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Study links iodine deficiency to fertility problems

Study links iodine deficiency to fertility problems


Claudia Boyd-Barrett

posted in Pregnancy

Could an iodine deficiency be interfering with your ability to get pregnant?

A new study in the journal Human Reproduction suggests insufficient iodine levels may halve a woman’s chances of conceiving, although more research is needed to confirm the findings.

Researchers tracked more than 500 American women trying to conceive. They collected urine samples to analyze the women’s iodine levels at the beginning of the study. Over 12 months, the women used fertility monitors to time ovulation and sexual intercourse, and recorded the information in journals. They used home pregnancy tests to detect pregnancy.

Almost half of the women tested below the recommended level of iodine. About a quarter of those had moderate to severe iodine deficiency.


Compared to women with adequate iodine levels, women moderately to severely deficient had an almost 50 percent lower chance of getting pregnant in each menstrual cycle, the study found.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know whether you have an iodine deficiency because there’s no easy way to test for it, nutritionist Sarah Bath told Reuters.

Nevertheless, you can help ensure you get enough iodine in your diet by eating the right foods. Iodine is found in dairy products, eggs, vegetables, seafood and brewer’s yeast.

You may also want to take prenatal vitamins containing iodine. In a statement to HealthDay, fertility doctor Tomer Singer said he advises patients to take prenatal vitamins that include 150 micrograms of iodine at least 3 months prior to conception, as well as during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Are you, or have you taken prenatal vitamins while trying to conceive? Was iodine something you considered when selecting the vitamins?

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