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Iodine in pickles

  1. Aug 11, 2015 #1
    I've read on the internet that pickles naturally contain iodine but I can't seem to find anywhere how much mg per 100 gram of pickles can be found. So how much iodine is contained per 100 gram of pickles?
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  3. Aug 11, 2015 #2


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  4. Aug 11, 2015 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    DEvans has it spot-on.

    -- here is a little more detail:

    This references data about iodine food content. Marine food sources
    are very constant in terms of sampling at different times and places.
    So seafood and algae have a pretty much known iodine content.

    Many places in the world have iodine-depleted soils. India for example.
    Rice imported from most places in India has low to very low iodine levels.
    For this reason among others, the gold standard for learning about the
    nutrient content of foods:


    does not have iodine listed for any food. The iodine content of food
    plants varies a lot. Swine and beef production depends on micronutrient
    supplements to increase production. Iodine is listed on Purina pig chow.

    FWIW pickling salt never has added iodine in it. Pickles are made by
    brining cucumbers in hot brine. Iodine in the salt used to make 30%-35%
    changes color of the finished product. So it is not used there.

    If you want high iodine try iodized salt or seafood. Multi-vitamin and
    mineral pills usually have iodine as well. A North American diet even from
    fast food places will have sufficient iodine.

    Unless directed by a physician do not try to avoid iodine - aside from the
    fact that in the Western world it is difficult to do - it is a required
    nutrient. Its absence in the diet can lead to goiter in adults, and a dimished mental
    capacity in children.
  5. Aug 12, 2015 #4
    Are the quantities in which they add iodine also the quantites normal Dutch farmers use?

    Yes, I've seen that list but pickles was not mentioned in it that's why I asked the question.

    So seafood and algae are a pretty good constant source for Iodine?

    Yes, according to your link there aren't many sources for Iodine.

    So pickles do not contain iodine? Is that conclusion correct?

    Salt intake is alreay high in many western countries. For this reason I think eating seafood or taking a supplement should suffice.

    I do not think that is true unless they use a lot iodized salt.

    I am trying to inrease my intake since I am not getting the RDI but searching the internet has shown me that there aren't many foods which have a good quantity of iodine.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  6. Aug 12, 2015 #5


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    You'll have to ask a normal Dutch farmer that question. This is Physics Forums, not Farmers Forums. :wink:
  7. Aug 12, 2015 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    Instead of lots of questions that seem disparate - please tell us what you are trying to accomplish. There are lots of knowledgeable people here.
    Why iodine? why pickles?

    Please answer these two questions if the below does not give you what you need.

    I think you are not willing to accept that there may not be an answer like you want, i.e. that meets your assumptions. This happens in Science frequently.

    Bottom line: pickles will have the amount of iodine that came from the cucumbers - wherever they are grown, plus any added amount that may come from other plant sources like dill - assuming you subsequently use the brine in cooking. There are no figures for iodine content of most agricultural foods, just ad hoc studies which are NOT general. NOT general: because of the differences seen across samples. If you need something from another country, you need to query their equivalent of the USDA, if one exists.

    IMO: Ain't no iodine data for no Dutch pickles that means anything useful for us consumers.

    If somebody provides data and says differently I would doubt the validity of their understanding without substantive backup. If a European company adds iodine deliberately you should see it on the labels of the product. The EU has "E" numbers for allowed food additives: potassium iodate, potassium iodide, sodium iodate, and sodium iodide are the only compounds added to table salt or added to other iodiized food stuffs or animal feed.

    *Plus, opened packages of table salt with added iodide can quickly lose iodine content through the process of oxidation and subsequent iodine sublimation.

    *Diosady, L. L., and M. G. Venkatesh Mannar. "Stability of iodine in iodized salt." 8th World Salt Symposium. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 2000.
  8. Aug 13, 2015 #7
    1) I want to increase my iodine intake via food but haven't found good sources except iodized salt (and seaweed). According to the Dutch government the iodine intake via Dutch food of a Dutch population is too low (the report is in Dutch):

    https://www.nvwa.nl/txmpub/files/?p_file_id=2202003 [Broken]

    2) I've read on the internet that pickles contain a large amount of iodine, I can't seem to find the link anymore. So I thought it would be a good source but I could not find how much iodine is contained in pickles.

    Ok, I understand but I thought proper spelling/grammar was requested here on PF.

    Interesting you mean the link below right?


    Looking at 40 deg is interesting but it does not say antyhing about the conditions for salt in western countries.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  9. Aug 13, 2015 #8

    jim mcnamara

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    The one simple way: consume marine foods - seafood (fish, clams oysters, squid, etc.); various seaweeds.
    If pickles in the EU do not have the labeling requirements that suit your needs, contact the manufacturer for nutrition information.

    In all honesty, fixing a dietary problem by fixating on consuming one single food item daily is probably not a great idea. Consider adding iodized salt to your diet as well as seafood and pickles. And I have no idea if pickles will do much iodine-wise

    I cannot read Dutch - this from the UK, the closest I could come geographically:
    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Iodine.aspx -- this says what every reference I have encountered says. And what I said above.

    English speakers, like speakers of Arabic, sometimes use dialect and grammar to make a point. The point was that you had what you could probably use, IMO, and were asking for what does not exist, AFAIK. You were 'barking up the wrong tree'.

