The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is recommending multivitamins for pregnant and lactating women include a 150 mcg/d dose of iodine. The trade organization released a the guideline for industry based on recommendations from medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society and the American Thyroid Association.
“There is concern that even mild iodine deficiency in pregnant women could lead to children with lower IQ’s," said Elizabeth Pearce, M.D., MSc, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, who coauthored a 2012 study that recommended pregnant women supplement with iodine. Other risks of iodine deficiency include maternal and fetal goiter and increased pregnancy loss and infant mortality. In that article, Pearce and Alex Stagnaro-Green, M.D., MHPE, professor of medicine and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), noted iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable intellectual disability worldwide.
Sadly, Pearce and Stagnaro-Green noted many prenatal multivitamins sold do not contain iodine.
CRN’s move to recommend women’s multis have iodine could help reduce the problem the doctors described in 2012.
“Scientific evidence shows that, similar to folic acid, adequate iodine is critical early in pregnancy when the fetal brain is growing rapidly," said Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN, in a press release. “Currently, many U.S. women of childbearing age get insufficient dietary iodine, putting their children at risk for decreased cognitive function."
Everyone knows the importance of folic acid to pregnancy, which has been shown to lower the rate of neural tube defects, but iodine seems to be less urgent for many pregnant women. This editor included.
I am halfway through my pregnancy, and was sure to check the folic acid levels on my prenatals before I purchased them. However, it took until reading about CRN’s recent recommendation for me to check the iodine levels. Thankfully, it contains 150 mcg/d like CRN recommends (thanks for watching my back, Rainbow Light!).
As editor in chief of this fine publication, I consider myself to be quite enlightened in supplements, but it’s clear I’m still not a nutritionist. I’m glad CRN has put forth this recommendation to help take one worry off the mother-to-be’s worry list.
While CRN is not making the recommendation a requirement for membership in the organization, I encourage multivitamin brands who offer supplements to women to take a look at the iodine levels in their products and review CRN’s recommendations. If your levels are below 150 mcg/d, how much of a pain would it be to get to that level?
CRN’s iodine guidelines are the latest in a series of guidelines that the association has developed as part of its self-regulatory initiatives. CRN also has recommended guidelines for caffeine-containing dietary supplements and for labeling of protein in dietary supplements and functional food, as well as best practices for enzyme dietary supplement product dosage recommendations and labeling.