How many times have you heard selenium is important for thyroid health but nothing else? It's like this nutrient is good for just one thing! Reality is though, it's not, it's actually important for many things, and we thought we'd discuss that with you today!
First and foremost, selenium's main benefit is, as you know, thyroid health. It holds many different mechanisms of action for this little butterfly shaped gland of ours. It's required to help produce one of our main thyroid hormones called tetraiodothyronine also known as T4. In addition, after the production of T4, selenium is still utilized for converting T4 into our active thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine, also known as T3. This is important to note because our bodies don't use T4, it's actually T3 that is needed to provide energy to our cells.
Secondly, selenium acts very similarly to an antioxidant and has been shown to help downregulate the autoimmune response in individuals with Hashimoto's, as well as counteract the ocular dysfunction that could come with hyperthyroidism known as Grave's disease orbitopathy. That being said it doesn't just support the body in those two ways, but also helps with the immune system.
Third, selenium is important for detoxification in the sense that it is required for glutathione synthesis through an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione is recognized as our master antioxidant and is predominantly produced in the liver. Without it, we could struggle removing metals, endocrine disruptors, toxins and even microbials.
Fourth, selenium has also been shown to influence our mood and healthy levels present themselves in people who are content and relaxed.
Many people are presented with selenium deficiency nowadays without realizing for the best way to test selenium levels is through Hair Tissue Testing (HTMA) which you can do so by clicking the link here.
The reason for deficiency is due to our poor farming practices in the 21st century where mass production of food leaves crops stripped of nutrients and we have a lot of stressors that are causing us to use selenium too quickly or push it out of the cells, like metals, chronic stress, EMFs, etc.
This is important to note, because mercury is a metal that is extremely common in our world today and fights for selenium's place in the body. The reason for this is due to the fact that mercury and selenium look structurally similar, and when we're low on selenium, the body will then go scavenge for material to replace it with so it can continue to function "optimally". If you haven't checked out our blog all on ionic mimicry, check it out here to understand more.
Symptoms of selenium deficiency include:
- Hair loss/weak nails
- Thyroid issues like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto's
- Low immune system
- Weak adrenal activity
- High or low blood pressure
- Detoxification issue
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach