Dr. H. Singh, ND
Iodine & Infertility: Barely Supplementing or Overdosing?
However, the impact of iodine on the body seems to go beyond just its impact on the thyroid gland. New research has suggested that iodine is also absorbed by the ovaries and endometrium. There are studies evaluating for the impact of iodine intake on sperm parameters.
A recent research paper published looked at observational data from a Norwegian population and the impact of iodine consumption and concentration in the body on fertility and pregnancy health parameters. And the results highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy range of iodine in the body (not too little and not too much).
The World Health Organization recommends a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of up to 150 µg/d for patients of reproductive age (15-49 years of age) and 250 µg/d for pregnant and lactating patients. However, when patients consumed 50 µg/d (or less), the risk of infertility increased by approximately 14% compared to patients that had 100 µg/d. And patients that consumed 75 µg/d had a 5% increased risk of infertility compared to patients that consumed 100 µg/d. Infertility here was defined as trying to conceive for > 12 consecutive months without a positive pregnancy. It is important to note that this was an observation and does not establish causation. Nonetheless, the role of iodine on fertility parameters seems to be concerning. An increased risk of infertility was also observed if patients consumed too much iodine.
During pregnancy, we see that patients who had a deficient intake of iodine were also at a greater risk of developing preeclampsia, preterm birth (before 37 weeks) and poor fetal growth.
Iodine deficiency is important to discuss because it is still prevalent in low-income and high-income countries. It can largely be eliminated with the use of iodized salt and consuming dietary choices rich in iodine, however, as more patients lean towards plant-based and dairy-free diets the risk of iodine deficiency increases.
How to check for Iodine levels in the body?
There are a few different methods, one of the best standards and sensitive tests available is a simple urine test to check for iodine levels. This is quite accurate as the iodine is mostly excreted through the urine, it allows us to accurately estimate the amount of iodine in the body. Other tests include a blood test to check for plasma iodine concentration.
It is important to make sure you are meeting your daily requirements for iodine without taking too much, as too much iodine can negatively affect fertility parameters, thyroid function and pregnancy outcomes. If you believe your diet may be deficient in iodine or would simply like to check, a simple urine test may help to shed more information on your iodine nutritional status.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.