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

Environmental factors and influences contribute to the underlying cause and dysfunction in autoimmune disease. Commonly there is reactivity to food such as gluten or food sensitivities that can trigger inflammation. In addition, the nutrient status of the person. This can be antioxidant status, vitamins, essential fatty acids, vitamin D, etc. Also, gut health including intestinal hyperpermeability and dysbiosis. There are also toxins that can affect the status of the immune system such as 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 currently 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. In addition, iodine supplementation can exacerbate Hashimoto’s symptoms and increase thyroid antibodies.

According to a review recently published in Medicine, researchers investigated the efficacy of selenium supplementation in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

This review consisted of 7 controlled trials including 342 patients. The results demonstrated that there was a significant change in reducing serum thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin antibodies after 6 months of supplementation. In the studies that were 6 months in duration the dosing of selenium was between 83 mcg and 200 mcg, and one study combined 83 mcg of selenium with 600 mg of myo-inositol. It is important to note that there was not a significant change at 3 months, so patients and practitioners should remain patient with their treatment and not expect a change in antibody levels in only a few months.

Selenium is an essential trace element that is required for immune and thyroid function. The thyroid gland has one of the highest concentrations of selenium compared to other organs. It is required for normal thyroid function as well as thyroid hormone synthesis.

Other nutrients to consider for supporting autoimmune dysfunction in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include vitamin D, myo-inositol, fish oil, and curcumin.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Xiang-Qi Kong, Gui-Ying Qiu, et al. Clinical efficacy of selenium supplementation in patients with Hashimoto thyroiditis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2023 May 19;102(20):e33791.

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