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Pregnant women in Sweden found to suffer from iodine deficiency

Posted:  Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Iodine, a far forgotten nutrient, plays a very important role in neurological development in the growing foetus. Pregnant and lactating women require 50% more iodine in their diet. So are pregnant women consuming sufficient amounts of this nutrient? A recent study conducted in Sweden found that pregnant women had inadequate levels of iodine in their diets.

The cross-sectional study, published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica journal, included 459 non-smoking, pregnant women living in two areas of Sweden. The participants did not suffer from thyroid disease and diabetes. Urine samples were collected in the third trimester of pregnancy to determine iodine levels.

The results showed that the median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) in the study group was 98 μg/l, much lesser than the recommended minimum levels of 150 μg/l. Physiologically, iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Many studies have found that moderate to severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy may impair the baby's neurological development.

In conclusion, the lead researcher said, "Our research reveals an insufficient iodine intake among Swedish women and highlights a need for targeted interventions that optimise iodine nutrition during pregnancy."

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