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What does selenium do for the thyroid? How is it connected to iodine?

Date:2016-05-16 17:31:01    Visit:563

As stated earlier, selenoproteins in the Dis family convert the storage hormone T4 into the active T3 hormone. It does this by removing one iodine atom from the T4. But, selenium has other relationships with iodine as well. It is well documented that a severe deficiency leads to neurological and myxedematous cretinism. It is only when a severe selenium deficiency is coupled with a severe iodine deficiency does the latter occur. Iodine deficiency also causes goiter but a selenium deficiency results in a “weighty” or heavy thyroid as evidenced by ultrasound results. Studies show that selenium protects against goiter and iodine is proving to protect against a heavy thyroid.

When there is an iodine deficiency and attempts to supplement with selenium occur, the selenium will magnify the iodine deficiency causing it to become worse. The reverse is also true. If there is a selenium deficiency and attempts are made to supplement with iodine, the iodine will exacerbate the selenium deficiency causing it to worsen as well. In fact, anytime one is high and the other is low, symptoms will occur and often times get worse. If there is a deficiency, both must be supplemented or kept low.

In addition to its affiliation with iodine, selenium is responsible for other regulatory functions within the thyroid. Selenium deficiency leads to the exacerbation of Graves, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s and other thyroid disorders.  Recent studies have shown that selenium supplementation can reduce serum levels of T4, Free T4, and (See links below). To explain, the thyroid produces hydrogen peroxide during the production of T4. While some hydrogen peroxide is essential for proper functioning, excessive amounts of it can lead to high T4 production which results in a lower T3 availability. Too much hydrogen peroxide will also cause cell destruction. Selenium as GPx anti-oxidant breaks down excessive hydrogen peroxide and as a TRx prevents cell damage and necrosis of thyrocytes.

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