Why Iodine Is Essential To Your Baby's Mental Well-Being And Intellectual Development

Health & Medical Blog

Iodine is an essential nutrient for everyone, but especially for pregnant women. You may think using iodized salt during pregnancy is enough, but you would be wrong. Doctors are now recommending that all pregnant women take supplemental iodine.

Why Iodine Is Important

Iodine is essential for the proper development of your baby's brain. Severe iodine deficiency in children causes stunted mental and physical growth, but even a mild iodine deficiency can affect brain function. Iodine was also found to protect babies from environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke and excessive nitrates.  

How Much Iodine Should You Take?

About a third of all pregnant women in the U.S. are iodine deficient, and only 15 to 20 percent of breast-feeding or pregnant women take an iodine supplement. The Journal of Pediatrics published a study showing that taking too much supplemental iodine during pregnancy can cause your baby to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism, which can lead to retarded growth or mental abilities and heart problems. On the other hand, too little iodine can also lead to the same condition. The recommended dosage for pregnant women is 220 micrograms and 290 micrograms for nursing mothers. The upper safe limit from all sources, including prenatal vitamins, iodine supplements and food, is 1,100 micrograms.

The Dangers of Bromine

Bromine and iodine are both halides, and bromine displaces iodine in the thyroid, causing it not to be able to function normally. Bromine is found in commercial baked goods, brominated soft drinks and a variety of other foods and medicines. Pregnant women should check labels carefully and avoid bromine in all forms.

Best Sources of Iodine

The best way to get quality iodine is through iodine rich foods. Top sources of iodine in foods include

  • 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt with 71 micrograms
  • 1 gram seaweed with from 16 to 2,900 micrograms
  • 1 cup of yogurt with 75 micrograms
  • 1 cup of milk with 56 micrograms
  • 3 ounces of baked cod with 99 micrograms

Other sources of iodine include cranberries, navy beans, strawberries, cheese and potatoes.

Iodine is essential for the maximum development of your baby's brain. Studies show that iodine deficiency in babies can lead to delayed intellectual development and other medical issues. Avoid foods high in bromine, which displaces iodine in your thyroid, and eat foods that are good sources of natural iodine daily. Ask your obstetrician or another professional like those at the Pregnancy Center Of Wayne County for more information on how important iodine is for your and your baby's health.


18 February 2016

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