IN my March 2013 blog “Eat less salt but make sure it contains iodine!”, I described the problems of addressing iodine–deficiency diseases in Pakistan and the worrying rise in iodine deficiency in the UK, linked to a shift in eating patterns away from dairy and oily fish, our traditional sources of iodine. Whereas, other developed countries had relied on introducing a national supply of iodised salt, we had got away without it. But even countries using iodised salt, now had to watch out, as salt–reduction campaigns to tackle rising cardiovascular diseases, were allowing iodine-deficiency to reoccur albeit at a low-level (as compared to the high level of iodine deficiency found in developing countries)
NOW there is further support for re-emerging iodine deficiency in the UK: this time a study on pregnant women published in the Lancet. They have identified changes in the IQ of primary-school children born to mothers with low-level iodine deficiency: IQ goes down 3 points & reading age is reduced. For more information, read the BBC article Iodine deficiency 'may lower UK children's IQ and the Lancet study.
Need I say more? In the March blog, which featured on Global Health Knowledge Base and CABI-Handpicked & carefully sorted , I covered the spectrum of iodine-deficiency diseases which can occur in children born to mothers with iodine-poor diets, leaving the children with permanent physical & mental intelligence problems. Daily it seems, the case is being made to consider introducing iodised salt into the UK and to advise would-be pregnant mothers not only to ensure folic acid is in their diet but also adequate iodine ( BUT not through seaweed supplements). Pregnant mothers who rely on organic milk should be aware that this contains less iodine than usual and they will need to increase iodine intake to compensate.
WE do indeed “have a new challenge to addressing iodine deficiency in both developing and developed countries”.