Study analyzes pros and cons of iodine supplementation during pregnancy

Thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism, are a common complication of pregnancy, which has prompted scientific teams around the world to study iodine supplementation as a possible way to mitigate such risks.

For example, a study conducted within the framework of the Childhood and Environment Project in Spain found that rather than recommending routine iodine supplementation, doctors should evaluate a woman’s nutritional status before prescribing supplements during pregnancy.

That is because sufficient levels of thyroid hormones - which are synthesized in the presence of iodine - are essential for the health of the fetus, but high iodine consumption has also been linked to hypothyroidism.

In fact, the researchers analyzed the nutritional habits of 1,844 pregnant Spanish women between 2004 and 2008, and found that those who consumed 200 µg or more of the nutrient every day "were at greater risk of having high levels of thyroid stimulating hormones, indicators of possible thyroid dysfunction.”

“When women begin pregnancy with sufficient levels of iodine, [the] reserves in their thyroid glands are sufficient to ensure proper synthesis of thyroid hormones, and pharmacological supplements are not recommended,” said Marisa Rebagliato, lead author of the study.

The results were published in the journal Epidemiology.