Endocrine Reviews Journal Article

Iodine Nutrition in Lactating Women and Infants

January 04, 2022
 

Maria Andersson and Christian P Braegger
Endocrine Reviews, First published online November 17, 2021, bnab029
https://doi.org/10.1210/endrev/bnab029

Abstract

Iodine is a micronutrient needed for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, growth, and development. Iodine deficiency or excess may alter the thyroid hormone synthesis. The potential effects on infant development depend on the degree, timing, and duration of exposure. The iodine requirement is particularly high during infancy because of elevated thyroid hormone turnover. Breastfed infants rely on iodine provided by human milk, but the iodine concentration in breast milk is determined by the maternal iodine intake. Diets in many countries cannot provide sufficient iodine, and deficiency is prevented by iodine fortification of salt. However, the coverage of iodized salt varies between countries. Epidemiological data suggest large differences in the iodine intake in lactating women, infants, and toddlers worldwide, ranging from deficient to excessive intake. In this review, we provide an overview of the current knowledge and recent advances in the understanding of iodine nutrition and its association with thyroid function in lactating women, infants, and toddlers. We discuss risk factors for iodine malnutrition and the impact of targeted intervention strategies on these vulnerable population groups. We highlight the importance of appropriate definitions of optimal iodine nutrition and the need for more data assessing the risk of mild iodine deficiency for thyroid disorders during the first 2 years in life.

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