Low Iodine Levels Can Cause Neurological Problems

A new study suggests that women with low iodine levels are likely to have children with impaired neurological conditions. ScienceDaily reports that changing nutrition trends, including a shift from using iodized salt and eating animal products containing iodine, can be blamed for low iodine levels.

Different iodine levels for vegans

A small pilot research conducted by the University of South Australia compared iodine levels of 57 participants. These participants comprised 31 vegan dieters and 26 omnivore dieters. 

The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Its results showed average iodine readings of 64 ug/L for omnivores and 44 ug/ L for vegans in urine samples.

Surprisingly, none of the two groups was close to the WHO recommended 100 ug/L. Additionally, participants who opted for pink/ Himalayan salt instead of iodized options had brutally low iodine levels at 23 ug/L.

 Although the study was carried out in South Australia, it mirrors a 2017 study from the US, which suggested that over 2 billion people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency, 50 million experiencing clinical effects.

A UniSA research dietitian, Jane Whitbread, explains that iodine is critical to fetal development. She further added that mild to moderate iodine deficiency has been found to contribute to affect memory, language development, and mental processing speeds.

Iodine during pregnancy

The research dietitian also explains that during pregnancy, the need for iodine increases, and a 150 mg tablet is recommended throughout the entire pregnancy. Unfortunately, most women are not taking iodine supplements during pregnancy, she adds.

In a similar report by News-Medical.net, dietary sources of iodine are seafood, iodized salt, fortified bread, eggs, and dairy products. Concerns over the possible association between iodine deficiency and impaired neurological conditions led to the 2009 fortification of non-organic bread with iodized salt in Australia.

 Previous studies indicated that women who take at least three slices of iodine fortified bread every day are more likely to meet their iodine requirements than those who don’t. The average daily consumption of women in the study, however, was one slice. Furthermore, about a quarter of the women in the study prefer pinky/Himalayan salts as opposed to iodized salts.

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