Effect of excess iodine intake on thyroid on human health

Minerva Med. 2017 Apr;108(2):136-146. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4806.17.04923-0. Epub 2017 Jan 12.


The recommended daily intake of iodide, is 150 μg for adolescents and adults, 250 μg for pregnancy and lactation. Thyroid gland is an effective collector of iodine. The active iodine uptake along the basolateral membrane of thyroid cell is followed by its transport to the apical edge of the cell and then to the follicle lumen. TSH acts through cAMP and stimulates NIS gene expression and protein synthesis. The major proportion of iodine in the thyroid gland is bound to Thyroglobulin. The non-organic intrathyroidal iodine is usually low, but significantly greater compared to plasma. Large doses of iodine reduce both the uptake and the organification (Wolff-Chaikoff effect) and cause partial inhibition of Tg proteolysis. The thyroid gland has several protective mechanisms resulting on the maintenance of normal thyroid function despite wide fluctuations of the daily iodine intake. Ingestion of several commonly used drugs and food conservatives results in acute or chronic excessive iodine intake. Failure to escape from the iodine induced organification inhibition can cause hypothyroidism, which is temporary and subsides after iodine exposure ceases. Iodine excess may also establish a status of excessive thyroid hormone synthesis and release, thus inducing autonomic thyroid function in iodopenic areas or can contribute to the development of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism in iodine abundant areas. The anti-arrhythmic Amiodarone, is a benzofuranic product with a very high iodine content, is associated with either hypo- or hyperthyroidism development. In the presence of defective auto-protective mechanisms, excessive iodine ingestion can divert the normal thyroid function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amiodarone / adverse effects
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / etiology*
  • Hypothyroidism / etiology*
  • Iodine / administration & dosage*
  • Iodine / adverse effects*
  • Iodine / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Thyroglobulin / metabolism
  • Thyroid Gland / physiology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Thyrotropin / metabolism
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage*
  • Trace Elements / adverse effects*
  • Trace Elements / metabolism


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Trace Elements
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Iodine
  • Amiodarone