- Milk-alternative drinks like soy
and almond milk may cause iodine deficiency, according to research from
the University of Surrey
- The iodine concentration of all
the unfortified milk-alternative drinks was less than 2% of cow's milk
- Iodine is a micronutrient which is
important for thyroid function and fetal brain development
consume milk-alternative drinks are at a higher risk for iodine deficiency,
finds a new study. Cow's milk contains a variety of nutrients and has long been
associated with an array of health benefits. However, some people avoid cow's
milk due to health and other concerns.
Milk-Alternative Drinks and Iodine Deficiency
A research team
from the University of Surrey examined the iodine content of 47
milk-alternative drinks such as soy, almond, coconut, oats, rice, hemp and
hazelnut. The iodine content of milk-alternatives was compared with that of
cow's milk. However, milk-alternatives available in the
market specifically for infants and children were not included in the study.
showed that a majority of milk-alternative drinks did not have adequate
amounts of iodine. The iodine concentration levels of milk-alternative drinks
were around 2% of that found in cow's milk.
‘Individuals who consume unfortified milk-alternative drinks may be at risk of iodine deficiency unless they consume alternative dietary iodine sources.’
A glass of
milk-alternative drink contains 2mcg of iodine which is a very small proportion
of the adult recommended iodine intake of 150mcg/day.
Although most of the milk-alternative drinks are fortified with
calcium, only three of the 47 drinks were fortified with iodine.
and dairy products are the main sources of iodine. The findings
of the study show that most of the milk-alternative drinks may not be a
substitute for cow's milk.
Professor of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey, said, "Many
people are unaware of the need for this vital dietary mineral and it is
important that people who consume milk-alternative drinks realize that they
will not be replacing the iodine from cows' milk which is the main UK source of
iodine. This is particularly important for pregnant women and those planning a
drinks are being used as a substitute due to allergy or intolerance to cow's
. Most of the milk-alternative drinks are not fortified with
iodine. People who avoid milk and dairy products need to ensure that they have
iodine from other dietary sources like white fish. People who consider taking
iodine supplement should avoid kelp, which can provide excessive amounts of
iodine, said, Dr Sarah Bath, Lecturer in Public Health Nutrition at the
University of Surrey and registered dietitian.
The findings of
the study are published in the British Journal of Nutrition
is a micronutrient
which is required for thyroid function. Iodine is an essential nutrient during
pregnancy as it supports normal fetal brain development. Daily recommended
intake of iodine during pregnancy is 200 mcg/day, but, milk-alternative drinks
provide less than 2% of the recommended levels.
Previous research conducted
by the University of Surrey found that iodine deficiency during pregnancy was
linked to lower IQ and reading scores in children for up to 9 years of age.
Sources of Iodine
Some of the
dietary sources of iodine are seaweed such as kelp, nori, kombu, and wakame.
Other sources include seafood (cod, sea bass, haddock, and perch), dairy
products, eggs and whole grains.Recommended Dietary Allowances for Iodine
|Birth to 6 months
- Sarah C. Bath, Sarah Hill, Heidi Goenaga Infante, Sarah Elghul, Carolina J. Nezianya, Margaret P. Rayman. Iodine concentration of milk-alternative drinks available in the UK in comparison with cows' milk. British Journal of Nutrition, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114517002136
- Introduction to Iodine - (https:ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/)