Selenium and Thyroid Health
In this article I’m going to talk about one of the most important minerals when it comes to thyroid health. Selenium has many different functions, and a deficiency in this mineral can affect people with both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Although there are numerous different functions of selenium, I’m going to discuss three of the more important ones:
1. Important for the conversion of T4 into T3. This of course is very important with anybody, but a selenium deficiency will especially impact those with those who have a hypothyroid condition. In fact, most medical doctors will just give their patients synthetic thyroid hormone, which only contains T4. Most will do this even if the free T3 levels are low, as they will usually justify this by saying that the T4 will convert into T3. But of course if the person is deficient in selenium then this process will be impeded. Some doctors will give T3, usually in the form of Cytomel, which can help with the person’s symptoms in many cases. But once again, this is not doing anything for the underlying cause of the problem. Obviously a deficiency in T3 isn’t always caused by a selenium deficiency, but in many cases it is, and to not even consider this is ludicrous.
2. Helps with immunity. Selenium is a very important mineral when it comes to the overall health of the immune system. So you can imagine how important this is for anyone with an autoimmune thyroid disorder such as Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. In fact, the following case study listed on Dr. Larry Wilson’s website demonstrates how powerful selenium can be:
“I have a report of one individual who has been HIV-positive for 21 years. After undergoing practically every known treatment, he still had detectible levels of HIV-until he took selenium. After taking a 200 microgram daily dose his viral load dropped from 20,000/mL to 49, which is considered undetectable. Additionally, he hasn’t been sick since taking the selenium and has experienced no side effects whatsoever.” This of course is just one example, but a very powerful one.
3. Helps with Synthesis of Glutathione. Glutathione is important for detoxification of the liver, and it’s production is dependent on selenium, along with other minerals and amino acids. And so if someone has low selenium levels they will also have low levels of Glutathione, which will affect the natural detoxification of the liver.
Why Are People Selenium Deficient?
Just as is the case with many mineral deficiencies, people are commonly deficient in this mineral due to depleted soils. This is yet another reason to eat organic foods whenever possible. Plus, you also need to eat the correct foods, which I’ll discuss shortly.
Sources Of Selenium:
Many people can easily obtain an adequate amount of selenium from the food they eat. However, someone with a moderate to severe deficiency will most likely need to take selenium supplements. Although the RDA recommends 55mcg per day for both men and women, this may not be enough for someone with a selenium deficiency. Some doctors are concerned about selenium toxicity, but this is rare, as one usually has to consume more than 1,000 mcg per day on a regular basis for it to pose any problems.
With regards to the foods that can provide selenium, brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium. I recommend eating one ounce of brazil nuts daily. Some other nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, etc.) also provide selenium, but not as much as brazil nuts. According to Dr. Wilson, sardines are one of the best food sources of selenium. Since I’m personally not too fond of sardines I stick with the brazil nuts! He also recommends blue corn as being a good source as well. Garlic is also an excellent source of selenium.
Selenium Can Lower Thyroid Antibodies
Research studies actually show that taking selenium can lower thyroid antibodies, which of course is great news for anyone with an autoimmune thyroid disorder. This doesn’t mean that taking selenium alone will normalize the thyroid antibodies, but if someone has high thyroid antibody levels and is deficient in selenium, then taking this mineral can help greatly in lowering them.
I typically use a hair mineral analysis test to help detect whether someone is deficient in selenium. And most of the people who obtain this test do show a selenium deficiency. As I’ve discussed in previous articles and posts, this test also reveals the levels of many other important minerals, such as iron, copper, chromium, and manganese.
In summary, many people with both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have low selenium levels. For anyone looking to restore their health back to normal, correcting this deficiency is very important. Although it does take time to correct such a deficiency, doing so is inexpensive and will be well worth it.