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May 2014

Pregnant, Breastfeeding Women Should Take Iodide Supplements

In a newly released policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health is recommending that pregnant and breastfeeding women take a supplement containing iodide.

Iodine is an element (atomic number 53) that is required by humans for the synthesis of thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine and thyroxine, or T3 and T4, respectively). Iodine deficiency is rare in industrialized countries such as the United States, due to the enrichment of table salt and cattle feed with iodine. However, deficiency is common in developing countries. Iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers can lead to significant developmental problems in their infants.

In a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health, the Council states that many women in the United States might be slightly iodine deficient, possibly because salt in processed foods is not iodized. Deficiency can lead to problems with brain development in their children, and might also increase their vulnerability to other pollutants in the environment. The American Thyroid Association states that pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a supplement with enough iodide to prevent deficiency. Furthermore, the Council suggests that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid exposure to high levels of nitrate and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensure labeling of iodine content in prenatal supplements is accurate.

For more information about iodine, please visit Natural Standard’s Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. Iodine Deficiency, Pollutant Chemicals, and the Thyroid: New Information on an Old Problem. Pediatrics. 2014 May 26. pii: peds.2014-0900.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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