As I’ve been researching which key supplements are most essential to thyroid function for those of us with hashimotos, this one has been at the top of every list: selenium. Down below, you can check out how great it is at optimizing and restoring thyroid health, and how you’ll probably want to start supplementing with it ASAP! I started taking a selenium supplement of 200 mcg per day several weeks ago, and I’m excited to keep you updated with my progress and results.
What is it?
Selenium is an essential mineral that is imperative for the production of enzymes known as “selenoprotein.” These enzymes are antioxidants, making selenium an important player in antioxidant properties reducing the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.
What happens without it?
Selenium deficiencies are often found in people with digestive issues or inflammation due to chronic illness. Selenium deficiencies are thought to make the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by other nutritional, biochemical or infectious stresses, due to its role in immune function. Additionally, since selenium is vital for the conversion of T4 to T3, cases of extreme selenium deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, as well as other dysfunctions in the immune system.
What happens with it?
Selenium can be absolutely life changing. Adequate selenium nutrition supports efficient thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism and protects the thyroid gland from damage from excessive iodine exposure. Selenium also plays an important role in decreasing dangerous thyroid antibodies. It has been proven that in as little as 3-9 months, patients found a significant decrease in thyroid peroxidase antibody levels in the blood. Additionally, it has been discovered that selenium has major anti-inflammatory qualities in thyroid-specific autoimmune disorders. Selenium is also vital for the conversion of T4 to T3 in your thyroid. Think you might want to try it yet?
How much should I take?
The recommended dietary allowance required for adults is 55 micrograms per day. Higher doses, however, may be necessary to help bring balance to the thyroid. Most selenium supplements come in 200 microgram tablets, which you can adjust if necessary to keep up-to-date with what your body is doing. Just keep in mind the upper limit for selenium is 400 micrograms per day, as doses higher that this can lead to potential overdose.
Are there any risks?
Yes. While selenium is extremely helpful, and quite essential, to thyroid function, if taken in high doses for a long period of time, it can lead to complications such as gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability, and mild nerve damage. Because of this, it’s important to periodically check up on your thyroid levels to assess how much selenium you should be supplementing with. You’re aiming for an adequate amount of selenium in your body—too much of any good thing can be a bad thing!
What are other ways I can get enough selenium?
A good practice for you to start implementing in order to increase thyroid health, ESPECIALLY, if you aren’t quite ready to dish out the extra cash for selenium supplements, is to incorporate more selenium rich foods in your diet. Foods that contain the highest amounts of selenium are the following: brazil nuts, spinach, chia seeds, crimini and shiitaki mushrooms, cod, shrimp, yellowfin tuna, halibut, salmon, scallops, sardines, chicken, beef liver, eggs, lamb, grass-fed beef and turkey. Some of these foods may be off the table for you depending on which thyroid-friendly diet you have chosen, but I listed all, and I’ll leave that decision to you! Happy eating!
Hope you all enjoyed learning about this amazing supplement. Please let me know in the comments if you are currently taking selenium and how it has worked for you, OR, if you have just started supplementing, your progress in the near future. Until next time!