August 6, 2012 – New clinical data has shown that excessive use of iodine supplements by pregnant women could lead to the development of congenital hypothyroidism in newborns. In response to the findings, the study’s authors cautioned against the use of nutritional supplements containing iodine in amounts higher than the recommended daily allowance during pregnancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends 200-300 µg of iodine daily during pregnancy for normal fetal thyroid hormone production and neurocognitive development.
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What’s the problem?
The study, which was published last month in the Journal of Pediatrics, looked at three babies who were diagnosed with thyroid hormone deficiency (also commonly referred to as congenital hypothyroidism) after their mothers took excessive amounts of iodine supplementation (12. 5 mg daily – more than 11 times the safe upper limit) during pregnancy and/or while breastfeeding.
“The use of iodine-containing supplements in pregnancy and while breastfeeding is recommended,” said Dr. Kara Connelly of Oregon Health & Science University, USA, author of the research. “However, these cases demonstrate the potential hazard of exceeding the safe upper limit for daily ingestion.”
Connelly and her colleagues cautioned expecting mothers to be aware of a potential increase in the use of nutritional supplements containing high amounts of iodine during pregnancy: “The use of nutritional supplements is increasing in our society due to the belief that they are healthy and safe and can replace dietary deficiencies with minimal side effects.”
The three infants investigated by Connelly and her team reportedly had blood iodine levels 10 times higher than healthy infants from the general population who were not exposed to excessive iodine in utero. Curiously, congenital hypothyroidism in newborns is most often caused by a deficiency of iodine. However, abnormally high amounts of the element may also be part of the explanation for the reported increase in the condition among babies in recent years.
The study’s authors concluded by speculating that because mothers of babies born with congenital hypothyroidism are not always asked about the nutritional supplements they take during pregnancy, the excessive intake of iodine by pregnant women may be far more widespread than is currently presumed.
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Free Birth Defect Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has a child who was born with a serious congenital defect after being exposed to a prescription drug in the womb, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a birth defect suit and we can help.