! We don’t add anything, and we don’t remove anything, which means we do not iodize our product. (Nature included some iodine, but not at the same rate as artificially iodized salt.)

  • Jason Gerrard says:

    Are real salts available in Japan?

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