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Dietary Iodine Absorption is not Influenced by Malabsorptive Bariatric Surgery

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Bariatric surgery is accompanied by malabsorption of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and trace elements. Iodine is essential to the synthesis of thyroid hormones. The aim of this study was to estimate the daily iodine intake in severely obese patients before and after bariatric surgery.


Thirty-five severely obese patients (obese group) with a BMI of 51.3 ± 8.3 kg/m2 were studied before, 3 months, and 6 months after bariatric surgery. Eleven out of 35 patients were subjected to gastric bypass operation Roux-en-Y and 24 were subjected to a variant of biliopancreatic diversion with long limb procedure. The patients did not use any iodine supplements and no iodine antiseptics were administered during the operation. The messmates of the patients, following a similar diet (control group) with a BMI of 31.2 ± 10.7 kg/m2, were also studied. Serum T3, T4, TSH, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, urinary iodine excretion (UIE) in a spot urine, and thyroid volume were measured in all subjects, at baseline and at 3- and 6-month follow-up in the obese group.


UIE at baseline was similar in obese and control group (median (min-max), 129.5 (24.9–462) vs. 138.9 (30.8–381) μg/L, ns). In the obese group, a transient increase of UIE was observed 3 months after the operation and returned to baseline levels 6-months postsurgery.


The UIE is not reduced after malabsorptive bariatric surgery, although all stomach, duodenum, and a substantial part of jejunum were bypassed. It appears that iodine is absorbed sufficiently along the remaining gastrointestinal tract.

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Conflict of Interest

Michalaki M., Volonakis S., Mamali I., Kalfarentzos F., Vagenakis A.G., and Markou K.B. have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to K. B. Markou.

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Michalaki, M., Volonakis, S., Mamali, I. et al. Dietary Iodine Absorption is not Influenced by Malabsorptive Bariatric Surgery. OBES SURG 24, 1921–1925 (2014).

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