Iodine is a nutrient essential for the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones are important for normal growth and development, particularly of the brain. The major dietary sources of iodine include seafood (especially seaweed), baked bread and dairy milk. Inadequate amounts of iodine may lead to a range of conditions, including goiter, hypothyroidism, and in severe cases, intellectual disability.1 Since October 2009, regulations have required that salt with added iodine (iodised salt) be used in all bread (except organic bread and bread mixes for making bread at home) in Australia.2
The average iodine intakes from food were estimated to be 191 µg among males and 152 µg among females see Table 1.1. However, intakes of iodine exclude the iodine consumed in table salt both in food preparation and at the table. Given that 29% of the population reported that they add iodised salt in food preparation and 21% add iodised salt at the table, these levels are expected to underestimate the true iodine consumption see Table 12.1. See the 'Interpretation' section of the Nutrient Intake chapter in the Users' Guide for more information. Excluding table salt as a source of iodine, the equal major food group contributors were Cereals and cereal products and Milk products and dishes (28% each), followed by Non-alcoholic beverages (14%, mainly from the milk in coffee and drinking water) see Table 10.55.
For more information on the iodine levels of the Australian population see Feature Article: Iodine from the voluntary urine results collected in National Health Measures Survey.
Iodine, Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and mean daily intake, by age
Mean intake (µg)(b)
|71 and over||100||100||172||147|
(a) National Health and Medical Research Council 2006, Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council < http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iodine>
(b) Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Food and Nutrients, 2011-12
World Health Organization, UNICEF, ICCIDD, 2007, Assessment of iodine deficiency disorders and monitoring their elimination
>, Last accessed 17/04/2014. Back
Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2012, Iodine fortification
>, Last accessed 02/05/2014. Back