Some people who are vegetarian or vegan are at increased risk for iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism.


The risk of iodine deficiency is increased if:

(1) food intake is exclusively from sources that are iodine poor

(2) there is no intake of food supplemented with iodine or high in iodine


Food sources poor in iodine:

(1) plants, fruits and vegetables grown in soil to be poor in iodine

(2) sea salt or other "natural" salts


In addition, a number of vegetables act as goitrogens, interfering with iodine uptake by the thyroid or with thyroid peroxidase activity (see above, 12.39.02).


Sources of iodine in the diet of normal people:

(1) salt supplemented with iodine

(2) products of animal origin (eggs, cheese, milk, meat, fish, poultry)

(3) iodine supplements


If iodine deficiency is suspected, then the 24-hour excretion of iodine into the urine can be measured.


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