Hypothyroid, and subclinical hypothyroid are increasingly common after 35 years of age, particularly thyroid autoimmunity. Selenium is a mineral that impacts thyroid health positively.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, producing thyroid hormone which supports metabolism and general cellular function. The thyroid has many functions including helping to maintain heart rate, menstrual cycles, body weight, and breathing. Your thyroid aids in regulating cholesterol levels, the balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, and is implicated in fertility and healthy pregnancies.
Subclinical hypothyroid refers to normal blood test results trending towards hypothyroid, (e.g. standard tests like Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) are nearing the upper limits of the normal range), usually with the accompaniment of hypothyroid symptoms. Symptoms of hypothyroid include: intolerance to cold, dry skin and hair, difficulty losing weight, (or easy weight gain regardless of diet and exercise), fatigue, depressed mood, and menstrual irregularity.
Selenium supports thyroid in a number of ways:
1. Decreases thyroid antibodies in autoimmune thyroid conditions, specifically Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
2. Feeds the thyroid (even the thyroid gets hungry) - the thyroid has the greatest selenium content per gram of tissue
3. Protects from post-partum thyroiditis - pregnancy often precipitates subclinical hypothyroid and overt hypothyroid
4. Acts as an antioxidant
5. Converts T4 thyroid hormone to T3, the active thyroid hormone
Selenium is a mineral found in many foods including: Brazil nuts, oysters, sunflower seeds, meats (port, chicken, beef etc.), mushrooms (shiitake and button), and chia seeds. Selenium content in foods depends on soil and ground mineral content and quality of feed in animals.
Selenium is also available as a single mineral supplement. 200 micrograms is a reasonable daily dose of selenium.
If you have concerns about selenium and thyroid function, consult your naturopathic doctor as thyroid conditions must be monitored regularly.
1. Prevalence, clinical and biochemical profile of subclinical hypothyroidism in normal population in Mumbai
2. Recent Insights in the Epidemiology of Autoimmune Diseases: Improved Prevalence Estimates and Understanding of Clustering of Diseases
3. Selenium and Thyroid Gland - More Good News for Clinicians
4. Selenium deficiency inhibits the conversion of thyroidal thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3) in chicken thyroids.
5. Selenium and Thyroid Autoimmunity