Vegans have you ever thought about the importance of iodine in your diets? A new study just came out and suggested that some vegans may not be getting enough of it, something that we care about at SteadyHealth because it is especially relevant for pregnant women who lead a vegan lifestyle. During pregnancy, a woman's growing and developing baby uses iodine cashes that she built up. Women who have deficiencies might not see any risks to their babies, but will see health problems themselves.
The study, led by Dr Angela Leung of Boston Medical Center, included only a small number of participants. Still, they identified a group that was much more likely to be deficient in iodine. This does not really come as a surprise. After all, iodine is found in iodized salt, seafood, eggs, dairy, and some breads. A lack of these foods will likely lead to a deficiency. As a lifelong vegetarian who had two kids, I am pretty interested in the results of this study. I do eat eggs and dairy, but no seafood or meat. I know that, if I get pregnant again, I would need to get my iodine levels checked out and pay more attention to eating those products that contain iodine. It would also be possible to take a supplement, especially for women who are opposed to eating dairy, eggs, and seafood. Iodine is important because it regulates the metabolism through the thyroid glands.
And, researchers pointed out, it is especially essential for babies and young children. Reuters reminded women that iodine deficiency is a leading cause of brain impairments, where it occurs in the womb and during the early childhood years. Dr Leung didn't suggest that vegans start eating animal products, and instead said: "All women of childbearing age should be encouraged to take iodine supplements... to ensure that the fetus is exposed to additional iodine during development. In particular vegan women of childbearing age should be encouraged to do that." That seems like a good idea in fact, I think I will be starting iodine supplements right away even though I am not currently trying to get pregnant! How do other vegans and vegetarians feel about this new study? You might also like to read Pregnant and vegetarian? What do you need to know?