Iodine is an essential mineral for health, especially during pregnancy, because it is needed for intellectual development and thyroid functioning. For years people bought iodized table salt at the grocery store in order to make sure that they have enough iodine in the diet. However, the use of other salts (e.g. Himalayan salt) that don't have added iodine, and following a vegan or vegetarian diet can increase the risk of iodine deficiency.
A small study by Australian researchers looked at iodine levels in 2 groups of pregnant women, who were either vegan/plant-based diet participants or omnivores (eating both meat and plants). Both groups had urine with iodine levels below the World Health Organization recommended 100 µg per liter, but the vegan/plant-based group was far lower at 44 µg per liter. Those eating Himalayan salt had severely deficient levels: 23 µg per liter. The study did not look at the intellectual functioning of the infants after they were born.
How to get enough iodine in the diet? Foods containing iodine are seafood, seaweed, bread fortified with iodine, iodized salt, eggs, and dairy foods. Also, iodine supplements. Research indicates that adequate iodine intake before conception is necessary to ensure optimal maternal thyroid function during pregnancy, which is required for fetal intellectual development.
Medical Xpress: Poor iodine levels in pregnancy poses risks to fetal intellectual development
A growing number of young Australian women are at increased risk of having children born with impaired neurological conditions, due to poor iodine intake. ...continue reading "Low Iodine Levels During Pregnancy Poses Risk to the Baby"
Two new papers just published in the British Journal of Nutrition are analyses of existing studies that compare conventional vs organic milk, and conventional vs organic red meat. Both studies found clear differences between organic meat and milk compared to conventional milk and meat, with the organic milk and meat best health-wise, especially due to differences in fatty acids. The researchers stated: "organic bovine (cow) milk has a more desirable fatty acid composition than conventional milk".
Some of the differences may be due to organic milk and beef coming from cattle that graze on grass (organic farming standards require grazing/forage-based diets), while most conventional milk and beef come from cows subsisting on grain. Beneficial omega-3 is much more prevalent in grass than in grain, which is why organic livestock and milk also contain higher levels, while omega-6 levels were lower in organic meat and dairy.
The researchers did not look at antioxidant, vitamin and mineral concentrations between the meat groups because there weren't enough studies to look at. Two years ago, Dr. Leifert led a similar review for fruits and vegetables that found organic produce had higher levels of some antioxidants and less pesticide residue than conventionally grown crops. From Medical Xpress:
New study finds clear differences between organic and non-organic milk and meat
In the largest study of its kind, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. Analyzing data from around the world, the team reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat and found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat, especially in terms of fatty acid composition, and the concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants. ...continue reading "Clear Differences Between Organic and Non-Organic Milk and Meat"