A recent study shows that a daily dose of iodine for pregnant moms may help their children grow healthier and have above the average IQ scores. Study authors explained that the chemical element is vital for any child’s brain development.
Nevertheless, while some health experts say that a balanced diet is enough to provide the body with the necessary daily dose of iodine, authors of the recent study believe that people should also take supplements.
Dr Louis Levy of the Public Health England noted that official health advice usually focuses on a varied diet, rather than supplements. A deficiency in iodine in pregnant women resulted in impaired brain functions in their children, past studies had shown.
Yet, when the deficiency is only slightly below healthy levels, it is uncertain what health outcomes babies may have. Iodine is usually found in diary products, but also in fish, and in some cereals.
Yet, a previous study had shown that out of 1,000 pregnant women more than 65 percent were slightly deficient in iodine. Other studies had found that a mother who is deficient in the element may give birth to children with mild reading deficiency and lower IQ levels later in life.
But in the latest study, researchers planned to learn what exact health benefits iodine supplements may bring when women take them before having a baby, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.
They based their research on the hypothesis that nearly 70 percent of pregnant women fail to get enough iodine just from the food they eat. After a series of calculations, they drew the conclusion that iodine supplements may increase children’s IQ levels by up to 1.22 points.
Later, they linked better IQ levels with the cost savings in health care since previous studies had shown that more intelligent individuals can better take care of their health. Researchers found that the government may save up to $308 for each pregnant woman.
Additionally, the team found that taking iodine supplements during pregnancy helped women save money with their children education. Savings amounted to $6,937.
Study authors also recommend doctors to keep a close watch on pregnant women deficient in iodine. But that may prove a challenging task because no one knows who they are, while forcing large populations to take supplements may prove both unethical and costly.
According to official recommendations, adults should take 0.14 mg of iodine per day, while pregnant women should double the dose.
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