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Iodine is an essential micronutrient that makes up part of the thyroid hormones which help release energy from food and regulate growth. These hormones also contribute to brain and nerve function, and help to maintain healthy skin.

Three portions of dairy can provide between 90% – 100% of the daily requirement for iodine across the lifespan. Today, we launch a new resource to highlight the crucial role of including iodine in the diet.

Dr Anne Mullen, Director of Nutrition at The Dairy Council, said: “Iodine intake is particularly important for women during pregnancy and for young children since it contributes to growth and brain development. However, the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey indicated that 22% of teenage girls and 10% of women do not obtain adequate iodine from food sources.

“Other studies from the UK have also demonstrated mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency in teenage girls and at each trimester among pregnant women. This research also showed that in pregnancy the strongest dietary predictor of iodine status was milk consumption.”

Milk and dairy foods are known to make the biggest contribution to iodine in the UK diet, providing 64% of intakes among 1.5 to 3 year olds, 51% of intake among 4 to 10 year olds, 40% of intakes among 11 to 18 year olds, 33% of intake among 19 to 64 year olds and 37% of intake among those aged 65 and over, as highlighted in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

In light of evidence highlighting iodine as a nutrient of concern in British young and pregnant women, The Dairy Council Iodine booklet provides information to consumers and healthcare professionals about this often overlooked micronutrient. The booklet provides a useful table with dietary requirements for iodine at all ages and how these can be achieved with milk and dairy intake.