Prenatal vitamins, like iron, calcium, and folic acid, are critical for a healthy pregnancy, and a recent study is now adding another supplement to the list: iodine. The research, conducted at The University of Adelaide, recommends that women take iodine while pregnant to ensure proper fetal development.
Iodine deficiency became common in the United States in the 1920s, the decade when iodized salt was introduced into the market. According to the American Thyroid Association, “The body does not make iodine, so it is an essential part of your diet.”
The Adelaide study analyzed the diets of 200 South Australian women during their pregnancies and shortly after they gave birth. Even though they ate bread made with iodized salt, they still suffered from iodine deficiency if they didn’t also take iodine supplements.
As one of the study’s lead authors, Vicki Clifton, notes: “Iodine is an essential element which is important for brain development and thyroid function.”
Adding iodine supplements to a prenatal health regiment can serve as critical support to healthy brain development in babies. Basil Hetzel, another lead author of the study, says that iodine deficiency is so misunderstood, it can be considered as “the most common preventable cause of brain damage in the world today.”