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Iodine deficiency and the link to baby IQ: tell us what you want to know!

(51 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-May-13 09:44:30

Hello. It's all over the news today that a Lancet study is suggesting that mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy could be dimming the intellect of some babies born in the UK.

We realise this might be a bit worrying to anyone who's pregnant - and we'd like to whip together a helpful content page of info and advice.

To help us make it as useful as possible, we'd love to hear from you, too. Please tell us what questions you have about all this - anything from why it's a concern to what changes you might need to make to your diet in pregnancy - and we'll make sure you get the answers on the page we build.

Oh, and just to add the obvious rider: if you do have any concerns about the amount of iodine in your diet, you should consult your GP.

That article really isn't clear as to what specific foods two-thirds of pregnant women might be neglecting to eat. If they are implying we don't eat enough fish, how are we meant to balance that against being told to either limit or completely avoid several types of fish? hmm

Do the Omega-3 fish oil pills included with one of the more expensive prego vitamin brands contain any iodine?

Does iodine intake in one trimester matter more than another?

JeanBillie Wed 22-May-13 10:11:43

I am pregnant with my second child, and have never heard anything about iodine - from healthcare professionals or other mums. I generally educate myself about this kind of thing so am a bit mortified!

So I'd like content on all the basics please - how much we need, which foods provide it, and why it's important.

kd83 Wed 22-May-13 10:18:58

From the BBC coverage it seems cows milk is the best dietary source of iodine, which is fine for someone like me who has milk daily on cereal and in tea but what about people who don'? echoing questions above what are the other good sources and should a fish oil supplement be taken?

Also, what happens if you have too much iodine? if you get it in milk like I probably do but take a supplement with it in for some other reason, are you getting too much and could this be damaging?

Our parents generation never had this much to worry about during pregnancy and we seemed to turn out ok!

Crumblemum Wed 22-May-13 10:19:32

Do you know if Iodine are included in most pregnancy vitamins? That would be good to know.

I'd like to know if it's too late for me to do anything about this in the third trimester. I don't drink/eat milk products, rarely eat fish and don't take any supplements, so presumably I'm 'high risk'.

alienbanana Wed 22-May-13 11:12:04

Yes, my main question is - where do you get iodine? I don't drink milk and don't eat shellfish - so should I be taking supplements?

bigkidsdidit Wed 22-May-13 11:18:59

I just checked my (superdrug) pregnancy vitamins and they contain iodine. I have a yogurt and a glass of milk every day as well as 3 cups of tea so hopefully am ok.

The article did say, though, that 67% of women were found to be deficient. Which makes me think that it is not so much that we are deficient and therefore harming our children's chances, more that supplementing a bit (to an unnatural level) might be advantageous, in the same way we do with folic acid.

If 67% of women are deficient I don't think anyone should beat themselves up - it's obviously not something that we get enough of in a british diet!

bigkidsdidit Wed 22-May-13 11:20:30

btw the guardian article said white fish is best not oily. I eat tuna and salmon often but really can't remember the last time I had white fish!

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-May-13 11:21:19

Hello again - and thanks for all of these.

We've got an info page on iodine up on the site now.

Please do have a read and let us know if you find it helpful. And, if you have any further Qs, please do say.

We should add that, if you have any doubts about the amount of iodine you're getting in your diet, you should consult your GP.

iclaudius Wed 22-May-13 11:22:01

My friend told me ages ago to use iodised salt . Salt is great for encouraging absorption of iodine ( I think )
Waitrose sell it

piprabbit Wed 22-May-13 11:27:55

3 IQ points - that's all we're talking about according to the item on the BBC today.

alienbanana Wed 22-May-13 11:34:21

iodised salt - brilliant. smile

FoofFighter Wed 22-May-13 11:46:49

Is this not rather a storm in a teacup over a mere 3 points?

Yet another thing to worry some pregnant women about, on top of yesterdays co-sleeping news.

FoofFighter Wed 22-May-13 11:47:36

especially when there are so many other variables that could affect a child's IQ??

DrSeuss Wed 22-May-13 11:56:05

Can someone who knows about such things please clarify- what does three points actually mean in real terms? I suspect it's a tiny difference. If we were talking about children having real problems learning that would be an issue.

rumtumtugger Wed 22-May-13 12:23:31

it's in pregnacare tablets - 140ug which is 93% of RDI.

SuffolkNWhat Wed 22-May-13 13:25:03

I am lactose intolerant and fish is supposed to be limited in pregnancy, where is the best place for me to get the required amount of iodine.

pippitysqueakity Wed 22-May-13 14:47:53

Also be careful if you have a thyroid issue, iodine not helpful with that.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 22-May-13 15:34:23

I used Iodised salt and have done since I read an article about this in the paper before I conceived my first child.

I am glad about this as I drink organic milk and that has half the amount of iodine, apparently. Something to do with cows eating clover?

badguider Wed 22-May-13 15:47:38

Pregnancy and fish:
Pregnant women should limit oily fish to 2 portions a week and canned tuna t 4 cans.... you can have as much of other white fish (cod, haddock etc) as you like so that shouldn't stop you getting your iodine from fish.

badguider Wed 22-May-13 15:49:01

sorry, white fish except swordfish and marlin..

SolomanDaisy Wed 22-May-13 16:23:51

DrSeuss - there's not a simple answer to that. One person's IQ might vary 3 points from day to day. If it was absolutely accurate, it might mean the child ranked 15th in a class of 30 moved to being 12/13th if their IQ increased 3 points. At precisely the right point in the scale it might make the difference between being able to read and not. At above IQ 140, 3 points difference wouldn't be accurately measurable. So it might mean a massive difference or none at all, depending on the individual child and how accurate you think the testing is.

OneLittleToddleTerror Wed 22-May-13 17:05:15

I remember reading it a while back how iodine is deficient in the British diet. For example, in NZ (and I think in Oz too), iodine is added to the salt and bread. But we also have floride in our drinking water. Maybe it's a british thing to not trust supplements added to our food and water?

OneLittleToddleTerror Wed 22-May-13 17:07:22

iclaudis is the iodised salt you mentioned by Cerebos? I think I might buy that next time.

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