Thank you to Anna King and BBC Gloucestershire for inviting me onto the show on Friday to discuss the new findings published in the Lancet -“The effect of inadequate iodine status in UK pregnant women on cognitive outcomes in their children”.
The study looks at the relationship between iodine deficiency during pregnancy and children’s mental development. The study from the ALSPAC cohort included 1000 mothers and their children and found that iodine deficiency in pregnancy may have an adverse effect on children’s learning outcomes and found that children of women in the iodine-deficient group were significantly more likely to have low scores of verbal IQ, reading accuracy, and reading comprehension at ages 8 and 9. Previous studies with ALSPAC have contributed to our knowledge of the health benefits of increasing fish in the diet, due to the high levels of healthy omega 3’s.
This study supports the need for a healthy diet pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy. Most people should be able to get all the iodine they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Food rich in iodine include milk, dairy products and fish and these foods are already recommended as part of a healthy diet.
For my top tips to ensure sufficient fish in the diet, see my earlier post on ‘Oily Fish and getting your Omega-3’s). For a half term boost of iodine and for all those heading out to The Gower, try the Welsh delicacy Laverbread made from seaweed which is packed full of dietary minerals including iodine and iron.
Here is the link to the BBC news coverage of the story and also the British Dietetic Association (BDA) website, who have produced a fantastic PDF for anyone who wants to know more or may have concerns regarding their iodine intake.