A new study links thyroid disorders to female infertility. At the same time, it is known that selenium, an essential micronutrient, is required for normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Modern diets are depleted of selenium and the question is: Could selenium supplements be a good place to begin for infertile couples before embarking on expensive IVF therapy?
It appears so. Iodine is an essential trace element that is vital for metabolism and estrogen balance. Iodine also helps the body get rid of environmental toxins. In fact, exposure to these toxins increases our need for iodine, and many experts believe that the official recommendations for iodine are too low.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common underlying cause of hypothyroidism. It is characterized by extreme fatigue, weight gain, and a number of other symptoms. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition where antibodies attack the thyroid gland. Many people who get treatment for their disease don’t improve, on the contrary. According to a meta-analysis published in Medicine, however, selenium supplementation appears to be able to reduce the autoimmune reactions and the body’s production of the different antibodies. Selenium helps control the thyroid function but also serves as an antioxidant that protects the thyroid gland against oxidative stress.
Hashimoto’s disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) is an overlooked scourge that leads to hypothyroidism and is particularly widespread among women. Postpartum thyroiditis that also slows down your metabolism follows in the wake of pregnancy. Graves’ disease where the metabolism speeds up (hyperthyroidism) is less common. These three thyroid disorders belong to the group of autoimmune disorders where the immune defense attacks the body’s tissues, and it appears that lack of vitamin D increases the risk, as it controls the immune defense in a number of ways. According to a new review article that is published in Nutrients, taking larger quantities of vitamin D may have a positive impact on these thyroid disorders.
Q10 has a key role in the cellular energy turnover and also serves as an antioxidant that protects the body against oxidative stress. Disruptions in the energy-producing mitochondria in cells and oxidative stress may also be involved in different types of hormone disturbances that affect the thyroid gland, pancreas, sex glands, pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. In a new review article that is published in Antioxidants, scientists look closer at Q10’s role with particular focus on hyperthyroidism, type 2 diabetes, and poor sperm quality, all of which can be corrected through supplementation.
The way in which selenium and iodine interact is determining for the thyroid gland and the metabolism. A deficiency of one or both nutrients coupled with exposure to environmental toxins may have grave consequences and contribute to some of the most commonly occurring metabolic disorders.
The rate of metabolic disorders has increased exponentially on a global scale. Most of these disorders fly under the radar so to speak and remain undiagnosed. At the same time, up to 20 per percent of those people who are diagnosed and get medical treatment for their condition do not improve. We need to focus much more on selenium and iodine - partly because these essential trace elements work as a team in regulating thyroid hormones, and partly because modern diets and exposure to environmental toxins increase the risk for deficiencies and imbalances.
How iodine and selenium regulate thyroid hormones
The thyroid gland that is located on the front side of the throat produces two different thyroid hormones. T4 is the passive hormone that contains four iodine atoms, while T3, the active hormone, contains three iodine atoms. In order to activate the metabolism in the different tissues and cells of the body, selenium-containing enzymes remove an iodine atom from the T4 hormone, thereby converting it to active T3. This conversion is regulated in accordance with the body's specific needs. As expected, it requires sufficient amounts of selenium and iodine for this to take place, but is there enough or do we have a shortage?
A substantial number of people suffer from Hashimoto’s disease, a condition that causes hypothyroidism (slow metabolism), extreme fatigue, cold sensitivity, weight gain, and numerous other symptoms because the cells lack energy. Quite a few people suffering from this disease receive treatment, but the results are often unsatisfactory, and most people have not been given the correct diagnosis or do not receive proper help.
- and selenium deficiencies are widespread
An estimated 500,000 Danes suffer from some kind of thyroid disorder, the most common of which is Hashimoto’s disease, which slows down your metabolism. The formation and activation of thyroid hormones depend on iodine and selenium, and it is essential that the two nutrients are properly balanced. Having too little or too much iodine increases your risk of Hashimoto’s disease, and the same is the case with selenium, a nutrient that many people lack.
Some of the problems that are seen in people with slow metabolism are extreme fatigue, weight gain, constipation, cold sensitivity, swollen neck, and dry skin. The symptoms can vary, however, and many people still have not been given the proper diagnosis. Medical therapy with thyroid hormones will not necessarily solve the problem. In fact, as many as 20 percent of patients actually feel worse, although their blood tests appear to be normal. It is therefore important to focus more in the role of iodine and selenium in the metabolism.