Warriewood, Australia (PressExposure) September 08, 2009 -- In groundbreaking new research iodine supplementation to correct the mild deficiency commonly found in Australian children has led to significant improvements in cognitive brain function.
The first-of-its-kind study conducted at the University of Otago in New Zealand and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this month involving 184 school-aged children, assessed cognitive improvement with iodine supplements. The iodine tablets developed for the study were supplied by Blackmores.
Iodine supplementation [http://www.blackmores.com.au/Products/Detail.aspx?ProductId=1811] resulted in a significantly improved performance in tests of perceptual reasoning, a high level intellectual function.
In reviewing the study, Professor Creswell Eastman, leading Australian endocrinologist and world renowned iodine expert, said: âThis is groundbreaking research. What is significant is that this is the first time we can clearly show that iodine supplementation benefits the average mildly iodine deficient childâ.
âEveryday kids, many of whom are mildly iodine deficient [http://www.blackmores.com.au/Products/Detail.aspx?ProductId=2275], stand to benefit from improved cognitive function and school performance - simply by increasing their intake of iodine. This suggests every second child in Australia could potentially benefit from an increase in iodine intake,â he said.
In 2006, Eastman coordinated The National Australian Iodine Study, which measured iodine levels in 8-10 year old children. The results suggested that almost half of Australian children may be deficient in iodine.
âSupplementing with iodine can help to ensure children are not iodine deficient, and it could help them to reach their full intellectual potential,â said study author Sheila Skeaff, Senior Lecturer, University of Otago, New Zealand.
âIodine is essential for the synthesis of the thyroid hormones for normal growth and development, particularly of the brain,â she said. âWhat this research shows us is that iodine influences cognitive function and is essential for normal brain development.â
âPrevious intervention studies have shown improvements in the cognitive function of moderate and severely iodine deficient children. However, to our knowledge, up until now, this has not been investigated in children who are mildly iodine deficient,â said Skeaff.
Children are not the only group affected by iodine deficiency. Australian research from December 2007 found that many pregnant women in Australia are also iodine deficient, which is relevant because brain development begins in the womb.
Blackmoresâ Director of Education, Pam Stone, highlights the importance of a daily supplement containing iodine for pregnant and breast-feeding women and for children. She adds that good sources of iodine include seafood, dairy products and iodised salt but that trying to obtain the recommended levels from food can be difficult. âSupplementation is a positive means of ensuring you are consuming adequate levels,â she said.