    PS: if you ever find the pickle link, I would like to investigate it - I can read German, English, French. It sounds like hype from the Dutch Pickle Packers Association (if one exists) or its equivalent. The US has organizations like the Sugar Institute, The National Beef Council, and so on. Their stated function is promote products, but what they generally do is to lobby the USDA, NSF, and FDA to change labeling. Or not change it. For example, beef naturally contains trans fat (.4g - 1.4g per ounce (28g)), but you do not see it on labels. That may or may not change with the FDA rule changes - that are taking forever to be okayed and implemented. - my opinion only.
  10. Aug 13, 2015 #9


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    The thing about iodine levels in the body is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears: too little is bad, too much is bad, it's gotta be just right.

    If you think your iodine level is too low, go see your physician and ask him to check. A few simple tests could possibly save you from a lifetime of eating:


    Unless you're just looking for a reason to eat a lot of pickles and you don't want other people to think you are strange. :wink:
  11. Aug 13, 2015 #10

    jim mcnamara

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    Good post. But folks outside North America know what computer spam is, probably not the alternate meaning - a marginally edible pork product from the US Mid West. I guess the best explanation of spam: a canned, high salt, poor mans ham-like substance.


    ...eep the article says that 7 Billion cans have been sold.
  12. Aug 15, 2015 #11


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    I'm assuming based on the US sources that the 7 Billion is 7000 million. So by my calculations the amounts to approximately zero information about Iodine. (insert viking smiley here)


    PS: marginally edible? it may be dubiously nutritious but it is gelatinously delicious.
  13. Aug 16, 2015 #12


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    I'm sure that, at one time, the people in the UK knew what SPAM was, otherwise Monty Python could not have written an intelligible skit about a couple going to a diner where it seemed to permeate the menu, but the wife didn't like SPAM.

    Pay no attention to the Vikings in the background.

    SPAM is sold now in some 41 countries around the globe.

    And, no, I don't know how much iodine a can of SPAM contains, or indeed, if it contains any.
  14. Aug 23, 2015 #13

    D H

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    Spam, like pickles, is made with non-iodized salt. It is not a good source of iodine.

    The OP says he or she is from the Netherlands. So eat bread. Per this World Health Organization report on iodine deficiency in Europe, bread in the Netherlands is voluntarily made with highly iodized salt. Bread that isn't made with iodized salt has to be labeled as such (but probably in small print). As mentioned in other posts, seaweed is an extremely good source (perhaps too good, too much is not good) of iodine. So are many salt water fish, particularly those with white flesh (cod, pollock, flounder, snapper, and many others).
  15. Aug 27, 2015 #14
    It's not that easy. Salt contains sodium. To get to the RDI for iodine you have to eat at least 6 or 7 slices of bread but then your intake of sodium will also be very large. Also, bread can contain trans fats which is bad for your arteries.
  16. Aug 27, 2015 #15


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    Welcome to Life!

    There's a series of trade-offs which must be made. Eating a lot of one food, in order to build up some essential nutrient, will almost certainly lead to some adverse side effects, including eating a lot of pickles.

    If you're that worried about your arteries or your salt intake, that's all the more reason to visit your physician so that you can find out clinically if the levels of iodine in your system are too low or too high. Since iodine is needed for proper thyroid function, it is an important mineral to have in your system. A thyroid condition can present all sorts of symptoms which mimic other diseases.
  17. Aug 27, 2015 #16
    True but I thought pickles had such a large amount of it that I only needed a little bit. I found out that seaweed contains very large levels of iodine:


    Eating just a little bit (like 5-10 gram) is sufficient already.

    In post #7 I linked to an investigation of the Dutch version of the FDA where it is reported that the iodine levels of a very large part of the Dutch population is too low. In that same report it is stated that the sodium intake is too high because bread generally contains a lot of sodium.

    Most likely my levels are too low but you are right concerning consulting a doctor.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  18. Aug 27, 2015 #17

    D H

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    I'm confused. You are worried about the amount of salt in your bread but you are not worried about the huge amount of salt in pickles?

    The salt in Dutch bread has been heavily iodized since 1942, with the level increased even more in the recent past. This is your own government's primary approach to ensuring that the populace does not develop iodine deficiencies. On the other hand, brining and pickling salt is iodine-free. A quarter of a dill pickle and a slice of bread contain about the same amount of salt (and hence sodium), but that pickle has much, much less iodine than does that slice of bread.

    You are asking for medical/dietary advice from people who are neither doctors nor dietitians. Be wary of such advice; someone on the internet is bound to tell you to eat pickles as a source of iodine. (Don't. Fruits and vegetables are in general not a good source of iodine, and the brine used to pickle fruits and vegetables is non-iodized.) Someone else will tell you to eat lots and lots of seaweed. (Don't. While too little iodine is bad, so is too much iodine.)

    The best medical advice on the internet from someone who isn't trained in the medical fields is when that person tells you to go see a doctor.

    Go see a doctor if you are worried about this.
  19. Aug 28, 2015 #18
    No I was also worried about the salt content of pickles,

    True and this approach has helped but there is still a large iodine deficieny in the Dutch population.

    Yes I understand that :)

    I was not asking for medical advice. I was merely interested in the amount of iodine in pickles (and was interested in other iodine rich foods).
  20. Aug 31, 2015 #19

    D H

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