The iodine content of Faroese food items to support iodine nutrition in the North Atlantic

Herborg Líggjasardóttir Johannesen, Stig Andersen, Pál Magni Weihe, Maria Skaalum Petersen, Marin Strøm, Anna Sofía Veyhe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Iodine is essential for human health, and dietary iodine sources are critical. Living isolated on islands in the North Atlantic Ocean fostered unique dietary traditions in the Faroe Islands. The dietary peculiarities led us to collect and measure the iodine content of local foods and beverages and calculate daily iodine intakes based on four Faroese dietary scenarios. Marine foods and birds had iodine contents from 300 µg/kg and up, markedly higher than dairy, grains, terrestrial, vegetables, and liquid foods (p<0.001). Vegetables and beverages contained negligible iodine. Wind-dried fermented lamb meat iodine content varied by 100% depending on whether it was herded on an island with beaches (105 µg/kg) or with cliffs (53 µg/kg) facing the ocean. The daily iodine intake varied from around 50 µg to just over 200 µg with diets rich in fish and whales. In conclusion, the traditional diet has been a critical source of iodine on the Faroe Islands. The Faroese may be iodine replete with traditional diets but face the risk of iodine deficiency with dietary transition towards a more western diet. Locally produced Faroese foods are therefore relevant to promote health, and may additionally support food security, local involvement and knowledge, and long-term sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2233145
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2023


  • iodine
  • traditional food
  • Faroe Islands
  • source of iodine
  • nutrition
  • food security


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