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Our Consumption of Iodized Salt Is on the Decline, Will Our IQs Follow?

Iodine’s health benefits include IQ boosting powers. But today, Americans are getting less of this nutrient than previous generations.

A man tests iodine in salt during a monitoring visit in a salt market in Alexandria, Egypt. June 4, 2007. (Majority World/UIG via Getty Images)

While the medical community disagrees about the value of many nutritional supplements, some added nutrients have made an undeniable impact on public health — including one that has the power to raise IQs. Iodine is a critical micronutrient that humans require for good health, successful reproduction and healthy brain development.

Iodine deficiency leads to problems with the thyroid, including cancer, hypothyroidism and goiter. Goiter is a condition in which the thyroid swells up and is visible in the neck, causing swallowing and respiratory problems. In children, iodine deficiency is a leading cause of stunted body growth and intellectual deficiencies, including mental handicaps. The problem isn’t just limited to the developing world; Europe has one-fifth of the world’s iodine deficiency cases.

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