Iodine fortification of foods and condiments, other than salt, for preventing iodine deficiency disorders.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 02 12; 2:CD010734.CD
Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) affect close to 1.9 billion people worldwide, and are a major public health concern in many countries. Among children, iodine deficiency is the main cause of potentially preventable deficits of central nervous system development and impairment of cognitive function, as well as goitre and hypothyroidism in people of all ages. Salt iodisation is the preferred strategy for IDD prevention and control, however, in some instances where salt is not the major condiment, alternate vehicles for iodine fortification have been considered.
To assess the effects of fortifying foods, beverages, condiments, or seasonings other than salt with iodine alone or in conjunction with other micronutrients, on iodine status and health-related outcomes in all populations.
Studies were identified through systematic searches of the following databases from their start date to January 2018: Cochrane Public Health Group Specialised Register; CENTRAL; MEDLINE; MEDLINE in Process; Embase; Web of Science; CINAHL; POPLINE; AGRICOLA; BIOSIS; Food Science and Technology Abstracts; OpenGrey; Bibliomap and TRoPHI; AGRIS; IBECS; Scielo; Global Index Medicus-AFRO and EMRO; LILACS; PAHO; WHOLIS; WPRO; IMSEAR; IndMED; and Native Health Research Database. We also searched reference list of relevant articles, conference proceedings, and databases of ongoing trials, and contacted experts and relevant organisations to identify any unpublished work. We applied no language or date restrictions.
Studies were eligible if they were randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials (RCT) with randomisation at either the individual or cluster level (including cross-over trials), non-randomised RCTs, or prospective observational studies with a control group, such as cohort studies, controlled before-and-after studies, and interrupted time series. We included studies that examined the effects of fortification of food, beverage, condiment, or seasoning with iodine alone, or in combination with other micronutrients versus the same unfortified food, or no intervention. We considered the following measures: death (all-cause), goitre, physical development, mental development, cognitive function and motor skill development, cretinism, hypothyroidism, adverse effects (any reported by trialists), urinary iodine concentration, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration, and serum thyroglobulin concentration. We included all populations, including pregnant women, from any country.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently assessed study eligibility, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias of included studies.We used random-effects meta-analyses to combine data and generate an overall estimate of treatment effect, when more than one study examined the same outcome measure. The overall effect estimate was calculated as the mean difference (MD) or standardised mean difference (SMD) between the intervention group and the comparison group for continuous outcomes, and as odds ratio (OR) for dichotomous outcomes. We assessed the level of heterogeneity through the I² statistic. We conducted post-hoc subgroup analyses to explore possible sources of heterogeneity, and sensitivity analyses to check the robustness of the findings from the primary analyses. We assessed the quality of the evidence for each outcome using the GRADE framework.Where it was not possible to pool the results in a meta-analysis, we provided a narrative summary of the outcomes.
Eleven studies met the criteria, providing 14 comparisons, and capturing data on 4317 participants. Seven studies were RCTs, three were cluster non-RCTs, and one was a randomised cross-over design. Seven studies were carried out among school children (N = 3636), three among women of reproductive age (N = 648), and one among infants (N = 33). The studies used diverse types of food as vehicle for iodine delivery: biscuits, milk, fish sauce, drinking water, yoghourt, fruit beverage, seasoning powder, and infant formula milk. Daily amounts of iodine provided ranged from 35 µg/day to 220 µg/day; trial duration ranged from 11 days to 48 weeks. Five studies examined the effect of iodine fortification alone, two against the same unfortified food, and three against no intervention. Six studies evaluated the effect of cofortification of iodine with other micronutrients versus the same food without iodine but with different levels of other micronutrients. We assessed one study to be at low risk of bias for all bias domains, three at low risk of bias for all domains apart from selective reporting, and seven at an overall rating of high risk of bias.No study assessed the primary outcomes of death, mental development, cognitive function, cretinism, or hypothyroidism, or secondary outcomes of TSH or serum thyroglobulin concentration. Two studies reported the effects on goitre, one on physical development measures, and one on adverse effects. All studies assessed urinary iodine concentration.The effects of iodine fortification compared to control on goitre prevalence (OR 1.60, 95% CI 0.60 to 4.31; 1 non-RCT, 83 participants; very low-quality evidence), and five physical development measures were uncertain (1 non-RCT, 83 participants; very low-quality evidence): weight (MD 0.23 kg, 95% CI -6.30 to 6.77); height (MD -0.66 cm, 95% CI -4.64 to 3.33); weight-for-age (MD 0.05, 95% CI -0.59 to 0.69); height-for-age (MD -0.30, 95% CI -0.75 to 0.15); and weight-for-height (MD -0.21, 95% CI -0.51 to 0.10). One study reported that there were no adverse events observed during the cross-over trial (low-quality evidence).Pooled results from RCTs showed that urinary iodine concentration significantly increased following iodine fortification (SMD 0.59, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.81; 6 RCTs, 2032 participants; moderate-quality evidence). This is equivalent to an increase of 38.32 µg/L (95% CI 24.03 to 52.61 µg/L). This effect was not observed in the meta-analysis of non-RCTs (SMD 0.25, 95% CI -0.16 to 0.66; 3 non-RCTs, 262 participants; very low-quality evidence). Sensitivity analyses did not change the effect observed in the primary analyses.