Stipulations to add iodine to common salt were introduced to prevent incidence of diseases caused by iodine deficiency. Before this rule came into force, people used rock salt which had no iodine content. However, a recent study indicates that considering the overall health benefits, rock salt is the better option.
The study was conducted by Rajesh Chouhan, who has also considered various articles published in 'British Medical Journal' for the purpose. The findings of the study point out that use of iodized salt can cause hypertension, which could lead to more serious conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
One hundred senior citizens were the subject of the study conducted in Agra. It was found that those who were regularly using iodized salt were more at risk of hypertension than people who preferred rock salt. While one group used iodized salt as such, the other section of people bought iodized rock salt, but washed it before cooking. Iodine can be removed from rock salt by washing it with water.
The study claims that excessive use of iodine can disturb the rhythm of the heart beats and lead to heart disease.
It was from 1992 that iodized salt was made available in India as per a World Health Organization (WHO) programme to prevent diseases caused by iodine deficiency. However, no proper research had been conducted before iodized salt was sold all over the country. It has been pointed that the presence of iodine varies from place to place.
WHO had also suggested that the amount of sodium and iodine in common salt should be changed periodically. However, Indian authorities have failed to follow this directive, says Chouhan's study, which calls for making available salt without iodine content urgently in the country.