Hashimoto’s is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity can occur a few different ways, but eventually the thyroid gland progressively becomes underactive due to antibody and cell mediated autoimmune processes.

Environmental triggers are what integrative doctors mainly work with in functional medicine to healthy address the dysfunction in autoimmune disease. These can be food triggers such as gluten or food sensitivities that can trigger inflammation as well as anything coming in with the food such as toxins or molds. In addition, the nutrient status of the person. This can be antioxidant status, vitamins, essential fatty acids, vitamin D, etc. Also, gut health. This includes “leaky gut” and dysbiosis. There are also toxins that can be affect the status of the immune system. These are heavy metals, xenobiotics, as well as the total toxic burden in the body.

There has been a growing interest in dietary supplements for supporting thyroid dysfunction. Many patients with thyroid dysfunction often have underlying autoimmunity or current take medication. Although these individuals may have normal lab values, they are often still symptomatic and looking for additional support. Iodine is most recognized as the major nutrient of the thyroid, however, other nutrients also play an essential role as well.

According to a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Practice, researchers investigated the effects of selenium supplementation in women with newly diagnosed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in an area with low selenium status.

This study consisted of 29 patients between the ages of 20 and 52 years of age. Laboratory assessment included anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies, thyroid function markers, selenium as well as antioxidant status as well as a lipid profile and glucose at baseline and the end of the study. Iodine supply and subjective assessment of physical and psychological health were also monitored. Each patient received 100 mcg of selenium for 6 months.

As a result, selenium supplementation significantly reduced anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody levels. The other thyroid markers were within normal range before and at the end of the study.

This study demonstrates a potential protective effect of selenium in limiting development of overt hypothyroidism. In addition, the increase in the concentrations of selenium in the serum of the patients verifies successful supplementation compliance.

Selenium has shown to be beneficial for thyroid dysfunction. When comparing all tissues in the body, the thyroid gland has the highest concentrations of selenium. It is required for normal thyroid function as well as thyroid hormone synthesis. Studies have demonstrated benefits in Graves’ ophthalmopathy.

Other nutrients to consider include vitamin D and myo-inositol.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS Source: Kryczyk-Koziol J, et al. Positive effects of selenium supplementation in women with newly diagnosed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in an area with low selenium status. Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Sep;75(9):e14484.

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