Author: Kendall Olsen
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. It is made up of two lobes that lie along the trachea. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Iodine and selenium are critical minerals for maintaining proper function of the thyroid gland. Selenium is found naturally in many foods and is also available in supplement form.
Why Selenium is Important to the Thyroid
The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine and convert it into two thyroid hormones known as T3 and T4. Thyroid cells combine iodine and tyrosine, an amino acid, to make the two hormones. The thyroid hormones are critical to every cell in the body; they rely on the thyroid hormones to regulate their metabolism.
Selenium is a micromineral essential for good nutrition. It is a major factor in low thyroid function because it helps balance the hormones produced. For the thyroid gland to produce the most active form of the thyroid hormone T3, selenium is essential in regulating the amount of hormone produced. Selenium is required for appropriate thyroid hormone synthesis, activation and metabolism. The human thyroid gland has the highest selenium content per gram of tissue among all organs.
According to Natural News, a French study investigated the size of the thyroid gland compared to selenium consumption. Those with lower selenium levels in the blood had enlarged thyroid glands, which can indicate goiter or thyroid cancer. Researchers concluded that selenium may protect against both goiter and thyroid disease.
How to Increase Selenium Intake
Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that can be found naturally in many foods including several types of fish, mushrooms, barley, lamb, and Brazil nuts. It can also be found in the form of supplements. In regions of the world where soils are poor in selenium, supplements and increased intake of selenium-rich foods are recommended to keep thyroid functions at normal levels.