Selenium: The Missing Link for Treating Hypothyroidism? | Chris Kresser

Selenium: The Missing Link for Treating Hypothyroidism?

by Chris Kresser

Last updated on

This article is part of a special report on Thyroid Disorders. To see the other articles in this series, click here.

A healthy thyroid is a critical component of one’s overall health, and many people are struggling with thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism, specifically Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis. In this autoimmune condition, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, with the resulting inflammation leading to an underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common form of hypothyroidism and was the first condition ever to be classified as an autoimmune disease.

I’ve written extensively about thyroid health, focusing on a multitude of environmental factors that may affect thyroid function, including gluten, gut health, stress, excess iodine, and vitamin D deficiency. I’ve also discussed why dietary changes are always the first step in treating Hashimoto’s, and why replacement thyroid hormone is often necessary for a successful outcome.

There Is yet Another Nutritional Factor That May Play a Role in Thyroid Health: Selenium.

Selenium deficiency is not thought to be common in healthy adults, but is more likely to be found in those with digestive health issues causing poor absorption of nutrients, such as Crohn’s or celiac disease, or those with serious inflammation due to chronic infection. (1, 2) It is thought that selenium deficiency does not specifically cause illness by itself, but that it makes the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by other nutritional, biochemical or infectious stresses, due to its role in immune function. (3) Adequate selenium nutrition supports efficient thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism and protects the thyroid gland from damage from excessive iodine exposure. (4)

Several research studies have demonstrated the benefits of selenium supplementation in treating autoimmune thyroid conditions.

One study found that selenium supplementation had a significant impact on inflammatory activity in thyroid-specific autoimmune disease, and reducing inflammation may limit damage to thyroid tissue. (6) This may be due to the increase in glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase activity, as well as the decrease in toxic concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and lipid hydroperoxides which result from thyroid hormone synthesis. (7)

Another study followed patients for 9 months, and found that selenium supplementation reduced thyroid peroxidase antibody levels in the blood, even in selenium sufficient patients. (8) While these studies show promise for the use of selenium supplementation in preventing thyroid tissue damage, further research is needed to determine the long-term clinical effects of selenium treatment on inflammatory autoimmune thyroiditis.

Additionally, selenium is also essential for the conversion of T4 to T3, as deiodinase enzymes (those enzymes that remove iodine atoms from T4 during conversion) are selenium-dependent. As I’ve explained before, T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone, and low T3 can cause hypothyroid symptoms. A double-blind intervention study found that selenium supplementation in selenium deficient subjects modulated T4 levels, theoretically by improving peripheral conversion to T3. (9In cases of severe selenium deficiency, conversion of T4 to T3 may be impaired, leading to hypothyroid symptoms. As T3 conversion is not performed by the thyroid, the dependence on selenoproteins for this conversion demonstrates how significant selenium deficiency could lead to hypothyroid symptoms.

So the Question Is, Should You Start Supplementing with Selenium If You Have Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or Low T3 Levels?

As the answer often is, it depends.

These preliminary studies show the positive effects of selenium supplementation on inflammatory activity in autoimmune thyroid conditions, but the long term effects of supplementation on thyroid health are still unknown. And we know that selenium is an essential component of the enzymes that convert T4 to T3, but whether supplementation will increase serum T3 levels is unclear.

While it seems that selenium supplementation would be an obvious solution to poor thyroid function, long term consumption of high doses of selenium can lead to complications such as gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability, and mild nerve damage. (10) Additionally, supplementing selenium in the context of low iodine status may actually aggravate hypothyroidism. Mario Renato Iwakura discusses this particular topic extensively on Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet blog.

Moreover, a large clinical trial examining the effects of selenium supplementation on prostate cancer risk in over 35,000 men found that those with normal to high selenium levels at baseline experienced a significant increase in the risk of prostate cancer after supplementing with 200 mcg/d of selenium. For more details on this study, see my article “Important Update on Selenium Supplementation“.

For now, the best option for most people may be to include selenium-rich foods in the context of a healthy Paleo diet. Great sources of selenium include: brazil nuts, crimini mushrooms, cod, shrimp, tuna, halibut, salmon, scallops, chicken, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, lamb, and turkey. Brazil nuts are particularly rich in selenium; it only takes one or two per day to improve your selenium status and boost immune function. (11)

Making sure your selenium intake is optimal may give your immune system and thyroid the boost it needs to help it function better. It is especially important for those managing thyroid conditions to ensure their selenium status is adequate.


Join the conversation

  1. Since I started using selenium, my hypothyroidism has improved.I had to stop using levothyroxine tablets. and i am very happy..

  2. Hi Chris,

    I took levothyroxine (75mcg) for 20 years, and selenium may have played a role in helping me get off it completely.

    I’ll explain below. The helpful selenium for me would be in the form of eating cheddar cheese 20g to 60g a day. I am not absolutely sure it is just this though, as it could be an effect from a combination of things. I will tell you about the two other things, which top my list of possible things which have allowed me to get off levothyroxine completely.

    It has only been two weeks since I stopped taking levothyroxine, so I won’t know if I’m cured until this lasts for months.

    Already, it is unbelievable though, since I have fantasized that I would stumble upon a dietary change which would make my thyroid function normally, and I would be able to get this monkey off my back.

    Not only did I hate the idea of taking synthetic hormone for the rest of my life, it made me feel tethered to the medical establishment, since you HAVE to see a doctor, get a TSH test, and prescription in order to get the drug. (I went a few years, ordering levothyroxine from India with no prescription, managing it on my own, and going to a lab every 3 years or so to get a TSH.)

    In the past, any complete cessation of my thyroid medication (levothyroxine) would result in me hitting a wall of fatigue on about the 2nd or 3rd day off the medication. So, to go two weeks without any medication, and feeling absolutely wonderful and fine (not hyper or hypo) is extraordinary. That’s where I am now.

    Although I have done many dietary changes, which may have created a synergistic environment of thyroid healing, my top three suspects are:

    Green tea (just one cup)
    Cheddar Cheese (known to support the thyroid function)
    Red beans (dried not canned) and brown rice every day

    I retired a few years ago, and have been reading more things on the Internet, discussing things with my brother (who is also hypothyroid), and experimenting with my diet.

    I am thin, (have literally never been overweight in my whole life), very athletic, eat a fairly healthy diet, but get in diet ruts, eating what I think makes me feel optimal. I realize now I have been unwittingly avoiding some foods, which have probably disturbed my sleep in the past, because they made me go hyperthyroid. In other words, these foods were probably good for me, but they scared me, because they threw my thyroid level off.

    The problem for people who are hypothyroid and on levothyroxine, is that the symptoms of hypo and hyper, at least in the beginning stages, can be similar, for example, a loud heartbeat (palpitations), including feeling it bang in your chest.

    Although a too rapid pulse is hyperthyroid, it’s surprising some of the crazy things a heart with do when hypothyroid, so it can get hard to tell.

    Both hyper and hypo and have cognitive similarities also, like difficulty concentrating. Hypo tends to feel foggy and cloudy, whereas hyper is usually jittery and like you are thinking too much or too fast. Hyper can result in fatigue too, especially if the hyper is making you lose sleep.

    I won’t go into detail here, but before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I lived for two years, without being tested or diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was a zombie, and felt dead. My heart rate went down to 30BPM at night, and I’d wake up with all four of my limbs asleep, and I would feel dead. I’d wake up, and my heart would jerk back to life.

    That is what happens when your metabolism gets seriously slow. I know my heart rate at night because it was measured with a Holter device, a few days before I started on levothyroxine. So I came back from the living dead when I started on levothyroxine.

    I mention this, because I was scared of ever feeling those symptoms of being hypothyroid again. So while I didn’t always feel great when I was on levothyroxine, I maintained a diet which made me feel stable.

    The sadness of this now strikes me, as I know with certainty that although I love cheese, I avoided eating it, because it would make me feel bad, but the bad was going hyper. In other words, cheese is what I think may have supported my thyroid function so well, in combination with the levothyroxine I was taking, it made me go hyper.

    After some years of treating myself, i went to a doctor. I didn’t feel bad at the time, but I felt jittery at times, and had bad dreams, and would wake up and urinate too much.

    I requested an A1C for diabetes, and it was fine. I was hugely relieved. My TSH came back way below 1, so hyperthyroid. I reduced my medication from 100mcg (of levothyroxine) to 60mcg and felt really well again.

    About a year later, the 60mcg felt too low and I went to 75mcg. Then I began my diet adventures.

    I’ve been eating brown rice for decades, every day, usually with lentils. I switched the brown rice for quinoa, for the complete set of proteins. It was okay, but I thought I was eating too much quinoa, like two cups a day.

    I reduced the quinoa, went back to brown rice, but instead of lentils, I ate red beans, which take a lot longer to cook. Immediately, the red beans felt fantastic. I had good dreams, and slept well.

