Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

We need greater iodine awareness


While appropriate levels of iodine are critical for thyroid, energy, and metabolism in virtually everyone, having enough of the mineral on board is especially crucial for pregnant women for the cognitive development of their child.

But interestingly, a recent survey found that despite the fact that various organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Thyroid Association, and the Endocrine Society recommend prenatal vitamins that provide 150 mcg of iodine per day, “75 percent of U.S. obstetricians and midwives do not recommend or would recommend an inadequate amount of iodine during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation.”

That’s an incredible figure. It’s estimated that healthy adults – and not necessarily those who are pregnant – require at least 80 mcg just to keep the thyroid running properly. This survey shows that although there is a growing awareness of the importance of iodine among many natural practitioners and individuals with self-driven supplement regimens, there is still much work to be done in educating professionals and the public of the value of this essential mineral.

Source: De Leo S, Pearce EN, Braverman LE. Iodine Supplementation in Women During Preconception, Pregnancy, and Lactation: Current Clinical Practice by U.S. Obstetricians and Midwives. Thyroid. 2017 Mar;27(3):434-439.

 

The study:

De Leo S, Pearce EN, Braverman LE. Iodine Supplementation in Women During Preconception, Pregnancy, and Lactation: Current Clinical Practice by U.S. Obstetricians and Midwives. Thyroid. 2017 Mar;27(3):434-439.

BACKGROUND: Iodine deficiency is a major public-health problem throughout the world, especially for pregnant women, and it is considered the most common cause of preventable intellectual impairment. In the United States, iodine status in pregnant women is considered mildly deficient. Therefore, the Endocrine Society, the American Thyroid Association, the Teratology Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that women receive prenatal vitamins containing 150 μg of iodine daily during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. The objectives of this study were to evaluate awareness of iodine nutrition among obstetricians and midwives in the United States, and to document current clinical practice regarding recommendations for iodine supplementation for women during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation.

METHODS: All midwife members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and all obstetrician members of the American Medical Association (AMA) were invited to participate in a web-based survey.

RESULTS: A total of 199 midwives and 277 obstetricians participated in the survey. One third of both obstetricians and midwives considered iodine status in U.S. pregnant women to be deficient. Although almost all obstetricians and midwives would recommend prenatal multivitamins, most reported rarely or never recommending iodine-containing multivitamins for women planning pregnancy (68.7% and 70.2%, respectively), pregnant women (66% and 67.1%), or lactating women (68.7% and 71.7%). Of the respondents who did report prescribing iodine-containing supplements, 85% recommended supplementation during the first trimester and 75-80% during the second and third trimesters. However, of those who did recommend iodine supplementation, only 45% would prescribe the recommended 150 μg of iodine daily during pregnancy. Overall, 75% of U.S. obstetricians and midwives do not recommend or would recommend an inadequate amount of iodine during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the important consequences of iodine deficiency for pregnant women and the recommendations of many medical societies, the majority of U.S. obstetricians and midwives who participated in this survey do not recommend iodine-containing vitamins in women planning pregnancy, during pregnancy, and during lactation.

Link to abstract

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