Impact of iodine deficiency on female fertility

A new study finds that iodine deficiency significantly decreases fertility success in females. Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which means that inadequate intake can result in hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid). This can result in subsequent adverse effects on female fertility by impairing the developmental process of ovarian follicles and ovulation1.

It is imperative that women of childbearing age – particularly those who are hoping to conceive in the future – achieve an adequate iodine intake, as neurological development of the foetus begins in very early pregnancy2. Despite this, Europe is now considered an iodine deficient continent3.

The UK in particular has some of the most concerning rates of iodine deficiency, with research highlighting the UK as one of just two high-income countries suffering from iodine deficiency4.

Despite previous research demonstrating that severe iodine deficiency presents significant risk to reproduction and childbirth, including premature and even stillbirth5, knowledge surrounding the effects of mild iodine deficiency on a women’s fertility and reproductive health remains limited. This recent study6 aimed to address this gap in the literature and explore the association between mild iodine deficiency and reproductive defects, specifically the chances of conception.

Impact of iodine deficiency on fertility

The research was carried out on a population of women in China and is the first study that has attempted to establish a possible link between iodine deficiency and the length of time taken to conceive. The findings were notable – iodine deficient women took on average a month longer to conceive than their counterparts. Furthermore, significantly more iodine deficient women failed to conceive after trying for at least 13 months. Further analysis of the data found that iodine deficient women were significantly less likely to get pregnant.

Achieving adequate iodine intake

The findings of this study highlight the importance of reaching optimal levels of iodine intake when of childbearing age, especially if hoping to conceive, so how can this be done?

Food sources of iodine include fish and dairy products, with the most abundant and only plant-based source of natural iodine being seaweed.  The PureSea® range of seaweed ingredients were developed to address nutrient gaps – in particular, iodine deficiency. PureSea® is vegan friendly, organic and sustainably harvested from the pristine waters of the Scottish Outer Hebrides using our proprietary technologies. Every batch is independently tested for iodine levels and other aspects of safety, nutrition and quality, including DNA authenticated for transparent traceability.

PureSea® can be easily incorporated into an extensive range of food supplement products to ensure that consumers are achieving adequate iodine intake and protecting their overall health.

Please visit our dedicate page or contact us to learn more.