brazil nuts, selenium

The body is a remarkable system. Like any system, every part affects all the others. Consequently, focusing on just one nutrient usually doesn’t make a lot of sense. When it comes to thyroid function, people often think about iodine. This mineral is integral to thyroid hormones. But selenium is also crucial, because it is part of the enzymes that the thyroid gland relies upon.

Do You Need Selenium Supplements?

Q. I have hypothyroidism and I take medication for it. I was alarmed to read recently that unless you take selenium with it, the medicine won’t work well. Is this correct?

A. While people with low thyroid function do need adequate selenium, it is not necessary to take this mineral with your levothyroxine. You can usually get enough by eating a healthful diet. Make sure you eat some foods such as halibut, sardines, shrimp, eggs, chicken, mushrooms, cottage cheese or brown rice.

Brazil nuts are very rich in this mineral; you’d only need one or two a day to get the selenium you need. Be careful not to eat too many.

Selenium is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system as well as the thyroid gland (Stuss et al, Endokrynologia Polska, 2017). It is not clear, however, how often supplements are useful in treating hypothyroidism (Winther, Bonnema & Hegedus, Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity, Oct. 2017). It appears that you should correct a deficiency, but you might not need to take this mineral as a supplement otherwise.

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  1. Aina

    It is good to know that stopping meds, i.e. aspirin, can trigger a rebound effect. I urge doctors to make that clear to patients at all times.

  2. Mickie

    I have been on synthroid for 25 years. At times I get switched to generic. It takes about three months, and I start feeling so bad I can hardly walk across the room. When I get retested it shows that I am not absorbing the generic brands. Finally my Dr. now writes that it must be brand name.

    I have quite a few symptoms of not being on enough synthroid. My blood work numbers show I am on too low a dose. My eyebrows have almost disappeared, dry skin, hair is so thin on my head, and I don’t grow hair anywhere else. My joints ache. I am cold, and tired doesn’t even begin to explain how exhausted I am. When I got the second blood test in a row that clearly showed I need my dose increased, my dr.,said ,”No, I think you are addicted to thyroid medicine.” Yet my blood work shows I need a higher dose. How can I educate this doctor?

  3. Paul Riley

    The info about Brasil Nuts goes along with our other info. We keep them in the freezer and eat no more than four an month. Humorously enough, we make an event out of it! To me it means we are going along the right path of achieving better health through increased knowledge.

  4. Karen

    So what is the recommended dose of selenium?
    My multi-vit. supplement supplies 31%.

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