    But it was about 4 days after I started drinking a cup of green tea in the morning that I noticed I was going very hyper, and that’s when I decided to try just stopping thyroid medication to see how long I could go.

    I’ve read on the web that green tea can cause thyroid cell enlargement and lead to hypothyroidism, but there is one rate study backing that up, and the rats were given a high concentrate of green tea extract.

    Having one cup of ordinary green tea is not going to worsen hypothyroidism. Green tea is a distinguishing feature in the extraordinary longevity of the Japanese, according to Scientific American. And, indeed, no MDs are going to tell hypothyroid patients they should avoid green tea, or any other food. I think doctors should tell people with hypothyroidism to avoid raw broccoli. Potato chips are another really bad food, but that’s just my personal opinion.

    So, I’m on this one cup of green tea in the morning, lots of red beans and rice, some quinoa, (usually mixed with my morning oatmeal), and the 20g to 60g of cheddar cheese in my beans, and I’m feeling wonderful and balanced, and well.

    I have considered that it may just be one of the top three suspects: cheddar cheese, green tea, red beans & rice. And after many months, I may experiment with eliminating those things to see if I feel different when one is removed.

    Right now though, with only two weeks off my levothyroxine, I just want to continue with what I’m eating now. If I’m feeling great for 6 months, then I’ll try to narrow it down and share it with the world for free.

    I was never a big meat eater, and ate mostly chicken, so it was reading about quinoa that put me over the edge to try being a vegetarian again.

    I have a huge fear of soy, because when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 20 years ago, I had been eating way too much soy, and it is implicated in causing hypothyroidism. I also loved raw broccoli.

    By too much soy, I mean I would buy a brick of soy curd, put tomato sauce over it and eat the whole thing. So I’m trying to be more moderate in things right now.

    I just wrote this for both Chris and other people. The comments here are really great. It’s confusing for people with hypothyroidism to read stuff on the web, because there is a huge variety, with all these naturopaths who want to get you on their program or product.

    When I lived as a zombie for two years, I had a red herring symptom which mislead my physician from thinking my problem was thyroid related, so he never tested me. Instead, I found out he thought I was an alcoholic. Ironically, I’m a health nut, and at that time did not drink alcohol, coffee or tea.

    My two years spent as a zombie humbled me. The information on the web at the time was very poor and incomplete. Today, I would have had access to information to realize I needed a TSH. I felt like a different person for two years, detached, behind a foot of plate glass, dizzy, and often like I was dying. I was even tested for a brain tumor by an ER physician. It was negative, of course. I was hypothyroid.

    I would encourage everyone to explore varying their diet. Manual massage of the thyroid, at least in one dog study, shows that it makes thyroid function worse. I tried it once anyway. It seemed to make it worse.

    I do a set of daily exercises I’ve developed for myself, to increase my core strength, flexibility. One exercise I do consists of turning my head from side to side slowly, as well as head rolls.

    Now entering my mid-60s, I feel better in terms of physical and mental well-being than I felt when I was a young and a professional athlete. I think it is because of much better diet, and a more balanced, less stressful life.

    I’d be happy to answer any questions about my own experience with hypothyroidism. Naturopaths, in general, are much more interested in and in tune with thyroid issues and diet.

    There used to be an MD on the web — I forget his name — but I think he was also a naturopath, and he wrote well about the horrors of hypothyroidism, which he struggled with. He died in middle age.

    One guy in the comments here wrote about how it was his testosterone that was off, more than thyroid. And women often have female hormone issues which are tangled with thyroid issues.

    I think it is unfortunate that because thyroid medication is so cheap, there is very little funded research in the relationship between diet and thyroid, or getting people off thyroid medication. Lots of older women, especially, go hypothyroid and are put on levothyroxine, and it’s never considered if this is absolutely necessary.

    One small anecdote about selenium and cheddar cheese. My father used to eat a small about of cheddar cheese and crackers every night, with one beer. He stopped it around age 75, encouraged to stop the one beer, because my mother was a religious fantatic. He stopped eating cheddar cheese also after going through heart surgery. It was then he went hypothyroid.

  3. Brazil nuts definitely do help convert thyroid hormone to active thyroid hormone. So will Boost nutritional drink. I stayed away from all these drinks because of all the stuff they put in them, but I always trusted Boost. Not anymore though, had a problem with it, checked the label and sure enough, selenium. I can’t eat Brazil nuts either.

    • Hey Timbo…thank you for sharing your detailed history on some overlooked factors of what could be affecting many individuals thyroid function, including my own. Actually fascinating how “well” you may have it narrowed down through trial and error. I’m going through a roller-coaster phase currently with my thyroid and it’s extremely life-disrupting. Hoping to find some answers to help contribute back to others suffering as well, cause most doc’s don’t seem to have the time/focus to really pin it the true complex interactions down. Would love to know more how your self-experiment is going…best of luck and again, thank you for your insights! (and certainly Chris as welll!)

  4. I have had Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism) for 11 years. Before being diagnosed I felt like death! I started out on Levoxyl 50 mcg. And eventually needed, over the course of time, up to 250 mcg. It made me felt better, however, my symptoms did not go away, joint pains, fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, rough and dry skin, constipation, depression etc. After much research I started on Hypothyroidism herbal formula i ordered from NewLife Herbal Clinic, i followed the treatment procedures faithfully for 8 weeks. It made a huge difference! It eliminated all my symptoms including my terrible joint pains. Go grain free of hypothyroidism!, Contact NewLife Herbal Clinic via their official website (Visit www . newlifeherbalclinic. com or email [email protected] newlifeherbalclinic .com). This NewLife hypothyroidism herbal formula helped me tremendously.

  5. Chris,

    I have both Celiac and Hashimotos. I am unable to take selenium is there anything else someone with Hashimotos can take to improve thyroid function

  6. I have graves disease, I was treated with iodine radiation to zap the thyroid. I take Levothyroxine and Liothyronine (extra T3)
    Would it benefit me to add the brazil nuts into my diet?

    • hi Rita,
      My brother has hypothyroid disease. He alternates between taking 1 and 2 brazil nuts daily. It didn’t cause any negative effects so he eats them daily. I would say start by eating 1 and see how it feels. If no negative effects, try eating 1-2 daily. Of course if it causes upset stomach or something else, stop taking them. Try it and let me know how it went. thanks

    • Not a Doctor, but I would never take Generic for my Thyroid and not Synthroid. I take Armour Thyroid and the Brand name, no Generic!.

      Generics by Law can have as little as 80 mcg or mg up to 120 mcg or mg. One month you may get the dosage you need and the next batch may be higher or lower so it causes flips from Hypo to Hyper and people do not know this about Generic. A smart Pharmacist will know this, if they don’t they do not know their drugs!!! My Endocrinologist told me this and she was correct. I kept flipping and was so sick all the time. I never have those flips on Armour Thyroid. Well and happy!

  7. I’m hypothyroid, I always feel full, and bloated and still always hungry, exhausted as well as moody, depressed, use to be 110lb went to 146lb in 3 weeks. be come suicidal but Thank god that’s not me told the doctor about this. They tasted me my tsh was 58.3 it’s now in the normal range. Suicide thoughts are gone but Extreme fatigue continues as well as muscle and joint pain. Cannot seem to get the weight off was walking 6 miles 3 to 4 times a week. Can’t seem to get a doctor in Florida that cares enough to help. I’m always told I’m getting older. Ugh I’m only 48. With that said do you think Brazil Nuts will help.

    • Tammy,

      Please see the website ‘Stop the Thyroid Madness’. There is a lot of information there. Many people with hypothyroidism are not getting proper dosages, due to too much reliance on TSH by doctors in tests. It is a complex issue, please see the site.

      Best wishes

    • Sounds just like me before I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The symptoms you describe are text book indicators. I was put on thyroxine years ago but continued to feel like I was 80 years old, despite being in 40’s. After my GP told me “You’re just getting older” I found a new GP who took me seriously and referred me to my wonderful rhumatologist!! We are still working on getting my meds right but I am already having less pain and it’s such a relief just to be heard!!! Find yourself a new GP who will listen.

    • Please go to an Endocrinologist they can work wonders I promise. I am a man but I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and they put me on synthroid. That helped my TSH levels a little but I still felt like crap. So I went to an endocrinologist and low and behold I had low testosterone also. That is not a problem for you most likely but all that hormone stuff is connected. It would be worth it to go I promise. Things like Cushings disease are more common than you think.

