This is a proactive approach to something us westerners don’t think about any more: the use of food supplements to ward off chronic disease.
Teagasc’s Dr. David Gleeson says the Irish dairy industry has lost markets in the EU due to the excessive levels of iodine in milk, adding, “We have way too much iodine in our milk.”
“A number of years ago when we had a deficiency of iodine, around 30 to 40 years ago, it was suggested that we should have higher levels of iodine [in our feedstuffs],” Gleeson said when explaining how the current issue developed.
And now, he said, there is too much iodine going into cows’ diets.
“About 12mg of iodine per cow per day is a safe bet. It’s 5mg per cow per day in other countries.
“We’re putting in 120mg in a lot of situations. Some of our feeds could contain 30mg/kg of iodine and farmers could be feeding 4kg of that. That’s 120mg per cow per day,” Gleeson said.
He also mentioned how some supplementary magnesium products contain added iodine and can result in iodine intakes of up to 90mg per cow per day.
Nutrition Australia says iodine is an essential trace element and an integral component of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are required for normal growth and development of tissues and maturation of our bodies. Iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of mental retardation in the world; obtaining iodine through the food supply is therefore paramount. Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia with the introduction of new practices of sanitization in the dairy industry and a decline in use and consumption of iodised salt.