The importance of selenium and iodine to Hashimoto’s disease

Hashimoto’s disease is the name of chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease in which the patient’s immune system attacks his own tissues. This leads to the destruction of the thyroid gland and disorders of its work, contributing to the abnormal production of hormones and the development of hypothyroidism. 

The occurrence of Hashimoto’s disease depends on genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Among the environmental factors such as infections, cytokine therapies, lithium salts and the use of certain drugs, there is also an excess of iodine and selenium deficiency. So what is the significance of these elements in the functioning of the immune system and the work of the thyroid gland? 

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The importance of selenium in Hashimoto’s disease 

Selenium deficiency may lead to abnormal immune cells. Selenium sources in the diet are meat, cereals, milk products and fish as well as Brazilian nuts. In the system selenium occurs in the form of selenocysteine ​​- an amino acid responsible for the enzymatic activity of selenoproteins. Selenoproteins protect thyroid cells from oxidative stress. Selenium participates in the production of selenoenzymes, which participate in the metabolism of thyroid hormones. This element is a powerful antioxidant that protects the thyroid against the harmful effects of oxidized forms of iodine. Therefore, selenium deficiency leads to damage to thyroid cells and decrease of thyroid hormone production. triiodothyronine. 

The importance of iodine in Hashimoto’s disease 

Iodine is a basic component that is part of the thyroid hormone. When thyroxine (thyroid hormone) breaks down, iodine (around 20%) is re-used in the thyroid gland. Iodine deficiency results in inadequate amount of hormones produced, which contributes to the emergence of thyroid gland. Iodine is an element that is widespread in nature especially in the vicinity of salty water clusters. The sources of iodine in the diet include sea fish, seafood, eggs, meat and meats, turnips, kohlrabi. Excess iodine has been recognized as an environmental factor that affects the development of Hashimoto’s disease. During the oxidation of iodine, free radicals are formed which, leading to oxidative stress, damage thyroid cells. Among people with Hashimoto’s disease, excess iodine and additional supplementation may accelerate the autoimmune course of the disease. Numerous studies indicate an increase in the incidence of Hashimoto’s disease in coastal states (Scandinavia, Great Britain) as well as in countries where the consumption of products rich in iodine is very high (Japan). 

Demand for selenium and iodine 

Selenium 

Demand for selenium according to Dietary Reference Intakes determined by the American National Academy of Sciences, Food and Nutrition Board. 

* 1 Recommended daily intake (RDA) – a value that satisfies the needs of more than 97.5% of the healthy population in each age group, both sexes. This value is estimated by statistical methods. 

* 2 Maximum level of intake (UL) – a value that does not cause harmful effects in healthy people, as stated in the studies under medical supervision. 

* 3 Recommended Daily Intake (AI) – the probable level of daily intake calculated from observations or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of intake of individual nutrients. The AI ​​value is given when it is not possible to estimate the RDA. 

As shown by the study, the amount of selenium intake in Poland is 40 μg and is the lowest in Europe. The optimal concentration of selenium in the blood serum is 100-120 μg, while the average serum concentration of selenium in Poland is 70 μg. 

Iodine 

The iodine demand according to the Dietary Reference Intakes determined by the American National Academy of Sciences, Food and Nutrition Board. 

* 1 Recommended daily intake (RDA) – a value that satisfies the needs of more than 97.5% of the healthy population in each age group, both sexes. This value is estimated by statistical methods. 

* 2 Maximum level of intake (UL) – a value that does not cause harmful effects in healthy people, as stated in the studies under medical supervision. 

* 3 Recommended Daily Intake (AI) – the probable level of daily intake calculated from observations or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of intake of individual nutrients. The AI ​​value is given when it is not possible to estimate the RDA. 

Excess iodine can be caused by too high intake of marine products (fish, seafood, sea algae). Among people with autoimmune diseases , iodine intake even at a safe dose for the entire population may result in negative symptoms. 

Appropriate concentration of selenium and iodine in blood serum can ensure proper immune response and improve thyroid gland function among people affected by Hashimoto’s disease. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the supply of selenium and iodine along with diet and dietary supplements. 

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You can read also: Selenium in thyroid diseases

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