Real Salt contains trace amounts of iron, a mineral that has many important roles in the body.
From time to time, we receive questions about iron in Real Salt—Why is there iron in Real Salt? How much iron is in Real Salt? Should I be concerned about the iron in Real Salt?
We love that our customers are mindful about what they put in their bodies, and we love that there are trace amounts of iron in Real Salt. Iron makes it possible for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body and has other important roles. Here’s our take on iron in Real Salt. We hope it helps you make a decision that’s best for you and your family.
What is Iron?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) describes iron as “a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Your body also needs iron to make some hormones.”
The NIH has general recommendations for how much iron a person should consume in a day based on age, sex, and whether they are pregnant or breastfeeding, but everybody and every body is different, so you and members of your family may need more or less than the amounts on the NIH’s chart.
We all need different amounts, but everyone does need iron. If you don’t have enough, your body won’t produce enough hemoglobin, which is the component of red blood cells that allows them to carry life-giving oxygen to all parts of your body. Iron deficiency is a major public health problem that has a variety of symptoms. That’s why you’ll see iron supplements in grocery and health food stores that provide anywhere from 18 to 65 mg of elemental iron per tablet.
Another factor to consider with iron is bioavailability. Not all sources of iron are available to the body or absorbed at the same rate. This is why iron-rich foods rarely cause iron overload, but too many iron supplements can. An iron supplement (whether ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, or ferric citrate) is designed to be highly bioavailable.
The NIH recommends keeping your iron intake below 40 to 45 mg per day, but it points out that a doctor may prescribe more than that to treat an iron deficiency. The fact that (a) some people need more iron and (b) not all iron can be absorbed by the body may be why it’s easy to find 65 mg iron supplements.
Why Is There Iron In Real Salt?
Scientists estimate that iron is the fourth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Iron is also an important trace element in seawater. Real Salt comes from a dried-up ancient sea, so it isn’t surprising that it also has trace amounts of this important element. We trust Mother Nature, so what you get in your bag or shaker of Real Salt is exactly what she created. We just grind it up to a convenient and consistent size. We don’t refine it, extract minerals, add chemicals, or do anything else to interfere with Mother Nature’s recipe.
How Much Iron Is In Real Salt?
Because Real Salt is 100% created by Mother Nature, there is natural variation in different sections of the mine and even from one chunk of salt to the next. The mineral analysis on our website is based on 30 years of analyses conducted by third-party labs to give customers an idea of what they might find in Real Salt, but it is not a guaranteed analysis; every sample will be a little different.
On average, a 1/4 teaspoon serving (1,400 mg) of Real Salt has 0.42 mg of iron. We haven’t done testing to know whether or how much of this iron is bioavailable. It’s unlikely to be 100% bioavailable. Even if it were, this 0.42 mg of iron would only be 3.8% of what the NIH recommends for a teenage boy, 1.5% of what NIH recommends for a pregnant woman, and 1% of the NIH’s upper limit.
What does this mean? You should take the 0.42 mg into account and talk to your doctor if your body is particularly sensitive to iron. Since it’s a pretty small amount and may not be very bioavailable, you shouldn’t rely on Real Salt if your body needs extra iron.
For most people, the trace amount of iron in Real Salt is too small to have an impact when used as part of a normal, healthy diet. That said, we aren’t doctors and we always recommend consulting with your healthcare and dietary professionals for your individual needs.
We hope this helps you feel confident about the safety of Real Salt. We take our customers’ well-being very seriously, and we would never sell a product that wasn’t properly tested and proven to be safe. If for any reason you are not comfortable with the small levels of iron or any of the elements found in Real Salt, there are a lot of other great salts out there that may be a better fit for your needs.
Iron Fact Sheet for Consumers—National Institute of Health
Oral iron supplementation in iron-deficient women: How much and how often?—Molecular Aspects of Medicine (available at Science Direct)
Iron deficiency anemia-–Mayo Clinic
Abundance of elements in Earth’s crust—Wikipedia
Iron availability in seawater key to explaining amount and distribution of fish—Frontiers Science News