Recent research shows that severe lack of iodine is one of the leading causes of brain damage in the developing world, and even mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy may be associated with poorer cognitive function in children. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, crucial for the baby’s brain and nervous system development in the womb and in early childhood.

 

A survey by the University of Glasgow found that, although the vast majority of British women were aware of general nutritional recommendations during pregnancy, 84% of women were unaware of the importance of iodine during pregnancy.  Furthermore, over half of women were unable to identify iodine rich foods. The study, recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition, surveyed 1,026 women who were pregnant or mothers of children aged up to three years. The study found three quarters were consuming less than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended intake of 250 micrograms daily with the median intake of iodine during pregnancy just 190 micrograms.  In the UK as a whole, the levels of iodine insufficiency are worse than those of South Sudan.  Click here for more details about the article and here to access the research.

 

This research points to concerns as to whether iodine should be additionally complemented with food supplements or somehow fortified in food. Iodine-fortified salt is common in many EU countries, but using salt as the delivery method has raised concerns in the UK since it is perceived to clash with public health messaging around reducing salt intake to combat high blood pressure.

 

Alternatives such as the right types of seaweed, can be a natural, whole-food and safe option to achieve this. Seaweed is an incredibly healthy and sustainable ingredient, providing multi benefits in foods, beverages, superfood blends and nutritional supplements. With the right seaweed, selected and supplied, it is easy and convenient to incorporate and benefit from seaweed in your products and processes. Visit our dedicated geeseanutra® page and learn more about  our Gee Lawson’s branded seaweed. Contact us for more information.

 

Read more about seaweed on the news: Sea spaghetti in the supermarket: the unstoppable rise of seaweed