Kuang Kuay Lim, Ming Wong, Wan Nazaimoon Wan Mohamud and Mor Azmi Kamaruddin (2013). Iodized salt supplementation and its effects on thyroid status amongst Orang Asli in Hulu Selangor, Malaysia. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 22(1): 41-47
Background: This research was performed to determine the prevalence of iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) and the effects of iodized salt supplementation on thyroid status amongst Orang Asli in Hulu Selangor, Malaysia. Methods: Study respondents were from three target groups, i.e. pre-school children (PSC), primary school-going children (SGC) and adult women. Each household was supplied with iodized salt fortified with iodate fortificant for a period of 12 months and the iodine levels in the salt ranged from 20 to 30 μg/L. Samples collected before and after 6 and 12 months of introduction to iodized salt were urine from all groups, as well as serum samples from adult women. Results: A total of 200 respondents were recruited; 58 (29.0%) PSC, 65 (32.5%) SGC and 77 (38.5%) adult women. The median urine-iodine concentration (mUIC) in all groups were of moderately low before the iodized salt intervention, but increased significantly in all study groups after 6 and 12 months of intervention. However, at the end of the study, there was an increase in severe iodine deficiency (mUIC <20 μg/L) from 7.5% to 12% and about 9% of PSC and SGC respondents had mUIC level of more than 300 μg/L while the adult women showed a significant increase in free triiodothyronine (fT3) levels. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that iodized salt supplementation was able to show an improvement in iodine level amongst Orang Asli. However, an increase in severe iodine deficiency and iodine excess indicated that the iodized salt programme needs to be carefully monitored.