On today’s episode, we’re discussing a mineral deficiency that has been linked to infertility and what you can do about it if you’re deficient.
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What is iodine?
Today we are going to be talking about an essential mineral that a large amount of the population in the US is deficient in and has been found to greatly reduce the chances of conception. That mineral is iodine.
This is an element that humans cannot produce in the body, so it has to be consumed through our diet and or supplementation. Iodine is extremely important for the health of your hormones, especially when it comes to your thyroid. To make thyroid hormones, your thyroid has to take up iodine in small amounts and without iodine, thyroid hormone production can decrease.
Why does iodine matter for fertility?
So how does this connect to fertility? Well, low levels of thyroid hormones can impair ovulation and develop into a condition called hypothyroidism, which can impact fertility by causing an ovulation, which is the lack of ovulating luteal phase defects, including a short luteal phase and sex hormone imbalance.
Iodine deficiency linked to infertility
One study that was published in the International Journal of Applied and Basic Medical Research found that out of the 394 infertile women that was in their sample size were 23.9% had experienced thyroid issues. So those thyroid issues were connected to their infertility. So another really big impact that iodine has other than regulating your hormones. It’s really important when also developing your baby, so it’s very important for fetal development, especially for brain health. Iodine deficiency is actually one of the most common and preventable world health problems.
A more recent study done by the National Institutes of Health, NIH, in 2018 found that out of their sample group of 467 women who are trying to conceive, those who had iodine deficiency of less than 50 micrograms in their blood test had a 46% lower chance of getting pregnant each month. Right? Holy shit. That’s a really big impact that iodine is having on our bodies and is having on infertility. So more information and studies are needed, but iodine supplementation is also being looked at as a possible treatment for unexplained infertility. So iodine is a big deal and is often overlooked with our medical care providers and in the infertility space in general.
What you can do to improve fertility
So what can you do about this? First off, don’t immediately after listening to this, head to the store to grab some iodine supplements. Too much iodine in your system can also lead to toxicity and can negatively impact your reproductive health. And it can also lead to some other very unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, which is gross. So nobody wants diarrhea. So always talk to your care provider before adding any supplements to your routine. But if you are struggling to conceive, or if you’re even preparing to start conceiving, you can ask your care provider to test your iodine levels. If your care provider doesn’t want to. There are other testing alternatives out there. Naturopathic doctors, some other labs do out of pocket testing, which unfortunately is expensive. But it is an option if for whatever reason, your care provider doesn’t want to test you.
But here are some things to look for. So the daily recommended dose by the National Institutes of Health is 150 micrograms. For people who are 14 and older, that’s 150 micrograms of iodine in your diet per day. For women who then become pregnant, it’s 220 micrograms. So on blood tests where the results are 50 micrograms or less of iodine in the blood, that is where we’re seeing moderate to severe iodine deficiencies. So we want to see a higher number than that.
Foods for iodine deficiency
Secondly, and of course, you know, I’m a really big fan of this. If you can ever improve your health or your outcomes for getting pregnant naturally, that’s always my jam. You can consume iodine rich foods in your diet. Again, there’s no other way to get iodine other than to consume it somehow. So having a simple lifestyle change, like just adding certain foods to your diet that are rich in iodine, can be just a really great way and simple, easy change to increase your iodine and increase your chances of conception. So this is natural, it’s beneficial in many different ways, and it’s delicious. That’s a delicious way to get your iodine is by eating yummy foods.
So some iodine rich foods include sea, water based foods like seaweed. You can get some nori if you like it, or add it to some different dishes or add it into like a salad. You can have cod, salmon, shrimp, and tuna. But of course, we want to keep our Mercury levels low as well when trying to conceive and in general, so always opt for light tuna. And I would suggest not having tuna more than twice a week. So maybe have tuna once a week and have some salmon or some other seafood options that are also really healthy for you throughout your week and adding that into your diet. I’m a really big fan of salmon. It has those Omega three fatty acids that are really healthy for you, healthy for pregnancy, just overall, just a really great thing to add into your diet. And the fact that it also is rich in iodine is a major plus. Other foods include dairy.
Not all milks are the same when it comes to iodine. It sort of depends on the process and whether or not cows are getting certain foods and iodine and rich foods when they’re being melted. But milk generally does have more iodine in it. It can vary, but it’s still a great thing to have in your diet. Especially we’re looking at having more whole fat dairies in our diet for fertility. But milk, cheeses, eggs are also really good for adding iodine into your breakfast. Greek yogurt is also a really great way to add iodine in your diet as well and it’s yummy and there are lots of different ways to add it into your diet.
Just eating yogurt, you can add it into making desserts, you can make a smoothie. There are just a lot of different ways to get creative here, Especially when you don’t like certain options. But you want to add these foods into your diet so that you have a healthier fertility and reproductive system. Plant based milks, however, like soy and almond, Contain very little iodine so they are really not good sources of iodine. So I’m sorry to anyone who prefers the plant based milk there. Like I said, there are still other ways to get iodine into your diet more. So milk is not the only option for you.
Optimizing your health through these lifestyle changes that fit your needs can make a huge difference in chances of conception. But remember that it takes time to naturally heal your body. Not to mention it can take an egg around 90 days to mature. So these changes to your reproductive health are not going to be instantaneous. But it’s progress over perfection. We have to remember progress and compassion for ourselves over perfection and doing everything right. And like I say all the time, it is more about balance. We don’t want to be extremely stressed out and going crazy with adding foods in our diet that are full of iodine, right. We can do this in a way that promotes self compassion and promotes progress in our lifestyle changes. It’s about meeting yourself where you are and what’s right for you.
Restoring your fertility
But if you are confused about what’s right for you, if you don’t know where to start, if you’re feeling defeated and overwhelmed, remember, you don’t have to go through this journey alone. I have five spots open for my 12-week fertility reset program where together we will restore your fertility for a healthy pregnancy. Calm your mind and that little voice inside your head wondering if it will ever be your turn and heal your heart. If you think you can benefit from this and are ready to invest in your fertility health, Head on over to the TheFertilityWitch.com to apply for the fertility reset program and I hope to see you there.
Remember, this is your fertility story and you have the power to take actionable, purposeful steps to help you get pregnant. Alright, everybody, I’ll see you next week. Thanks for listening. Next week I have a very special guest. Katrina Lelli, who is a spiritual and transformational coach is coming onto the show. She has a wonderful podcast called The Magic Within. And we are going to be talking about some really cool techniques that you can do to help you throughout your journey. And if spirituality is something that’s helping you throughout your this process of trying to conceive, you’re definitely going to want to listen to this episode. Alright, see you then. Bye.