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Concern Develops for Iodine Levels in Australian Foods

Friday, October 15, 2010 by: Deb Campbell
Tags: iodine, foods, health news

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(NewsTarget) Health authorities in Australia have issued a warning over high iodine levels discovered in certain foods. A case involving twenty-five people affected by excess exposure to iodine has resulted in damages being sought in the Supreme Court.

A popular brand of soy milk in Australia has been found to have caused illnesses in at least eight people who consumed the product. In addition to these cases, a researcher at Sydney University has found that "between January and June 2010, 48 retrospective Australian cases of thyroid dysfunction associated with this brand of soy milk were also notified to local public health authorities".

Iodine intake above a certain level is known to cause problems in thyroid function for otherwise healthy adults and babies. The thyroid gland is vital to metabolism, growth and development. In adults an excess of iodine can result in over-activity (hyperthyroidism) of the gland which can lead to issues: such as anxiety, heart palpitations, diarrhoea, irritability, insomnia and other complications. More concerning though is that babies who have received it via breast milk can experience the reverse: an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism). When occurring at such a young age, this can lead to very damaging long-term issues in affected children.

A prime example is seen in developing countries where hypothyroidism is much more common; many children are experiencing as a consequence enlarged glands (goiter), stunted growth, mental retardation and thyroid problems for life.

The excess doses seen in Australia in a soy product is alarming given soy consumption has increased dramatically in developed cultures over the past decade among people of all ages. Authorities are now seeking ways to increase the monitoring of imported foods like soy, as well as commercially available seafood preparations. Seafood is a potential problem because it is a naturally rich source of iodine, so keeping levels within a safe range is essential.

Current recommended safe intake of iodine is relatively small compared to other nutrients and is dependent upon age.

- Younger children (1 to 8 years) 90ug*
- Older children (9 to 13 years, boys and girls) 120ug
- Adolescents (14 to 18 years): 150ug
- Adults: 150ug
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 220ug and 270ug respectively.

*1 ug = 1 microgram

Other natural sources of iodine include dairy, eggs, some vegetables and iodine supplements.

The soy case has been filed in the Supreme Court and the number of claimants is expected to rise.




About the author

Debbie Campbell is a Health and Wellness expert who has been coaching and training people in Australia and overseas for over 10 years. Her experience has included work as a Personal Trainer, Massage Therapist, Pilates practitioner and Health/Wellness Presenter. She believes that anyone is capable of creating the health that they desire through the fundamentals of; education, conscious living and a consistent focus toward what they want. Her current projects involve educational workshops with her brother Dave (www.debndavehealthsolutions.com) as well as individual health coaching and fitness training through her own business (www.backintraining.com)

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