Is an Iodine deficiency causing fertility problems?

Nine out of ten pregnant women in Israel suffer from iodine deficiency, and studies are warning of irreparable damage. All you need to know about one of the most important minerals for the human body:

Most of us seem to have heard to iodine, but what not everyone knows is that iodine is one of the most important minerals for the human body, It turns out that our body’s ability to function relies on it and we need it in our diet, as the body is incapable of producing iodine independently. It is crucial to consume iodine at all stages of life and in particularly during the childbearing years, in pregnancy, while nursing and in childhood. Despite this, in recent years we have apparently been consuming less and less of this crucial mineral and it is not our fault.
Iodine is essential for our thyroid function
Studies indicate that low iodine consumption is the main cause of thyroid diseases around the world. This gland is responsible for the circulation of numerous processes in the body. Iodine consumption affects mood, hair health, blood pressure, weight equilibrium, the body’s temperature, the health of the heart and brain function. When iodine is lacking in our diet, a variety of health disorders may develop related to the thyroid at all stages of life, as the iodine deficiency manifests itself in the insufficient activity of the thyroid.

Dr. Yaniv Ovadia, a research dietician in the Women’s and Childbirth Center at Barzilai University Medical Center in Israel, and a registered clinical nutritionist-dietician who works in diagnosis, care and clinical research on diet and the thyroid explains: “One of the most serious problems which I and many of my colleagues face is the lack of awareness with regard to the repercussions of insufficient iodine in the diet. In many cases, damage to health stemming from iodine insufficiency is likely to be irreversible, making it all the more important to consume enough iodine to prevent health problems linked to the insufficiency”.

A lack of iodine may damage women’s fertility

From research carried out is appears that not consuming sufficient iodine daily in one’s diet may lead to damage to fertility. A lack of iodine, as stated above, leads to hypothyroidism. This under-activity may lead to over-production of the prolactin hormone and to complications in quantities of the female hormone estrogen and in ovulation. It thus appears that this state of insufficient quantities of iodine in the body leads to delays in becoming pregnant among women of childbearing age.
A study released in 2018 concerning a group of American women who suffered significant delays between the time they stopped employing contraception and when their period stopped and they achieved their desired pregnancies found low concentrations of iodine in their urine. It was further noted that the lower the iodine concentration in the urine, the longer the delay had been. Dr. Ovadia adds: “A significant number of pregnancies are unplanned and it is therefore essential to consume sufficient iodine throughout the childbearing years, and especially women who are interested in becoming pregnant. Given that recent findings indicate significant delays in pregnancy among women lacking iodine, it is important for women of childbearing age to maintain an appropriate iodine level in order to increase their chances of getting pregnant”.
It is easy to prevent iodine insufficiency – a sufficient quantity of iodine simply needs to be consumed. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Health updated their recommendations and requested that women of childbearing age and during the prenatal period consume an iodine supplement. Despite the change in recommendations, the information is not reaching the public at large and there are numerous physicians who are unaware and who do not make the recommendation for iodine consumption during pregnancy.

Iodine insufficiency is common world-wide

Iodine insufficiency is a global public health issue. Current data from the World Health Organization and the International iodine Association indicate that up to a third of the globe’s inhabitants are at risk of consuming insufficient quantities of the iodine needed to ensure optimal thyroid function.
In the past, insufficient consumption of iodine was common in certain third world countries or in mountainous areas which were distant from the sea. People living by the ocean apparently had access to groundwater which was rich in iodine as well as foods from the sea, such as fish and seaweed, which contain much higher levels of iodine that food in places far from the ocean.
Today the situation is certainly different. The discovery was made that in developed countries and on islands, a great number of people are not consuming sufficient iodine. Today there is a lack of iodine in numerous places world-wide, including in developed countries in the Mediterranean such as Italy and Israel. Dr. Ovadia specifies: “Despite the fact that the health system in Israel is developed and many Israelis consume fish, it isn’t enough to ensure a sufficient consumption of iodine among the population at large.

Iodine insufficiency and the extensive use of desalination in Israel

A comprehensive study undertaken in Israel in 2016, including urine samples from over 1000 children and over 1000 pregnant women from all sectors and geographical areas of the country, discovered that there is an iodine insufficiency in the diet in Israel. Close to two thirds of the samples taken from children found levels lower that the lowest values recommended by the World Health Organization. An even more serious situation emerged among pregnant women; close to nine of every ten samples pointed to an iodine insufficiency! In addition, the most serious lack appeared in the first trimester.
Dr. Ovadia explains: “It appears that most of the women in Israel begin their pregnancies with insufficient iodine levels. We can assume that the low consumption rate of iodine in Israel is linked to cases of fertility issues in the country.” One of the causes for the iodine insufficiency in Israel is the move to extensive use of desalinated waters (which are extremely low in iodine) which has affected our food chain and has, apparently, led to a state in which we are consuming insufficient iodine in our water and in most of those foods which in the past contained higher levels of iodine.

The bottom line

Consuming a sufficient level of iodine is essential for everyone and particularly for women in their childbearing years, in the prenatal period and while nursing. It is suggested that women ensure regular, sufficient consumption of iodine during these important periods and the sooner they get started- the better!

Source: Xnet