February 06, 2015
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ATA committee releases statement on risks of excess iodine ingestion, exposure

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The Public Health Committee of the American Thyroid Association recently released a statement discussing the potential risks of excess iodine ingestion and exposure, published in Thyroid.

Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc, of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and colleagues have issued recommendations cautioning against excess iodine intake. The ATA urges supplementing with iodine as a requirement for normal thyroid function among women contemplating pregnancy or who are pregnant or breast-feeding. The ATA recommendations are to supplement with a daily multivitamin that contains 150 µg of potassium iodine in these individuals.

Angela M. Leung

Angela M. Leung

Leung told Endocrine Today that she and her colleagues strongly support the ATA recommendations for adequate iodine intake, especially during preconception, pregnancy and lactation. However, ingestion of more than 1,100 µg iodine per day is not recommended and can cause thyroid dysfunction. The recommended daily allowances of iodine intake in the United States are 150 µg for adults, 220 µg to 250 µg for pregnant women and 250 µg to 290 µg for women who are breast-feeding.

Some supplements, including iodine, potassium iodide and kelp, can contain iodine amounts that are several hundred times higher than the recommended daily allowance, and people are advised not to take an iodine or kelp supplement containing more than 500 µg of iodine daily.

Short-term use of high amounts of iodine is indicated for only a limited number of health conditions including patients prescribed Lugol’s solution (saturated solution of potassium iodide) for the preoperative treatment of severe hyperthyroidism.  

Currently, there is no known benefit to the thyroid of taking daily doses of iodine in excess of the U.S. recommended daily allowance.

“Recommend that patients who are considering pregnancy, are pregnant or lactating take 150 µg of iodine daily,” Leung said. “However, given the wide range of iodine content in multivitamins and supplements, patients should be cautioned against taking multivitamins or a combination of supplements containing more than 500 µg of iodine daily.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.