Thyroid Disorders and Selenium Supplementation

Thyroid disorders.

Many clinicians treating autoimmune thyroid diseases are using selenium supplementation as one treatment modality even though, in the official guidelines, selenium supplementation is recommended only in the treatment of mild Graves orbitopathy [Winther 2020].

Thyroid gland
The thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped organ in the front part of the neck. Thyroid hormones regulate body temperature, heart rate, and weight gain or loss. Autoimmune thyroid disorders occur when immune system cells attack thyroid gland cells. Autoimmune thyroid disorders cause overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) and underproduction of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Graves’ disease is the most common autoimmune hyperthyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune hypothyroidism.

Some clinicians consider supplementation with selenium to be a pharmaceutical action that should be taken only with thyroid disorder patients with well-defined symptoms in order to alleviate the symptoms, to improve the course of the disease, or to provide a cure. Typically, in such cases, the selenium treatment is conducted for short periods, and the health benefits and side effects are evaluated and weighed [Schomburg 2020].

Other clinicians consider supplementation with selenium in a more holistic way and use selenium supplementation as a way to correct a nutritional deficiency of selenium, which is associated with thyroid disorders [Schomburg 2020]. read more

HIV Infection and Selenium Supplementation

HIV infection is associated with a higher risk of tuberculosis and death.  Selenium deficiency is associated with an increased risk of HIV infection. Several trials have shown that selenium supplementation of patients with HIV is associated with beneficial outcomes [Muzembo 2022].

HIV symptoms
HIV = human immunodeficiency virus.

Muzembo et al conducted a systematic review of six randomized controlled trials of selenium supplementation of HIV-infected patients. They reached the following conclusions [Muzembo 2022]:

  • Daily supplementation with 200 mcg selenium slowed the loss of CD4 cells in HIV-infected patients.
  • The length of selenium supplementation and HIV infection studies varied from 9 to 24 months.
  • The selenium supplements were well tolerated in all six studies.
  • Further investigation of the effects of daily selenium supplementation of HIV-infected patients is warranted.

Note: CD4 cells are a particular type of white blood cells that help the immune system fight infections. CD4 cells are also known as CD4 lymphocytes and helper T cells [MedlinePlus 2022].

If untreated, the HIV infection will destroy many CD4 cells, and the immune system will not be able to fight off opportunistic infections [MedlinePlus 2022]. read more