    • My brother had all the symptoms you described. He was having suicidal thoughts and after treatment this was resolved but some symptoms still remain. He’s taking 1-2 brazil nuts daily. Try eating 1 brazil nut daily and if you’re feeling okay with it, try 2. My brother alternates between 1-2 daily. If you feel it makes you feel worse, stop taking them. Brazil nuts contain seleneium which I read helps with thyroid disease. So try it and see. thanks

    • I’ve had this problem as well and generally the endocrinologist or physicians never really give you enough thyroid medicine. There is somebody on Facebook that says he wants to find out why all of us have thyroid problems to begin with but in the meantime you’re gonna want to find a physician who will give you more thyroid medicine. Preferably nature thyroid. I’m going to take some selenium and a little tiny bit of iodine because I don’t have an appetite either and my weight will not come off. The guy on Facebook said that a lot of times if we’re hypothyroid, lack of selenium, d3, calcium, magnesium and others might be preventing the thyroid medicine or the thyroid hormone to connect to our DNA and even though the measurements say we have enough in our body, if it’s not connecting to the DNA we will not feel the benefits of the hormone.

      • FLORINATED WATER!!!!!! is the major reason thyroid disease is thru the roof……#1..FLORIDE IS POISION!!!! it has never been proven to reduce cavities..FLORIDE DESTROYS YOUR THYROID!!!! It Exaserbates other conditions as well #2 PLASTICS!!!! #3 HEAVY METAL TOXINS!!!!! Watch Dr Joyce Riley and Dr Sherri Rogers.. another great person to listen to The Health Ranger mike adams, he is a heavy metal toxicology expert.. i was taking 325 mcg of synthyroid hair still falling out, cold hand’s and feet, dry cracking skin, unbelievable fatigue, puffy swollen T4 wasnt converting to T3..i had to ask 3 different endocrinolgists for Cytomel (converts T4 to T3). 25 mcg’s of Cytomel in addition to the 325 mcg synthyroid..the doctors dont want to prescribe it why??? It took care of my lingering symptoms..i now started taking iodine drops, 50,000 iu vit D a week, magnesium oil both internal and spray on skin…listen to those shows i indicated above..

        • Not only fluoride but also gluten! I am now seeing a thyroid specialist and was tested for a wide variety of things. I am deficient in iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium and vitD3 – all of which are vital for conversion of T4 to T3. Currently taking supplements but only on week 3 so no results just yet. I’m on synthetic T4 only – no GP prescribes natural thyroid in Australia so struggling to find a doctor who will but that is the ultimate goal for me. Also have similar symptoms: chronic fatigue, foggy brain, weight gain even though I don’t eat a lot, etc etc. Terrible that so many of us are being denied adequate care by our medical systems

          • Jill you CAN get natural thyroid supplement in Australia. You have to get onto a doctor with more than a rudementary knowledge of thyroid diseases and one who seeks out more than the stock standard Big Pharma medications. Natural thyroid supplements with both T3 and T4 can then be made up by a Compound Chemist. There are at least 5 in Melbourne

            • Thanks Renata. It’s just a case of finding that doctor which is my problem at the moment. I continue to be hopeful that I will start to feel normal in the not too distant future.

        • is your thyroiditis cured? I drink a whole lot of tap water. I am also diagnosed with Hashimotos. Tried going to a naturopath, ended up taking Armour (pig gland). For 3 mos now. I feel a little better but they want me to take more and I find the irritability side affect is something i can’t tolerate. I am doing Yoga, trying to destress naturally and take in more foods with iodine. I am at my wits end and I want to heal myself if at all possible. However as a nurse I know the importance of thyroid function … any HELP or READING anyone can suggest.

    • Hi Tammy,
      I too have had the same issues you have, plus Celiacs. I found a functional doctor who tested my thyroid in depth and I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. She encouraged me to do the Autoimmune Paleo nutritional protocol. I started immediately and followed it to the “t”…within a week my joint pain was gone. Within two weeks I had more energy then I have had in years, by week three I felt well….the only word I can use to describe is “happy” and at peace. Furthermore I also lost 16 lbs. I feel so good I have decided to stay on this protocol indefinitely. I would encourage you to try it, google Hashimoto’s and look at the symptoms. Try the Autoimmune Paleo diet, google it and you will find tons of stuff, is an excellent source of information. Plus they may be able to help you find a functional doctor in your area. Facebook has several Hashimoto groups and autoimmune groups, when members ask about help with doctors there is always someone in their state or area with a suggestion. Good luck and I hope you find the answers you need to restore your health.

    • I live in FL too, and I’m currently looking for a natural Dr. to help me. My thyroid was removed and I’ve felt suicidal, depressed, tired, no energy, achy, brain fog….I’m tired of living like this. This is no quality of life.

      • I have met Carol Roberts MD and am very impressed by her. She’s in Naples. I have no affiliation with her practice.

      • Check out Dr Amy Myers website. She’s in Austin, Tx. Many different options for treatment. She’s an MD AND a Functional Medicine Dr. Very informative. She’s on facebook. Good luck.

        • I have no affiliation whatsoever with Tim Smith (other than getting helped by him with thyroid issues) so I feel comfortable recommending him. He’s an MD in Sebastopol who does phone consults globally. He’s quite expensive I will say but worth it to me. His book is “Renewal Research” and his website is He has made a special study of thyroid issues – knows the ins and outs – his book has a good chapter on this topic. Re selenium – blue corn chips apparently have quite a lot of bioavailable. I myself am leery of sardines because of mercury which has reached every corner of the ocean including the Marianas Trench.

    • I am a 50 year old woman. Only a few short years ago, I was very active and very fit. In the past three years, I went from a size 5 to a size 12. 125 pounds to 155. I was tired and depressed and stressed and everything was sore and stiff, especially my knees. Im a nurse in a very fast paced facility…so this wasnt good. I started researching my symptoms and it all leads to hypothyroidism. Like you, everyone tells me, “oh its your age….just take some ibuprofen and dont worry about it”. I read about how selenium plays a key part in the conversion of T4 to T3 and how without enough, your thyroid could suffer. I purchased a bottle of Spring Valley Selenium (about $6) and have been taking one 200 mcg pill in the morning and one at night. Its been about three weeks. Now, I dont know how it will work for you and Im not a doctor, but in those three short weeks, my pain and stiffness has subsided enough for me to be able to do exercises that require bending the knees. Im sleeping better and the best part……I’ve lost nine pounds! I went from 155 to 146. I am on a low carb diet, but honestly, thats nothing new. Whats new is that the diet is actually working. Like I said, this is my experience and I wanted to share it with you because your comment resonated with me.

      • Amazing. I recently stop taking thyroid medications T3 and T4 to see if I can make any changes naturally. I star to take selenium 200mg and started gluten free diet. I am so happy to see your post. I am glad it is working for you. I reileze nobody talking about staying away from soy. What is everybody’s feeling and experience with soy? Thanks, Sal

    • Hi Tammy, I don’t know where you are in florida, but Dr. Jeffrey Dach specializes in thyroid disorders, and only treats them naturally without synthetic meds like Synthroid. He is in the Broward county area. I wish you all the best; it’s been awhile since your post, and I hope you have made some progress on this very challenging and complicated journey.

    • Tami, where in Florida do you live? The complaints you have just listed many have found relief doing the AIP diet (autoimmune protocol diet). It is very restrictive but there is a Facebook Group that is very supportive and the women have changed dramatically. I pretty much follow it as well and have gone from 195 pounds to 133 pounds. I highly suggest you look into it as many women have turned around their lives and how they feel just being on it.

    • I stopped my 112mcg daily after 3 years and post RAI for Graves disease and started taking sea kelp and 200mcg selenium daily instead. all these fat bloated and hungry symptoms went away. when I forgot to take selenium for two days, I woke up with my finger joints flared up and looking knobby, and deformed with arthritis. Selenium helped with the inflammation immediately. Fluoride from toothpaste and city water supply also greatly increased these flare ups. Removing all fluoride from my life and supplementing sea kelp and selenium really improved they way I feel daily over synthetic levothyroxine.

      Not only that, using iodine topically on my beasts firmed then up and eliminated hard, large nodules that had formed.
      I have found zero ill effects from removing Levo. In fact, the one day I took it and did not take my selenium and sea kelp made me feel retched! ! I had a ringing in my head, and a coldness in my bones/lower legs that I could not rid. Not to mention the awful moods swings.
      The miraculous thing for me is how quickly and noticeably the effects from these empirical experiments manifest themselves. This gave me confidence to listen to my own body and continue supplementation. I will always have endless bottles of Levo as a back up, should other I’ll effects develop. I am not a doctor, but I hope this information helps some people make decisions for themselves. I am a 42 year old Hispanic woman with no children and have spent the last few years removing as many harmful toxins from my daily life as possible. I have a motto, if I’m not willing to eat it, I won’t put it on my skin. Therefore, results may vary depending on a person’s toxicity load and liver and kidney function, where T3 and T4 is converted and metabolized. This could be a reason why my effects are so quickly notable. I take no other medications.
      Again, I hope this information helps.

