Table Salt Instead of Potassium Iodide for Radiation Protection? No Way

I’m starting today to hear about a buying spree for table salt, as some people are hearing that table salt, which has added iodine, is a “healthier” way than potassium iodide pills to counter radiation exposure. Does this make sense? Actually, no, it doesn’t — in order to get the equivalent 130mg dose of potassium iodide that is usually recommended for adults during a radiation crisis, a person would have to eat 250 tablespoons of iodized table salt each day. Sea salt has much less iodine, so that’s an even worse option.

Americans already take far more salt each day than they should, so there isn’t even a need to replenish “iodine-deficient” people in general. And there are far healthier ways to get iodine than in table salt, which of course is a major cause of heart disease. So, everyone, let’s please not drive ourselves into a salt-induced nationwide heart failure. Please try to inform your friends who may be hoarding table salt, or who are spreading these SMS text messages today.

However, I do think, in terms of general health, that eating seaweed and kelp products is already a healthy idea, and since they have a bit of iodine, then it certainly cannot hurt and will also prevent you from being naturally iodine-deficient. But again, if there were a real emergency, you certainly could not rely on kelp alone, nor kelp tablets, as an adequate substitute to potassium iodide pills/liquid. Again, it’s the same reason — you’d need hundreds of plates/pills of kelp each day to get the same protection.

I got this information from an American website which also sells supplements. I would prefer a more objective source, but their articles are written well and quote research articles for verification. Here is their blurb on table salt:

From the Salt Institue:

“U.S. salt producers use potassium iodide at a level of 0.006% to 0.01% KI.”

According to Morton Salt:

“Each 1/4 teaspoon serving of Morton Iodized Salt (1.5 gram weight) contains 130 MICROGRAMS of Potassium Iodide.”

Thus, to achieve an intake of 130 MILLIGRAMS of Potassium Iodide (what one KI adult dose tablet contains) would require ingesting 250 teaspoons or over 5 cups of iodized salt per day! Don’t even think about it! (Morton Lite Salt Mixture comes in lower yet, at only 90 MICROGRAMS of Potassium Iodide per 1/4 teaspoon!)

Sea Salt is an even worse ‘option’. Iodine per Kilogram of sea salt is about 3 mg. You’d be looking at over 33 kilograms of Sea Salt a day to achieve the amount of iodine in a 130 mg dose of KI! Hardly an option!

A 6-ounce portion of ocean fish only contains about 500 MICROGRAMS of iodine. Some specific seafoods, portion size and their iodine content in MICROGRAMS: Mackerel 150g 255 mcg, Mussels 150g 180 mcg, Cod 150g 165 mcg, Kipper 150g 107 mcg, Whiting 150g 100 mcg, Fish fingers 75g 75 mcg, Scampi 150g 62 mcg, Herring 150g 48 mcg, Prawns 150g 42 mcg, Sardines, canned in oil 150g 35 mcg, Trout 150g 24 mcg, Tuna 150g 21 mcg.

Well, you can do the math here! More fish per day would be required than most eat in a year!

Kelp Tablets…hardly. Solgar Kelp Tablets, for example, contain only 225 MICROGRAMS of iodine! (Fortunately, it is also available in a 1000 tablet bottle, unfortunately though, you’d need to be swallowing 442 of them per day and likely not wander too far from a bathroom!)


Follow me on:
Twitter @RichardStCyrMD
Facebook @BainbridgeBabaDoc

One thought on “Table Salt Instead of Potassium Iodide for Radiation Protection? No Way”

Leave a Reply