Western Leader - - HEALTH -

If a nu­tri­ent is not in the soil, it can­not be in the food. Un­for­tu­nately, New Zealand soils do not con­tain io­dine so lo­cally grown pro­duce re­flects this, and stud­ies have shown ev­i­dence of io­dine de­fi­ciency re-emerg­ing in New Zealand. Io­dine is es­sen­tial for the pro­duc­tion of thy­roid hor­mones, which con­trol the ba­sic ac­tiv­ity of each cell in the body, in­clud­ing me­tab­o­lism, growth and de­vel­op­ment.

Thy­roid is­sues can af­fect fer­til­ity, so op­ti­mal io­dine in­take is im­por­tant when try­ing to con­ceive. Dur­ing preg­nancy, io­dine is needed for nor­mal brain de­vel­op­ment in the foe­tus, and even sub­clin­i­cal hy­pothy­roidism due to io­dine de­fi­ciency in the mother can lead to ir­re­versible brain dam­age.

Io­dine is found in seafood, sea­weed and iodised salt. Not all salt is iodised, so it’s im­por­tant to check the la­bel. Dur­ing preg­nancy, you need about 1.5 times the amount of io­dine an adult nor­mally re­quires, and the Min­istry of Health rec­om­mends tak­ing an io­dine sup­ple­ment daily. You only need a small amount of io­dine each day to meet your needs. If you have any pre­ex­ist­ing thy­roid con­di­tions, it’s es­sen­tial that you con­sult with your qual­i­fied med­i­cal pro­fes­sional be­fore sup­ple­ment­ing io­dine.

Dr Libby is a nutri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. See dr­

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