Curious to know the number one forgotten fertility nutrient? Well it’s Iodine! Did you guess it right? Iodine isn’t often talked about so let’s get to know this important nutrient more. Iodine is actually a mineral that is important for your overall health. It helps to regulate the thyroid gland and maintain normal functioning of your pituitary gland, which produces hormones. What you might not know is that it’s essential for fertility and female hormone health. Research shows that Iodine insufficiency has been found to increase the risk of infertility by 46%

What does this fertility nutrient do?

Iodine is needed to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones assist with the creation of proteins and enzyme activity, as well as regulating normal metabolism. Thyroid function is increased during pregnancy as thyroid hormones produced by the mother and the baby, as the pregnancy progresses. A healthy functioning thyroid during pregnancy is essential for growth and development of the baby and to regulate the development of the brain and nervous system. 

Additional to its essential role in thyroid hormone production, iodine directly acts on the ovaries. The ovaries have the second greatest capacity for iodine uptake outside the thyroid. Iodine is also an important fertility nutrient because it’s crucial for follicular growth, which occurs in the first half of your menstrual cycle before you ovulate.

Fertility Nutrient Iodine

You can get iodine from food sources like seafood, seaweed and iodised salt. The Australian recommended dietary intake (RDI) of iodine is 150 micrograms per day for adults and 220 micrograms per day for pregnant women. In fact, research has shown that women who suffer from infertility may benefit from supplementing their diet with iodine. It’s been found that supplementing with iodine >150mcg per day during the preconception period was associated with a reduced time to conception. If you’re further along in your fertility journey here are 4 causes of infertility to investigate.

Here are some tips on how to increase your dietary iodine intake:

  • -Seaweed (like nori) is a great source of iodine! You can wrap it around sushi rolls, or use it as a garnish on stir-fries or salads.
  • -If you don’t like nori, try eating fish such as cod and tuna, shrimp, and other seafood. Seafood are generally rich in iodine. Make sure to limit tinned tuna to 2 cans a week.
  • -If you don’t like either of those options, dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese) and eggs, which are also good sources of iodine.

Now you can see why iodine is an important fertility nutrient. It’s so important for your thyroid and hormone health. It’s often forgotten about and I always recommend testing your individual iodine levels. This is because supplementing with too much iodine can have negative impacts on your thyroid health. 

If you want to know more about how I can help you with your hormone health and fertility then book in for a complementary 10 minute consultation to find out today!

Lesley O'Connor Fertility Naturopath Blog