Dairy Reduces Levothyroxine Concentration
The study examined 10 healthy subjects with normal thyroid function to assess whether consuming cows milk has a direct effect on levothyroxine absorption.2
Following an overnight fast, serum total thyroxine concentrations were measured at baseline and at 1, 2, 4, and 6 hours after the participants took 1000 g of oral levothyroxine alone or when coadministered with 12 ounces of 2% milk.
Results showed that the TT4 concentrations were significantly lower when levothyroxine was taken at the same time as the milk as compared to levothyroxine alone.2 Also, peak serum TT4 concentrations dropped significantly when cows milk was coadministered with levothyroxine than with the levothyroxine alone.
The researchers believe that both the calcium content of the milk and the presence of protein might directly interfere with the proper and full absorption of levothyroxine, complicating the management of hypothyroid.2
Our results show that calcium-rich foods should be consumed apart from thyroid hormone medication, as much as possible, Dr. Leung tells EndocrineWeb. This will help ensure that thyroid blood tests remain constant, thus decreasing the need for potentially unnecessary changes in the dose of thyroid replacement needed to manage your hypothyroidism.
Calcium-rich foods including cows milk, yogurt, cheeses and ice cream and frozen yogurt. Also, non-dairy milk like those made from almond, soy, and rice, which are fortified with calcium.4
How Selenium And Iodine Work Together
All of the problems that come with selenium deficiency are compounded by the fact that selenium works in tandem with iodine, another nutrient better known for its role in thyroid health. Selenium is responsible for the properly recycling of iodine in the body, so a person with too little selenium as well as too little iodine is much more likely to develop a significant thyroid imbalance. When iodine deficiency goes hand-in-hand with selenium deficiency, its essential to treat both nutrient deficits to restore the thyroid to balance.
Selenium May Help Boost Glutathione
Many of the anti-inflammatory benefits of selenium stem from its ability to produce glutathione .
Glutathione helps to clean up the cells, prevent damage from free radicals, prevent damage in specific cells like your thyroid, and reduce inflammation in the entire body.
The best way to ensure that you are getting glutathione is the all-natural way – through natural production in your cells and in your body.
Your body will naturally produce glutathione as needed, provided that it has the right precursor ingredients .
It is also possible to take glutathione in a supplement form.
Even though you can take it in supplement form, it’s often best to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to create it the all-natural way.
Taking glutathione by mouth can work, though, and is something that can be considered for patients with thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
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Where Selenium Is Found
“Plants pick up trace minerals that are in the dirt including selenium and convert it into a form that is consumable and useable to humans and other animals,” said Dr. Stephen Neabore, a primary care doctor at the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “Because it’s found naturally in plants, generally if you’re eating a varied diet you are going to get all the nutrients and minerals you need.”
Soil around the world varies in its selenium concentration. The higher the concentration of selenium in soil, the higher the concentration of selenium in crops. Soil in Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota is especially rich in selenium, and people living in these areas typically have the highest dietary intake of selenium in the United States, according to the 2014 Harvard Health publication “The Truth About Vitamins and Minerals.”
Soil in some areas of China and Russia is naturally low in selenium. Selenium deficiencies in the Keshan region in northeast China were severe enough to spur a form of heart disease called cardiomyopathy, now called Keshan’s disease. Chinese government programs to supplement people’s diets with selenium in the 1970s greatly reduced cases of Keshan disease, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. Low selenium levels in China, Tibet and Siberia may play a role in a type of osteoarthritis called Kashin-Beck disease.
How Should I Take Selenium
When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements. If you choose to use selenium, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider.
Long-term use of selenium in doses greater than 400 micrograms per day can lead to serious medical problems or death. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
The recommended dietary allowance of selenium increases with age. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. You may also consult the National Academy of Sciences “Dietary Reference Intake” or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Dietary Reference Intake” listings for more information.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using selenium. You may need to stop using this product for at least 2 weeks before your surgery.
This medication can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using selenium.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
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They Might Also Contain Cow ‘glandulars’
Glandular organs such as thyroid, liver, pancreas, heart, and spleen, can be found on the ingredients list of some thyroid and metabolic support supplements. For example, Natural Sources Raw Thyroid supplements contain raw thyroid, adrenal, pituitary and spleen bovine tissue. But our experts say that ingesting ingredients like these is not wise. Supplements that contain pituitary or brain products from cows could theoretically pose a risk for CreutzfeldtJakob, a rare disease that occurs in humans and causes brain tissue to degenerate rapidly. The disease has been linked to eating material from cows infected with mad cow disease, Hansen says.
Prions, the agents that spread mad cow and CreutzfeldtJakob disease, are most commonly found in the brains of cows, but there is evidence that if an animal has an infection, you can also find prions in their spleens, kidneys, and other glandular organs, Hansen says. Those prions are far harder to kill than bacteria or viruses, so processing or treating the organs before adding them to supplements wont necessarily eliminate the risk, he says.
