Improving Children's IQ

in general 17 August 2015

A report in the medical journal The Lancet claims that if pregnant women took a daily iodine supplement they could improve their children's IQ, leading to better health and reduced costs to the NHS.

Healthy brain development needs iodine, and there is evidence to suggest the UK population might not be getting enough. Severe iodine deficiency causes impaired neurodevelopment in unborn children.

However, PHE (Public Health England) claims a varied diet should be sufficient to avoid iodine deficiency. Dr Louis Levy, head of nutrition science, diet and obesity says: "The longstanding government advice is that everyone, including pregnant women, should be able to get all the iodine they need from a varied and balanced diet."

Iodine is found in milk, which is the main source in the UK, in other dairy products and fish and, to a lesser extent, in plant foods including cereals.

Although our iodine intake is reported to be only slightly below the recommended levels, in 2013 a study of about a thousand pregnant women concluded that two-thirds could be mildly or moderately iodine deficient.

Inferior IQ and poorer reading ability in children aged 8 have also been linked to iodine deficiency.

More on this story:


BBC Health News

The Independent

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