is an important trace element for everyone. Especially every woman should pay attention. But why do we need the trace element and why do women in particular have to pay attention to their selenier household? In this blog post we give the answers and possible remedies.
The thyroid gland and what this Hashimoto has to do with it
When you think of the thyroid gland, what trace element comes to mind? Probably iodine, because without this mineral it cannot work properly. Selenium is less commonly known here, which is also necessary for the thyroid gland. This contains the most of the nutrient selenier (in the form of selenoproteins) – of all organs! The different types of selenoproteins are used for the thyroid and immune systems – some of them as antioxidants. But even more on that later.
What makes selenium so indispensable for the thyroid gland?
It is needed to convert the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) by iodine into the biologically active form of triiodine thyroid (T3). This T3 is a raw material for our metabolism. It regulates heart rate, blood pressure and increases energy turnover.
In addition, it also provides good growth of horn (hair and nails) and strengthens the bone substance. Even the body’s heat balance is regulated by T3. Selenium is not used for the actual conversion, but when the hormone T3 is formed, hydrogen peroxide is released.
As an antioxidant, selenium protects the cells from this hydrogen peroxide, which is produced during hormone conversion and causes oxidation damage in the cells. This can also lead to inflammation and DNA damage or even to die cells completely. If there is not enough, white blood cells are used by the body instead, which produce antibodies. If this goes out of control, the immune system may change, i.e. an autoimmune disease.
In summary, selenier is necessary for:
- Only with selenium can the thyroid gland function (neither an over- nor an underfunction is present)
- Strengthens the defenses
- Selenia protects cells from oxidation damage
- Promotes normal growth of hair and nails
- Promotes blood circulation
- Helps digest and process nutrients
- Detoxified naturally
- Promotes your well-being
What happens if the body gets too little selenia?
If the body gets too little selenia, it becomes more susceptible to autoimmune diseases in general. This also includes a special inflammation of the thyroid gland (both thyroid underfunction and overfunction). In the technical language, these are also called autoimmune thyroiditis, Hashimoto thyroiditis (after the explorer Hakaru Hashimoto 1881-1934) or Hashimoto’s disease. In this disease, the thyroid gland is recognized as a foreign body. Thus, the immune system itself fights the gland, which leads to thyroid inflammation. Hashimoto thyroiditis converts more T4 into T3, creating even more hydrogen peroxide. The situation is getting worse and worse.
According to a study by the German pharmaceutical company Biosyn, one in ten citizens of the Federal Republic is affected. However, there is an unequal distribution here, as women are about eight times more likely than men to receive the disease: 7.4 million female patients compared to 820,000 male patients. Women of childbearing age are particularly affected here.
There is also the theory of the three-legged chair. According to this, it needs three conditions or causes of an autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto). Firstly, genetic predisposition is a leg; secondly, intestinal diseases such as a permeable intestine (Leaky Gut Syndrome) and, thirdly, environmental triggers are added. Due to intestinal diseases, nutrients are not ideally extracted and absorbed from the food ingested. So you can still eat so much selenier through the food, there is only a little of it really absorbed.
Symptoms of Hashimoto thyroiditis
Of course, susceptibility does not necessarily lead to the disease, but it is exacerbated by other external causes:
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause
- Excessive iodine intake
- Selenia deficiency
The problem with this disease is that the symptoms do not appear immediately. Only later do you suffer from chronic fatigue, performance and muscle weakness, frequent freezing, depression or anxiety. In addition, an overfunction of the thyroid gland is first detected and a thyroid underfunction occurs only later. First, you are plagued by internal restlessness, hot flashes, sleep disturbances and weight loss. Later, the symptoms turn into tiredness, drive poverty, hair loss, frequent freezing, digestive problems, depression or even anxiety.
In an article, pharmacologist Dr. Izabella Wentz says that the selenium deficiency is the main nutrient deficiency she observed in Hashimoto patients in their therapy. This is problematic because this deficiency is also one of the factors for further promoting the disease. A small vicious circle is forming.
Selenia helps against symptoms and disease
But why are we talking about Selenia? Can we not eat enough through the diet? Here one has to answer very clearly: “Yes. That depends.” According to conventional medicine, the human body needs 30 to 60 micrograms per day. As a rule, this can be achieved through a balanced diet, because selenium is found in fish, meat, broccoli, garlic, bran, coconuts, liver, seafood, kidneys, Brazil nuts, pistachios, brown rice, porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, tuna, wheat germs and onions. On the contrary, the US is even more likely to have a seleniary surplus. Here, women eat an average of 93 micrograms, while men eat as much as 134 micrograms. This is sufficient for primary care, but not for the effect against the antibodies that attack the thyroid gland.
What do studies say about selenier?
It was found that an increased seleniumdosage in the treatment of Hashimoto thyroiditis (only 200 micrograms results in a difference) led to a decrease in inflammation and antibodies. It’s getting harder here with a normal diet, because that would still be about twice as much as the average American.
Selenia is being talked about here because it is generally very well tolerated. Dr. Wentz emphasizes that supplementation for patients must be consistent, consistent and in therapeutic amounts: In conventional medicine studies, the 200 micrograms mentioned have been used daily in patients. Dr. Izabella Wentz goes even further and sees 200 to 400 micrograms for patients as a safe and effective dose.
