Fish is one of the iodine rich foods recommended during pregnancy. (Photo Credit: Petr Kratochvil/FIS)
Iodine-rich foods like fish recommended during pregnancy
Friday, May 24, 2013, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
A new study has found that iodine deficiency in pregnant women may result in an adverse effect on the mental development of those women’s children. Experts are advising pregnant women to ingest more dairy and fish to prevent iodine deficiency.
The study included around 1,000 UK mothers and their children and raises awareness of the significance of the iodine status of pregnant women as a public-health issue. The results were published in The Lancet.
Iodine, consumed mainly via dairy and seafood, is necessary for the production of the hormones made by the thyroid gland, which directly affect fetal brain development. The effect of mild or moderate iodine deficiency, as opposed to a serious deficiency, during pregnancy on cognitive development in the child has received very little scientific attention.
Researchers from Surrey and Bristol universities used data from the Bristol-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a long-term health research project, in which more than 14,000 pregnant women enrolled in 1991 and 1992, and which has since been documenting the health and development of their children.
The iodine concentration in urine samples taken in the first trimester from 1,040 pregnant women were measured while using World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on recommended concentrations of iodine levels. They classified women with a ratio of less than 150 μg/g as being iodine deficient, and those with a ratio of 150 μg/g or more as iodine sufficient -- 67 per cent of the women were found to be iodine deficient.
Further, assessing mental development of the women’s children by measuring child IQ at age 8 and reading ability at age 9, the researchers found that those in the iodine-deficient group were significantly more likely to have low scores of verbal IQ, reading accuracy and reading comprehension.
“Pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should ensure adequate iodine intake; good dietary sources are milk, dairy products and fish,” said Dr Sarah Bath, a co-author and registered dietician.
Co-author and ALSPAC founder Professor Jean Golding OBE said the study further proves the importance of eating iodine-rich foods like fish during pregnancy.
Photo Credit: Petr Kratochvil/FIS
By Natalia Real