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Iodine Deficiency and Fecundity

Iodine deficiency may impact female fertility.

Bowl of yogurt and fruit that prevent iodine deficiency

Researchers have observed a notable drop in fecundity, the probability of becoming pregnant in a single menstrual cycle, among women in China with iodine deficiency. No reduction was noted in those with iodine sufficiency.

Iodine is critical for making thyroid hormones that can ultimately impact fertility. As reported in Nutrients, even a mild iodine deficiency among the 1,653 eligible participants was determined to impact reproductive health. While these results need to be reproduced, so to speak, in women of other races, it appears to be wise for females who are hoping to conceive to make sure their iodine levels are sufficient. These iodine-containing foods can help do just that:

  • iodized table salt
  • seafood (cod, tuna, shrimp)
  • dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • seaweed
  • whole eggs

See also: Caffeine and Pregnancy Outcomes


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Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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