Iodine Nutrition in Weaning Infants in the United States

Thyroid. 2019 Apr;29(4):573-576. doi: 10.1089/thy.2018.0102. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


Background: As iodine is a requisite micronutrient for infant brain development, infants are at risk for iodine deficiency during the weaning period when their diet transitions from milk (breast-milk, infant formula, or follow-on formula) to solid food. Dietary iodine intake during this weaning period is likely minimal, as the iodine content of commercial baby food is not regulated, and the addition of salt to baby food is not recommended. This study reports the current status of iodine nutrition among weaning infants in the United States.

Methods: Subjects (n = 60; 50% Caucasian, 30% black) were infants <12 months of age who were fed any combination of formula and/or baby food. Samples of all formula and food consumed in the previous 24 hours and a spot urine sample from each infant were obtained for the measurement of iodine. The estimated quantities of ingested formula and baby food were summed from a food diary recorded by the infants' parents.

Results: The mean age of the infants was 6.3 ± 3.5 months. The median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was 117 μg/L (range 26.9-1302.8 μg/L). Estimated daily iodine intake obtained from the measured iodine content in infant formula/foods was 89 μg (range 0-288 μg). There was a positive correlation between the infants' UIC and the iodine content in the consumed foods (r = 0.4, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Although the median UIC of infants fed a combination of infant formula and baby food would meet the criteria for iodine sufficiency in a larger sample, those consuming the lowest quartile of iodine-containing nutritional sources had a median UIC <100 μg/L.

Keywords: brain development; infants; iodine; iodine nutrition; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Boston
  • Bottle Feeding*
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Child Development
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food / analysis*
  • Infant Formula / analysis*
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Iodine / analysis*
  • Iodine / deficiency
  • Iodine / urine
  • Los Angeles
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances*
  • Weaning


  • Iodine