In January 2019 researchers from Australia published the results of their study to assess the impact of current Government recommendations for pregnant women to take iodine supplementation (150 µg/day) so as to ensure adequate iodine levels during pregnancy. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of mental impairment worldwide and and can cause reduced neurodevelopment in early life, with babies born to iodine deficient mothers being at high risk of cognitive disability. Babies born to iodine deficient mothers are at high risk of cognitive disability. Urinary iodine concentration was measured in 255 pregnant women (gestation range 6 to 41 weeks) and it was found to be below the range considered adequate during pregnancy in 61 individuals who had never taken iodine supplementation and 23 who were no longer taking the supplementation. The researchers found that despite recommendations for iodine supplementation pregnant Tasmanian women remain at risk of iodine deficiency. Commencing an I-supp of 150 µg/day prior to conception and continuing throughout pregnancy is required to ensure adequacy. Timely advice regarding the importance of adequate iodine nutrition, including supplementation is needed to reduce the risk of irreversible in utero neurocognitive damage to the foetus.
Hynes KL et al. Women Remain at Risk of Iodine Deficiency during Pregnancy: The Importance of Iodine Supplementation before Conception and Throughout Gestation. Nutrients. 2019 Jan 15;11(1). pii: E172.