The importance of iodine for child development is not to be understated
Pregnancy is never easy. On top of the discomfort and dramatic body changes that come with it, there is also the added pressure of keeping you and your baby healthy. There are endless reports about what is best for foetal growth, from drinking a glass of red wine a day to avoiding alcohol altogether.
But one thing that experts all agree on is the need to include key vitamins and nutrients in your diet, for both your own health and that of your baby. Iodine is one such nutrient, and recent reports have shown just how damaging iodine deficiency during pregnancy can be.
We’re going to take a closer look at the relationship between iodine and child development, exploring the role seaweed has in ensuring pregnant people can achieve their daily iodine intake.
Iodine deficiency in children is a serious concern
The seriousness of iodine deficiency often flies under the radar, but in reality not getting enough iodine during pregnancy can have a significant impact on the long-term health of our children.
In a recent report from the Iodine Global Network (IGN), they stated that over 50% of infants in Europe are at risk of iodine deficiency. This puts a whole generation in danger of low iodine intake, which stimulates the thyroid, increasing the risk of thyroid diseases for millions of children and adults alike – and especially for pregnant people.
IGN also discussed the risks of iodine deficiency during pregnancy in their Annual Report 2020, stating that insufficient iodine intake during pregnancy can lead to lasting brain damage that reduces a child’s IQ by 8 to 10 points, and up to 13.5 points in areas of severe deficiency. Research from the Netherlands, the UK and Spain also found that mild to moderately low levels of iodine in early pregnancy were associated with poorer child verbal IQ scores.
As such, many experts have concluded that a lack of iodine during pregnancy has a direct impact on the cognitive development of our children.
Iodine impacts the thyroid, which has a vital role to play in our children’s health
We all need iodine. Iodine is an essential nutrient that supports the health of our thyroid gland, which in turn has a role to play in our metabolism, heart health, digestive health, skin health and more. However, for pregnant people the importance of iodine is even greater, and research shows that women who are pregnant require around 50% more iodine than other women in order to provide enough iodine for both themselves and their baby.
When you don’t get enough iodine, your thyroid enlarges. Not only can this impact your ability to swallow and breathe comfortably, but in pregnant people severe iodine deficiency has also been connected with congenital abnormalities, preterm delivery and even miscarriages.
Seaweed is a plant-based iodine solution to ease pregnancy stresses
More and more of us our choosing to follow a vegan diet, due to its associated health benefits and the benefits it can have for the planet as a whole. However, without meat or animal products in your diet it can be difficult to ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need for your health, and this is especially true during pregnancy.
In a mixed diet, iodine will mainly be sourced from seafood and dairy, but seaweed provides a plant-based iodine source that makes it easy to achieve your recommended daily dose of iodine.
In fact, just one 500mg capsule of Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® organic seaweed contains as much iodine as a portion of haddock, and can be easily taken every day to achieve your recommend daily intake.