Although best known for helping to promote proper thyroid functioning, iodine has also been found to play a crucial role in helping women become pregnant.
A study team led by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development tested the urine of 467 women who were attempting to conceive. The volunteers were questioned about other possible risk factors related to infertility, such as age and a history of smoking, and used fertility monitors over the following 12 months to determine ovulation, the optimal time for conception.
Women with moderate-to-severe iodine deficiency were 46% less likely to become pregnant during each menstrual cycle than women whose iodine levels were deemed sufficient. What’s more, even a mild deficiency made conception more difficult.
“Women who are thinking of becoming pregnant may need more iodine,” said lead author James Mills, MD. Study results were published in the journal Human Reproduction.
What surprised the study team was the extent of the problem; nearly a quarter of all urine samples showed significant deficiency. Previous research had found that 30% of women of childbearing age have iodine blood levels below the target of 100 micrograms per liter.
Iodine is crucial for proper fetal brain and nervous system development and helps regulate the baby’s metabolism. A deficiency during pregnancy can also cause the mother to suffer from an underactive thyroid, marked by fatigue, cold sensitivity, and other symptoms.
The best dietary sources of iodine include seafood, yogurt, milk and eggs; it is also often added to salt. Besides poor thyroid function, iodine deficiency has been linked to fibrocystic breast disease, a noncancerous condition in which breasts feel tender and lumpy, and to skin inflammation.
This tip is provided by Energy Times Magazine’s Wellness Watch.
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