Iodine deficiency in vegetarians and vegans.
Iodine content in food of plant origin is lower in comparison with that of animal origin due to a low iodine concentration in soil. Urinary iodine excretion was assessed in 15 vegans, 31 lacto- and lacto-ovovegetarians and 35 adults on a mixed diet. Iodine excretion was significantly lower in alternative nutrition groups - 172 microg/l in vegetarians and 78 microg/l in vegans compared to 216 microg/l in subjects on a mixed diet. One fourth of the vegetarians and 80% of the vegans suffer from iodine deficiency (iodine excretion value below 100 microg/l) compared to 9% in the persons on a mixed nutrition. The results show that under conditions of alternative nutrition, there is a higher prevalence of iodine deficiency, which might be a consequence of exclusive or prevailing consumption of food of plant origin, no intake of fish and other sea products, as well as reduced iodine intake in the form of sea salt.