Iodine and animal protein may affect thyroid function. In the present study, we explored the association between animal protein intake and thyroid antibody status in pregnant women following universal salt iodisation.
Pregnant women were enrolled using a multistage, stratified random sampling method in Shanghai. In total, 4646 eligible women were interviewed in person. We used a validated food frequency questionnaire and food composition tables to calculate the daily intakes of protein and iodine. We collected urine samples and performed thyroid antibody tests.
Positive thyrotropin receptor antibody (TR-Ab) rates were different among animal protein intake groups (p < 0.05). Median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was higher in the thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab) positive group than in the negative group (p < 0.05). The median of total protein intake, animal protein intake and UIC was higher in the TR-Ab positive group than in the negative group (p < 0.05). The median of total protein intake and UIC was higher in the TPO-Ab/TG-Ab/TR-Ab positive group than in the negative group (p < 0.05). Multivariable logistic regression results showed that insufficient iodine had a negative correlation with positive TPO-Ab and positive TR-Ab (p < 0.05). The middle third and top third animal protein intakes served as protective factors for TR-Ab (coefficient = 0.559, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.415-0.752, p < 0.001; coefficient = 0.0.406, 95% CI = 0.266-0.621, p < 0.001) and positive TPO-Ab/TR-Ab/TG-Ab (coefficient = 0.817, 95% CI = 0.687-0.971, p = 0.022; coefficient = 0.805, 95% CI = 0.672-0.964, p = 0.018).
Adequate animal protein intake protects against elevated anti-thyroid antibody levels in pregnant women with mild iodine deficiency.

© 2021 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.
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