More than adequate iodine intake may increase subclinical hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis: a cross-sectional study based on two Chinese communities with different iodine intake levels

Xiaochun Teng, Zhongyan Shan, Yanyan Chen, Yaxin Lai, Jiashu Yu, Ling Shan, Xue Bai, Yuanbin Li, Ningna Li, Zhidan Li, Sen Wang, Qian Xing, Haibo Xue, Lin Zhu, Xin Hou, Chenling Fan, Weiping Teng
European Journal of Endocrinology 2011, 164 (6): 943-50

OBJECTIVE: With the introduction of iodized salt worldwide, more and more people are exposed to more than adequate iodine intake levels with median urinary iodine excretion (MUI 200-300 μg/l) or excessive iodine intake levels (MUI >300 μg/l). The objective of this study was to explore the associations between more than adequate iodine intake levels and the development of thyroid diseases (e.g. thyroid dysfunction, thyroid autoimmunity, and thyroid structure) in two Chinese populations.

DESIGN: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in two areas in which people are exposed to different levels of iodine intake (Rongxing, MUI 261 μg/l; Chengshan, MUI 145 μg/l). A total of 3813 individuals were recruited by random sampling. Thyroid hormones, thyroid autoantibodies in serum, and iodine levels in urine were measured. B-mode ultrasonography of the thyroid was also performed for each participant.

RESULTS: The prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism was significantly higher for subjects who live in Rongxing than those who live in Chengshan (5.03 vs 1.99%, P<0.001). The prevalence of positive anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and positive anti-thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) was significantly higher for subjects in Rongxing than those in Chengshan (TPOAb: 10.64 vs 8.4%, P=0.02; TgAb: 10.27 vs 7.93%, P=0.01). The increase in thyroid antibodies was most pronounced in the high concentrations of TPOAb (TPOAb: ≥500 IU/ml) and low concentrations of TgAb (TgAb: 40-99 IU/ml) in Rongxing.

CONCLUSIONS: More than adequate iodine intake could be a public health concern in terms of thyroid function and thyroid autoimmunity in the Chinese populations.

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