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1993). There are insufficient dose-response data on dietary iodine intake and serum Tg concentrations to estimate iodine requirements.

Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine Concentration

Assays for both thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations are standard clinical tools for measuring thyroid function, although they are not as sensitive as TSH. In iodine deficiency, serum T4 concentration is decreased and serum T3 concentration is normal or increased, relative to iodine-sufficient controls. This increased T3 concentration is an adaptive response of the thyroid to iodine deficiency. Fasting and malnutrition are associated with low T3 concentrations (Croxson et al., 1977; Gardner et al., 1979). However, most changes take place within the normal range, and the overlap with the iodine-sufficient normal population is large enough to make this a relatively insensitive and unreliable means for assessing iodine nutrition.

FACTORS AFFECTING THE IODINE REQUIREMENT

Bioavailability

Under normal conditions, the absorption of dietary iodine is greater than 90 percent (Albert and Keating, 1949; Nath et al., 1992; Vought and London, 1967). The fate of organic compounds of iodine in the intestine is different from that of iodine. When thyroxine is orally administered, the bioavailability is approximately 75 percent (Hays, 1991).

Soya flour has been shown to inhibit iodine absorption (Pinchera et al., 1965), and goiter and hypothyroidism were reported in several infants consuming infant formula containing soya flour (Shepard et al., 1960). If iodine was added to this formula, goiter did not appear.

Goitrogens

Some foods contain goitrogens, that is, substances that interfere with thyroid hormone production or utilization (Gaitan, 1989). Examples include cassava, which may contain linamarin and is metabolized to thiocyanate which in turn can block thyroidal uptake of iodine; millet, some species of which contain goitrogenic substances; water, particularly from shallow or polluted streams and wells, which



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