      • Congratulations ? I also am stoped taking medication and doing research to find right natural way to fix my body. So far I am taking Selenium, Zinc and I started gluten free diet. Also soy free diet. I don’t see anybody talking about soy free diet is there a reason for it ? Do you know anything about it. Thanks, Sal

    • It sounds like your symptoms are related to an autoimmune disease such as Hashimotos. There is currently a documentary series online that is the most informative you will find anywhere. Theres a link below to sign up and be able to watch the remaining episodes. #5 of 9 will be released later this evening. I hope you find it helpful!

    • You may have a T3 conversion problem, so whatever thyroid hormone you are taking (probably T4) isn’t working. This happened to me. I was on a generic T4, then on a name brand one, for about 1 1/2 years, and those did not help. I now see a very knowledgeable naturopathic doctor and am now on a natural dessicated T4/T3 combination, and my health has improved a lot. I still have some issues with soft tissue and joint pain. I buy the pills from him. I still have some issues, and have been thinking of getting my selenium tested, which could be a factor in why I don’t feel 100%. . Also, if you are deficient in vitamin D, (a crucial vitamin for thyroid hormone production), you will not improve. Once the naturopath tested me for key vitamin deficiencies, (which were vit. D, B12, and Iodine) I began to feel better. I had much less fatigue and over time, my brain fog got better. I also went gluten free and dairy free because of the Hashimotos’s. I was able to reverse almost completely my very high thyroid antibodies and I think it was due to the medication and the new diet. I get tested every 6 months to make sure the thyroid antibodies are low. Many doctors before my naturopath tested only my TSH levels and said it was normal and my fatigue, brain fog, hair loss and sleep issues might be from depression! I kept searching for the answer! It was not traditional medicine that helped me.

  8. I don’t understand why you don’t recommend just getting tested for selenium deficiency instead of guessing if you need selenium or not.

  9. I had 1/2 of my thryoid removed in May 2015 due to a nodule.

    So far (Jan 2016) my t3 and t4 levels are normal but my TSH is on the rise. I’ve started feeling more tired, my bowels are slowing down and I think I’m gaining weight. I want to try the selenium pills and iodine treatment before going on synthroid, which is what my ENT said she will start me on if I start to go hypo.
    My question is, I keep seeing “start slow”. Can anyone tell me exactly what that might look like and how long would it be to get to “normal” dosage?
    Thanks all.

    • I saw a dietician for diet r/t thyroid function.
      She warned me that doses higher than 400 mcg. Can cause digestive upset. Best source is brazil nuts, just 2 or 3 a day. 5 has 340mcg. Selenium.

    • I experienced immediate and wonderful effects from supplementing 200 mcg selenium. Have you tried it? I’m wonder as this comment is coming to you a year later.
      Please see my lengthy comment above describing the wonderful results selenium and sea kelp had for me.

  10. What about the claim that Brazil nuts are unsuitable for selenium supplementation because:
    – their selenium content varies widely depending on the soil they were grown on
    – they contain a very small amount of radioactive radium

  11. I am sorry to say that Chris seems to have misintepreted his reference (8)

    This study does not demonstrate selenium supplementation “reduced thyroid peroxidase antibody levels in the blood, even in selenium sufficient patients.”

    The subjects’ baseline selenium level was not determined prior to selenium supplementation. They may have had low or deficient selenium; it is possible selenium supplementation corrected this and reduced their TPO antibody levels.

  12. I would like to get a selenium test but don’t know what kind of test is best — plasma, RBC, urine? Same for zinc. Please advise.

    I have MTHFR defects and hypothyroidism with too high Reverse T3. My doctor put me on T3 (liothyronine) but doesn’t want to raise it at all even after 3 months. My Free T3 is right at the bottom of the range and my free T4 is right at the top of the range and my reverse T3 is finally inside the normal range but hovering right underneath the top of normal. I have read that ideally I would have FT3 at the top of the range and FT4 at the low end of the range, the reverse of my current values. Doctor has suggested selenium, zinc, iodine b50 b100 and vit A after three months of being on T3 and methylfolate; I am interested in pursuing these supplements but am worried that doc is not testing selenium first since sometimes too high selenium occurs in those who don’t methylate very well due to the MTFHR defect. (I have C665T hetero). Thankyou!

    • Lex,
      I suggest you get a plasma Se test done.The level we now know, wants to be 1.6-2.0 mcrml/lt. Below 1.6 the major benefits
      do not occur.
      A Zn test is a taste test. Health shops can do them. If you’re short of Zn, you cant taste the dilute Zn solution supplied. I take Se ,Zn, 12 mgs iodine [Lugols iodine] and borax for Boron as these are all low in NZ.

      • Get a good hair analysis done –
        Check out Lydia Shatney – living from the inside out.
        I’ve just had mine done re my thyroid health and her service has been really good as I was bumbling around taking stuff and didn’t really understand what I was doing.

    • Your doctor is on the right track, because the protocols for T3 supplementation are to slowly start, (esp. if you have a heart condition) and continue for 3-4 months, without any adverse affects. Too much T3 can cause severe heart palpitations and other serious side effects. My mother was on a dessicated time-released liothyronine (T3). She is 80 years old. She has Hashimotos and has had so many health issues, such as Hashimoto’s, Congestive Heart Failure, dementia, high blood pressure, diabetes and AFIB, along with all the lesser symptoms low thyroid. Standard endocrinologists are generally not agreeable to prescribing T3, because they are afraid of harmful side effects, and the potential for law suits. Frankly most aren’t knowledgeable about the subject.. My mom was on a 3 mcg gram dose for 4 months, then her doctor moved her to 4 mcg dose, for another 4 months. She had no issues with palpitations and she noticed her hair loss started stabilizing, but still was cold all the time. She thought it worked. Because of her poor health, she moved from Florida to Massachusetts and since her doctor in Florida retired, she is now looking for one who will re-prescribe some T3. Now she is back on T4 until we can find a doctor who believes in T3 therapy. My mom’s doctor also did a micronutrient test, which showed she was deficient in B12, vitamin D, CoQ-10, and zinc. She since has supplemented and I think those vitamins have helped with her energy level…she naps less. We will be trying Brazil Nuts for sure….then a retest of her selenium. Hope this helps!

  13. I was initially diagnosed with Graves disease 12 years ago with a T4 of 43! After 18 months on neomercazole i was told to have radioactive iodine treatment which i now regret as i have suffered severe hypothyroid systems since then and weight issues where i put on 12kgs. Eltroxin did nothing for me and just made me feel terrible. At the beginning of the year i started a new drug therapy of 90% thyroxine and 10% triiodothyronine (Diotroxin/Levotrin). I feel much better and have lost 5kgs. However, a recent blood test showed a normal TSH, normal T4 but a high T3. Would you suggest a selenium supplement if i’m trying to reduce my T3 levels now as the doctor has suggested a reduction in Diotroxin.

    • Terry i am the same as you i would like to know what food i should not eat as i love broccoli and they say that is a no no .

    • I had radio iodine in 2011 and 2012 cos it didn’t work first time. … Been on 100mg thyroxine most of the time but was overmedicating and told come off them few days. … Couldn’t get my breaths and had palpitations … Can’t get level right !!!

  14. My RBC selenium is 420. , the upper RBC limit is 44. Two months ago it was 380, I have not taken selenium for at least six months but it continues to rise what can I do? I do have Hashimotos, numbness in my fingers and hair loss. I am gluten free and eat healthy. Please help.

    • I suggest you get a plasma Se test done.We now know that a plasma level 1.6-1.9 is the optimal level.A bit more is OK but less stops some of Se’s benefits. David Walpole

    • Lori – Do you suffer from fatigue? I am hypothyroid and have high selenium rgb count (my number is 498 in a normal range of 120-300) and suffer from significant fatigue. I too take NO selenium supplements whatsoever.

      • Same here…. I just had an elements profile (urine) done by ZRT and my selenium is way high. I don’t supplement it except for whatever is my multi. what could be making it high? I do have adrenal issues but now I am wondering if my high selenium is causing me the fatigue more than my adrenal issue. How can I bring it down??

    • I would look into your diet and any multivitamins which may have selenium. Maybe too much selenium is causing the problem. Also a micro nutrient panel/test is a good option, since it covers a lot of trace minerals and is generally cheaper than getting all of your vitamin totals tested separately. There are doctors and labs which do this test.

  15. I am trying to help my mom who has a HIGH selenium level. She is early into a gluten and dairy free diet. Is there anything or anyplace I can go/read to help reduce selenium level? Her primary concern is fatique

    • Dear Cynthia,what is your mothers level? The optimum level that has been published in the Lancet is now recognized in two countries as 1.6-1.9 mcrml/lt. This is higher than earlier thought necessary, but is vital for the enormous benefits adequate selenium can provide. David Walpole

    • This is from a long time ago – but my dad was high and had high iron too and the excess selenium was found to be from a lifetime of selsun blue shampoo.

  16. Hi Chris,

    I have hypothyroidism but am intolerant of fish and severely allergic to nuts!

