Iodine is best known for its central role in healthy function of your thyroid gland. A little less known, are its other important health benefits such as its crucial role for brain development in children, maintaining breast health in women, preventing some cancers and even helping female fertility.
Iodine deficiency (a lack of sufficient iodine in the diet), on the other hand, can cause weight gain, low energy, depression, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and a variety of cancers. It has also been linked to fibrocystic breast disease, a non-cancerous condition in which breasts feel tender and lumpy.
So how does Iodine play a role in helping women become pregnant?
” In a study led by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; women with moderate-to-severe iodine deficiency were 46% less likely to become pregnant during each menstrual cycle than women whose iodine were deemed sufficient.
Women who are thinking of becoming pregnant may need more iodine.” (1)
Once a woman is pregnant, iodine is crucial for proper fetal brain and nervous development and to help regulate the baby’s metabolism. The evolutionary reasons for this are clear: iodine is essential to the developing newborn brain, so the mother’s body must have a direct means of supplying iodine to the nursing infant. (2)(3)
A deficiency during pregnancy can also cause the mother to suffer from an underactive thyroid marked by fatigue, cold sensitivity and other symptoms.
Despite the important health benefits of Iodine, rates of iodine deficiency have reached epidemic levels, increasing fourfold over the past 40 years. A startling 74% of normal, “healthy” adults may no longer be consuming sufficient quantities. (4)
Fortunately, all iodine deficiency disorders and related health dangers can be prevented by adequate intake of iodine. The best dietary source of iodine includes seafood, yogurt, milk and eggs; it is also often added to salt known as Iodized salt.
Making sure to consume enough Iodine is crucial for your health and for your future baby’s health as well!
(2) Patrick L. Iodine: deficiency and therapeutic considerations. Altern Med Rev. 2008 Jun;13(2):116-27.
(3) Topper YJ, Freeman CS. Multiple hormone interactions in the developmental biology of the mammary gland. Physiol Rev 1980 Oct;60(4):1049-106