Selenium for Hashimoto
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The relevance of selenium to thyroid issues including Hashimoto, Grave’s disease, and goiter among others has been widely studied since the discovery of selenium as a constituent of a human enzyme that activates thyroid hormone in the 1990s. Selenium is primarily known for its antioxidant properties and is widely used as a supplementation in Hashimoto.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Hashimoto and the benefits of selenium for Hashimoto. Let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is Hashimoto?
- Symptoms of Hashimoto
- Causes of Hashimoto
- Complications of Hashimoto
- What is Selenium?
- Selenium’s impact on the thyroid
- Selenium for Hashimoto
- Forms of selenium
- How to use selenium
- Precautions and side effects of selenium
- Final words
What is Hashimoto?
Hashimoto, also known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s Disease, is an autoimmune health condition in which the body’s defense mechanism or immunity system attacks the thyroid. This condition gradually kills thyroid cells and their ability to release critical hormones.
Therefore, Hashimoto leads to inadequate thyroid hormone production and affects nearly every organ system of the body including the heart, digestive, lungs, skeleton, and central nervous system.
Symptoms of Hashimoto
Hashimoto typically grows slowly over years and develops chronic thyroid damage. It doesn’t show any signs and symptoms at first. When the thyroid hormone levels significantly drop in the blood, symptoms are similar to those of hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland.
Symptoms may include:
- Pale and dry skin
- A puffy face
- Excessive fatigue and sluggishness
- Indigestion and constipation
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Brittle nails
- Weight gain
- Enlargement of the tongue
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain, stiffness, and tenderness
- Pain and stiffness in multiple joints
- Prolonged and excessive menstrual bleeding
- Weakness of muscle
- Memory lapses
Causes of Hashimoto
It’s considered that the body’s immune response creates antibodies that attack thyroid tissues. But it’s unclear exactly what causes the immune system to do so. Some researchers think a bacterium or virus may trigger the response, while others consider a genetic reason may be involved.
However, a combination of heredity, age, and sex factors may determine the risk of developing the disorder.
Complications of Hashimoto
If left untreated, Hashimoto can cause an underactive thyroid gland, also known as hypothyroidism, which may lead to a number of health issues.
They may include:
- Enlarged thyroid gland or goiter
- Birth defects
- Mental health problems
- Heart issues
What is selenium?
Selenium, also symbolized as Se, is one of the crucial micronutrients in the human body. It plays a vital role in thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and reproduction and helps protect the body from oxidative damage and infection.
The human body doesn’t make selenium. The amount of selenium in the body comes through some foods where it is naturally found. It’s also added to certain foods to fortify them and might be taken as a supplement.
Selenium’s impact on the thyroid
The thyroid holds the highest concentration of selenium in the human body and it plays a vital role in the thyroid gland’s ability to release thyroid hormones. Having an adequate amount of selenium in the body is essential, not just for preventing reduced thyroid functionality, but also for overall wellbeing.
A selenium deficiency may lead to a variety of thyroid problems, including –
- Hashimoto or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism
- Subclinical hypothyroidism
- Grave’s disease
- Goiter or an enlarged thyroid
- Thyroid cancer
While iodine is the key substance and building block of thyroid hormone, selenium is an indispensable mineral for synthesizing this iodine properly into thyroid hormone.
Selenium for Hashimoto
Selenium has been widely used by clinicians to treat the spectrum of autoimmune thyroid diseases. Studies have shown that selenium supplementation helps to reduce circulating levels of antibodies that attack the thyroid gland by mistake.
To date, the link between Hashimoto thyroiditis and selenium has been extensively investigated using clinical trials, epidemiologic data, and laboratory experiments, and the effects of selenium deficiency on Hashimoto thyroiditis has been demonstrated.
Therefore, it has been hypothesized that selenium can play a significant role in reducing Hashimoto’s symptoms by blunting the autoimmune process.
In a very recent Italian study, researchers have found that a small physiological dose of selenium up to 12 months prevented the progression of the symptoms in people with mild Hashimoto’s disease.
Forms of selenium
Selenium can be found in 2 forms – organic and inorganic. Both forms are good sources. But most people prefer the organic form of selenium for its increased bioavailability up to 90 %, which means organic selenium supplements can be absorbed into the body more easily and may be more effective than inorganic form.
Foods that are rich in selenium may include:
- Seafood such as salmon, tuna, and halibut
- Brazil nuts
- Meats like beef liver, beefsteak, and ground beef
- Whole grains
Selenium supplements can be taken eighter alone or in combination with other vitamins. Because of its overall effects throughout the body, selenium supplements may help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, thyroid disease, and oxidative damage as well as cognitive decline that occurs gradually with aging.
The easiest way to increase selenium levels in the body is taking it as a dietary supplement in capsule form.
How to use selenium
Studies suggest that taking 200 mcg of selenium supplement per day may play a beneficial role in reducing thyroid autoantibodies (antithyroid peroxidase) and improving overall wellbeing in patients with Hashimoto’s disease.
Check out Vorst's Selenium 200 mcg 90 Capsules
Precautions and side effects
While low levels of selenium in the body are a concern of developing several health conditions including autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, high levels may result in toxicity.
Side effects may include:
- Skin irritation
- Lung irritation
- Nail discoloration or brittleness
- Hair loss
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Nervous system abnormalities
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a qualified healthcare practitioner prior to using selenium supplements. Selenium may interact with certain drugs such as anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs, and thus, people who are taking any prescription medications must consult a certified healthcare professional prior to using selenium supplement.
Selenium plays a vital role in iodine metabolism and may help prevent and reduce Hashimoto’s disease. But, as selenium may produce adverse effects in both, lower levels as well as higher levels, it’s compulsory to consult a licensed healthcare provider before taking selenium supplements.
Disclaimer – This article contains only general information and is not reviewed scientifically, hence, cannot be used as a therapeutic guide.