According to a new study, seven out of ten teenage girls present a deficiency in minerals, especially in iodine, which will put their future offspring in danger. Researchers believe that this finding appears to be of “potential major public health importance”. Iodine is extremely important as it is known to have a major role in the fetus’ brain development. These results have showed that 100,000 babies are affected each year by the lack of iodine present in their mothers’ systems.
It came as a complete surprise for the NHS to find the levels of iodine on an all time low. For a few decades, all health officials believe that iodine was present in decent levels across the population of the UK. “We were lulled into a false sense of security” revealed Mark Vanderpump from the Royal Free Hampstead. Mr. Vanderpump was the one who lead the study and found the results to be disturbing.
Elizabeth Pearce from the University of Boston explains that all the salt present in the UK at the moment needs to be iodized and urges pregnant women to supplement their food with this type salt.
Iodine is the building block of the hormone called thyroxine. The body needs this hormone to regulate metabolism and most importantly, the nervous system and the brain, which are the first to develop inside the female womb.
Estimates show that a constant lack of iodine in foods may lead to the baby’s intellectual deficiency of up to a 15 point drop in the IQ level.
Researchers also found out that the level of iodine was 100 micrograms lower at one liter of urine sampled in about 70% of the girls who were subjected to the test. A total of 664 girls participated to the test, and the results revealed that iodine needs to get back into the system of young females or unexpected risks would arise at birth. What came as a shock was the fact that 16% of the girls involved in the study revealed only 50 micrograms of iodine per liter.
This means that Governments need to spend more time encouraging youth to consume milk and programs need to be implemented in schools, although an actual program started in the 1940s. These results show that there is a need to increase awareness yet again.