Iodine supply still requires many efforts

Germany is still an iodine deficient area, even though the supply of iodine has improved significantly in recent years. Thyroid diseases as a result of iodine deficiency in our diet are thus still a health problem of the first order. They cause serious physical harm to millions of people and burden the healthcare sector with around one billion euros every year.

The goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the corresponding declaration of commitment from the then Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker to the WHO to eliminate iodine deficiency by the year 2000 was not fulfilled in Germany. In this respect, the Federal Government still urgently needs action.

According to the results of the "iodine monitoring" carried out on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health as a representative collaborative study, the average iodine intake in 1996 was 119 μg (micrograms) / day (men: 126 μg, women: 111 μg). Although iodine intake has improved over the past 10-15 years, there is still an unacceptable supply deficit of approximately 60-80 μg iodine / day (feed recommendation: 180-200 μg / day) compared to intake recommendations. That's one third of the recommended intake.

Pregnant and breastfeeding still risk groups

The supply deficits are particularly pronounced with 40 - 50 percent, especially in pregnant women and nursing mothers. Only 1.3% of all pregnant women examined can be expected to have sufficient iodine intake (optimal 180-200 μg / day, maximum up to 300 μg / day). There are also major deficits in breastfeeding women, who are also among the risk groups: only 21 percent of breastfeeding women take iodine tablets, almost 80 percent are thus still heavily underserved. This iodine deficiency also affects the breastfed infants. To cover the increased demand (230-260 μg / day) during pregnancy and lactation, the best possible iodine supply via staple food plus 100 (-200) μg / day in tablet form is recommended.

As a further risk group conscript young men aged 18 - 22 years. Not only is this group inadequately supplied with iodine, it also shows a relatively low level of knowledge and interest in the subject of iodine and health. The same applies to adolescent adolescents in the "fast food age". The iodine deficiency problem is therefore not resolved despite all efforts and achievements. In Germany, according to the criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO), there is an iodine deficiency grade I across the entire population. There are no pronounced regional differences, although there is a tendency for lower iodine intake in southern and western Germany.

Iodine salt use shows successes

The current improvement in iodine supply is mainly due to the widespread use of iodide salt or iodine salt with fluoride in private households (almost 80 percent) and the use of iodine salt in the food industry (regional: 60-85 percent of bakers and butchers) and in the public catering. Since more than 80% of the salt consumed daily comes from processed products, a broad range of iodine-salt foods and foods is crucial to optimizing iodine supply.

The iodine supply deficit of 30 - 40 percent (60 - 80 micrograms / day) could be minimized considerably if the food industry, the catering industry and fast-food providers would consistently use iodised salt as would be done in the private household or in the bakery and butcher's trade, The short-term goal should be to double the proportion of iodised salt (from currently approx. 35 to 70 percent) in industrial food production.

Immediate program for pregnant women and breastfeeding necessary

In order to meet the increased iodine needs of pregnant women and nursing mothers - and therefore also their children - there is an urgent need for more advanced conditions in the context of the care of pregnant women, which will enable better care of pregnant and lactating women with iodine tablets. In addition, physicians, midwives and pharmacists should give pregnant and lactating women more information on the possibilities of iodine intake and on the need to take additional iodine tablets. Otherwise, there is a risk that the adolescent children will have a lower intelligence quotient. Therefore, the willingness of pregnant and nursing mothers to buy iodine tablets at their own expense must also be aroused.

Timetable for optimal iodine supply

For optimal iodine supply, the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) eV, the working group iodine deficiency and other specialist institutions make the following recommendations:

  • Regular consumption (at least twice a week) of sea fish and other marine animals, as well as milk and dairy products. In particular, sea fish are considered important suppliers of iodine.
  • Exclusive use of iodine salt or iodine salt with fluoride in the household.
  • Preferred purchase of food (especially bread) made with iodised salt.
  • If the need for iodine can not be satisfied with food and iodine salt, or in times of increased iodine needs such as puberty, pregnancy and lactation, iodine should also be given in the form of tablets.

Iodine deficiency - a nutritional problem

Iodine is one of the nutritional constituents without which the human organism can not exist. Since it can not be formed by the body and can not be stored by the body, it must be regularly fed with food. If it lacks for a long time, the thyroid enlarges - it produces a goiter, which in turn can lead to respiratory and swallowing complaints. However, prolonged iodine deficiency also influences the formation of vital thyroid hormones. These in turn regulate a variety of our bodily functions, such as the entire metabolism and thus also the energy expenditure. Indirectly, thyroid hormones not only affect well-being and performance, but a variety of body processes, including the fertility of men and women.

Especially serious is iodine deficiency in pregnancy, because it can affect both the health of the woman, as well as the development of the child significantly. Particularly serious consequences of iodine-deficient newborns are stunted growth, delayed cerebral maturation, hearing defects and reduced intelligence of the child. Doctors and nutritionists are therefore emphatically calling on all those responsible to make further efforts to make up for the missing third of iodine in our diet.

The food industry, the food industry, gastronomy and catering should produce as much as possible all products or food with iodised salt according to the motto: If salt, then iodine salt. Risk groups such as pregnant women and breastfeeding women should additionally cover their increased need with iodine tablets. A health risk is not associated with this. Jodsalt-made foods and foods can be eaten by everyone, including those who already have thyroid dysfunction. The far greater risk of iodine prophylaxis lies in the opinion of Professor Dr. med. Dr. Peter C. Scriba, the spokesman of the working group for iodine deficiency, says they do not use them. Source: Working Group Iodine Deficiency

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