Purpose: We evaluated the effects of vitamin D levels and iodine intake on thyroid autoimmunity and dysfunction in the Korean population.
Methods: In this nationwide population-based study, data were obtained from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey VI-1 and 2 (2013 and 2014), which was the first nationwide survey that measured both serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and urinary iodine concentrations (UICs) in Korea. A total of 4181 participants who underwent laboratory tests for thyroid function, serum 25(OH)D levels, and UICs were included.
Results: Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) positivity was more prevalent in the vitamin D deficient group (9.1%) than the vitamin D insufficient and sufficient groups (5.3% each; P = 0.016). The rate of TPOAb positivity was significantly higher in the iodine deficient group (P = 0.032). Thyroid dysfunction was significantly more prevalent in the iodine excessive group than in the other groups in total (P = 0.016) and TPOAb negative participants (P = 0.007). In the vitamin D deficient group, excessive iodine intake was significantly associated with high prevalence of thyroid dysfunction in total and TPOAb negative participants (P = 0.021 and P = 0.033, respectively). In the vitamin D insufficient and sufficient groups, association between thyroid dysfunction and iodine intake disappeared in total and TPOAb negative participants.
Conclusions: This nationwide survey revealed a significant association between vitamin D deficiency and high prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity and dysfunction in participants with excessive iodine intake. Our findings might be helpful for elucidating the potential benefit of vitamin D supplements in TPOAb negative patients with excessive iodine intake.
Keywords: Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody; Autoimmunity; Iodine; Thyroid dysfunction; Vitamin D.