Iodine content of traditional Greenlandic food items and tap water in East and West Greenland

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Andersen, Stig ; Hvingel, Bodil ; Laurberg, Peter (2002)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v61i4.17491
  • Subject: beverages, Greenland, Inuit, Iodine, tap water, traditional food

Objectives. The iodine intake level is important for the occurrence of thyroid disorders in a population. The iodine intake in Greenland has been proposed to be more than ten times the recommended level. However, no measurements have been performed to determine the iodine content of Greenlandic food items, drinking water, and beverages available in East and West Greenland. Study desing. Food samples were collected at the local market, kalaalimineerniarfik, in Nuuk and Ammassalik, and tap water was obtained from all towns in Greenland. Beverages were purchased at Kalaallit Niuerfiat KNI Pisiniarfik. Results. Iodine content of seal, whale, wild fowl, reindeer, and musk ox varied between 4 and 195 μg/kg with low values for terrestrial animals (< 10 μg/kg) and higher values for marine animals (10 - 195 μg/kg). The iodine content of fish varied from 9 μg/kg in freshwater fish to 1,380 μg/kg in a sample of cod. The iodine content of sea mammals was: blubber 130 μg/kg; viscera 70 μg/kg; meat 21 μg/kg. No difference was observed between animals from East Greenland and West Greenland (P > 0.1). Iodine content of tap water was below 3.3 μg/l for all towns. Two sorts of beer had a high iodine content, up to 240 μg/l. The iodine content of all other beverages was 5 - 38 μg/l. Conclusion. We found a relatively high iodine content in marine animals but low iodine content in tap water and beverages in Greenland. The food and drinking water evaluated in the present study indicate adequate iodine intake in this area and do not sup-port the notion that Greenland is an area of excessive iodine intake.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2002; 61(4):332-340)Keywords: beverages, Greenland, Inuit, Iodine, tap water, traditional food
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