The effects of salt consumption habits on iodine status and thyroid functions during pregnancy


Abstract: Background/aim: Iodine is the basic substrate for thyroid hormone synthesis and is vital for the general population and especially pregnant women. Iodine deficiency may cause severe health problems for a foetus. This study aimed to determine the relationship, if any, between iodine level and thyroid function tests, and to determine the relationship between consumption of salt types and its effects on thyroid function tests in the first trimester of pregnancy. Materials and methods: Three hundred and six pregnant women in the first trimester of pregnancy, who had known no thyroid disease history and had not received iodine supportive therapy, were included in the study. All patients were questioned for their preferred table salt or rock salt in daily use and urine iodine concentrations (UICs) were analysed in spot urine. The results were evaluated statistically according to salt usage preferences. Results: The median age of patients in the study was 27.8 (± 5.4). In terms of salt consumption habits, 235 (76.8%) of patients reported using table salt, and 71 (23.2%) reported using rock salt. Iodine deficiency was found in 75.81% (n = 232) of all cases according to urinalysis. Median UICs of table salt group were significantly higher than rock salt group (123.7 μg/L and 70.9 μg/L respectively, P < 0.001). Conclusion: Although large-scale salt iodination began long time ago, iodine deficiency is still a serious health problem among pregnant women. According to this study, use of rock salt is associated with low urinary iodine concentration in pregnant women and TSH values within the reference limits are not a good indicator for determining the iodine level.

Keywords: Iodine, table salt, rock salt, pregnancy, TSH

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