Mineral Deficiency Linked to Thyroid Diseases

Many naturally-minded health professionals have been recommending the mineral selenium to patients suffering from thyroid conditions for years. New research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism supports the use of this critical mineral to help address thyroid conditions.

The study published this month found that selenium deficiency was linked to an increased risk of several thyroid diseases, including: autoimmune thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, subclinical hypothyroidism and an enlarged thyroid. Researchers assessed 6,152 people who underwent physical and thyroid ultrasound testing, and participated in dietary and demographic questionnaires. Blood tests were also taken to examine markers for thyroid conditions.

The researchers found a link between those who had selenium deficiencies and suffered from any one of the four thyroid diseases, while those whose selenium levels were normal had a significantly lower risk of having a thyroid disease. They also concluded that supplementing with selenium in those who are deficient may reduce the risk of various thyroid conditions.

The link between selenium and thyroid disease is not surprising considering that selenium is an important mineral for proper thyroid health. It activates an enzyme that aids in the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3)—two thyroid hormones. While T4 tends to be the focus of many thyroid assessments, it is a less biologically-active version of thyroid hormone than T3, which is a much more active form of thyroid hormone. Insufficient levels of T3 are implicated in many peoples’ thyroid conditions.

Industrial farming is partly responsible for selenium deficiencies. Large-scale commercial farming practices do not replenish minerals like selenium, causing the soil to become depleted and resulting in lower mineral levels in food grown in the soil over time.

Additionally, while the mineral iodine is important to thyroid function, most people get an imbalanced ratio of iodine to selenium due to the addition of iodine in salt. A combination of high iodine and low selenium levels can result in damage to the butterfly-shaped gland situated at the front of the neck. As far back as 1997 research showed that a diet high in iodine and low in selenium can result in thyroid damage, yet this is a common issue in many peoples’ diets.

Other research has shown that selenium supplementation reduces the autoimmune reaction common in thyroid conditions like autoimmune thyroiditis.

Where to Find Selenium

Selenium is predominantly found in tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon, turkey, cod, oysters, chicken, lamb, scallops, beef and Brazil nuts.

For some people suffering from thyroid conditions, supplementation with 100 to 200 micrograms of selenium may be necessary. Excessive amounts of selenium can be dangerous, so it is important not to exceed this amount without the guidance of a nutritionist or doctor specializing in nutritional medicine.

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W. C
W. C11 months ago

Thank you.

William C
William C11 months ago


Shirley S
Shirley S2 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

The factory farms don't practice what will help the soil. They need to start rotating their crops again and stop using so many chemical fertilizers which lock nutrient in the soil so the plants can't use them.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

I definitely agree with the depleted soil causation. Factory farms are not worried about the quality or food value of their product. Just production numbers. But this is interesting to see that possible supplementation may help thyroid issues.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago


Bryan McLeod
Bryan McLeod3 years ago

Selenium deficiency is wide spread, there are many course's. Soil deficiencies occur in high rainfall areas or where soils receive irrigation which covers most of our vegetable farming areas. You will find high selenium soils in drier areas with lower rainfall. So fruit, vegetables and cereals grown in these areas can have naturally higher levels of selenium. So lets not assume everything is low in selenium
Course's of selenium def
[1] High protein diets = suppress selenium, especially vegetable protein, from the over consumption of green leafy veges high in Nitrates. They suppress body selenium
[2] Consuming vegetables naturally low in selenium

From my laboratory experience our vegetables contain very little to nil recordable selenium. Everyone should be getting tested for selenium and then taking a selenium supplement.

Linda Dal Castello
Linda D3 years ago

Great article, I think it is important to get your immune system working well, balance of good bacteria in your stomach etc. and exercise everyday.

Genoveva M G.
Genoveva M3 years ago

Interesting thanks for sharing