15 April 2011
A new study suggests that the UK is now iodine-deficient, indicating an urgent need for a comprehensive investigation of the UK iodine status and recommendations to safeguard public health.
The findings, presented this week at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Birmingham, demonstrate iodine deficiency in a sample population of 14-15-year-old girls. They provide the only current data on the UK’s iodine status.
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide.
The study, which was the first of its kind in the UK, was led by Dr Mark Vanderpump (Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust) and colleagues on behalf of the British Thyroid Association (BTA) with the support of the British Thyroid Foundation (BTF), and funded by the Clinical Endocrinology Trust. Researchers measured the amount of iodine in urine samples from 737 14-15-year-old girls from nine UK centres. Factors that might skew the results, such as diet and ethnicity, were assessed using a questionnaire. Variations due to season and location were corrected for via measurements taken in summer 2009 and winter 2009/2010 and water samples from each area were measured for iodine content.
Nearly 70% of the samples were below 100ug/L (the acceptable minimum level defined by the World Health Organisation) and 18% of samples showed very low iodine levels below 50μg/L.
These findings are consistent with a fall in iodine status recently reported in Australia and USA.
In a press release issued Tuesday, 12 April, the Society for Endocrinology said: ‘Iodine is an essential trace element which helps the thyroid gland function properly. Most people get their iodine from their diet. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has conducted a global programme of salt iodisation since 1993. The UK does not yet require salt producers to add iodine to their salt.
‘Young women of child-bearing age are the most susceptible to the adverse effects of iodine-deficiency and even mild deficiency may have an impact on the developing brain of foetuses and young children. It can also cause goitre. According to the World Health Organisation, iodine-deficient communities have IQs up to 13.5 points lower than similar but iodine-sufficient communities.’
Researcher Dr Mark Vanderpump, Consultant Physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, said:
’Our data suggest the UK is now iodine-deficient, indicating an urgent need for a comprehensive investigation of the UK iodine status. We need to look into this now to decide whether public health bodies need to step in.
’The WHO has made iodine deficiency a global priority and has been campaigning for at-risk countries to add iodine to their salt, a campaign which has been very successful. If it turns out that we do have a problem, this could be the most viable solution.
’We are very concerned about these findings as the consequences of iodine deficiency are grave: iodine-deficient communities score lower in IQ tests, and even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause serious mental impairments in children.’
Milk is an important source of iodine in the UK. Presenting a preview of the study results at the BTF London local group’s information meeting at the Royal Free Hospital on Saturday, 9 April, Dr Vanderpump said: ‘One cup of milk contains about half the amount of iodine needed per day. A possible explanation for our findings may be that teenage girls are drinking less milk and are less likely to have milk and cereal for breakfast. The solution could be to add iodine to the salt used in products such as bread as has been done in for example Denmark.’
Society for Endocrinology. New study suggests UK is now iodine-deficient. Press Release. 12 April 2011.
Vanderpump M Lazarus J Smyth P Burns R Eggo M Han, T et al. Assessment of the UK iodine status: a national survey. Endocrine Abstracts. Presented at the Society for Endocrinology BES 2011: 11 April 2011-14 April 2011
BTF News. Study to assess UK iodine levels. BTF News. 2009: 69:1.
Medical News Today. Retrieved 14 April 2011
Roberts M. Worrying levels of iodine deficiency in the UK. BBC News Health. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011
12 April 2013 Helping to raise funds for the BTF
Monkey is a car insurance comparison site that makes donations to charities when policies are taken out. They have donated £300 to the BTF and if you sign up for a policy with them using this link they will make a £10 donation to the BTF
Notice of temporary unavailability of Eltroxin tablets
11 March 2013
Mercury Pharmaceuticals may have been supplying your thyroid medication in two forms; Eltroxin or levothyroxine tablets. Both are very nearly identical. The Eltroxin tablets are likely to be temporarily unavailable in the near future. This may mean that the pharmacist will give you levothyroxine tablets instead at exactly the same strength (after checking with your doctor). Switching to levothyroxine tablets is very unlikely to cause any problems as the two forms are switching to levothyroxine tablets is v unlikely to cause any problems as the two forms are the same and are produced by the same manufacturer. If you have any problems please let your doctor know. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause. Please contact Mercury Pharma Medical Information department in case of any queries:
Tel: 08700 70 30 33
Rock up And Sing Concert
Congratulations to BTF who celebrated their 21st birthday with a stylish and uplifting show at Harrogate's beautiful Royal Hall on Sunday 24 March. The local rock choirs from Rock Up & Sing performed a number of songs which the audience clearly loved. By the time we got to 'Time Warp' and 'Dancing Queen' everyone was on their feet! We are very grateful to the many local businesses and individuals who supported us with generous donations to our raffle and to all those who gave their time and efforts to make the night such a success.
30 December 2012
Many congratulations to BTF Patron Josef Craig who won BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year earlier this month, and has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.
MHRA suspends licence for Teva levothyroxine 100 micgrogram tablets http://www.mhra.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Pressreleases/CON143688
We have surveys for which we need participants.
The Human Medicines Regulations 2012
The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 came into force on 14 August. The regulations have introduced some policy changes
Support the BTF by getting a BTF key ring
Soy? Coconut Oil? Kelp? Don’t know what to believe? False claims, quick fixes and promises exposed here.
British Thyroid Association British Thyroid Association - medical professionals encouraging the highest standards in patient care and research.
British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons - the representative body of British Surgeons who have a specialist interest in surgery of the endocrine glands (thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal)