Iodine Deficiency in Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Evidence-Based Review of the World's Literature on Iodine Content in Vegetarian Diets

Cheryl Fields, Jonathan Borak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

As the iodine content is generally low in most vegetables and fruits, it is biologically plausible that compliance with strict vegetarian diets would increase risks of iodine deficiency. This chapter responds to these concerns by first considering the prevalence, demography and lifestyle characteristics of vegetarians residing mainly in developed countries and finally, by reviewing the nutrition and epidemiological studies that assessed iodine nutrition in vegetarians. The number of people who self-identify as "vegetarian" or "vegan" is significantly larger than the number who adhere to such diets. The iodine content of vegetarian diets may be inadequate. Vegetarians are generally more educated, have higher socioeconomic status, and more likely to adopt healthy and healthful behaviors. Strict vegetarians and vegans are likely to use iodine supplements. On balance, vegetarians and others following restrictive diets should recognize that they may be at increased risk of iodine, as well as other nutritional, deficiencies. Pregnant vegetarians and vegans are a population at particular risk of iodine deficiency and should use iodinecontaining prenatal vitamins. Nutritional studies suggest that the iodine content of vegetarian diets may be inadequate, but adherence to a vegetarian diet need not lead to iodine deficiency. As diets become increasingly restrictive, assurance of adequate iodine intake increasingly depends on the appropriate use of iodized salt and other dietary supplements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComprehensive Handbook of Iodine
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages521-531
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780123741356
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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