60 multivitamins’ claims fall short; too little iodine ups developmental risks
The Associated Press
5:33pm Wed, Feb. 25, 2009
LOS ANGELES – Many brands of multivitamins for pregnant women may not contain all the iodine they claim, potentially putting babies at risk of poor brain development, a new study suggests. ts on 60 brands that listed iodine as an ingredient on their labels found many fell short of the stated amount. “If these numbers are all real, then they’re not meeting their label claim and that’s a problem,” said William Obermeyer, a former Food and Drug Administration scientist who co-founded ConsumerLab.com, a private testing service. Obermeyer was not part of the research.
The study was done by scientists at the Boston University Iodine Research Laboratory. Results were reported in a letter published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine. No brands were named in the analysis. Iodine deficiency affects more than 2 billion people worldwide and is the leading cause of mental retardation. Pregnant and nursing women need at least 290 micrograms of iodine a day, according to the Institute of Medicine. Expecting mothers who don’t get enough can put their babies at greater risk of mental retardation and growth, hearing and speech problems.
During pregnancy, having enough thyroid hormones is important for fetal brain development. There is no law requiring vitamin makers to add iodine to prenatal multivitamins, which are available by prescription or bought over-the-counter as dietary supplements. Boston University scientists last year looked at 223 prenatal multivitamins available by prescription or sold over-the-counter in the United States. About half of them — 114 — listed iodine.