Iodine is critical during pregnancy as the thyroid uses this mineral to make all-important thyroid hormones which in turn ensure normal development of the brain and nervous system of the unborn baby.
For this reason it’s vital that pregnant women or women considering having a baby get enough iodine.
The thyroid acts as a ‘sponge’ for iodine and once absorbed concentrates this key nutrient. Iodine is used to manufacture thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The 3 and 4 actually indicate the number of iodine molecules contained within each hormone.
Iodine and a healthy pregnancy
During pregnancy the thyroid is particularly active and produces about 50% more thyroid hormones than usual. To produce enough thyroid hormones pregnant woman need to increase their iodine intake.
A lack of maternal iodine intake has the potential to negatively impact on the developing baby. There is concern that even a mild iodine deficiency could lead to children born with a lower intelligence quotient (IQ).
Iodine for breastfeeding mums
The demand for iodine persists during breast feeding as this nutrient is vital for the baby to continue to grow and develop properly. However the iodine concentration of breast milk can be vary greatly depending on how much iodine the mother is getting from the diet or nutritional supplements.
Declining dietary intake of iodine
Seafood and sea vegetables are naturally rich in iodine. Other food sources include iodised salt and plant based foods grown in nutrient rich soil.
However due to variable soil quality most foods grown in Australia contain only trace amounts of iodine. This makes it difficult for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get enough iodine through diet alone.
Due to the important role iodine plays in pregnancy the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends a daily intake of 220 micrograms (μg) of iodine per day for women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy. The recommended daily intake to support ongoing development of the newborn during breastfeeding is set at 270 micrograms (μg) per day.
Iodine supplements supply iodine in two main forms; potassium iodide or iodine sourced naturally from Bladderwrack. A superior quality Bladderwrack supplement lists the botanical name Fucus vesiculosis on the label and guarantees a standardised amount of iodine per capsule.
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Louise O’ Connor, the author of The Natural Thyroid Diet –The 4-Week Plan to Living Well, Living Vibrantly, who is a specialist in Thyroid Health. She is a highly regarded Australian Naturopath and founder of Wellnesswork.
The Natural Thyroid Diet goes beyond diet advice and offers practical and effective ways to achieve healthy thyroid levels within just a short period of time. For more details, Click on The-Natural-Thyroid-Diet.com