Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The use of sugar as a vehicle for iodine supplementation was explored in a study of iodine deficiency in the Sudan. A survey of sugar consumption was conducted and established a widespread and uniform intake of sugar in all ages with no differences among socio-economic groups. The daily intake among adults varied from 48 g to 78 g as examined in five different geographical areas in the country. Iodinated sugar was produced by addition to sugar solution prior to crystallisation in an evapocrystallizer or sprayed on the conveyor of cured sugar before it entered the dryers. Subsequently, the iodinated sugar was given to members of 18 and 60 families in a mildly (urinary iodine < 5.1 micrograms/dl) and moderately (urinary iodine < 3 micrograms/dl) iodine deficient areas, respectively, over a 1-month and a 6-month period, respectively. In both tests, improvements were recorded, i.e. the rates of goitre decreased, urinary iodine levels increased significantly (from 5.1 to 14.4 micrograms/dl and from 3 to 9.8 micrograms/dl, respectively) and thyroid hormones values rose. No side effects were noted. The results indicate that fortification of sugar with iodine may serve as a new alternative approach in attempts to eradicate iodine deficiency related disorders in endemic areas.