Should iodine be added to salt to increase children’s IQ especially after folic acid was finally added to flour?
The use of iodine in food
And experts now claim that iodine is so important because of its benefits for the mother and baby, that thyroid dysfunction in early pregnancy can stop the development of the fetus’s brain, and as more people adopt a vegan diet in the UK, the problem is getting worse. .
According to the “Daily Mail”, experts called for “urgent corrective strategies” such as adding iodine to salt, in line with WHO recommendations to fortify all salt used in food processing, and the government’s plan to add folic acid to flour bags represents a successful end to a 25-year campaign. According to nutrition experts, the nutrient is considered essential during pregnancy to prevent birth defects, and the move would bring Britain into line with 100 other countries, including the United States..
Benefits of adding iodine to salt
One in five young women does not get adequate amounts of folic acid in their diet, which is found in green leafy vegetables and prevents potentially life-threatening conditions of the brain and spinal cord in newborns, as it is expected that Adding it to flour – and thus the vast range of foods that use it, such as bread – prevents hundreds of cases per year.
Add iodine to salt
But while experts have welcomed the government’s move, they also say it is only part of the solution to preventing birth defects for thousands of babies each year..
Activists are now calling for iodine to be added to foodstuffs, especially salt, claiming that nutrients are as important to both mother and baby as folic acid, if not more so.
Iodine is a black mineral abundant in fish, milk, eggs and seaweed. It is essential for the growth and maintenance of the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck that controls a range of basic functions, including helping to convert food into Energy and maintenance of body temperature In adults, iodine deficiency causes the thyroid gland to stop working properly, resulting in weight gain, high body temperatures and other problems, but the most serious are the effects on unborn children. A mother’s hypothyroidism in early pregnancy can stop the fetus’s brain from developing, increasing the risk of learning and behavioral disorders later in life and, in severe cases, stillbirth..
Add folic acid to flour
Long-term studies show that children born to mothers with low levels of iodine have an average of two points lower IQ than their peers when they reach adulthood, while nearly 20% of women mothers are deficient. In Folic Acid – the natural form of the vitamin B9Folic acid is the synthetic supplement – twice as many women fail to get adequate iodine from their diet.
According to the British Dietetic Association, the average adult needs roughly 150 micrograms of the mineral per day — the amount found in two large cups of milk — while pregnant or breastfeeding women need 200 micrograms, and the more people adopt a vegan diet, the worse the problem gets. .
The number of Britons who gave up meat and dairy products, both major sources of iodine, quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. In the UK in 2016, the Vegetarian Society found that twice as many women were vegetarians than men, while in the US, 79 % of female vegetarians.
Last year, a small German study of 36 vegan adults found that a third of them had levels of iodine considered severely deficient.
At the end of 2019, a group of experts from Croydon University Hospital in London and the British Thyroid Foundation published a report in the Lancet medical journal calling for “urgent corrective strategies”, including adding iodization to salt, as this is in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendations for adding it to every The salt used, as putting it in a common ingredient would boost levels “by dimming.”“.
Can iodine be added to salt?
Experts suggest adding it to salt may also reduce the risk of unintentionally overdosing on the mineral, as women won’t have to rely on the supplement. Over the past two decades, many countries have noted that most salt products contain iodine..
Dr Sarah Bath, a nutritionist and researcher in iodine deficiency at the University of Surrey, explained: “Iodine does not alter the taste of salt, which is why other countries choose to add the mineral to it.“Since 2009, Australia and New Zealand have used iodized salt in a large number of bread products, and boosted iodine intake in a relatively short period of time without consumers realizing it, and in China, 97% of salt has been iodized since the early 1990s, since Since then, China has seen a significant improvement in children’s cognitive development, according to the World Health Organization.
In 2017, Dr. Sarah Bath and her colleagues analyzed 47 milk alternatives, including soy, oat and rice milk, and found that only 3 were fortified with iodine, most of which contained less than 2% of the iodine in cow’s milk..
“We’ve always thought we had enough iodine in our diets, but there is growing evidence that some may be deficient,” explained Dr. Sarah Bath. “With changing dietary patterns, we need to adapt and make sure there are sources of iodine for everyone.”