Iodine Deficiency May Reduce Pregnancy Chances

Women with moderate to severe iodine deficiency may take longer to achieve a pregnancy compared with women with normal iodine levels, as per a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

The study is the first to research the potential effects of mild to moderate iodine deficiency common among women in the United States and the United Kingdom on the ability to become pregnant. It shows up in the most recent edition of Human Reproduction.

Iodine is a mineral used by the body to regulate metabolism. It additionally helps regulate bone growth and brain development in children. It is found in fish, iodized salt, dairy products, and some fruits and vegetables.

Iodine Deficiency May Reduce Pregnancy Chances

Severe iodine deficiency has for some time been known to cause intellectual and developmental delays in newborn children.

James L. Mills, MD, who conducted the study along with colleagues at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the New York State Department of Health in Albany said, “Our discoveries recommend that women who are thinking of becoming pregnant may require more iodine”.

“Iodine requirements increase during pregnancy, and the fetus depends on this mineral to make thyroid hormone and to ensure normal brain development.”

The researchers analyzed information collected from 501 U.S. couples who were planning pregnancy from 2005 to 2009.

The couples were a part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) study, which sought to examine at the relationship between fertility, lifestyle, and environmental exposures.

At the point when the women enrolled in the study, they provided a urine sample from which their iodine levels were estimated. Each woman was additionally given adigital, at-home pregnancy test. Of the 467 women examined for the present study, iodine status was adequate in 260 (55.7%), mildly deficient in 102 (21.8%), moderately deficient in 97 (20.8%) and severely inadequate in eight (1.7%).

To estimate a couple’s or three’s chances of pregnancy during each menstrual cycle, the researchers used a statistical measure called the fecundability odds ratio (FOR). A FOR less than one suggests a longer time to pregnancy, while a FOR more than one recommends a shorter time to pregnancy.

The specialists found that women who had moderate to-severe iodine deficiency had a 46% lower chance of becoming of becoming pregnant during each menstrual cycle, compared with women who had adequate iodine concentrations. Women in the mildly inadequate range had a smaller, statistically insignificant increase in the time it took to conceive.

Although the study populace was not are presentative sample of the U.S. populace, the authors note that the percentage of women in the study having inadequate iodine (44.3%) is close that seen in populace wide studies.

For example, a previous study estimated that 30% of U.S. women of childbearing age had inadequate levels of iodine.

The authors concluded that if their discoveries are confirmed, public health officials in countries where iodine deficiency is common might need to consider programs to increase iodine intake in women of child bearing age.

Women who are concerned they may not get enough iodine may wish to counsel their doctors making dietary improvements or taking supplements.

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