Electrolyte loss in sweat and iodine deficiency in a hot environment

Arch Environ Health. May-Jun 2001;56(3):271-7. doi: 10.1080/00039890109604453.


The authors studied electrolyte loss from profuse sweating in soccer-team players and evaluated the relationship between this source of iodine loss and iodine deficiency. Thirteen male soccer-team players and 100 sedentary students from the same high school were evaluated for 8 d, during which the players were training. The authors analyzed 208 sweat samples to determine losses of iodine, sodium, potassium, and calcium in sweat. Excretion of urinary electrolytes by the subjects was also measured. The mean losses of iodine, sodium, potassium, and calcium in sweat following a 1-hr game were 52 microg, 1,896 mg, 248 mg, and 20 mg, respectively; the ratios of sweat loss to urinary daily loss of the four electrolytes were 0.75, 0.2, 1.88, and 0.92, respectively. Urinary iodine was significantly (p < .02) lower than the normal level of 50 microg/gm creatinine in 38.5% of the soccer players, compared with 2% of the sedentary students. Forty-six percent of the players had Grade I goiter, compared with a mere 1% of the sedentary students (p < .01). The results of the study suggest that loss of iodine through profuse sweating may lead to iodine deficiency, and loss of electrolytes through sweating may have a dietary significance for heat-stressed individuals or for individuals who perform heavy workloads.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Calcium / urine
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electrolytes / analysis*
  • Electrolytes / urine
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Iodine / analysis*
  • Iodine / deficiency*
  • Iodine / urine
  • Male
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Potassium / urine
  • Soccer
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Sodium / urine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweat / metabolism*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Electrolytes
  • Iodine
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium