Iodine

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Iodine is a trace element that is needed for normal growth and development. 

Iodine is a very important part of the Thyroid Hormone. The Thyroid Hormone is important for many metabolic processes, including helping the central nervous system mature.  It also helps the body use calories better, so there is less storage of fats.

Iodine is especially important during pregnancy because your baby is completely relying on your iodine stores for brain development.

Did you know:

  • Your body does not make iodine.  
  • Iodine must come from food sources or supplements.
  • Adults that don’t get enough iodine can have problems with goiters, which is an enlarged thyroid gland and hypothyroidism.

How much iodine do I need?

The National Institute of Health suggests:

  • 1-8 years = 90 micrograms (mcg)
  • 9-13 years = 120 mcg
  • 14+ years = 150 mcg
  • Pregnant women = 220 mcg
  • Lactating women = 290 mcg

Food Sources of Iodine

  • Seafood, especially saltwater fish (high in cod, haddock, salmon—ranging from 76-250 mcg)
  • Dairy products (1 cup dairy = 58-116 mcg)
  • Eggs (1 egg = 24 mcg)
  • Iodized salt (1 tsp = 300 mcg)
  • Sea vegetables (Kelp) (1/4 ounce = 415 mcg)
  • Multivitamins containing iodine
  • Sea salt and highly processed food containing high amounts of sodium are NOT sources of iodine

Iodine & Pregnancy

Studies have shown that not getting enough iodine during pregnancy can possibly lead to:

  • Miscarriages
  • Stillbirth
  • Preterm delivery
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Infants being born with: Cognitive disabilities or growth, speech and hearing problems

However, you do not want too much iodine when you are pregnant. Talk with your healthcare provider or WIC nurse or dietitian for help with how to reach your suggested amounts of iodine, especially during your pregnancy!

Source: USDA Infant Feeding & Nutrition – A Guide for Use in WIC

This post was last updated on December 18th, 2019 at 4:16 PM

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