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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2016 Sep;37:85-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2016.06.012. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Recent data on iodine intake in Germany and Europe.

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Medizinische Klinik IV der Universität München. Electronic address:


Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. These regulate metabolism, promote growth, development and maturation of all organs, especially the brain. Most iodine is found in oceans and most continental soil and ground water is deficient in iodine. Therefore, around 2 billion individuals are estimated to have insufficient iodine intake and are at risk of iodine deficiency disorders. The best carrier for save iodine supplementation is salt, as the daily intake of salt is mainly constant. Due to the collaboration between international and national organisations and the salt industry, many developing and developed countries introduced universal salt iodization (USI) or have mandatory or voluntary fortification programs. In Germany as in most European countries the use of iodized salt is voluntary not only in household but also in the food industry. Two recent epidemiological surveys in Germany revealed that 33% of children and 32% of adults are still suffering from mild to moderate iodine deficiency. The best surrogate parameter for iodine deficiency is goitre. The goitre prevalence is around 30% in children as well as in adults which is in accordance with the documented iodine deficiency. From other European countries epidemiological derived data on iodine intake are only available from Denmark and Poland. Further efforts are under way to reveal the iodine status with proper methods in all European countries. On this background it might be possible to establish adequate iodine fortification programs in all European countries.


Epidemiology; Iodine; Iodine deficiency disorders; Iodine fortification; Prophylaxis; Risk of iodine fortification

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