BACKGROUND: Measurement of the 24-h urinary iodine concentration or urinary iodine excretion (UIE) is the gold standard to determine iodine status; however, this method is inconvenient. The use of salivary iodine could be a possible alternative since salivary glands express the sodium-iodine symporter.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to establish the correlation between the salivary iodine secretion and UIE, to evaluate the clinical applicability of the iodine saliva measurement.

METHODS: We collected 24-h urine and saliva samples from 40 participants ≥18 y: 20 healthy volunteers with no specific diet (group 1), 10 patients with differentiated thyroid cancer with a low dietary intake (<50 μg/d, group 2), and 10 patients with a high iodine status as the result of the use of amiodarone (group 3). Urinary and salivary iodine were measured using a validated inductively coupled plasma MS method. To correct for differences in water content, the salivary iodine concentration (SIC) was corrected for salivary protein and urea concentrations (SI/SP and SI/SU, respectively). The intra- and inter-individual CVs were calculated, and the Kruskal-Wallis test and Spearman's correlation were used.

RESULTS: The intra-individual CVs for SIC, SI/SP, and SI/SU were 63.8%, 37.7%, and 26.9%, respectively. The inter-individual CVs for SIC, SI/SP, and SI/SU were 77.5%, 41.6% and 47.0%, respectively. We found significant differences (P < 0.01) in urinary and salivary iodine concentrations between all groups [the 24-h UIE values were 176 μg/d (IQR, 96.1-213 μg/d), 26.0 μg/d (IQR, 22.0-37.0 μg/d), and 10.0*103 μg/d (IQR, 7.57*103-11.4*103 μg/d) in groups 1-3, respectively; the SIC values were 136 μg/L (IQR, 86.3-308 μg/L), 71.5 μg/L (IQR, 29.5-94.5 μg/L), and 14.3*103 μg/L (IQR, 10.6*103-25.6*103 μg/L) in groups 1-3, respectively]. Correlations between the 24-h UIE and SIC, SI/SP, and SI/SU values were strong (ρ = 0.80, ρ = 0.90, and ρ = 0.86, respectively; P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Strong correlations were found between salivary and urinary iodine in adults with different daily iodine intakes. A salivary iodine measurement can be performed to assess the total iodine body pool, with the recommendation to correct for salivary protein or urea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3671-3677
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Early online date29-Sept-2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2021


  • salivary iodine
  • urinary iodine
  • salivary protein
  • salivary urea
  • iodine intake
  • DIET

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