Iodine essential for growth and brain development in infants

Iodine essential for growth and brain development in infants

Women planning to conceive should get adequate sources of iodine in their diet

 New Delhi, October 22, 2017: As per a study, about 42 million Indians have abnormal thyroid hormone levels. It also indicated that India accounts for 21% of the global population with thyroid disorders. The prevalence of thyroid disorders was more in women than men with about 26% women diagnosed with abnormal TSH levels compared to 24% men. Thyroid disorders are a major outcome of iodine deficiency.

On World Iodine Deficiency Day, there is a need to create awareness on the fact that Iodine is an essential micronutrient required for human growth and development. The average daily requirement of iodine for a normal person is 150 micrograms a day. The requirement of iodine is more in pregnant women than normal women, because the effects of iodine deficiency are most severe in pregnant women and for their babies.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Iodine is stored in the thyroid gland and is important for the production of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T3) and triiodothyronine (T4). Thyroid hormones are needed for the proper development of cells. They have a major role in increasing the metabolic rate of the body and in metabolism of protein. They regulate the growth of long bones and are essential for brain development. Thyroid hormones are also closely linked to fat and carbohydrate metabolism in cells. Iodine deficiency can cause goitre (enlargement of thyroid), hypothyroidism and mental retardation in infants and children whose mother was iodine deficient during pregnancy.”


When the thyroid produces too much hormone it causes hyperthyroidism and when it produces less than what is needed, the condition is called hypothyroidism. Other common disorders of the thyroid are Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, goiter, and thyroid nodules.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Women planning to conceive should make sure that they get adequate amounts of iodine in their diet to build up good stores before getting pregnant. Pregnancy and lactation increase the demand for iodine to make adequate thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in the baby’s brain development. Eating a healthy and varied diet is essential to meet one’s iodine needs.”

The following are some good sources of iodine.

  • Cheese Most dairy products are iodine enriched. Two varieties of cheese that are rich in this mineral include Cheddar and Mozzarella.
  • Seaweed Iodine is found in both this and seafood. One of the richest sources is a seaweed called kelp.
  • Eggs Eggyolk is one of the safest and simplest sources of iodine.
  • Milk Studies indicate that every 250ml of milk has about 150 micrograms of iodine.
  • Yoghurt A single cup of yoghurt can meet half of the daily iodine requirement giving close to 70 micrograms of iodine. It is also good for the stomach and rich in calcium and protein.
  • Apart from the above food items, some others that are good sources of iodine include fruits like bananas, strawberries; vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, onions, and sweet potatoes; and grains, nuts and legumes like peanuts, barley, etc.

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