Iodine Excretion and Intake in Women of Reproductive Age in South Australia Eating Plant-Based and Omnivore Diets: A Pilot Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 29;18(7):3547. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18073547.


Women consuming a strictly vegan/plant-based diet may be at increased risk of low iodine intake due to avoidance of animal products containing iodine. The aim of this pilot study was to determine the iodine excretion and intake in women consuming vegan/plant based diets compared with women consuming omnivore diets. Fifty-seven women (n = 31 plant-based, n = 26 omnivores), provided two spot urine samples to assess urinary iodine concentration (UIC). Two days of dietary intake were also recorded by participants. As the data were not normally distributed results are reported as median (IQR). UIC was significantly different between groups, 44 (26-66) µg/L in the vegan/plant-based group versus 64 (40-88) µg/L in omnivores (p < 0.05). UIC did not meet the >100 µg/L level recommended by the World Health Organization. Iodine intake was also significantly different, 78 (62-91) µg/day in the vegan/plant-based group and 125 (86-175) µg/day in the omnivores (p = 0.000). Iodine intake and bread intake were correlated with iodine excretion (CC 0.410-4.11, p = 0.003). These data indicate iodine insufficiency in both groups of women as the median values were below the minimum WHO recommendation. A larger study assessing iodine excretion in the Australian women of reproductive age who are not pregnant or breastfeeding is needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: dietary iodine; plant-based diet; urinary iodine concentration.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • South Australia


  • Iodine