Saturday, July 6, 2013

Prenatal Iodine Deficiency Leads to Poor Educational Outcomes 9 Years Later

Reposted from Dr. Brownstein

For nearly 100 years, it has been known that insufficient iodine levels can lead to lowered IQ levels in children.  Australian researchers studied whether children born to mothers with mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy have poorer educational outcomes in elementary school as compared to peers whose mothers did not have mild gestational iodine deficiency.  All of the children grew up in an “iodine-replete environment”—that means they had access to iodized salt and other dietary sources of iodine which are thought to maintain iodine sufficiency.  The children were followed for nine years where they were assessed with standardized tests.   

The researchers found that nine years later, as compared to children of mothers who did not have mild iodine deficiency in pregnancy, mildly iodine-deficient pregnant women’s children experienced significant reductions in spelling, grammar and English literacy.  The authors summarized their findings by stating, “This study provides preliminary evidence that even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy can have long-term adverse impacts on fetal neurocognition that are not ameliorated by iodine sufficiency during childhood.” (J. Clin. Endcrin. and Metab.  May, 2013. 98(5):1954-62)

Comment:  Folks, this is another in a long list of studies which show that maternal iodine deficiency adversely affects their IQ of children.  Iodine is a crucial substance needed for normal neurological and brain development of the fetus.  Inadequate iodine intake of the mother can have long-term ramifications, as shown in this study.   

This is an important study.  It reiterates what I have been writing about—iodine deficiency is a present-day problem.  At my office, we have now tested over 6,000 patients for their iodine levels.  I can assure you that iodine deficiency is occurring at epidemic rates—over 96% of our patients have tested low in iodine.  Most have tested for severely low iodine levels.   Those are my statistics.  The U.S. Government’s statistics from NHANES show that almost 60% of pregnancy-aged women are suffering from inadequate iodine intake. (1)  Iodine deficiency should be considered a national emergency.

We are suffering from an epidemic of childhood neurological disorders such as ADHD and autism. (2)  I have no doubt that iodine deficiency is a part of these problems.  Other researchers have correlated low iodine levels with a concomitant rise in autism and ADHD in EVERY Western country in which it was studied. (3)   Although the research in autism and ADHD is not totally clear, I feel iodine deficiency, as an underlying cause, should be more closely examined.    

Over the last 40 years, Iodine deficiency has been exacerbated due to our increasing exposure to toxic halides such as bromine, chloride, and fluorine that competitively inhibit and compete with iodine for absorption and receptor binding in the body.  As our exposure to these toxic halides has increased, it is no wonder that we are suffering with the consequences of iodine deficiency.  These consequences include more than just neurological problems—they include cancer of the breast, thyroid, ovaries, uterus, and prostate.  Also, this list includes other thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disorders.  

What can you do?  Find a health care provider knowledgeable about iodine—that can be difficult as more doctors know little about it.  Next, have your iodine levels examined.  If you are low, supplement with iodine.  Average iodine doses vary between 6-50mg/day for most patients.  More information about iodine can be found in my lecture DVD and book—Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It.

(1)   Thyroid. Vol. 21 N. 4. 2011

(2)   J. Clin. Endocrin.  12/2004

(3)    Arch. Des. Child. Fetal Neonatal Ed.  2004. Sep;89(5):F436-9

Med. J. Aust. 2003;178(4):159-162

Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr.  2003;12. Suppl. S15

BMJ Letters.  10.13.04.