Iodine Deficiency in women: Recent studies have revealed that lack of iodine in a woman’s body might cause neurological disorders in her children.
The relevance of iodine in salts has been a major USP for various brands since time immemorial, the advertisements revolving around salt have always advocated for the presence of iodine in their product along with elucidating the health benefits regarding the same.
With growing internet trends and fad around different forms of diets have discouraged the intake of various nutrients and make the person succumb to an ideal practice of maintaining certain body standard, which in turn also causes eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
Although, a new study claims that dietary changes, including a growing trend towards the avoidance of bread and iodised salt, as well as a reduced intake of animal products containing iodine, can increase women’s risk of having children born with impaired neurological conditions.
What does the study say?
According to a study led by researchers at the University of South Australia, young women who have a poor intake of iodine in their bodies have a higher risk of having children with neurological disorders. The findings were published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
While the study was undertaken in South Australia, it builds evidence on a 2017 US study that found nearly two billion people worldwide were iodine deficient, resulting in 50 million experiencing clinical side effects.
How does it affect pregnant women?
Research dietitian Jane Whitbread says adequate iodine is essential for the intellectual development of the foetus, she states, “Mild to moderate iodine deficiency has been shown to affect language development, memory, and mental processing speeds.”
“During pregnancy, the need for iodine is increased and a 150 mcg supplement is recommended prior to conception and throughout pregnancy. Unfortunately, most women do not take iodine supplements before conceiving. It is important to consume adequate iodine, especially during the reproductive years.” she adds.
The link between reduced levels of iodine and neurological disorders in newborns also led to the fortification of non-organic bread with iodised salt in 2009 in Australia. It was reported that women who consume 100g of iodine-fortified bread every day (approximately three pieces) have a five times greater chance of meeting their iodine intake compared to women who don’t consume that much.
The study also included a quarter of women who given pink salt that has a negligible amount of iodine in order to compare the results, neither group met the estimated average requirement (EAR) for calcium.
What should a diet include?
The researchers recommended that both new salts and plant milk be fortified with iodine as well as a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of iodine in the diet, especially for women in their reproductive years.¬†
They also rooted for a diet that was rich in iron, magnesium, vitamin C, folate, and fibre and encouraged the inclusion of iron-rich soy products, wholemeal foods, legumes, and green leafy vegetables in their diet.
For further study and gain insight on a demographic level they also called for a larger study sample to determine the iodine status of Australian women.