There is a prevalent complacency around iodine sufficiency in the modern American woman. Soil depletion, bromine in processed foods and flame retardants, perchlorate contamination, chlorine and fluoride in water all conspire to interfere with iodine incorporation in the body. In my practice, high dose iodine can represent an indispensable therapeutic tool; however, in the healthy pregnant population, consideration of the risks of deficiency has just now been better quantified. A new study called Oxidative Stress Increased in Pregnant Women with Iodine Deficiency has explored the potential role of iodine in managing oxidative stress and associated inflammation and cellular damage, in pregnancy.
They looked at urinary iodine excretion levels in a Mexican cohort and found that 30% of women were iodine deficient, and that this status correlated significantly with total antioxidant status. Iodine plays a critical role in the formation of thyroid hormone, and acts directly as an antioxidant to balance the free radical generation that occurs as a part of a normal pregnancy. Notably, iodine deficiency has been correlated with lower IQ in offspring, as well. In gestation, levels of antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and A increase, and their low levels have been correlated with adverse obstetrical outcomes such as placental abruption, miscarriage, and preeclampsia. Iodine can be obtained through uncontaminated sea vegetables, eggs, and supplementation in the milligram range (rather than the recommended microgram) should be considered.