In general, however, an agreement with the family doctor is recommended for a therapy, because dietary supplements as a medicine are an extremely individual thing and they or he can help you here with the dosage adapted for you. Especially if you are taking medications, such as cholesterol sinkers or the pill, as part of another therapy, you should pre-discuss possible interactions. Similarly, according to conventional medicine, skin cancer risk patients should not consider treatment with selenium supplements.
They may also be found to have other deficiencies, such as vitamins or too much iodine. That, too, is important here, and we come to that in a few lines.
Nutrition and Hashimoto
Due to the intestinal problems with Hashimoto (including constipation, but also reduced nutrient intake), a gluten-free or grain-free diet is often used, which makes the intake more difficult. A gluten-free diet can nevertheless reduce the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease, which is why a combination with preparations for treatment here can be quite useful. In addition, vegetarians and vegans have limited access to selenium-containing foods. It is also exciting that some foods can depress the selenier value of the body. Eggs, white rice, alcohol and coffee are such foods. Even smoking can affect selenium intake.
As with all nutrients, the origin of the food is important,because not all the world the soil has the same nutrients. Each area has its own mineral mix in the soil. Some areas (e.g. the soil of New Zealand) have hardly any selenier. Other areas (Japan, Canada and regions in the US) have significantly higher levels in the soil and the usual selenium intake in people living there can also exceed 200 micrograms. Thus, nutrient tables of foods are a guide, but no guarantee of the exact composition.
Exactly the opposite is the case.
Brazil nuts are among the natural selenium suppliers. However, it has been found that 30 grams of nuts can contain between 55 and 550 micrograms of selenials. The salary varies tenfold. A consistent, even dosage cannot be guaranteed. With bad luck, one nevertheless reaches too little selenium or far too much, which in extreme cases can lead to poisoning and is related to corresponding symptoms (diarrhea, fatigue, hair loss, joint pain, nail discoloration and brittleness, breath smelling of garlic, fever, yellowish skin coloration and dizziness).
Pay attention to the correct dosage
According to conventional medicine, therefore, one should not eat more than 800 micrograms per day, as a dose beyond this value can be toxic. This usually does not happen with a single overdose, but with a longer (several-month) exceedance of the daily dose. At extremely high levels, liver, kidney and heart problems can occur and even fatal poisoning is possible. But don’t worry, our products don’t reach these values! We move within the recommended values (260 micrograms in total, 200 of them in the form of sodium selenite).
Avoid high iodine intake
If you suffer from the disease, you should also avoid excessive iodine intake. However, some sea fish have a lot of iodine, which makes this source more difficult again. In addition, too much iodine can in turn lead to an even greater selenia deficiency. More iodine leads to more hydrogen peroxide, which in turn must be neutralized by a larger amount of selenium. Caution should be exercised here, as the body also needs iodine in adequate amounts for the conversion of the hormone T4 into T3.
Therefore, there are appropriately dosed preparations with sodium selenite for treatment. Like any natural substance, this nutrient is not a miracle cure and it takes some time for an improvement to come. The reduction of thyroid antibodies can last for months.
Reduce symptoms with targeted dietary supplementation
If you start a targeted dietary supplement in time, the symptoms and the number of antibodies (by 40 according to Roberto Negro’s study)that destroy the thyroid gland can be reduced. In addition, the functioning of the thyroid gland can be maintained and may eliminate the risk of thyroid surgery. In addition, according to Dr. Izabella Wentz, 63 of their therapy patients report hashimoto thyroiditis that they generally felt better when taken.
Even the described anxiety or other mental disorders can be relieved by selenium. Even years before the disease, the number of defences is already increasing, which already significantly worsens the well-being – there is still no over- or under-functioning here. Therefore, the trace element can also have a preventive effect.
Not only Hashimoto thyroid patients, but also those who have Basedow’s disease can benefit from selenium supplementation. According to some studies of conventional medicine, even an addition of the trace element selenier in the form of dietary supplementsseems reasonable. However, there are still no clear, scientifically based statements. However, the official guidelines for light cases of Basedow’s disease already contain a recommendation to inuse additional selenier.
The thyroid gland and the woman
Women have a particularly difficult time here, because the desire to have children, pregnancy and breastfeeding are special phases for mothers suffering fromchronic immunothyroiditis Hashimoto.
During pregnancy, women sometimes have to deal with a selenia deficiency anyway. For example, about 10 of pregnant women have thyroid defenses and 8 suffer from thyroid inflammation (usually thyroid underfunctioning) after pregnancy. According to studies in conventional medicine, the trace element also acts in this inflammation occurring after childbirth and inhibits the development of antibodies.
It has therefore been researched that supplementation is effective for pregnant women or women wishing to have children against thyroid diseases (such as underfunctioning). But that’s not all: If you want to deal with the topic of dietary supplements in pregnancy, we also have a blog postabout it .
Selenium against anxiety?
Hashimoto patients also suffer from anxiety,as mentioned. As it turns out, selenium can also help to reduce anxiety as well as increased irritability or whimsy. However, it is also pointed out that one should keep an eye on one’s own blood sugar level, which is one of the main causes of these psychological symptoms.
The reason for these conditions is the Hashimoto thyroid inflammation itself, because by attacking the organ, hormone surges are released into the body (a so-called temporary hyperthyroidism). These lead to the above effects. Since taking the mineral inhibits the formation of these antibodies, it can also have a positive effect here.
According to studies in conventional medicine, there is at least a link between selenium levels in the body and the occurrence of fatigue, anxiety and depression. The higher the value, the rarer these symptoms are.