Iodine Deficiency Linked to Pregnancy Loss

Iodine deficiency:
· Affects fertility;
· Increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth;
· Can have devastating effects on the baby’s developing brain and also on physical growth: such as severe mental retardation, growth stunting, apathy, and impaired movement, speech or hearing; and is
· Considered the world’s greatest cause of preventable brain damage.

Iodine is a chemical element needed for growth and survival. It is mostly derived from the ocean and the soil. It is found in varying amounts in fruit and vegetables, depending on the concentration of iodine in the soils in which they are grown. The most potent source of iodine is marine fish and other seafood.

Iodine is critical for normal development of the baby in the womb, so iodine intake is vital both during pregnancy, and while lactating.

The World Health Organization recommends the following daily intake for optimal iodine nutrition: pregnant & lactating women -- as well as those trying to conceive -- should have 200 micrograms per day

Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD’s) such as ‘goitre’ pose a severe health hazard to the baby, as listed above.

Even mild iodine deficiency can impair development and cause subtle defects in visual motor skills, hearing and intelligence. Iodine deficiency has resulted in an estimated 80 million children suffering from some form of permanent mental retardation.

Sources of Iodine in our Diets:
· The richest sources of iodine are seafood and seaweed (such as kelp or nori).
Two or three servings of seafood per week will provide sufficient intake of iodine;
· Next richest are eggs, meat and dairy products;
· Followed by fruit and vegetables (grown in soils rich in iodine);
· Iodised salt (iodine has been added).
Note: sea salt is a poor source of iodine, with only 2 micrograms of iodine per gram of sea salt;
· Multivitamins which contain iodine *; and
· Kelp tablets (supplements) *.

* Patients are advised to check with your doctor before taking any supplements, as too much iodine can be toxic (over 1,000 micrograms per day is potentially harmful).

Source: The Australian Nutrition Foundation Inc.

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