Researchers with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have completed a study that indicates women with moderate iodine deficiency may have a reduced chance of becoming pregnant compared to women with normal iodine levels.
The study, which is the first of its kind to address the effects of mild to moderate iodine deficiency in women, was recently published in Human Reproduction, a NIH release said.
“Our findings suggest that women who are thinking of becoming pregnant may need more iodine,” James L. Mills, the physician 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, said in the Jan. 11 release. “Iodine requirements increase during pregnancy, and the fetus depends on this mineral to make thyroid hormone and to ensure normal brain development.”
The study analyzed data from 501 couples in the U.S. who were planning pregnancy from 2005 through 2009. The study showed the women with moderate to severe iodine deficiency had a 46 percent lower chance of becoming pregnant during each menstrual cycle, while those with a mild deficiency had a smaller increase in the time it took for them to conceive, the release said.
The researchers also concluded that public health officials may want to consider looking at increasing iodine intake of women of child bearing age in countries where deficiency is an issue.