Download our leaflets and guides

Download the BTF leaflets and quick guides

campaigns2We are committed to making a difference and improving the patient experience.
Read more about our projects.

Get involvedFind out how you can get involved and support the BTF

BTF SupportBTF's support and meetings for people with thyroid disorders and their families


We are a group whose mission is to promote awareness of the importance of iodine in the diet and to make evidence-based recommendations to eradicate iodine deficiency in the UK. We were pleased to note the article (Nov 17th) drawing attention to the problem of iodine deficiency in the UK in which your readers were reminded that two thirds of schoolgirls in Britain are iodine deficient. However, we were concerned by some other assertions. Although you recorded the case of a young girl with a goitre (thyroid enlargement) we wish to stress that most people with iodine deficiency in this country do not have a goitre. Iodine deficiency may be present for years before goitre presents but the condition is still important enough to have negative effects on pregnancy and the child. Secondly, we do not agree that iodine drops, which may cause gross overdosing, are appropriate for the treatment of iodine deficiency in the UK. In particular, we caution strongly against treating someone with a goitre before making a formal diagnosis. Furthermore, treatment with unknown amounts of iodine to people with unknown diagnoses may actually be harmful.

We would recommend a sustained delivery of iodine to the population such that iodine levels are sufficient for everyone. This may be achieved by ensuring a diet containing adequate iodine (provided mainly by milk and dairy foods in the UK as well as sea fish and eggs) and also the possible provision of iodised salt on a national scale. The UK is currently one of only 32 countries (out of around 190) in the world without adequate provision of iodised salt. In the meantime, the British Dietetic Association has a Food Fact sheet on Iodine, suitable for adults, that provides information on safe ways to achieve adequate dietary intake of iodine (
While the Department of Health has recognised that iodine deficiency may be a problem in the UK with consequent effects on pregnancy and the child, little or no public health action has so far been implemented.

Yours sincerely

Prof John Lazarus Chair UK Iodine Group University of Cardiff
Dr S Bath University of Surrey
Dr E Combet University of Glasgow
Mrs J Hickey British Thyroid Foundation
Prof Kate Jolly University of Birmingham
Prof Michael Marsh Kings College Hospital London
Dr Alex Stewart Public Health England, Liverpool
Dr Mark Vanderpump Royal Free Hospital, London
Prof Graham Williams Imperial College London
Regional Coordinator Iodine Global Network West and Central Europe
Emeritus Prof Clinical Endocrinology
Cardiff University

Latest News

  • BTF Info Guides Now Available in Arabic, Polish and Urdu 6 Nov 2017

    The information on the BTF website is widely used by people from all over the world. In order to make our resources more accessible to speakers of other languages we have translated our four most popular information guides into Arabic, Polish and Urdu. If you find these documents useful or would like to be able to access other BTF information in these or other languages please email

  • Latest Newsletter 31 Oct 2017

    BTF Members will soon be receiving BTF News 96. A copy of the BTF newsletter is sent to members three times a year. For this and access to other benefits, join the BTF today!

  • NICE Guideline on Thyroid Disease 18 Oct 2017

    NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has been asked by the Department of Health in England to develop a clinical guideline on thyroid disease for England. This guideline will be used to develop the NICE quality standard for the diagnosis and management of thyroid conditions and the recommendations will be included in the NICE Pathway for thyroid disease.

  • 2017 Christmas Cards 6 Oct 2017

    Our 2017 Christmas Cards are now on sale! Download an order form here.

Medical Queries

We are currently receiving a high volume of medical queries electronically. We are therefore only able to reply to medical queries sent by members of the BTF at present. We do however have a comprehensive range of guides on thyroid disorders and treatments available to download for free:

All Trials

Clinical trials are used to test new and existing treatments. Sometimes the results (the overall picture of the treatment’s effects) are not published - which means that other medical researchers and doctors cannot use them. If you would like to change this situation to the ultimate benefit of patients, please sign the AllTrials petition.AllTrials petition