    I follow a primal style diet, but am wondering, with my restrictions, if I ought to consider supplimenting selenium. If so, what dosage and frequency would you recommend?


    • Janae,it will depend on your present selenium level. If a selenium blood test shows your level is above 1.6 mcrml/lt. there will be no advantage in taking extra. If you are below this level you could expect a benefit. There is this precis threshold minimum level.

  17. I have a normal tsh, high t4, but my t3 and free t3 are low. I got off thyroid meds both synthroid and liothyronine; they actually made my thyroid function worse. At a loss where to go from here, I just don’t want to take prescription meds to many side effects. Plus most natural supplements have t4 in them and I’m high in t4. Any ideas?

    • Hi, Annette, Have you tried compounded or dessicated thyroid? You must get a prescription for them and compounded thyroid can only be filled at a compounding pharmacy. They are easier for our bodies to use. I had exactly the same issues you had. Synthetic thyroid didn’t help me at all. Unfortunately dessicated thyroid didn’t either help-actually gave me migraines. But compounded thyroid has been my health salvation. It might take some hard research etc to find a doctor who will prescribe but it will be worth it in the long run. It took two years on high dose T3 and LOW dose T4 but I lost all the weight I had put on and I got my life back!

    • Annette,
      Do you have hashimotos or any other autoimmune disease or any kind of inflammation? If you do, your cytokines will be high, and that will disrupt the conversion of T4 to T3. Synthroid is T4. It has to be converted to T3 by your body. You can try Cytomel. It’s already T3 and doesn’t need to be converted.

  18. I have Hashimotos and have been diagnosed for years. I recently found something that literally changed my life and am now treating the disease differently. Maggie Hadleigh-West is producing/directing a film about thyroid disease called “Sick to Death”. The trailer is mind-blowing for us hypos. Check out the links page on her website to find a doctor near you. Amazing results.

  19. Dear Dawn R, Relax- a recommended level for Se is 1.6-2.0 mcrml/lt. This is a preferable range but don’t worry about something over. Mayo Centre told me their alert pts.were .5-5mcrm/lt. The critical point is not to be below 1.6 that is a minimum threshold level. Below 1.6 all Se’s fantastic benefits do not occur. Hope this helps. David Walpole.

  20. I’ve had Hashimoto’s for years, although only diagnosed in 2010. I’ve didn’t know about the selenium connection until recently and also magnesium for bones. During one blood test my Vitamin D levels were deemed insufficient and was given prescription strength Vitamin D. A few months later I started experiencing some real bone pain. Pain bad enough to keep me laid out, so I added selenium and within about 2 weeks the pain was less and I could walk better. I just got some magnesium to add to it. I think both minerals should be part of thyroid treatment.

    • I had no idea about Selenium! It was confusing to me at first before catching on! Sorry, I’m a slow reader and have difficulty comprehending at times! I was diagnosed at the age of 42 with low thyroid. Recently my new doctor put me on precription vitamin D! Almost every year my meds get changed from high to low or visa versa! I’m 60 now and not one doctor has explained to me about this connection. I have 8 other siblings, me being in the middle and can’t help but wonder if they know about this missing link. We all have this desease but one! The latest information I get is from the doctor shows. Like cooking certain greens first and not to eat too many of those other greens. Anyways, thanks for your info and for listening!

    • Interesting. I have the exact same story. My NP put me on a prescription D for a three week boost. Next week I will go to quality over the counter D-2000u per day, which must be taken with a good fat for absorption into the body.
      I am having the same reaction and was advised to take 2 high quality alfalfa 1,000mg tablets per day for the Selenium.
      I got my order in and then read that alfalfa is dangerous for Hashimoto folks.
      I’m thinking this is in reference to people, who consume larger doses daily. Dr.s don’t seem to agree. What do you think?

      • I have hasimotos who knows how long – at least 3 years, but i suspect more and I also have celiac undiagnosed for 20+ years (gluten free for over 2 years). I am 43. My quality vitamin d supplement did nothing for my vitamin d levels. My vitamin d levels, however, are now incredible because I have been taking 6 green pasture FCLO capsules with butter oil everyday for a couple months. My elbow psoriasis has almost disappeared during that time. I plan to switch to 2 krill oil a day and 4 fclo soon for the other benefits.

  21. Still looking for advice. Newly diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Don’t have any of the common symptoms. Blood tests showed extremely high TSH and low T4. Do I have to treat my condition wit pharmaceuticals or are there natural dietary alternatives?

      • Absolutely, they did for me!
        Just one or two per day though, don’t go overboard. Read up on their dietary content, you will be surprised at the amount of Selenium in them. The best ones come from Brazil because they take up the Se from the Se rich soil. (probably a volcanic soil, I do not know yet – I’ll research it and let you know)

    • Pat,

      It would be very helpful if you read Dr. Brownstein’s books on iodine, and thyroid. You can start by watching his YouTube videos.


    • I have taken all doses of Synthroid for my hypothroid and none of them work. My thyroid is almost gone, have very little of it. Doctors will not suggest anything else, I keep gaining weight and workout 5 days a week in gym. Help, what can I do.

      • Going gluten free is what tipped the scales for me. I “lived” in the gym for awhile and kept gaining weight. Gaaaaah! Once I quit gluten, the weight started dropping without effort. It’s definitely worth a try if you haven’t tried it yet. One major indicator for me was the morning after a spaghetti dinner, I’d instantly weigh like 2 pounds more than I did the day before. I guarantee I didn’t eat that much and after doing some research, that weight gain was an indication my body was highly inflamed from the gluten paired with a nightshade (tomatoes). Seriously give GF a try. You might like the results.

      • I have hoshimotoes as well with hypothyroidism. I was on levithyroxin for years. I felt terrible on it I had no change and I was on 175 mcg. I decided to go back to doctor told her how I felt she checked levels 14.5 went back three months later 10.5 went again and it is at a 7. We don’t really understand it all but I lost 40 pounds going off it. I can say I am back gaining and felling awful. I felt so much energy when it was at a 10.5 it has been a year so weight held off until now. I think it’s time to go back on some other brand and see if it works.

    • Hi there,

      I don’t know if you’re looking for an all natural way to supplement with Selenium. Thrive is an option worth looking into – it’s a 3 step nutritional Supplement that is non-GMO, GF, plant based and made in the USA. I provided my email and website, if you want more info!

    • Hi Zavia, It seems that whatever number of brazil nuts you are taking, it is too many. How many are you taking?
      Otago University, (N.Z.) trials have shown that two Brazil nuts per day will get you to the required level of 1.6 to 2 mcrmls/lt. blood plasma, (which any medi-lab can measure), in 2-3 months, the same as 200mcgms. of organic selenium tablets or capsules.

      • Thanks David – was eating about five or six but cut back to two every couple of days starting last week and palpitations are gone. 😀

      • That’s good news. I’ve been hedging my bets with 4 brazil nuts on the days I remember so it’s reassuring to get some locally derived information from the University of Otago.

    • Zaria,

      Selenium chelates heavy metals, therefor you need other things in your diet to carry the chelated heavy metals out of your body. The recommend elements are vitamin C, iodine/patqssium iodine, magnesium, vitamin B2, B3, and silica.


      • The truth is you’ve all been lied to go to or the Facebook and you can find the lady that talks about and sells the book called the root cause of Hashimoto’s is actually caused from a virus that we’ve had later in life it’s called Epstein-Barr you can get rid of all that junk by using oil of oregano

    • How much are you taking? You suppose to take one Brazil nut a day. I started the Thirsty thyroid drink by nutriliving/nutribullet today. I have hypothyroidism hyper overactive thyroid gland. 3 leaf of romaine lettuce, inch of ginger, 1/2 cup of blue berries, 1/4 Oats measure the oat then cook it n put it in the nurtibullet or blender & Only 1’Brazil nut. Google and about 1 Brazil nut it all u need. This Drink, Faith & Prayer is all we need, we all can do this in PRAY FOR EACH OTHER.

    • No but supplementing selenium kept me awake with beating heart till 3 am. Had it the past few nights.

      I had an idea…..I took 200 MG of lugols iodine…..The palpitations went away and I went to sleep finally!

      It seems if you are lower in iodine and you take higher doses of get probs.

      If you want to do high doses of either you have to balance levels of both as you increase.

      I think Chris is wrong about iodine and that the issue is the balance between iodine and selenium.

      Build up slow. I am used to taking 200 mg of iodine…but hadn’t taken any for a while yet had continued with the selenium hence the imbalance

      • Dear Dominic, I have taken 200 mcg Se for 15 years. Recently, from Dr.Brownstein’s book on iodine I’ve worked up to 12.5 mcg. Lugols iodine I just wondered why you took 200mcg. iodine? My object is prevention, is this enough?
        I’ve not had papitations. David Walpole

  22. My homeopath/naturopath told me to buy selsun gold shampoo and slather it over my body, leave on 5 min., then shower off, as we can’t eat enough Brazil nuts to get sufficient selenium. The shampoo has selenium sulfide 25 mg/mL.

