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Thyroid

The Role of Selenium in Thyroid Health and the Importance of Dietary Intake

Selenium is a trace mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining thyroid health. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck that produces thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, body temperature, and energy levels. Selenium is an essential nutrient that is required for the production of thyroid hormones and their conversion from inactive to active forms. The human body cannot synthesize selenium, and hence it needs to be obtained from the diet or supplements.

The Role of Selenium in Thyroid Health and the Importance of Dietary Intake

Selenium and Thyroid Health

Selenium is an essential component of several enzymes that are involved in the production and metabolism of thyroid hormones. The enzyme responsible for converting the inactive form of thyroid hormone (T4) to the active form (T3) requires selenium as a cofactor. Selenium also plays a crucial role in protecting the thyroid gland from oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which can impair thyroid function.

Several studies have shown that selenium deficiency is associated with an increased risk of thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism, goiter, and autoimmune thyroiditis. In contrast, adequate selenium intake has been shown to support thyroid health and reduce the risk of thyroid disorders.

The Importance of Dietary Intake

The recommended daily intake of selenium varies depending on age, gender, and other factors. In general, adults need about 55 mcg of selenium per day, while pregnant and lactating women require higher amounts. The best dietary sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, seafood, organ meats, whole grains, and vegetables.

It is essential to obtain selenium from dietary sources rather than supplements, as excessive selenium intake can be toxic. Selenium toxicity can cause symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, hair loss, and skin rashes, and in severe cases, it can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Selenium is a vital nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining thyroid health. Adequate dietary intake of selenium is essential to support thyroid function and reduce the risk of thyroid disorders. However, excessive selenium intake can be toxic, and hence it is important to obtain selenium from dietary sources rather than supplements.

  • References:
  • Rayman, M. P. (2012). Selenium and human health. The Lancet, 379(9822), 1256-1268.
  • Köhrle, J. (2019). Selenium and thyroid. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 33(6), 101384.
  • Vanderpump, M. P. (2011). The epidemiology of thyroid disease. British Medical Bulletin, 99(1), 39-51.

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