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Research: Milk alternatives could cause iodine deficiency

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In a report from Bath, Sarah, Hill, S, Infante, HG, Elghul, S, Nezianya, CJ and Rayman, Margaret iodine deficiency is present in certain groups of the UK population, notably in pregnant women; this is of concern as iodine is required for fetal brain development.

UK milk is rich in iodine and is the principal dietary iodine source. UK sales of milk-alternative drinks are increasing but data are lacking on their iodine content. As consumers may replace iodine-rich milk with milk-alternative drinks, we aimed to measure the iodine concentration of those available in the UK. The iodine concentration of organic milk (median 324 μg/kg) was lower than that of conventional milk.

Although many milk-alternative drinks are fortified with calcium, at the time of this study, just three of 47 drinks were fortified with iodine.

Individuals who consume milk-alternative drinks that are not fortified with iodine in place of cows’ milk may be at risk of iodine deficiency unless they consume alternative dietary iodine sources.

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