Pregnancy is a very delicate phenomenon most women experience at least once in their lifetime. It entails bearing a fetus inside the womb and nourishing it with the needed nutrients for survival and growth. One of the most important nutrients needed is iodine. According to a study published in the journal The Lancet, iodine supplementation is needed among pregnant women to boost the baby's brain development.
What is iodine? It is a vital nutrient needed for the baby's brain development. However, it is interesting to note that in spite its importance, it is one of the most under consumed nutrients in the planet. It is mainly found in eggs, vegetables, and seafood (especially ocean or saltwater seafood). Pregnant women need a minimum of 220 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per day while breastfeeding women about 290 mcg.
Studies have shown that iodine deficiency is linked to poor mental development among babies and children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in their report on WHO Global Database on Iodine Deficiency, 285.4 million of school-aged children ages 6 to 12 years old have insufficient iodine intake. Majority of the cases can be found in South East Asia, Africa and Western Pacific.
Since there are a few foods that have adequate iodine content, the WHO and UNICEF are requiring universal salt iodization as a global strategy to ensure that pregnant women, children and even adults get the ample amount of iodine required. Thus, pregnant women and even those who are lactating or breastfeeding should take iodine supplements to ensure that babies especially the fetus and those who are two years old and below get the iodine they need.
In the study, the researchers from Birmingham analyzed 1,361 studies to determine the economic impact of IQ and the association of iodine deficiency with poor mental development among babies and children, reports Prevent Disease News.
"It's time for all women living in iodine-deficient countries without universal supplementation of iodine, who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy to be advised to take a daily supplement containing iodine. Even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy is associated with children with lower IQs," study author Professor Kate Jolly from the University of Birmingham said in a statement as reported by Daily Times.