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Among kelp-containing vitamins, the iodine levels ranged from 33 to 610 micrograms per daily dose. Experts say taking too much iodine can lead to problems, especially for women who already have a thyroid problem.
In 10 brands, iodine levels were less than half than what was listed on their labels. Three brands contained iodine levels 50 percent or more higher than advertised. Variations were greater among kelp-containing vitamins.
Based on the study's findings, pregnant women should take prenatal multivitamins that contain potassium iodide instead of kelp, said Dr. Elizabeth Pearce, one of the researchers.
Dr. Alex Stagnaro-Green, who specializes in pregnancy thyroid problems at the Touro University College of Medicine in New Jersey, said the findings point out a problem in vitamin marketing and urged the Food and Drug Administration to make iodine a mandatory ingredient in all prenatal multivitamins.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a Washington-based trade group for vitamin makers, said it supports putting iodine in all prenatal vitamins. The council's John Hathcock said iodine is difficult to measure and can degrade over time, which can affect its concentration.
Some independent groups such as the United States Pharmacopeia test dietary supplements to verify their contents. Consumers can buy brands with a seal of approval from USP.
On the Net:
New England Journal: http://www.nejm.org/
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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