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From Mary Shomon Your Thyroid Guide

Supplementing With Selenium May Help Thyroiditis

June 25, 2001 / UPDATED June 27, 2001

According to findings reported at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society in Denver, Colorado last week, supplementing with selenium may help to slow down the progression of autoimmune thyroid disease -- and may be particulary effective during the onset of thyroiditis.

The findings were reported by Munich, Germany physician Barbara Gasnier, of the Medizinische Klinik University.

The researchers believe that a deficiency in selenium may contribute in part to development of autoimmune thyroid problems because of selenium's impact on certain immune system enzymes.

The study looked at 72 women at an average age of 42, all who had autoimmune thyroiditis. In all the women, thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies and/or thyroglobulin (Tg) antibody levels were greater than 350 U/mL.

Half the patients received selenium supplementation for three months, the other half received a placebo. All patients were normalized on their thyroid hormone treatment. At the conclusion of the three month period, autoantibody levels were measured.

Interesting, nine of the patients taking selenium supplementation had antibody levels that returned completely to normal. Two members of the placebo control group had antibodies return to normal.

Among those in the selenium group, the mean TPO antibody levels decreased significantly in the selenium group. The higher the TPO at the onset of the test, the greater the reduction was seen in the TPO antibody levels at the end of the three months.

It was reported in DG News that the researchers stated: "Selenium substitution with 200 mcg (micrograms) (SEE NOTE BELOW ABOUT THIS AMOUNT) of sodium selenite may improve the inflammatory activity in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis, but whether this effect is specific for autoimmune thyroiditis or may also be effective in other organ-specific autoimmune diseases has to be investigated."

Dr. Gasnier has indicated that the selenium may be increasing peroxidase activity, lowering free radicals, and reducing inflammation.

WARNING/IMPORTANT NOTE / June 27, 2001 An earlier version of this report issued by DG News inaccurately indicated that the amount of sodium selenite was 200 milligrams, instead of 200 micrograms. This incorrect and higher amount is considered an extremely high and a potentially toxic amount of selenium. Thyroid F.Y.I. verified on Wednesday June 27, 2001 with the Endocrine Society that the original research abstract says "200 micrograms," but was mistakenly summarized by DG News as milligrams (mg).


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