When diagnosed with an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you may have questions about what you can do to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. While managing Hashimoto’s can look different for each person, emerging research has shown that supplementation with certain nutrients may be able to make a positive impact.
Find out why selenium matters to your thyroid health – and why it may be able to make a difference for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (also referred to as Hashimoto’s disease or autoimmune thyroiditis) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks your thyroid gland. Over time, the damaged thyroid isn’t able to produce the thyroid hormones needed to regulate metabolism, which can lead to hypothyroidism.
One potential sign of Hashimoto’s disease can be elevated levels of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, which can signal that your immune system is attacking healthy tissues. If you’re curious about your TPO antibody levels, an at-home thyroid test can help you learn more about your levels.
Why does selenium matter to thyroid health?
While autoimmune disorders generally can’t be cured, emerging research suggests that supplementing with selenium, a naturally occurring nutrient, may be able to positively impact individuals with Hashimoto’s disease.
The thyroid is the organ that has the highest amount of selenium per gram of tissue. Selenium can also help your body convert thyroxine (T4), into triiodothyronine (T3), which are two critical hormones that are made in your thyroid gland.
Because of this, some researchers have hypothesized that selenium supplementation may be able to benefit people with Hashimoto’s disease.
How can selenium impact people with Hashimoto’s disease?
While research is still emerging, several studies have found some fascinating connections between Hashimoto’s and selenium supplementation. One 2002 study of 70 women who had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and high thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies examined what impact selenium had. They found that supplementing with 200 micrograms of selenium helped significantly reduce their TPO antibody levels. 
Since high TPO antibody levels can be a sign of autoimmune disease activity, researchers noted that selenium supplementation may be able to reduce autoimmune activity in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis.
Another 2014 review of nine studies also found that selenium supplementation for both 6 and 12 months was associated with a significant decrease in TPO antibodies, as well as an improvement in mood.  However, while the review found positive evidence, they noted several limitations of their review that indicated the need for further research, including bias and small sample sizes in the studies.
Should I take selenium for my thyroid disease?
While selenium could be beneficial for people with Hashimoto’s disease, it’s important to discuss any potential supplements with your healthcare provider first. In the meantime, you can ensure that you’re getting enough selenium in your diet.
The NIH recommends that adults get 55 mcg of selenium daily, with higher recommended levels for pregnant women (60 mcg) and breastfeeding women (70 mcg).  Selenium-rich foods include:
- Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products
- Breads, cereals, and other grain products
As research continues to develop in this area, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest emerging research related to your thyroid health. And remember – if you’ve got questions about your thyroid health, an at-home thyroid test can be a great way to help you get answers and move forward.
 Gartner, R. “Selenium Supplementation in Patients with Autoimmune Thyroiditis Decreases Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies Concentrations.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol. 87, no. 4, 1 Apr. 2002, pp. 1687–1691., doi:10.1210/jc.87.4.1687.
 Fan, Yaofu, et al. “Selenium Supplementation for Autoimmune Thyroiditis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” International Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 2014, 11 Dec. 2014, pp. 1–8., doi:10.1155/2014/904573.
 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) . “Office of Dietary Supplements - Selenium.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-Consumer/.