ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
EYE CARE, VISION
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Barefoot Best for Running?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Cocaine Spurs Long-Term Change in Brain Chemistry
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
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Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Most prenatal vitamins marketed in the United States don't contain as much iodine as is stated on the label, researchers report.

The variance is troubling, they say, since iodine is critically important to the health of a developing fetus.

In a letter appearing in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the team also noted that the actual levels of iodine found in the supplements were typically below those recommended by the American Thyroid Association (ATA).

"Iodine nutrition is critically important in pregnancy," explained Dr. Elizabeth Pearce, co-author of the letter and an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University Medical Center. "Women who are deficient in pregnancy have children often with lower IQs or neurocognitive delays. Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation in the world."

But, based on the new findings, "it seems that an ideal prenatal vitamin, in terms of iodine, does not exist," she said. "About half of them have iodine that's derived from kelp and that's very variable."

Through an Internet search, the authors found 127 nonprescription and 96 prescription prenatal vitamins currently available in the United States.

Product labeling on 114 products (87 nonprescription and 27 prescription) claimed that the vitamins contained iodine. According to the labeling, 101 (89 percent) of these products contained at least 150 micrograms of iodine in a daily dose.

Sixty-seven vitamins contained iodine from potassium iodide, 42 from kelp, and five from some other source.

"Products containing iodine from potassium iodide tended to be more consistent, [but] 150 micrograms of potassium iodide is not the same as 150 micrograms of iodine," Pearce stressed. "If you really want people to get what the American Thyroid Association [ATA] has recommended -- which is 150 micrograms [of iodine] a day in a supplement -- there isn't one, but we would prefer products made from potassium iodide."

After measuring actual iodine contained in 60 randomly selected products, the authors determined that the mean dose overall was 119 micrograms of iodine. But this level varied widely, depending on where the iodine came from. For example, potassium iodide contained about 76 percent iodine, while the level of iodine from vitamins with kelp ranged anywhere from 33 to 610 micrograms per daily dose.

In 13 of the vitamin brands sampled, the actual iodine content differed from what was stated on the labeling by 50 percent or more, the researchers reported.

"The values of iodine are all over the map," Pearce concluded.

Beyond being essential for the developing fetus, iodine is also critical for women who are breast-feeding. And adults who don't have enough of the element can develop goiter.

According to background information in the article, 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency.

The ATA recommends that women who are pregnant or breast-feeding take prenatal vitamins with 150 micrograms of iodine a day. Both the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend higher amounts. The IOM suggests 220 micrograms daily during pregnancy and 290 micrograms while breast-feeding; the WHO recommends 250 micrograms daily during both pregnancy and breast-feeding.

According to the researchers, manufacturers should only use potassium iodide and should make sure supplements contain at least 197 micrograms of potassium iodide to ensure the recommended dose of iodine.

A representative of the supplements industry welcomed the findings.

"We compliment the article for identifying a significant potential problem and recommending to some degree that something be done about it," said John Hathcock, senior vice president for scientific and international affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, in Washington, D.C. "If iodine levels keep declining [iodine levels in U.S. adults have decreased by about 50 percent since the 1970s, most dramatically among women of childbearing age] and maybe even at present levels, there could be pockets of individuals with certain dietary habits who could [develop problems]."

Differences in labeling requirements for drug or food products on the part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may also account for some of the discrepancies, Hathcock added.

The good news, Pearce said, is that mild iodine deficiency in the United States is not likely to result in major or even detectable neurodevelopmental delays.

"But because we know the potential is there and it's such an easy thing to prevent, it makes sense to make sure that women get adequate iodine nutrition," she said.

Consumers should be able to read on the label whether the iodine comes from kelp or potassium iodide, she said.

More information

There's more on iodine deficiency at the American Thyroid Association.



SOURCES: Elizabeth N. Pearce, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Boston University Medical Center; John Hathcock, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Washington, D.C.; Feb 26, 2009, New England Journal of Medicine

Last Updated: Feb. 25, 2009

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