Selenium; a nutrient that aids in producing the hormone that helps regulate thyroid metabolism. As our body does not naturally produce Selenium, we can only get it either from supplements or from the food we eat.
Selenium does not just aid in our body’s ability to defend itself against thyroid-related issues but also has other benefits for our overall health. The thyroid is where Selenium is found in the highest quantities in our body and it depends on our diet whether we are getting enough Selenium or not.
But trust me, your levels of selenium and thyroid health are not areas to skimp on!
Excessively high and low selenium levels are associated with an increased risk of disease in several studies. Those studies have shown that selenium supplementation reduces the severity of selenium hypothyroidism and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOs).
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How is Selenium related to Thyroid?
It was found that the Thyroid contains more Selenium per gram tissue than any other organ and that Selenium is abundant in its thyroid form. It is interesting to note that the Thyroid maintains its selenium content to a higher degree than the brain under selenium limitation and genetic inactivation for Sepp, the transporter of Selenium.
This refers to a hierarchical system that protects the Thyroid, presumably via Sepp locally manufactured, so that the selenium content is maintained in limited situations.
Selenium and thyroid were found to be related in function after type-1 5′-deiodinase was identified as a Secys-containing enzyme, and in all three DIs, the same connection has been established.
In the past two decades, the increasing consciousness of the important role of Selenium in the regulation of thyroid function and the importance of Selenium for thyroid pathogenesis has been shown to be part of the manifestation of myxedematous cretinism by the finding that severe selenium deficiency is involved.
The results show that the Thyroid and Selenium are inextricably linked.
In simple words, selenium is a necessary component of thyroid function and needs to be maintained in order for your thyroid to regulate your hormones easier.
Role of Selenium in Thyroid Health Regulation
Selenium deficiency is not common in regular adults with no pre-existing health conditions. But if we talk about people who have health issues such as Crohn’s or celiac disease, then due to improper absorption of nutrients, they are at risk of developing Thyroid related issues. That is why selenium and thyroid are interconnected.
If we take selenium supplements, then we see that one study suggested that it had a significant role to play in inflammatory activity in thyroid-specific autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s disease was the first disease to be identified as an autoimmune disease and a widespread type of hypothyroidism.
A study conducted among 35,000 people found that those with high amounts of Selenium were at greater risk of developing prostate cancer. If we talk about natural sources of Selenium, then foods like brazil nuts, cod, shrimp, scallops, chicken, eggs, lamb, and turkey, to name a few, are a great source of Selenium.
How Much Selenium to Take in a Day?
Before you venture off into the realm of meeting your daily requirements of Selenium, it would be wise to know the individual levels of all these vitamins and minerals in your system. Once you have these levels checked via a blood test, you can then work with your doctor to develop the best plan for you in light of the tests. I highly recommend doing an at-home heavy metals test so that you can see where your selenium levels look like, and also any other metals that may be hindering your thyroid.
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But in case you are wondering what generally the required amount is? Then you need a sufficient supply of iodine, vitamin B, zinc, tyrosine, and vitamin D to keep the thyroid glands functioning at their optimal levels.
The advised daily intake of iodine that is suggested for adults is 150 micrograms per day. Foods like eggs, cheese, kelp, and seaweeds can help you meet the daily required amount of iodine. However, too much iodine can have detrimental effects on the health as well, so be smart about your iodine consumption.
This is actually why I prefer taking the Daily Cleanse supplement as it has a balance of vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial (and amazing for your skin!)
Natural Sources of Selenium
There are two main natural sources of Selenium – organic and inorganic. Most people often prefer organic means to meet their selenium and Thyroid needs, which is far more suited for absorption. A study from Belgium suggested that natural sources of Selenium include:
- Meat (31%)
- Fish (19%)
- Rice (12%)
- Bread/Cereals (11%)
The Selenium that we consume is absorbed by the kidneys, and most of it is excreted that way. However, a small chunk is removed from the body via perspiration. Interestingly, when it comes to consuming Selenium, we see a region-wise variation of selenium consumption among people as every region has its different foods. This variation in food dictates the varying numbers of Selenium found in the habitants.
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Smokers and people in their old age have reduced Selenium levels in them, and foods like egg whites have also been associated with reducing the numbers of Selenium in the human body. Intake of selenium and thyroid health varies according to the diet and consumption of selenium-rich foods.
Autoimmunity and Selenium
T-cell-mediated autoimmune attacks (AIT), a prototype of autoimmune diseases, are often characterized by thyroid cell destruction. Based on the above-mentioned link between Selenium and the Thyroid, various studies have been conducted in patients with AIT in low selenium compounds for organic and inorganic Selenium. Selenium did not affect thyroid hormone synthesis in either of these studies.
This is in line with previous results, which showed that selenium treatment does not change the thyroid hormone levels in people with a minimum thyroid hormone synthesis defect, as demonstrated in a positive JPR test (54). These intervention studies were conducted in a group of AIT euthyroid patients under L-T4 and formed a fairly homogenous study group with significant variation in Selenium and iodine’s local availability.
Grave’s Disease and Selenium
Grave’s disease (GD) involves the stimulation of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor by the thyrotrophic receptor antibody (TRAb), which results in a greater synthesis and release of thyroid hormones. GD is the main leading risk factor of hyperthyroidism and is marked by subnormal serum TSH levels and increased free thyroxine serum levels (FT4) (T3). In GD, patients’ basic metabolic status is increased, and the proportion of free radicals and reactive oxygen species is significantly increased (ROS).
The research currently available concentrates on the importance of oxidative stress in GD pathogenesis and the protective effects of potent antioxidant systems. Intracellular antioxidants, like dismutase superoxide (SOD), reductase glutathione, and glutathione peroxidase, accompany this system.
As an antioxidant, the trace element selenium is essential to the thyroid hormone’s healthy metabolism and function. Selenium is incorporated in selenoproteins—in the form of selenocysteine—glutathione peroxidase, which catalyzes the degradation and production in the GD of the hydrogen peroxide and the lipid hydroperoxide. Selenoproteins play an irreplaceable role in developing and progressing autoimmune thyroid disorder, and selenium deficits have a crucial effect.
Frequently Asked Questions about Selenium and Your Thyroid Connection
How long does it take for Selenium to help Thyroid?
For those being treated with levothyroxine, consuming selenium supplementation can aid in significantly lower TPOAb levels after three months, which then continue to decrease at six months and 12 months subsequently.
What vitamins should not be taken with thyroid medication?
Absorption of your thyroid medications depends on how calcium and iron supplements work with your body, so consuming them an hour apart is a wise choice. Another supplement to watch out for is biotin, commonly taken for hair, skin, and nail benefits.
Can I take Selenium with levothyroxine?
No interactions were found between levothyroxine and Selenium. This does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. However, consulting with your healthcare provider is the way to go.
The Bottom Line
All in all, it is pertinent that you look out for your thyroid health because, as we have discussed in the article, it has wide-ranging effects on our health. Ensuring that you are keeping your selenium levels in the recommended range is the key to ensuring that thyroid glands are working at their peak levels.
Selenium and Thyroid are interconnected but there are multiple other ways to keep the thyroid in good health. It is worth keeping in mind that relying solely on Selenium to help with thyroid-related issues is not the way to go. Always consult with your physician and ensure that you are taking a balanced diet is what we highly recommend that you do.