Tue, Apr 09, 2019 - Page 4 News List

HPA warns pink salt may lead to iodine deficiency

By Wu Liang-yi and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Salt products are displayed in a supermarket in Taipei in an undated photograph.

Photo: Wu Liang-yi, Taipei Times

Substituting regular salt for pink Himalayan salt could lead to an iodine deficiency, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) warned.

There is a wide variety of salt on the market, including pink Himalayan salt, but while new varieties might be fashionable, they could pose hidden risks to health, the HPA said on its Web site on March 26, adding that some people assume that imported salts are better.

Since the 1960s, the government has been adding iodine to salt, but other governments might not have the same policy, it said.

Using salt without added iodine over long periods could cause an iodine deficiency, it said.

Not only does iodine affect the thyroid, a long-term iodine deficiency could also affect development in children, it said.

Iodized salt should be the main salt used at home, which can be ensured by buying iodized salt, checking iodine content on nutrition information and buying products that contain potassium iodide or potassium iodate, the HPA said.

Su Hsiu-yueh (蘇秀悅), director of the Nutrition Department at Taipei Medical University Hospital, said that while she would not typically recommend getting iodine from table salt, because excessive salt consumption can lead to other health problems, people who do use salt without iodine should compensate by eating seafood or seaweed.

For those with seafood allergies or thyroid disorders, special attention needs to be given to iodine intake, Su said.

People with hyperthyroidism should adopt a zero-iodine diet, while people with severe hypothyroidism are typically prescribed levothyroxine, she said.

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