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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Apr;81(4):840-4.

High thyroid volume in children with excess dietary iodine intakes.

Author information

Human Nutrition Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Z├╝rich, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):203.



There are few data on the adverse effects of chronic exposure to high iodine intakes, particularly in children.


The objective of the study was to ascertain whether high dietary intakes of iodine in children result in high thyroid volume (Tvol), a high risk of goiter, or both.


In an international sample of 6-12-y-old children (n = 3319) from 5 continents with iodine intakes ranging from adequate to excessive, Tvol was measured by ultrasound, and the urinary iodine (UI) concentration was measured. Regressions were done on Tvol and goiter including age, body surface area, sex, and UI concentration as covariates.


The median UI concentration ranged from 115 microg/L in central Switzerland to 728 microg/L in coastal Hokkaido, Japan. In the entire sample, 31% of children had UI concentrations >300 microg/L, and 11% had UI concentrations >500 microg/L; in coastal Hokkaido, 59% had UI concentrations >500 microg/L, and 39% had UI concentrations >1000 microg/L. In coastal Hokkaido, the mean age- and body surface area-adjusted Tvol was approximately 2-fold the mean Tvol from the other sites combined (P < 0.0001), and there was a positive correlation between log(UI concentration) and log(Tvol) (r = 0.24, P < 0.0001). In the combined sample, after adjustment for age, sex, and body surface area, log(Tvol) began to rise at a log(UI concentration) >2.7, which, when transformed back to the linear scale, corresponded to a UI concentration of approximately 500 microg/L.


Chronic iodine intakes approximately twice those recommended-indicated by UI concentrations in the range of 300-500 microg/L-do not increase Tvol in children. However, UI concentrations >/=500 microg/L are associated with increasing Tvol, which reflects the adverse effects of chronic iodine excess.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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