Jan 23, 2017 | Updated: 09:37 AM EST

Study Finds Iodine Intake During Pregnancy Might Raise Baby's IQ

Aug 12, 2015 11:17 PM EDT

A new study recommends pregnant women to increase their iodine intake in order to help raise baby's IQ. However, in many countries worldwide people have a daily diet deficient in iodine. Among them, Britain is on the list of top ten.

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Since our diet lacks in natural occurring iodine, experts in nutrition recommend expectant mothers to take iodine supplements if they want to boost their children's IQs. Researchers suggested that by Introducing national policies to encourage iodine supplementation during pregnancy, countries could save on costs of health services per pregnant women because the health benefits this measure would bring.

The study also highlighted the potential benefits for the society at large if babies would be born with higher IQs, have increased earnings through their lifetime as well as being of less burden on public services.

Kate Jolly, the co-author of the study declared that in her opinion it is time for pregnant women living in countries deficient in iodine to take a daily supplement containing iodine. The same advice was also addressed to women who are breastfeeding or just planning a pregnancy.

These recommendations for iodine supplements to all pregnant women could save money on health care services, according to researchers. Just a daily dose of iodine taken by all pregnant women could boost the IQ scores of future generations as well as causing various health improvements. The study was published recently in The Lancet.

The fact that iodine is important for healthy brain development is not news for the medical community. Many doctors already advise pregnant women to get normal levels of iodine from a varied and balanced diet, according to Dr. Louis Levy, head of the diet, obesity and nutrition science at PHE. He added that it has been long known that severe iodine deficiency may cause impaired neurodevelopment in unborn children.

The main source of iodine in developed countries is milk. However, iodine can also be found in other types of dairy food, as well as fish and cereals. Previous studies also have shown that pregnant mother's iodine intake can help raising the IQ of unborn children.

Other studies have analyzed the societal cost of iodine deficiency in pregnant women. For instance, a previous UK study reported that lower levels of iodine intake during pregnancy were linked with poorer IQ and reading scores later on when children reach the age of starting primary school.

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