Low Iodine Intake from Dairy Foods Despite High Milk Iodine Content in Israel

Thyroid. 2018 Aug;28(8):1042-1051. doi: 10.1089/thy.2017.0654.


Background: Milk is a major source of iodine in human nutrition. Because both iodine content and the consumption of milk and dairy vary widely over time and populations, their contribution to iodine intake must be evaluated regularly. A recent national iodine survey found Israel's population to be mildly iodine deficient, possibly due to unmonitored changes in the food content of dietary iodine. Accounting for dairy iodine content can help guide efforts to prevent iodine deficiency.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine the iodine concentration of dairy products typically consumed in the Israeli diet, and to estimate iodine intake from dairy products among Israeli adults.

Methods: Iodine was analyzed in 33 selected dairy products that account for 89% of the total population's dairy intake according to the "MABAT" Israeli National Health and Nutrition survey. Based on these data, the distribution of iodine intake from milk, dairy, and dairy-based foods in the adult population was calculated.

Results: Israeli milk is rich in iodine, with a mean concentration of 22 μg/100 g. However, due to low dairy consumption, the mean iodine intake from milk and dairy was only 34 μg/day (median 23 μg/day; range: 0-337 μg/day) or 22% of the recommended daily allowance. Self-reported intake among poor, male, and Arab subgroups was even lower.

Conclusions: Because Israeli milk and dairy products are iodine rich, their contribution to the population's iodine intake would increase if they were consumed in greater amounts, particularly by high-risk groups. Dairy's potential contribution to iodine nutrition should be considered in recommendations for dairy consumption and iodine prophylaxis.

Keywords: dairy; iodine; iodine deficiency disorders; milk; nutrition; thyroid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dairy Products / analysis*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iodine / analysis*
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Iodine