Importance of Iodine in pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as adults and children

Importance of consuming iodine rich foods during pregnancy and post-partum, as well as adults

• I came across a study about iodine status in pregnancy and post-natal, breastfeed or not. I am always amazed when there are lots of research studies showing certain nutrients are essential for the well being of the adults or babies and nothing is done by it or little is done by it. This research was done in Japan and as most people know they eat a lot of seaweeds so their iodine during pregnancy and after should be exceptional. However in this study some women were still susceptible to low iodine in the second and third trimester and post-partum.
• Pregnancy does put a strain on the body thyroid and therefore the iodine requirement is higher than in any other adults. If you are a regular consumer of the iodine rich food that is great, however it can still need some extra if family history of thyroid problem.
• Quite often after pregnancy the thyroid would be in the lower function and therefore according to the individual deficiency of the iodine it might be struggling with working well. This can lead to low energy, problems for the baby to grow and thrive, this is especially if the mother is low in iodine during pregnancy, post-partum and when the baby starts on solid foods.
• Supplementation during pregnancy is a bit of a problem though as too much of it can also cause problems. Consuming raw vegetables form the cabbage family very often can lead to iodine deficiency (cooking them is fine). Also if you or your partner have a history of thyroid problems it is worth to consume once or twice a week the iodine food throughout the pregnancy and after for an optimum level.
• The study reported that according to new guidelines of both the American Thyroid Association (ATA) and the Endocrine Society daily intake of 250μg iodinehas been advised for all pregnant and breast-feeding women, not only in iodine-deficient areas but also iodine-sufficient countries.
• Any intake below 100 micrograms can lead to iodine deficiency and therefore complication for the mother and for the baby growth afterwards as well. The highest sources of iodine is seafish, seaweeds from kombu, wakami, nori and iodized fortified salt. This is valid also for any adults who do not consume a regular portions of seafoods or fortified salt and or seaweeds and they do not live near the sea, as there is a possibility that they might be low.
• Iodine in excess is eliminated via urine so unless you consume massive amount all at once you should be fine, again unless there is a problem already with your thyroid, then you do need to have it checked by your GP.

Fuse Y. et al (2013). Gestational changes of thyroid function and urinary iodine in thyroid antibody-negative Japanese women. Endocr J. 2013;60(9):1095-106


3 Responses to “Importance of Iodine in pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as adults and children”
  1. Wanda says:

    Hi Maria,
    I have been following your newsletter and have enjoyed them. I really enjoyed the article above. I have just started including seaweed in my diet to supplement iodine and also for the other minerals. You mention raw cabbage intereferes negatively with iodine, what about raw fermented cabbage? Looking forward to your insight. Thanks, Wanda.

    • admin says:

      Thank you Wanda, that is great to hear. Best Wishes Maria Esposito

    • admin says:

      Dear Wanda, the fermented cabbage might be ok, usually if you have a thyroid problem it is suggested to avoid any of the cabbage family unless is cooked so that even the little thyroid is working is not affected. Best wishes Maria Esposito BSc (Hons)

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