Iodine? Dairy?

I know what iodine deficiency does – goitre and thus cretinism. But dairy?

Don’t cut down on dairy, the British Nutrition Foundation has said, as it warned focus on the environment may lead to poorer diets.

The charity said that the supply of key nutrients such as iron and iodine needed to be taken into account when considering food advice, particularly for teenage girls and young women.

Thought it was about being too far from the sea – therefore no salt water fish etc. The solution being iodised salt. Which pretty much everywhere does have now.

Or am I getting confused with where it was prevalent, for other reasons, up in the Alps?

8 thoughts on “Iodine? Dairy?”

  1. I think you are: Whole villages fully of Cretins meant little industry, and one industry was cheesemaking. No cheese in the past meant that you potentially missed out upon Iodine in milk. Cheesemaking has the idea that you separate out curds and whey, and the runny, saline liquid you have left is still capable of being eaten – Which is probably where the Iodine ions are present, so this source is wasted if you live in rural Switzerland.There will be some iodine in cheese as well though.

    In the modern world the whey from Cheese making is used in sports nutrition drinks – It’s isotonic, so you body absorbs it like saline solutions, it’s got minerals in it and it can be pasteurised so it can be kept. Bodybuilders swear by it.

  2. “Thought it was about being too far from the sea – therefore no salt water fish etc. ”
    Before modern transportation, too far from the sea probably started at around 25 miles. Point at which the processing costs involved in preserving the fish for transport plus the transport costs started making it unaffordable. It has to compete with fresh water fish.(and fresh water fish with other sources of protein) So for most of history most people would have lived without ever eating salt water fish.
    However salt was used extensively to preserve meat. And salt is a lot cheaper to transport.

  3. it warned focus on the environment may lead to poorer diets

    Indeed. Just look at all the weedy soyboys and vegans.

  4. That could be it, the salt. Reliance upon sea salt would have given iodine, get far, far enough away and using rock salt and no iodine……

  5. I heard on the radio once that in the 1930s the Dairy industry started giving cows iodine supplements to increase yield. As a result no more iodine deficiency in people!

  6. The beauty of a mixed diet is that you don’t have to know every detail of what you do and don’t need. Just eat dairy, eggs, meat, fish, fruit, veg, and nuts – bingo, you’ll be covered for virtually everything except, perhaps, enough vitamin D in winter. When I was a nipper this was covered by thrusting cod liver oil into us.

    I can see that if your food happens to have been grown in or on soil that is itself deficient in something then supplementation might be a good idea. Will that be a common problem if much of your food is imported from various far away spots?

  7. Iodine occurs naturally in the soil. Plants pick it up therefore and Humans get it when they eat plants. Cows, sheep eat grass containing iodine from the soil therefore it is present in their meat and milk.

    However iodine soil content varies with regions, so some areas such as Derbyshire are deficient – hence Derbyshire neck the alternative name for goitre, cases of which used to be prevalent there.

    Sea salt has natural iodine, but salt from other sources does not and iodine is added.

    Salt like sugar is on the ‘this will kill you’ list, so as people avoid salt they are more reliant on plant and dairy to get iodine.

    Iodine deficiency was down to poor diet which did not contain much plant or dairy, or as with Derbyshire, foodstuff came from just one deficient locality. Therefore it is best to have plant and dairy from a variety of localities to take into account some may have iodine rich soil, other areas not so rich – locavors take note. However modern fertilisers can be used if soil samples show iodine deficiency to enrich such soils.

    It is unlikely people will not be able to get enough iodine from their diet these days.

  8. I recall reading somewhere that the iodine content of milk depends on whether iodine is used to sterilize the cow’s udders.

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