Meeting News Coverage

Study finds UK population is iodine deficient

Society for Endocrinology BES 2011

New research suggests that the UK population is iodine deficient, and a full review of iodine status may be necessary.

Results of a systematic assessment reveal that 69% of urine samples gathered from 810 UK girls aged 14 to 15 years were lower than 100 mcg/L, which suggests iodine deficiency according to WHO standards. In addition, 18% had levels that were lower than 50 mcg/L. All urinary iodine excretion levels were collected during the summer of 2009 and winter of 2009 to 2010.

“Our data suggest the UK is now iodine-deficient, warranting a full investigation of the UK iodine status. We need to look into this now to decide whether public health bodies need to step in,” Vanderpump said.

The researchers noted a difference in summer vs. winter iodine status, with the median nadir reaching 76 mcg/L in summer. A positive association with milk intake was also observed, although other foods, ethnicity and city of origin appeared to play no role in iodine status.

“We are very concerned about these findings as the consequences of iodine deficiency are grave: iodine-deficient communities score lower in IQ tests, and even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy causes serious mental impairments in children,” Mark Vanderpump, MD, consultant physician and honorary senior lecturer in diabetes and endocrinology at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, said in a press release.

The researchers pointed out that their results are consistent with recent reports of low iodine status in other countries, such as Australia and the United States, and urged researchers to initiate a larger study to confirm the data. They also said their study highlights the need for evidence-based recommendations regarding iodine prophylaxis and public health.

“The WHO has made iodine deficiency a global priority and has been campaigning for at-risk countries to add iodine to their salt, a campaign which has been very successful,” Vanderpump said. “If it turns out that we do have a problem, this could be a most viable solution.”

The study was conducted on behalf of the British Thyroid Association and was funded by the Clinical Endocrinology Trust.

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Society for Endocrinology BES 2011

New research suggests that the UK population is iodine deficient, and a full review of iodine status may be necessary.

Results of a systematic assessment reveal that 69% of urine samples gathered from 810 UK girls aged 14 to 15 years were lower than 100 mcg/L, which suggests iodine deficiency according to WHO standards. In addition, 18% had levels that were lower than 50 mcg/L. All urinary iodine excretion levels were collected during the summer of 2009 and winter of 2009 to 2010.

“Our data suggest the UK is now iodine-deficient, warranting a full investigation of the UK iodine status. We need to look into this now to decide whether public health bodies need to step in,” Vanderpump said.

The researchers noted a difference in summer vs. winter iodine status, with the median nadir reaching 76 mcg/L in summer. A positive association with milk intake was also observed, although other foods, ethnicity and city of origin appeared to play no role in iodine status.

“We are very concerned about these findings as the consequences of iodine deficiency are grave: iodine-deficient communities score lower in IQ tests, and even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy causes serious mental impairments in children,” Mark Vanderpump, MD, consultant physician and honorary senior lecturer in diabetes and endocrinology at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, said in a press release.

The researchers pointed out that their results are consistent with recent reports of low iodine status in other countries, such as Australia and the United States, and urged researchers to initiate a larger study to confirm the data. They also said their study highlights the need for evidence-based recommendations regarding iodine prophylaxis and public health.

“The WHO has made iodine deficiency a global priority and has been campaigning for at-risk countries to add iodine to their salt, a campaign which has been very successful,” Vanderpump said. “If it turns out that we do have a problem, this could be a most viable solution.”

The study was conducted on behalf of the British Thyroid Association and was funded by the Clinical Endocrinology Trust.

For more information:

Twitter Follow EndocrineToday.com on Twitter.

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