New Study Linking Iodine Consumption During Pregnancy And Children’s Test Scores

schoolbusBel Marra Health, who offers high-quality, specially formulated vitamins and nutritional supplements, reports a new study revealing an association between expectant mothers’ iodine levels and their child’s mental abilities and test scores.

As Bel Marra Health reports in its article, (, most pregnant women and women in their child-bearing years are already aware that a healthy diet should consist of fruits, vegetables and minerals such as calcium. However, the importance of trace minerals like iodine is rarely spoken about. Doctors know that severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause mental disabilities in children; but new research now shows that even milder iodine deficiencies during pregnancy can lead to significant effects on children’s mental development.

Iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function; however iodine is not produced by the body. Therefore, it must be obtained from the diet. Current recommendations by Dietitians of Canada state that adults should consume a minimum of 150 mcg of iodine per day, pregnant women should consume a minimum of 220 mcg per day, and breast-feeding women should consume a minimum of 290 mcg per day.

Iodine can be found in dairy foods (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), certain fruit and vegetables (sea vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, etc.), and some types of fish (cod, haddock and tuna). However, the primary source of iodine for most of us is ionized table salt. A healthy route to obtaining sufficient iodine is through food sources and modest salt intake.

Kristen Hynes, from the University of Tasmania, conducted a study that evaluated 228 pregnant patients from The Royal Hobart Hospital between 1999 and 2001. The women were divided into two groups – patients with urinary iodine levels below 150 mcg (mildly deficient) and patients with urinary iodine levels above 150 mcg (normal). Educational assessment data from the Australian national curriculum and Tasmanian state curriculum evaluated the children born to these women, 9 years after birth.

The children that were born from mildly iodine-deficient mothers scored, on average, 371 points on the national spelling test and 377 points on the grammar test. Conversely, the children of women who had sufficient iodine levels scored significantly higher – specifically, 412 points on the spelling test and 408 points on the grammar test, on average. In addition, children that were born to women who were mildly iodine deficient scored approximately 6 percent lower on English literacy tests compared to children that were born to women who had sufficient iodine levels.

The research indicates a definitive relationship between mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy and poorer test scores in children born to these women. These results fall in line with other studies that have shown that iodine deficiency interferes with auditory pathways in young brains. This interference affects the child’s ability to process verbal information, as well as other forms of auditory stimulation.

While this research may leave expectant mothers questioning whether they should take an iodine supplement during pregnancy, it’s important to remember that too much of this mineral is not a healthy either. The safe maximum limit for healthy adults and for pregnant women is 1,100mcg.

Excessive consumption of iodine can lead to thyroid dysfunction and/or goiter. In addition to an overall healthy diet, Doctors at Bel Marra Health recommend adding in a few extra portions of iodine-rich dairy foods, fish and sea vegetables to your diet, to help ensure healthy and sufficient levels of iodine intake.

(SOURCE: Seaman, Andrew M., (2013, May 3). Moms’ iodine levels tied to kids’ poor test scores. Reuters Health.)

– Courtesy of PRWeb

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