Infant iodine status and associations with maternal iodine nutrition, breastfeeding status and thyroid function
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonBritish Journal of Nutrition. 2023, 129 (5), 854-863. 10.1017/S0007114522001465
Adequate iodine nutrition during infancy is required for normal thyroid function and, subsequently, brain development. However, data on infant iodine status in the first year of life are scarce. This study aimed to describe infant iodine status and further explore its associations with maternal iodine nutrition, breast-feeding status and thyroid function. In this cohort study, 113 infants were followed up at ages 3, 6 and 11 months in Norway. Infant and maternal urinary iodine concentration (UIC), maternal iodine intake, breast milk iodine concentration (BMIC), breast-feeding status and infant thyroid function tests were measured. The median infant UIC was 82 µg/l at the age of 3 months and below the WHO cut-off of 100 µg/l. Infant UIC was adequate later in infancy (median 110 µg/l at ages 6 and 11 months). Infant UIC was associated positively with maternal UIC (β = 0·33, 95 % CI (0·12, 0·54)), maternal iodine intake (β = 0·30, 95 % CI (0·18, 0·42)) and BMIC (β = 0·46, 95 % CI (0·13, 0·79)). Breastfed infants had lower median UIC compared with formula-fed infants at ages 3 months (76 v. 190 µg/l) and 6 months (105 v. 315 µg/l). Neither infant UIC nor BMIC were associated with infant thyroid function tests. In conclusion, breastfed infants in Norway are at risk of insufficient iodine intake during the first months of life. Maternal iodine nutrition is important for providing sufficient iodine intake in infants, and awareness of promoting adequate iodine nutrition for lactating women should be prioritised.