Iodine deficiency – refined “iodinized” salt no help

DR. WEEKS’ COMMENT:   healthy college students are still borderline iodine deficient!


 Thyroid. 2005 Apr;15(4):364-70.

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Iodine nutrition, nodular thyroid disease, and urinary iodine excretion in a German university study population.

Brauer VF, Brauer WH, Führer D, Paschke R.

Department of Medicine III, University of Leipzig, Ph.-Rosenthal-Strasse 27, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

We determined the influence of different nutritional factors on the urinary iodine excretion in an East German university population. First, we assessed iodine excretion in spot urine samples. Second, we measured iodine content in the university canteen meals, where approximately 20% of the probands had regular meals. Third, we used a special food questionnaire to assess for other sources of nutritional iodine intake, namely iodine tablets, fish consumption, etc. Fourth, we determined the actual prevalence of goiter and thyroid nodules in our probands by high-resolution ultrasonography. The mean urinary iodine excretion in our cohort was 109 +/- 81 microg/g level indicating a borderline adequate iodine intake (100-200). The frequency of thyroid nodules was 30% and the frequency of goiter 11%. Thyroid volumes greater than 18 mL and 25 mL were considered to be enlarged in adult women and men respectively. Urinary iodine excretion was not related to the presence of goiter or thyroid nodules. In addition urinary iodine excretion did not vary with regular consumption of canteen meals, which contained approximately 50% of the daily recommended iodine intake. In contrast probands with regular supplementary intake of iodine tablets had significantly higher values of urinary iodine excretion (169 +/- 130 microg/g) compared to participants without (103 +/- 87 microg/g). No other single nutritional factor (e.g., salt, milk, or bread) had a statistically significant impact on urinary iodine excretion or was able to raise the urinary iodine excretion above the level of marginal iodine deficiency.

In summary, the nutritional iodine intake in a Saxonian study population was found to be close to the margin of iodine deficiency. This shows insufficient supplementation of iodine through iodized salt/industrialized food production.

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