Monday, June 2, 2014

Iodine Deficiency Common in Pregnancy, Pediatricians Warn

Many pregnant and breast-feeding women are deficient in iodine and should take a daily supplement containing iodide, according to a leading group of pediatricians.
Monday, May 26, 2014 (HealthDay News)

Iodine, generally obtained from iodized salt, produces thyroid hormone, an essential component for normal brain development in the developing baby. (Photo via OshoNews)

But as consumption of processed foods has increased, so has iodine deficiency because the salt in processed foods is not iodized, according to a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This is the first time that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement on iodine,” said Dr. Jerome Paulson, medical director for national and global affairs at the Children’s National Health System and chair of the academy’s Council on Environmental Health.

About one-third of pregnant women in the United States are iodine-deficient, according to the background information in the article published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Severe iodine deficiency is associated with stunted physical and mental growth, and even marginal iodine deficiency can decrease brain functioning, the report said.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should take a supplement that includes at least 150 micrograms of iodide, and use iodized table salt, the academy said. Combined intake from food and supplements should be 290 to 1,100 micrograms a day. Potassium iodide is the preferred form, the doctors said.

Currently, only about 15 percent of pregnant and breast-feeding women take supplements containing iodide, the researchers said. Why so few women take iodide supplements isn’t clear, said Paulson. “It may be that most people don’t appreciate the importance of adequate iodine in the diet for normal fetal development and that the women with marginal levels have no indication of the iodine status,” he said. Iodine deficiency displays no symptoms.

In the early 60’s studies on iodine by Dr. Wolfe raised widespread fear of iodine poisoning. Subsequently, iodine was removed from all baked goods, the common source in the diet. These studies, later proved to contain faked data, were published a few years after Synthroid (synthetic thyroid hormone) was released as a prescription drug. Subsequently, iodine was added to table salt in an attempt to put it back in our diet.

Synthroid, produced by Abbot Laboratories, has never had FDA approval but is the third most commonly prescribed drug in the US.

Contrary to this articles claim that iodine deficiency displays no symptoms, iodine deficiency results in hypothyroidism. The classic symptoms are fatigue, weight gain, dry skin and loss of hair, especially the lateral third of the eyebrows.

Hypothyroidism has been diagnosed in 4.6% of our population, but estimates of the undiagnosed incidence are much higher. Clinically, about one-third of my female patients suffer from an underactive thyroid, most of them due to iodine deficiency.

Thyroid hormone (T4) is made in the thyroid by combining four molecules of iodine with a molecule of cholesterol. T3, the active form of thyroid hormone is made in the liver and kidneys by cutting off one of the iodine molecules. T3 drives general metabolism, converting glucose into ATP to provide energy in every cell of the body.

The need for iodine in the developing fetus and newborn baby is quite high to facilitate new cell production. In my opinion, the lack of knowledge about the need for iodine stems back to all the misinformation publicized in the 1960’s. The medical misinformation about iodine is very similar to the misinformation about cholesterol and statin drugs. Unfortunately, the dogma is older and therefore more ingrained.

Dr. David Brownstein and Dr. G.E. Abraham have published several research articles and books on the subject of iodine deficiency. You may review the research articles at Dr. Brownstein’s books have been on the New York Times best seller list for non-fiction.

Iodine deficiency is a common problem. It is crucial that pregnant and breast-feeding women supplement iodine. I recommend a 50/50 combination of iodine and iodide, rather than straight iodide.
If you would like to test your own iodine status, rub a 2% solution of iodine tincture (mercurochrome) on the inside of your forearm forming a “patch”. Let it dry, and then observe how long it takes for the iodine patch to fade and ultimately disappear. If the patch is still visible after 8 hours, your iodine status is good. The sooner it disappears, the greater the iodine deficiency.

Do not take more than 3mg of iodine with qualified nutritional supervision.