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By ECIR Group - Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance

Overwhelmingly, the majority (>90%) of respondents knew that iodized table salt contains more iodine than Himalayan salt. While there are trace amounts of iodine in white sea salt and Himalayan salt, there is not enough to meet the nutritional needs of a horse. If you choose to use alternative salts or blocks without added iodine, you should investigate other ways to provide adequate iodine.

Over half of the respondents did not answer the question (which has more iodine?) but listed what products they use. The majority mentioned were salt blocks, followed by sea salt, Redmond brand, a variety (let the horse pick), or a reliance on a ration balancer. Most of these answers centered on the type of salt provided, not whether iodine needs were met. However, at least 4 respondents said that they added kelp or seaweed for iodine.

Salt was first iodized in 1924 and was the first case of micronutrient intervention in the U.S., setting the stage for other vitamin and mineral fortification of foods. It was the high incidence of goiter and profound birth defects in iodine-poor regions that triggered efforts to eliminate iodine deficiency. Feeding 1 to 3 oz of iodized salt/day to an average 1,000 lb horse insures that the minimum RDA for iodine is met. Non-iodized salt, whether white, pink, in a block, loose, or on a rope, does not contain the same level of iodine.

As expected, there was lively discussion about the qualities of a particular salt with terms like “natural, organic” (assumed to be good) and “processed, bleached” (assumed to be bad -- the latter a false assertion.) Let’s take a look at how salt got to be so controversial.

In a word – marketing.

If you are selling something, it helps to point to something similar and declare it “bad.” How many commercials have you seen like the one with the guy hopelessly tangled in a garden hose? This horrible problem is instantly remedied by the flexible hose that they’re selling. But wait! There’s more!

With the advent of designer salts came the need to point to a bad salt, so after 75 years of plain old iodized table salt that prevented goiters and terrible birth defects, it suddenly became the “bad” salt. Why? Because it is “processed.” Or is it “purified?” Either way, the designer salt market blossomed and made its way to the equine world.

Truth be told, all salts are salt and you would be hard pressed to find any salt, designer or otherwise, that isn’t roughly 98% salt. Those in the business of selling designer salts claim that the minerals are beneficial and that those beneficial minerals in table salt have been removed. The latter is true – call it processed or purified, the minerals, metals and other elements have been removed from table salt.

There are minuscule amounts of minerals, metals, and other elements present in designer salts, but not in amounts that have been proven to provide a health benefit. The presence of some of the other metals and elements will give you pause (lead, arsenic, cadmium, tin) but these are also present in negligible amounts, hopefully. Salt for horses may not be as tightly regulated as that for human consumption.

The only exception to this is iron. Some brands of equine designer salt can provide from 10% to25% of the minimum RDA for iron. Owners with horses who have iron overload need to know this.

The worst thing that has come out of this craze is the villainizing of iodized table salt. A concern of human nutritionists is the resurgence of iodine deficiency due to use of designer salts without adequate iodine. We realize that everyone has a belief or personal preference, but The ECIR group’s mission is to translate the evidenced-based science to specific recommendations. Our position has not changed and we continue to recommend the use of iodized loose salt as the most cost effective way to meet sodium, chloride, and iodine needs of horses. There is inadequate evidence to suggest that designer salts provide any additional health benefit over iodized table salt. As a final word on the topic, please refer to Dr. Kellon’s Horse Sense article:…/16/designer-salt/

LeeAnne Bloye <ecir.archives@...>

Wow.  Thanks to who ever thought to put this up.  So important.

- ​LeeAnne

ECIR Archivist, Newmarket, Ontario March 2004

Email Me - if link fails use ECIR.Archives at gmail dot com

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By ECIR Group - Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance

Who is the ECIR Group Inc.? We are an all-volunteer, non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the welfare of equines with metabolic disorders via a unique interface between basic research and real-life clinical experience. PREVENTION OF LAMINITIS IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL. Learn more at #GivingTuesday, Integration <main@...> Integration <main@...>

By ECIR Group - Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance

Here's what's possible when following the ECIR protocols for PPID and IR horses - Diagnosis, Diet, Trim, and (when appropriate) Exercise. For more examples, click here: #GivingTuesday Integration <main@...>

By ECIR Group - Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance

When you go past the marketing hype.