Whats The Right Selenium Dosage
Many selenium supplements come in 200-microgram tablets taken once per day which is over the recommended intake, but not near the upper limit. Your body may not even absorb the full 200 micrograms either, depending on the type of selenium used. The body absorbs more than 90 percent of a selenium supplement containing selenomethionine, but only 50 percent of selenium from selenite.
When it comes to food, avoid eating handfuls of brazil nuts on a daily basis. Although they contain healthy fats and other nutrients, a 1 ounce serving pushes you way beyond that upper limit and could wind up being more harmful than helpful.
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Selenium As A Treatment For Autoimmune Thyroiditis
Less is known about how to treat the autoimmune process that is taking place in Hashimotos, but a promising study published in the Society for Endocrinology shows that moderate supplementation with the nutrient selenium may decrease thyroid antibodies in Autoimmune Thyroiditis. The study showed the most benefit from taking daily selenium doses of 200mcg, which decreased levels of both Anti-TPO and Anti-TG antibodies.
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What Is The Best Form Of Selenium Supplements
Selenium is available as selenomethionine, selenocysteine, selenite, and selenate . Selenomethionine and selenocysteine are better absorbed by the gut .
Low levels of selenium can still occur even when taking high doses of itthis may be caused by your lifestyle: smoking, continuously eating high quantities of eggs or white rice, drinking alcohol and/or coffee .
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Risks And Side Effects
What are the side effects of taking selenium? Taken at normal doses, it does not usually have negative side effects.
An overdose of selenium may possibly cause reactions like bad breath, fever, nausea and potentially liver complications or even kidney and heart problems although these only occur at very high levels that reach poisoning status.
Again, the toxicity of most forms of selenium is rare and usually only experienced in people who supplement with high doses. Too high of levels can lead to potentially fatal complications including heart attack and respiratory depression.
The U.S. National Toxicology Program also lists certain types of selenium as an animal carcinogen, but there is no evidence that all types can harm animals and that this poses a serious risk in everyday situations.
It may also interact with other medicines and supplements. These include antacids, chemotherapy drugs, corticosteroids, niacin, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and birth control pills.
If you take any of these medications, its best to speak with your doctor before supplementing.
What To Do If You Have Low Levels Of Iodine
Many people come to me already in the midst of iodine supplementation . However, most people with Hashimotos are not deficient in iodine. Furthermore, too much iodine can be a bad thing as weve seen, especially if you have not addressed the underlying issues triggering your Hashimotos in the first place.
That said, I have heard from a few clients and readers that adding selenium in the presence of low iodine levels has made them feel worse.
If you do have an adverse reaction to selenium , you may find that you have an iodine deficiency. While I dont usually recommend taking iodine supplements until addressing other root causes, you can certainly talk with your practitioner about whether a low dose iodine supplement might be right for you. .
Some potential factors that may lead me to suspect an iodine deficiency include: eating a diet low in seafood, eating a vegan diet, having fibrocystic breasts , or having low reverse T3 levels. You can find out more about iodine in the Advanced Protocols section in my book Hashimotos Protocol.
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Selenium Enhances T4 To T3 Conversion
Without getting too technical, you should understand in a basic sense, how selenium works in the body.
Your body has certain enzymes which catalyze very important and specific reactions.
These enzymes ) require certain ingredients to make them work properly and efficiently.
Selenium happens to be one of those ingredients and it makes these reactions work the way that they are supposed to.
If you don’t have enough selenium in the body then these reactions will occur but they will occur at an impaired rate .
One of these enzymes is incredibly important to thyroid function because it helps your body convert T4 into T3.
T4 to T3 conversion is one of the most important aspects of thyroid function because without enough T3 thyroid hormone you will feel the symptoms of low thyroid.
Low selenium states REDUCE how well your body converts T4 into T3 and, therefore, T3 levels.
This may result in low T3 levels in thyroid patients both on and off thyroid medication.
In states of low selenium, your body will still be able to create SOME T3 but it won’t be enough selenium to really help you feel better.
Taking a thyroid supplement that contains selenium is one way to improve this process and help your body convert more T4 into T3.
Selenium is one of a handful of other ingredients that help this thyroid conversion process.
The Link Between Selenium And Thyroid Health
Selenium is an important trace element and antioxidant required for healthy thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. The human thyroid gland has been found to have the highest content of selenium per gram of tissue among all the organs in the human body. Selenium supports the conversion of your bodys inactive thyroid hormone thyroxine into the form your body needs, the biologically active triiodothyronine . It protects your bodys thyroid cells from oxidative damage during this process.
Ill talk more about seleniums role during the thyroid hormone conversion process, its relationship with iodine levels, and how it can be a trigger for Hashimotos. But first, let me review with you why selenium deficiencies are so commonly seen in Hashimotos in the first place.
We see many nutrient deficiencies in people with Hashimotos. I also believe that these types of nutrient issues are not just happening in Hashimotos but are generally applicable to just about everyone these days. Unfortunately, too many people in the United States eat an overly processed and gut-unfriendly Western diet, which often leads to food sensitivity reactions, digestion issues, gut permeability problems, and other nutrient absorption challenges. Add to that the toxins in our everyday environment, stress and other real world impacts and it is no wonder that our bodies are not functioning optimally.
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Selenium And Thyroid Problems
Evidence supports a link between selenium levels, iodine deficiencies and thyroid function, especially in women. Selenium is more concentrated in the thyroid than in other organ in the body, and it is important in the production and metabolism of thyroid hormone.
One analysis of 1,900 people in France found that among women a mild iodine deficiency, those with lower the selenium levels were more likely to develop goiters or thyroid damage compared with those with higher selenium levels, according to a 2003 article in the European Journal of Endocrinology. Subsequent studies have found similar links. However, controlled studies on thyroid health, where participants are given selenium supplements or placebos, have had mixed results. More research is needed to determine if selenium supplements can fight thyroid diseases.
Selenium Benefits For Health Plus Dosage Recommendations
Selenium is a vital mineral for the human body that has numerous roles, and there is no shortage of selenium benefits.
What is selenium used for? It increases immunity, takes part in antioxidant activity that defends against free radical damage and inflammation, and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
According to studies, consuming foods with selenium such as Brazil nuts, eggs, liver, tuna, cod and sunflower seeds and/or taking supplements can have positive antiviral effects, supports fertility and reproduction, and may even reduce the risk of cancer, autoimmune and thyroid diseases.
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Selenium Homeostasis And The Thyroid Gland
The vital role of selenium in thyroid function began to be questioned because of a condition described in Zaire , known as myxedematous endemic cretinism, which was characterized by a deficit of iodine and selenium, hypothyroidism, myxedema, developmental problems, and intellectual disability . From that moment, more studies were conducted to investigate the role of this nutrient in the thyroid. In fact, it was found that selenium deficiency decreases the synthesis of thyroid hormones, as it decreases the function of selenoproteins, in particular iodothyronine deiodinases , which are responsible for the conversion of T4 to T3. This decreased production of thyroid hormones leads to the stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis due to the lack of negative feedback control, increasing TSH production. TSH stimulates the DIOs to convert T4 to T3 , with consequent production of hydrogen peroxide, which is not adequately removed by less active glutathione peroxidases and accumulates itself in the thyroid tissue causing thyrocyte damage with subsequent fibrosis.
Selenium For Thyroid Problems
What can selenium do for those suffering from thyroid problems?
Science, medicine and nutrition collide all the time. The effects of advances in each of these disciplines yield information that can not only improve the quality of your life, but save it as well.
The new information on selenium and selenium deficiencies is one of the most recent examples of nutrition and medical science working together to unravel the mysteries of the human body. The findings show a clear link between selenium, the immune system and thyroid health.
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Can Selenium Be Toxic
Consumption of approximately 330mcg/day of selenium could potentially be toxic but a safe range is 50-400mcg/day. 850-900mcg of selenium a day has been documented to be considered a minimum of developing selenium toxicity but I definitely would never recommend doses this high. 200mcg a day as noted above is a reasonably safe dose and it is also the dose used in the above studies on Hashmotoâs disease.
Why Dont You Recommend Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts can contain anywhere from .2mcg to 253mcg of selenium depending on where they come from. Just imagine if you were eating 3 Brazil nuts a day from a source that was on the higher end of this range. You could easily begin to develop selenium toxicity and we would also have to factor in all the selenium you are getting from the rest of the food you are eating and any supplements such as a multivitamin. If youâre going to consume Brazil nuts, donât take any selenium supplements and it would be wise to eat them in extreme moderation such as once a week or even once a month.
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What Were The Findings Of This Particular Study
When both inositol and selenium were introduced to the blood samples, the levels of cell toxicity from the stress were reduced âwith myo-inositol+selenomethionine being the most potent additionâ, or having the greatest therapeutic effect compared to just myo-inositol alone or selenomethionine alone.
When the researchers examined the activity of the cells that are triggered to fight infection , with the addition of selenomethionine or the combination of myo-inositol and selenomethionine, there was a drop in the response of these special infection-fighting cells which went below what was measured with exposure to stress that even fell below the baseline condition! Itâs not that these infection-fighting cells became less effective. These cells were able to lower their level of activity because they werenât needed as greatly by the body. Inositol and selenium were at work in protecting the cell samples!
Specifically, the higher the concentration of selenomethionine or the combination of myo-inositol and selenomethionine, the more protective the effect on the cells. What is truly remarkable is that in the Hashimotoâs thyroiditis group, the infection-fighting cells responded even more significantly to the supplementation of myo-inositol and selenomethionine compared to the control group.
Treated subjects received inositol and selenium in tablet form in the dosages of 600 mg and 83 micrograms respectively for six months.
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