    • you can easily get the daily amount of selenium from just 2 or 3 brazil nuts they are so high in selenium u probably learned that by now, saying it anyway. they are the richest source of selenium naturally on the planet.

      • My understanding is that Brazil nuts are indeed an accumulator of Selenium, but the tree will still grow and produce nuts even if the Selenium level in the soil is low. If it is low, there won’t be much Se in the nuts you consume.

        • I would assert that the amount of Selenium is always relatively high in Brazil Nuts. These trees have a very deep root structure, are old and massive, and are constrained geographically in a smallish area.

          Do not think that anyone “farms” these things in the same way as Corn or even Almonds. Almonds are grown on more that one continent, so I would expect much more mineral variation in nearly all foods.

          • Thanks for replying to my comment, Travis. Over time, even the Se-rich soil could become depleted. I don’t know one way or another. The only sure way to know about the Se content of Brazil Nuts is to take a few of them to a lab for analysis.

            It is also believed that animal products were full of goodly amounts of Vit. B-12. Well, get this: about 20 years ago, Sylvia Ruth Gray did tests on swiss cheese, chicken breast, beef, etc. and found that the content was exactly Zero. I read this in “Solstice” magazine 20 yr. ago. Maybe things have improved since then, I can’t say. I’d advise everyone to further investigate this if it matters to them.

            For my part, I take a B-12 supplement fom time to time, as well as Seleniuim.


  23. I am newly diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. I have not started taking meds yet. I would prefer not to. Is there a a way I can treat my problem through diet and dietary supplements? By the way, I DO NOT have symptoms. I’m not tired, depressed, or have any of the other symptoms. My hypothyroidism was diagnosed when I went for my annual checkup.

      • Iodine is not the answer and note how Iodine and Selenium go hand in hand. Taking Iodine on its own in large amounts is poisonous regardless in what form whether Lugol’s or not. You’d be much better off using homoeopathic Iodum which helps to correct the Iodine balanced in the body so when some iodine intake from food etc comes in you assimilate it and hold onto it properly the same principle as with Calc Carb and Calcium intake.

  24. just discovered the site and learning a lot , had partial thyroidectomy , taking 50 mcg of levothyroxine but ever since my cholesterol level and blood pressure went up and I am hesitating to take blood pressure medication until I am sure it is not my thyroid that is causing it. other than my levo I was not prescribed any other medication. I was hoping someone posted same situation and as to why. My Tsh is in a normal range , did not have any other test done .

    • This could be due to the levothyroxine. It gave me weird symptoms and cholesterol issues. I have to take the real synthroid. Check into your selenium levels. Sometimes a supplement can help even if your not in the range the doctor thinks you need attention.

      • Synthroid is so named because it is SYNTHETIC. The body knows it is not real. My friend blew-up so fat on SYNthroid that she could no longer work as a singer because no one wanted to see a fat lady sing. But she was convinced it was the real thing too. Natural form is recognized by the body, and likely better utilized, & carries less risk. We may be fooled by our doctors, but the body is not. Always be sure you test for all 3: TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), T3 & T4 — that’s the most reliable way to see how you stand regarding thyroid efficiency.

        • Synthroid also has some gluten in it so if you have Hashimoto’s and are particularly sensitive to gluten that may cause issues for you.

    • hi had to comment i had a total thyroidectomy 4 months ago, they put me on a t4,,,, you need t3 as well. i am sensitive to everything as i found out allot of people are,,,, (bad drugs i believe) i have become severely severely ill while the doctors watched … so I had to do do research on my own with prayer. i now am on )ISP) desiccated thyroid t3 and t4 no fillers no binders expect rice flour made in a compounding pharmacy… so sick now just waiting for it to go to work which i believe it will. I know you have to be careful with vitamiens ,iodine etc while balancing your thyroid because some times allot of the wacco levels in your blood will improve with proper medication. and the horrible symptoms of hypothyroid can manifest 1000 different diseases and symptoms ,,, and you even have to fight your own mind ,as you will feel sad,, hopeless, scared, and super sick…… i know now… hope this helps someone…take care n b blessed d

      • T4 converts to T3 if your conversion routine works. You could benefit from Dr. Brownstein’s research on iodine and thyroid.


    • Cholesterol levels are always elevated with thyroid problems and many other health problems since cholesterol is a defence mechanism to keep you alive as well as to transport your fat soluble vitamins around the body etc. Do not be worried about cholesterol. I would suggest you take hawthorn berry herbal tonic or homoeopathic Crataegus for your heart and nourish it up.

  25. When it comes to the thyroid it’s all about iodine (plus selenium and a variety of other micronutrients). There is a myth that too much iodine is bad (or can “congest”) your thyroid. Please see David Brownstein, MD on YouTube talking about his extensive research and clinical data pertaining to iodine. And visit his website and/or look up his multiple books on Amazon. He’s an integrative physician and a leading expert on iodine and the thyroid, breast cancer etc. It will change the way you think about MANY diseases. Most people in the world are iodine deficient. The implications are FAR reaching. (I’m not related or associated with Dr. Brownstein in any way. I’m a dietitian and psychotherapist with personal interest in the subject and I found Dr. Brownstein through my own searches.)

    • Miriam,

      You are right on. Fortunately I live in michigan where Dr. Brownstein’s practice is. He has written me, and his partner, Dr. Richard Ng, has spoke with me in his two resent presentations.

      Dr. Richard Ng had Hashimoto desease, and Dr. Brownstein treated him, I believe (I could be missing something here) with iodine/potassium iodine, selenium, magnissoum, Celtic salt, vitamin C, B2 and B4, and a few things (it is written in the book “iodine” of Brownstein.) Dr. Ng was cured.

      Dr. Ng is 62 years old today and does more things than when he was 45. He is active and passionate about health.


  26. Hello chris, is UTI related to being hypothyroid? I have on UTI for years and no luck. Even got a sling bladder lift… any help

  27. I find it puzzling that Chris is not a fan of glandulars, when he actively promotes a paleo approach to eating? Surely, a correct paleo approach (the way our grand parents ate, essentially, and how most indigenous people still do today) includes liver, kidneys, and various organ meats. Glands are a part of an animal’s body, and adrenal glands are part of the kidney. Many cultures drink the blood, eat the heart and consume the most vital parts of an animal after the kill – including the adrenal glands. These glands contain vital peptides, RNA/DNA, fatty acids and many nutritional contingent factors that help to significantly promote health. I’ve found that most all 21st century Paleo enthusiasts mainly eat the muscle meats, and forgo any other body part of the animal, how weird is that. For example, the organs in fact contain considerably more of the fat soluble vitamins than the muscle meats, is it any wonder we are all deficient in such nutrients today?

    Am I saying eat organ meats from conventionally raised animals containing growth hormones, antibiotics, etc? NO, I’m saying eat certified organic, and watch your health sky-rocket. Have bone broths and watch your hair and nails look amazing, have kidney and liver and watch your organs flourish too.

    I’m a huge fan of glandulars, and have seen amazing recoveries and complete turn-arounds in patient’s lives, many who were chronically fatigued. I agree the the adaptogenic herbs (like Siberian Ginseng, etc) are great – but they are and should be used as an adjunct to help modulate the stress response and should not be used as a stand alone (or with some vitamins) to aid in the recovery of deep-seated thyroid and/or adrenal fatigue. After having treated patients for 26 years I’ve come to the conclusion that ancestral eating is certainly very good, but please keep it into context and understand that an animal is much more than just muscle meat and skin.

    • I agree with Eric that glandulars are very important for overall nutrition. We should respect the life that was given up for our survival and use every part of the animal. Glandulars provide important essential nutrients that often cannot be provided by just the meat or through other food sources.

      For the last 100 hundred years, people in America have been raised away from the farm and, unfortunately, we have lost and forgotten a lot of nutritional knowledge.

      Now, in the “enlightened” 21st century, we are trying to piece back together what our ancestors knew.

    • Traditional Eskimo skills included sharing the adrenal glands from a kill so that the Vit-C needs could be met on an all meat diet. Though do note that some animals (such as bear) have very high Vit-D levels in the liver. So much so that eating bear liver can be toxic.

      Yes, we are forgetting (have forgotten?) much of the old knowledge, but realize that loss also included what not to eat… Many parts are toxic to eat, so be careful and look up what history remains.

      Also realize that some animals can have diseases that are pretty bad. “Rabbit Fever” shows up as blisters under the skin. You can get it just skinning an infected rabbit (and it can be lethal). It is not a rare disease in wild rabbits. Similarly both wild pigs and bear meat have trichinosis risks. It isn’t simple to just ‘eat like they did in the old paleo days’ and stay healthy and alive. Farming really is a big leap forward. Even there, though, anthrax was called “wool sorters disease” when I was a kid (long ago…) as folks who sorted sheep pelts were likely to get the tell-tale black spots on the skin. It is a common infection in grazers (as skin spots, not systemic).

