Selenium is necessary to help the thyroid produce enzymes and hormones. It is also required for cells to produce antioxidants that protect the thyroid and other body tissues.
Deficiencies in selenium can lead to an underactive thyroid. The function of the thyroid diminishes significantly, affecting cells and organs throughout the body, including the liver, kidneys, and muscles. Without the important role of the thyroid, metabolism is affected and could result in extreme fatigue or other disorders.
Since the thyroid is involved in so many physical and mental functions, maintaining the proper amount of selenium can improve mood and overall well-being for people who are deficient. Selenium also increases the action of antioxidants, which fight free radicals that damage cells throughout the body.
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Selenium can be found in foods such as tuna, halibut, beef, organ meats, mushrooms, Brazil nuts, and sunflower seeds. However, finding the right foods for the right dosage of selenium might be difficult, so selenium supplements come in handy. You want to find the safe and effective dosage.
Taking 200 micrograms (mcg) of selenium each day helps fight Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, according to WebMD. This condition contributes to an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism. When this happens, the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones to help the cells in your body and can result in fatigue and depression.
Adults and adolescents age 14 or over can take up to 400 mcg a day of selenium, according to WebMD.
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For children under 14, the tolerable limits are as follows:
Children 9 to 13, 280 mcg per day; children 4 to 8, 150 mcg a day; children 1 to 3, 90 mcg a day; infants 7 to 12 months, 60 mcg a day; and infants up to 6 months, 45 mcg a day.
Byron J. Richards, a board certified clinical nutritionist, says that 200 mcg to 300 mcg of selenium improves thyroid function, but some people need double that amount to see improvements. Richards writes in Wellness Resources that there is no consensus from researchers on the dosage, but they seem to agree that optimizing selenium intake helps prevent thyroid disease and contributes to overall health.
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