Iodine Selenium Connection

  • INTERACTIONS BETWEEN SELENIUM AND IODINE
    April 27, 1999
    This article was posted at www.ithyroid.com and we thank the author, John, for his excellent research.  The article has since been taken down, and we have been unable to reach the author to request his permission, but we respectfully give credit to the source.  
       

    Selenium and iodine are two minerals which are critically important in the proper functioning of the thyroid. While the importance of iodine has been known a long time, the importance of selenium has only been discovered and explored since 1990. Much research is presently being conducted on the functions of these two minerals in thyroid function and it is becoming clear that there is an interaction between the two. Iodine has a seemingly simple role in the thyroid-it is incorporated into the thyroid hormone molecule.

    A deficiency of iodine will cause hypothyroidism and if this is severe and occurs during pregnancy, the offspring will be mentally damaged and is called a cretin. Cretinism, or myxeodematous cretinism as it is sometimes called, is not only caused by an iodine deficiency, but is also influenced by a selenium deficiency. Iodine apparently has just one function in the body-in the thyroid.

    Selenium, on the other hand, performs many functions. At the beginning of the 1990s it was discovered that the deiodinase enzymes which convert T4 (thyroxin, the thyroid prohormone) into T3 (triiodothyronine, the cellularly active hormone) and also convert T3 into T2, thereby degrading it, are selenium enzymes (formed with the amino acid cysteine). This discovery has led to a lot of research studies on the effects of selenium, iodine, and their interactions.

    Selenium also performs other important roles in the body. The most important of these is probably as its role as the body's best antioxidant (anti-peroxidant). It performs this role as part of glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx or GPX). As part of GPX, selenium prevents lipids and fats from being peroxidized (oxidized), which literally means that it prevents fats from going rancid (this can be seen on your skin as "age spots" or "liver spots" (autopsies show that skin "liver spots" are accompanied by similar spots of peroxidized fats in the liver.) Therefore selenium protects all of the cellular membranes, which are made up of fats, from peroxidation. Peroxidation of cellular membranes reduces the ability of the membrane to pass nutrients including minerals and vitamins, so selenium deficiency is the first step toward developing the many problems caused by nutrient deficiencies.

    Joel Wallach considers a selenium deficiency combined with high intake of vegetable oils (salad dressings, margarine, cooking oils) as the "quickest route to a heart attack and cancer." It seems that the body uses a lot of selenium to protect the fats from peroxidation. Polyunsaturated fats which are hydrogenated or heated become the same as rancid fats and large amounts of selenium are then needed to protect the body. Consumption of these dietary fats can thus lead to a selenium deficiency.
    Selenium is also essential for the production of estrogen sulfotranserfase which is the enzyme which breaks down estrogen. A deficiency of selenium can thus lead to excessive amounts of estrogen, which may depress thyroid function, and also upset the progesterone-estrogen balance.

    Wallach also lists other effects of selenium deficiency: anemia (red blood cell fragility), fatigue, muscular weakness, myalgia (muscle pain), muscular dystrophy (white muscle disease in animals), cardiomyopathy (sudden death in athletes), heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, Lou Gehrig's and Parkinson's diseases (mercury toxicity), Alzheimer's Disease (high intake of vegetable oil), sudden infant death syndrome (and possibly "breathlessness" in adults), cancer, multiple sclerosis, and sickle cell anemia.


    Note on original article:
    According to the manufacturer, Thyodine contains about 40 mcg. (micrograms) of iodine per tablet. The manufacturer has now added 50 mcg. of selenium per tablet. Thyodine now contains a relatively balanced amount of selenium and iodine. We recommend a total daily intake of 200-400 mcg./day of selenium, depending upon body size. 

     

    Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.



Mankind's Use of Herbs

In the beginning:  “And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”  Ezekial 47:12

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