Second Nature Care Blog

Too Much Iron? - Pregnancy

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 26, 2016 5:00:00 AM / by Isadora Guggenheim & Winter Ninivaggi


Iron and other nutrients during pregnancy.


GDM or gestational diabetes mellitus, was seen at higher levels in pregnant women with high iron levels.  Also, pregnant women diagnosed with GDM had 16% higher levels of hepcdin than those who were not.

While iron supplementation is often recommended during pregnancy to avoid iron deficiency, there are significant concerns with high iron stores and disturbances in glucose metabolism. It is also possible that it can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in non-pregnant individuals.

The researchers measured iron biomarker relationships with GDM risk such as ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor and plasma C-reactive protein levels throughout the pregnancy. Oral glucose tolerance tests were used to identify GDM in the participants.

They found that during the first iron level measurement during weeks 10-14 of gestation, ferritin levels in women who were to develop GDM were approximately 21% higher compared with women who did not develop GDM as were the hepcidin levels.

Iron is an essential nutrient, however; due to its strong pro-oxidant properties, free iron can lead to increased oxidative stress and cellular damage.

During pregnancy it is important to maintain healthy levels of other nutrients as well , such as vitamin B and/or iodine.

B-vitamins and iodine. B-vitamins protect against neural tube defects in the first 21 days and iodine protects the developing brain during pregnancy and after birth. One-third of pregnant women in the U.S. are marginally iodine-deficient.

We need iodine to make the thyroid hormones necessary for brain function.  Eating iodine-rich foods helps to provide the 290 micrograms of iodide needed daily for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Some need an additional 150 micrograms of an iodide supplement to reach the recommended level. The combined iodide intake should be between 290 and 1100 micrograms per day in the form of potassium iodide. Getting enough iodine to make thyroid hormones protects against breast cancer.

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Topics: Women's Health

Isadora Guggenheim, ND, RN, MS, CNS LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
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