Discover the role selenium plays in maintaining thyroid function.
In this article:
- Selenium Deficiency in Thyroid Patients
- More Benefits of Selenium
- How Much Selenium Is Necessary for Thyroid Health?
- What Causes Selenium Deficiency?
- Selenium-Rich Foods
- More Selenium Sources
Selenium and Thyroid Function | What’s the Connection?
Selenium Deficiency in Thyroid Patients
People may not find the selenium element in many food labels. Some health articles may not discuss it.
It doesn’t change the fact the mineral is a vital nutrient. It is even more important for people with thyroid conditions.
This micronutrient can help mitigate thyroid disease symptoms. The mineral may also promote healthy hormone production of the glands.
A working thyroid gland depends on adequate intake of the mineral.
The nutrient, along with iodine, is critical in the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones then regulate many systems throughout the body.
A functioning thyroid contributes to a healthy metabolism and proper digestion. The body also needs it for muscle control.
It also promotes brain function, strong bones, strong heart rate, and mood regulation.
Low hormone production may lead to hypothyroidism. It is a medical condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland.
The symptoms can include fatigue, weight gain, depression, and memory loss. Muscle aches, muscle spasms, and cold intolerance may also be signs of hypothyroidism.
Too much thyroid hormone may result in hyperthyroidism, which means the thyroid gland is overactive.
People with the disease can lose too much weight or feel hotter than usual. They also tend to have trouble sleeping.
One of the classic symptoms is heart palpitation or a “jittery” feeling.
Some studies found it may modulate the way the thyroid produces the hormones.
It works together with iodine. It is the principal mineral necessary to produce the thyroid hormones.
In fact, without it, the body won’t be able to synthesize iodine to create these hormones.
More Benefits of Selenium
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Selenium does more than encouraging healthy thyroid function. That’s why it’s also ideal even for people who have no thyroid issues.
It provides antioxidant protection. Antioxidants help prevent the body from developing serious health issues. These include cancer, heart disease, strokes, and mental decline.
A healthier immune system also prevents colds and flu, as well as premature skin aging.
People with thyroid issues often have problems with their immune system. They may have lower immunity, so they become vulnerable to more health problems.
That makes the micronutrient’s antioxidant protection a kind of “one-two punch” when it comes to boosting health in thyroid patients.
Most of all, it helps regulate the iodine levels. Too much of it may damage the thyroid glands.
How Much Selenium Is Necessary for Thyroid Health?
The good news is most Americans get enough of it from their regular diet. Those with thyroid diseases, though, may have lower levels of the micronutrient.
If thyroid issues are a concern, it’s especially important to know how much is necessary.
This knowledge enables them to choose more foods high in selenium. They may also consider thyroid-supporting supplements.
Toddlers need about 20 micrograms (mcg) of it each day. Children under 9 need 30 mcg, and preteens must have 40 mcg.
From the teen years into adulthood, about 55 mcg is adequate for most people. The exception to this recommendation is women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
In these cases, the required amount is 60 to 70 mcg daily.
What Causes Selenium Deficiency?
One of the common reasons for the deficiency is poor dietary choices. It may also be prevalent in countries with low amounts of the mineral in the soil.
Some health conditions interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the nutrient. These include Crohn’s disease and other digestive issues.
The same is true for autoimmune diseases and immune dysfunction conditions, including HIV.
Taking certain medications can also cause the depletion of the micronutrient.
Other medical treatments also carry the risk of decreased selenium. These include gastric bypass surgery and dialysis.
Even before doctors can detect thyroid issues, selenium deficiency symptoms may be apparent. It can result in weight gain, frequent illness, hair loss, and fatigue.
Crohn’s Disease Definition: It is a chronic inflammation of certain parts of the bowel system such as the colon. It may result in the swelling, redness, and ulcerations of the affected organs.
Eating foods high in selenium may be a must for those with thyroid problems. The amount of the mineral these plants have depend on the quality of the soil.
For people in North America, this is rarely an issue. One exception may be eating too many food sources from Asia or Eastern Europe.
Brazil nuts tend to be the highest source of plant-based foods with selenium. In fact, a handful of them provides about seven times the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).
Other non-animal sources of selenium include enriched macaroni, oatmeal, and brown rice. You can also get them from puffed wheat cereal, whole wheat bread, and spinach.
Canned baked beans are also good sources. All these foods offer at least 10% of the RDA for selenium.
Animal products are also reliable high-selenium foods. Yellowfin tuna offers more than 100% of the RDA.
In descending order, other choices providing at least 10% of the RDA of this vital nutrient are:
- Beef Liver
- Cottage cheese
- Ground beef
More Selenium Sources
Some people may not be able to get enough of the mineral from their diet. They may live in a region with low selenium in the soil, which affects the amounts present in plant-based foods.
Animal sources from these areas can also have less of it. This happens because they eat grains in low-selenium soils.
Vegans and vegetarians may have issues with the consumption of selenium. It’s possible they cannot reach the recommended intake of 55 mcg each day.
So do some thyroid patients. That’s why doctors may recommend supplements containing more selenium.
Watch the video by Integrative Brain and Body below and learn more about the importance of selenium for thyroid function:
Selenium is a vital trace mineral, especially for thyroid function. It doesn’t mean people can overdo it.
Excessive amounts of the nutrient can result in rashes, nausea, and diarrhea. They may also lead to unhealthy hair and nails, and more severe symptoms.
People with thyroid issues can manage the problem.
They need the help of their doctors, though, particularly an endocrinologist. Only these physicians can tell the best amounts of the mineral for their health.
Sometimes the diets may limit selenium intake. The tests may also show a nutritional deficiency.
In this case, a combination of dietary changes and supplements may be necessary. They can make a big difference in boosting thyroid health.
Are you taking selenium? Tell us how it affects your health in the comments section below.