      So eat healthy and enjoy what you like; but remember that some care is needed and a bit of time ‘hitting the books’ can save you from eating a part that isn’t so good after all…

    • Dr. Eric Bakker,

      I am glad to read your comment. I look for organs of the organic chicken and grass-fed beef. They are good for my vitamin D and anemia. I am sure they are good for other things as well. I would like to learn more about what you know in this matter.


    • We – except for aboriginals – have changed in our constitution since paleolithic days. We are not the same biologically. It is fine for paleos to point out that “we” have been eating paleo-style for 70,000 years and then say that we have been eating grains/legumes etc. for “only” 9,000 years, so some version of paleo diet must good for us and we should all go for it.

      Those 9,000 years have changed us. 9,000 years = 400+ generations. We (except for aboriginals) have adapted to grains, legumes, dairy and all those things the paleos avoid so studiously. As the Weston Price folks point out, it is an issue of properly grown and prepared grains, legumes, dairy, etc. This old knowledge is necessary for dealing with anti-nutrients in certain plant foods.

      If some people do well on the paleo diet, I’d suggest it is because they are infusing themselves with plenty of minerals that they have been missing for so long, as well as avoiding anti-nutrients. In other words, they may have been born with weak constitutions or made that way through poisoning with vaccines, medicines, grossly unnatural treatments, and so on.

      Drink the blood, eat the heart? LOL. I don’t think even the rabidest carnivores will do that. We need to stop pretending that our culture doesn’t count. It is an insult to think that 400+ generations of dietary history just magically don’t matter.

      Then there’s the little matter of our 7 billion+ human population. Where are all those animals going to come from that you think we should gorge on? Even if you are talking only about the USA, can you see 300,000,000 eating paleo?

      It comes down to: what do we do about the excessive human population that seemingly makes it necessary for so many to gorge on carbs in the first place?

  28. I have had pneumonia for 2mnths now. I have shortness of breath, very Low b12, borderline ceoliac, IBS, never smoked, I have csyacosis, from pigeons, iam so tired all the time my doctor is very good, iam on strong medication for lungs & sinusitis, I have no energy, & can’t eat very much at all, as my stomach hurts sometimes, iam booked in to see a gastroligist, in August, however, I feel iam getting weaker everyday and not wanting to eat. I do drink plenty of water, which I always have. Iam though just really exhausted all the time.

  29. Could someone please answer Yousef’s important question – just HOW do we determine our selenium levels? What is the best way to test? Blood, urine, etc.

    Is there a way to test ourselves at home?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Lucy, Selenium levels are tested through a blood test. I do not know of any home test you can do to check it. You can try asking for it when you go for your next blood work.

      • I have been researching selenium [Se] 15 years. Medilabs
        can measure Se levels in a blood sample.It costs $35 in NZ. You need to know that the level must be between 1.6-2.0 micromol/lt. This is about 60% higher than the ‘normal range’ quoted in NZ. on lab reports. This shows everybody in NZ and a lot of other places is well below the ideal level. The benefits don’t occur until the 1.6 level is reached. is best source of Se.

            • Dear David,

              I am sorry I did not recieve your e-mail. I also checked the junk with no success. You can post it here in the comments if it is OK with you, or try sending it again.

              I really appreciate your help.

              It is very hard to find someone who is knowledgable in selenium and is willing to help.

              Thank you very much.

              • Dear Yousef, is a good source of selenium[Se] . 200 mcgs/day is a good dose. It takes about 2 months for our NZ levels to reach the optimum range which is 1.6-2.0 mcrml/lt. Nothing seems to change prior to this level being reached.Check your level at a medilab sometime. I have written a book on this.Cost NZ.$15.

                • Hi David
                  “Otago University, (N.Z.) trials have shown that two Brazil nuts per day will get you to the required level of 1.6 to 2 mcrmls/lt. blood plasma, (which any medi-lab can measure), in 2-3 months, the same as 200mcgms. of organic selenium tablets or capsules.”

                  If the U of O study says that the action of 2 Brazil nuts daily for 2-3 months equate to taking 200mcg of Se. as an organic supplement daily for 2-3 months, then why is it preferable to take organic selenium as a supplement rather than in the whole food form of a nut?

          • the best kind of selenium is a vegetable whole food base….remember (whole food)containing at least 200 mg per day……after using the selenium for the past 3 months my thyroid eyes are back to normal…i had a radio active iodine treatment over 3 months ago for hyperthyroidism…and had excellent results reversing it….now i have hypothyroidism cause my thyroid numbers were lower…so i just started taking synthroid which is suppose to be a natural hormone to balance it out …but i feel so much better than 3 months ago I’m sure it was the selenium…my doc gave me to the ok to take one pill a day………

        • Thanks to David Walpole for this information. I came across it when Internet searching to find out if a selenium blood test is available in NZ. I have Graves Disease (over active thyroid, not under active) and associated opthalmic issues, and have been recommended to take selenium supplementation. I started this two days ago but I have since considered the value of getting a blood test first to ensure I do in fact have a deficiency. I’ve also read that there may be as much / more value in two or three walnuts each day rather than selenium pills (if the walnuts come from a selenium rich soil, which we don’t have in New Zealand).

          • 2 Brazil nuts NOT walnuts will get you to the required level of 1.6-2.0 mcrml/lt in about 2 months. Se capsules 200 mcgm. are an alternative good source. Brazil nuts do have enough Se to get your level up however.

            • Brazil nut consumption is unreliable as you do not know how much selenium is in each nut. Some have more, some have less and very dependent upon the soil the trees are grown in.

    • Go to
      The Spectracell analysis includes selenium. It is a unique, patented blood test. You can order the test and when you get the kit, you go to a lab to have your blood drawn,. However, it’s not advisable to interpret any labwork yourself unless you are a trained healthcare professional. Also (cut/pasted) “for info call: 800-227-5227. PLEASE NOTE: If you are ordering lab tests without going through a physician, you can not submit to insurance for payment or reimbursement. Specimens can not be collected and lab results can not be mailed to MD, MA, NJ, NY and RI residents.” Hope this helps.

  30. Hello Chris,

    This article is really informative..Thanks!
    My husband has chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, and he has been put on L-Throxin, but there’s recommedation for Selenium, ofcourse, no test was done to check that…anyway, your advice of including selenium through food is really helpful and I hope it works well for my husband..!


  31. Can anyone answer a question for me? Whenever I take selenium for more than a week or two, I start to gain weight. Has anyone else observed this effect? Does anyone know why this happens? Others have commented about this both here and on other forums, but no one ever gives a plausible explanation why selenium leads to weight gain in some of us. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  32. So I had a doctor tell me my thyroid was just slightly under-performing. She wanted to prescribe me Synthroid, and due to the risk of side effects (the types it is most known for are types that I have had from other medicines) I didn’t really want to try it. Since she didn’t want to consider any prescription other than Synthroid, she told me it wasn’t a bad enough case to -require- treatment, and told me to just ignore it.

    Instead I decided to do some research, and have decided to add two Brazil nuts a day to my diet for the selenium to see if that helps. If it does, cool. If it doesn’t, two nuts a day can’t hurt me too much.

    My question is, if my fatigue and slow metabolism *is* being caused by a slightly sluggish thyroid, and *if* that slightly sluggish thyroid is being caused by a selenium deficiency (and I realize that’s a lot of ifs) how soon could I expect to notice any improvement in energy levels if the Brazil nuts do help?

    • Hi Jon, If the sluggishness is from selenium deficiency, you should be starting to see a difference by now – it’s been about 4 weeks since your post.

      If you are eating other foods with selenium you will only need 1 Brazil nut a day.

      I always have Brazil nuts on hand as one of my selenium sources.

      I am not part of Chris’ team. I am an independent health coach who works with people who want to correct thyroid dysfunction through dietary management.

      If you have any other food questions related to thyroid, feel free to email me back.

  33. Seriously annoyed right now. I have Hashis (diagnosed about 4 years ago), but fully diagnosed with hypo for 15 years. Feel awful right now, have been reading about supplementing with iodine, and now selenium. Understand if I do this, I need to start slow. Even understand there are differences in proper types of selenium depending upon persons health issue. I’ve been on Armour for a good 4 years now as well, but see that Joni posts above that Armour has iodine and selenium in it. So is this, or is it not true? Too much contradicting from people above. Would love it if you could clear out some of the bogus information, or respond to it so it doesn’t lead us astray. At this point, not sure if I should supplement or not, because there’s too much contradictory information. Also, I don’t put much store into anything the FDA recommends. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means. They just don’t have the best track record. Can we have more hard science like was posted at the top of this, more comments from the site owner, and more debunking of bad information? Thank you.

