Would you like to give birth to a smarty-pants? Of course you would! How do you strengthen the odds that your offspring will be born with an brain destined for intelligent thinking? According to a new study, your diet while pregnant could play a big part.
In The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, they found – as reported by Science Daily – that children who did not receive enough iodine in the womb performed worse on literacy tests as 9-year-olds than their peers, according to a recent study.” Iodine plays a very big role in the development of the brain and if a mother is not getting enough iodine, then even a mild deficiency could harm to the brain.
“Our research found children may continue to experience the effects of insufficient iodine for years after birth,” said the study’s lead author, Kristen L. Hynes, PhD, of the Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania in Australia. “Although the participants’ diet was fortified with iodine during childhood, later supplementation was not enough to reverse the impact of the deficiency during the mother’s pregnancy.”
But it’s not all around intelligence, but the iodine deficiency seems to affect certain functions of the brain. The study found that:
“9-year-olds, the children who received insufficient iodine in the womb had lower scores on standardized literacy tests, particularly in spelling. However, inadequate iodine exposure was not associated with lower scores on math tests. Researchers theorize iodine deficiency may take more of a toll on the development of auditory pathways and, consequently, auditory working memory and so had more of an impact on students’ spelling ability than their mathematical reasoning ability.”
The good news? That iodine deficiency is completely preventable by taking dietary supplements or upping the intake of foods like strawberries, dairy and seaweed which are all high in iodine.
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