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One study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism evaluated the effect of daily selenium supplementation on the level of thyroid antibodies in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis treated with levothyroxine. Participants were split evenly into two groups - one group to supplement with selenium, one group to not. At the end of the study, the group treated with selenium saw a 40% decrease in the concentration of thyroid antibodies (versus 10% in the placebo group), and 25% of patients saw a complete normalization of their thyroid antibodies. Compared to the placebo group, patients treated with selenium in the study reported better well-being.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect against oxidative stress initiated by reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species in the tissues of human thyroid glands. It has even more potent antioxidant properties than the better-known vitamins E, C, A, and beta-carotene - but also more toxic in high doses! It’s important to manage oxidative stress, as this harmful process can damage cellular membranes, proteins, and DNA. If there is an imbalance between free radical formation and the cell’s capability to clear them, oxidative stress can speed up the body’s aging process and cause chronic and degenerative diseases.
Selenium deficiency impairs thyroid hormone metabolism by inhibiting the activity of iodothyronine deiodinases, a family of enzymes that help to convert thyroxine (T4) to the metabolically active triiodothyronine (T3). T4 and T3 are hormones produced by the thyroid, which, together, regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. When thyroid hormone production changes, virtually every system in the body is affected.
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