Children's Health

‘Iodine’ The Mineral Essential To Brain Development

Did you know that iodine is responsible for your baby’s brain development? In fact, research has shown that iodine can improve IQ, learning and understanding. Iodine is a trace mineral found in the soil in which our food is grown, However, the content of iodine varies depending on rainfall, how far we live from the sea and which foods we eat. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UK is one of the top ten most iodine deficient countries in the world. If you or your baby/child has a food allergy, then you may be more at risk of iodine deficiency. I will explain more in this blog. 

Which Foods Contain Iodine?

The richest source of dietary iodine is white fish and dairy products. The amounts of iodine in fish and dairy vary according to the iodine content of the soil, farming practice, fish species and season. In the UK, an estimated 33% of iodine comes from drinking cow’s milk. Organic milks, however, may be up to 42% lower in iodine than conventional milk. Below is a table which shows dietary sources of iodine and their content.



Average Iodine (mcg)

Cow’s Milk



Organic Cow’s Milk















Salmon Fillet






How Much Iodine?

The recommended intake for iodine in the UK hasn’t changed since 1991 and I think it’s only fair to say that 1991 is a long time ago! Therefore I have shown you the iodine requirements recommended by the World Health Organisation in 2007.


Iodine Required per day (mcg)

0-5 years


6-12 years


Adult >12 years






Iodine In Pregnancy

Iodine is extremely important during pregnancy and for the early life of a new born baby. Iodine is responsible for making the thyroid hormones T4 and T3 which are crucial for both brain and neurological development in a growing baby. Low iodine in pregnancy has been shown to lower a child’s IQ by 10-15 points and also lower their reading ability. Check out some interesting research here.

Most supplements in the UK have 150ug of Iodine in, however, this is not enough according to the WHO. I would therefore recommend that you either have at least one portion of white fish a week, eggs on a daily basis and include cow’s milk or a dairy alternative with iodine in to ensure you are achieving 250ug/day.  

Some research also shows that iodine may assist to prevent stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, preterm delivery and congenital abnormalities.

Food Allergy & Iodine 

If your child eats white fish and diary products and drinks cow’s milk then you most probably don’t need to worry, however, for those who are dairy intolerant or for those who have multiple allergies my advice would be to first of all, include a multivitamin supplement with iodine in AND include dairy free products with added iodine. Soya Alpo 1+ contains iodine and iron. Marks & Spencers Oat milk has 28.9mcg of iodine in per 100ml. I know this is very limited indeed. So far I have not found a multivitamin with iodine in for children under the age of 4 years. In this case, if you are worried. Please don’t hesitate to contact me and  I shall provide you with the best individual advice. 

My clients are mainly children with a cow’s milk protein allergy. In fact, most of them have multiple allergies so they can’t even have white fish or eggs. The media are very good at focusing on calcium which is an important nutrient for children and adults, however, iodine seems to have been lost in space. Personally, I tend to focus a lot more on iodine lately since the health of a baby and their brain development depends on it.

If you want an immediate consultation then why not book yourself in for an online consultation with myself today by calling +447825750040.

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If you like to read more on iodine then I recommend these following journals by

Dr Rayman and Dr Bath


Please note that this information neither is medical advice, nor is it meant to replace the advice of your doctor or dietitian and I assume no liability for the use or misuse of this information.


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