B4200 - Plant-based diets iodine and neurodevelopmental outcomes - 21/11/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Sarah Bath | University of Surrey
Dr Kathryn Hart
Title of project: 
Plant-based diets, iodine, and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Proposal summary: 

Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in impaired thyroid function and lead to altered brain structure. We have shown that even mild-to-moderate ID in UK pregnant women is associated with lower child IQ and reading scores at age 8-9 years.

Recent dietary recommendations promote plant-based diets for environmental sustainability and such diets are increasingly popular, particularly among young women. Since plant foods have low iodine content and animal foods are the main contributors to iodine intake, plant-based diets may increase the risk of iodine deficiency. Such diets, with high vegetable intake, may also be high in goitrogens (foods that may reduce the absorption and use of iodine in the body). A diet high in goitrogens but low in iodine may increase the risk of ID and its effects on child neurodevelopment, but there is a lack of data in this area.

In this project we plan to investigate whether a dietary risk score that considers both iodine intake and iodine inhibitors can predict mother's iodine status and thyroid function in pregnancy, and also child cognitive outcomes (e.g. IQ).

Impact of research: 
Further evidence of the role of iodine in pregnancy in areas of mild-to-moderate deficiency, building on our previous work with ALSPAC data.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 21 November, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 November, 2022
Nutrition, Statistical methods, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet