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.
Selenium is an essential nutrient. More specifically it is a mineral found in the dirt. The body cannot produce selenium; all selenium needs must be met by external sources. This does not mean that we need to add a daily helping of dirt to the menu. Plants grown in soil rich in selenium also have high selenium content.
For people who live in areas that have high selenium soils, they usually don’t have a problem meeting their selenium needs. Areas of the world where selenium levels have been depleted there are higher rates of selenium deficiencies.
Just so you don’t walk away from reading this feeling like all you’ve gained is a neat piece of trivia to show off at parties; selenium deficiencies can, and do, have devastating impacts on a person’s health. One of the most common results is thyroid disease. Thyroid problems come in all forms: Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroiditis.
The thyroid is a tiny little piece of the body, but it is a powerhouse. This gland produces hormones that affect the entire body: every system, every function and every process the body performs.
Thyroid diseases can cause sudden and rapid weight gain or loss, hair loss, constipation, lethargy and very low energy levels, swelling and skin problems. That’s just the top few on a very long list. You really don’t to live with an unhappy thyroid.
Selenium doesn’t actually come in and act as superman to the thyroid’s Lois Lane. It is more of a side effect issue, but so is the actual root cause of thyroid malfunctions. The real culprit is the immune system.
When selenium levels are low the immune system gets out of balance. One of the things it does is begin to attack the healthy thyroid. This attack causes the thyroid to malfunction as a means of self-defense.
It doesn’t take much selenium to keep the thyroid happy, only 400 micrograms per day. Much more than that can be toxic, so exercise caution when taking a supplement. The best sources are selenium rich foods like Brazil nuts, whole grains and vegetables.
If you are worried you might be deficient, or have experienced some or all of the symptoms of thyroid disease ask your doctor to test your selenium levels. It is nice to know that thyroid problems might have a simple fix, and an easy prevention.