    • Rachel, Call Forrest Pharmaceuticals, they manufacture Armour, and ask them exactly how many micrograms of selenium and iodine are in a grain of thyroid. Then multiply that times how many grains you take. Please post their answer.

      • I called them, Forest labs do not assay for selenium content in their answer. They give the iodine compounds as T3 and T4. Naturethroid does assay for both. That is where I got my info, as that is what I take. I found that taking the naturethroid as soon as I woke up, chewing it thoroughly with a tall glass of water, and not consuming anything that interferes with it’s absorption for a couple of hours allowed me to reduce my dosage a bit. Milk in coffee will interfere with absorption, (calcium). I read somewhere that coffee alone interferes, but I’ve not found this to be true. I mention this because you say you feel awful. Best wishes.

  34. Thank-you Chris. I am 46 and Hypothyroid for 28 years following Radio Active iodine. Whatever dose of Thyroxin that I took, it never seem to ‘really work’ until a Kinseologist suggested I have a selenium deficiency. Within weeks of taking selenium cysteine my symptoms improved and most notably, my bowels started working absolutely correctly so to speak. If I stop or slow the 200mcg of selenium, my bowels ‘slow down’. Bowel efficiency in someone Hypothyroid can be a good pointed as to whether you are a) on correct dose of T4 or b) If that T4 you are taking is converting to T3!. My selenium is supplied by Metabolics Ltd on 01380 812 799

  35. I was informed that selenium would be beneficial for my thyroid however I am hypo but subclininal levels. I am iodine deficient after 6 months on iodine I feel my symptoms reducing and multiple nodules shrinking but after reading this it seems selenium may decrease my iodine levels is this correct? I don’t want to counteract the iodine benefits by taking selenium.

  36. I bought a high quality selenium (Innate) and I still get mouth and chin numbness when I use any selenium. What would cause this?

  37. Dr. Kresser,

    I recently made many lifestyle changes, and started taking thyroid protomorphogens which are supposed to REDUCE antibodies. I have been feeling great, and my thyroid swelling disappeared. I was disappointed when I found out last week that despite feeling great, my antibodies have DOUBLED? What gives? Can healing cause an antibody spike?

    Thank you.

  38. I had thyroid cancer and it was removed. Did 2 years of radiation treatments. Then I became depress and now I am on anti-depressant and 20 pds heavier. I was talking to a co-worker and she told me to take Selenium. I went out and purchase a bottle of 200 mcg. Will be ok to take with my Thyroid meds? If this meds work with people with Thyroid problems. Why doesn’t the Dr. mention this drug to the patient?? I am also taking Vitamin B-6, B-12, Zinc, vitamin D along with a Multi-Vitamin. I also have asthma so I do a inhaler 2 a day. I guess my question is. Is it ok to take Selenium 200 mcg 1 tablet daily? Thank you! Debi D.

    • Dear Debi, I’ve been taking Se 15 years. I take 200 mcgs/day and my level measured by a blood test yearly is at the correct level of 1.6-2.0 mcrmol/lt. I have put many people onto Se and there have been no complaints. An asthmatic tells me Se has “turned his life around”
      I now take 12 drops 2% iodine [lugols type} too. This is another
      trace element missing almost universally

  39. Hi Chris,

    I read Paul’s article regarding selenium and iodine.

    It concludes in part 1 that our selenium levels should be optimal in order to tolerate a wide range of iodine. Any excess or deficiency should cause harm.

    In part 2, it concludes the same.

    Now the question is..
    What level of selenium is optimal?
    And how do we test it? blood? serum? plasma? urine? hair? nails? intracellular white blood cells?

    What levels are considered toxic (seleniosis)?

    These are really important questions that I have been looking for an answer for a very long time. I would appreciate your kind reply.

    I asked him on his blog but he did not reply. So I would like to listen from you.

    Thank you

  40. As a natural health coach, I have found that in the correction phase an average of 200 mcg/day of selenium works the best. I use only foods and diet to correct low thyroid function. This has been found whether it is just low TSH, Hashimoto’s or hypothyroid. In the maintenance phase, an average of 75 mcg/day is the range to be in. There are plenty of food sources of selenium that have balanced nutrients for bioavailability. When taking a supplement, you have the added challenge of making sure you are getting the other nutrients the body needs to utilize the selenium. Also, selenium doesn’t work alone, there are other thyroid nutrients needed to create the correct synergy of thyroid function.

    • I have had hypothyroidism for 7 years now thanks to a doc who gave me thyroid meds and metaformin when I had a normal functioning thyroid and I was not diabetic. My hair started falling out and I just felt very ill so I stopped taking both. A couple of months later I began having severe anxiety attacks, heart racing, shaking etc.. He literally burned up my thyroid.

      I have never felt right since then and I’m always trying to figure out where the imbalance is coming from. My family doc says if I’m taking the levo the symptoms shouldn’t be noticeable… I’ve went to him several times in attempt to help me with anxiety. He prescribed xanax.. 0.5 mg. After taking xanax for 3 years it seems my body is becoming immune to it also so it isn’t helping like it use to.

      Long story short, I did research and asked my doc to request all the thyroid tests instead of the usual T4 t3 … Everything came back in normal range except my selinium. It’s HIGH.
      when the nurse called with the results she said my doc has no idea what that means so he’s referring me to an endocrinologist, which I already found one and already planned on having my results faxed to them.
      My questions, how is my selenium so high? I eat low carb, I walk 3 miles a day 5 times a week.. And I read is toxic to have high levels?? Now my anxiety is through the roof because my appointment with the endocrinologist isn’t until March 20 and I can’t find the culprit. 🙁
      Something even more disappointing?? I even asked the endocrinologist nurse what high levels of selinium means and she couldn’t tell me! Is there ANYONE who can help me please?
      I just want my life back. Thank you for any info.

  41. Wonderful website. I’ve been losing my mind trying to research what is happening to me. The most I can get from my doctor is that I am vitamin D deficient and slightly hypothyroid. I underwent gastric bypass surgery 10 years ago and since then have suffered from episodes of reactive hypoglacemia. I am self diagnosing myself based on this as Hashimoto’s. Not one MD that I’ve seen so far has been of any help, but I will look for a ND as my last resort. I tried supplimenting with iodine, starting with 6.5 mg and slowly reaching 50 mg’s and the results were not good. I was always tired and felt like i was constantly coming down with something. The weirdest part was the crazy, uncomfortable itching sensation in my throat. I was also supplimenting with selenium, vitamin D and vitamin C. I am currently on just the last three and feeling fine. I’m hesitant to go back on the iodine, but I may give it a second chance.

    • Liz, the reactive hypoglycemia is most likely something else. Hashimoto’s is diagnosed by thyroid antibodies. An endocrinologist will do the correct blood work and give you an accurate diagnosis. If you slightly hypothyroid, with a TSH over 3.8, this can be corrected by the foods you eat. Most doctors will recommend thyroid supplement to treat hypothyroidism.

    • Hypo.,.hashimotos. , Vit D Def., High calcium., Liver off.
      What ive been told is good for Hypo.. Is bad for Hashimotos.. And if high calicum, more than likely Parathyroid..
      So take iodine for Hypo. But if you take idoine with Hashimotos. Its adding fuel to fire.
      vit D def with with Hypo, you take Vit D supplements..but if you have High Calcium in blood and possible Parathyroid…taking Vit D supplements. Is Extremely. Dangerous.
      Im told im complex, ive had bad reactions to Armour. And Synthroid..
      Ive been used as a pin cushion for 9 months, being stuck a few times a month. Just being monitored. 5 doctors in 9 months. Endo doc have never mentioned a diet of gluten free.
      No one does anything. My joints are enlarged , i hurt , my fingers crack, my toes are turning, My Goiter is growing.
      I will write a book… DOCTOR DO LITTLE, lack of knowlegde too many college partys ..

  42. Hi Chris,
    can I ask your opinion please?
    I’ve just been diagnosed with Thyroid Eye Disease, (thyroid anti-bodies positive back in April but Doctors would do nothing) now being referred to an Endocrinologist but in the meantime the eye clinic have prescribed me 2 x 200mc selenium a day, does that seem a high dose to you?

  43. I have been playing with my selenium supplementation with Now Brand at 200 mcg. When I am gluten free and supplementing I have noticed that when I take it at night along with my T3/T4 sublingual I wake up hot a lot and perhaps that is why my hair seems to fall out more. However, when I checked my labs, I do have a suppressed TSH, my FT3 was so high it was out of range for the first time ever but my FT4 was so low it was out of range? The only thing I can figure is that I was over converting and had too lost all of my T4 to conversion? No one seems to understand it but when I back off and take selenium a few days a week, I can tell as I am not “hot” at night and my weight will change in a day or two…. Not sure what works best for me with selenium yet.

    • Kris, I’ve been having trouble regulating the amount of selenium I take, too. Do you notice weight gain or weight loss? When I take too much, I get palpitations, my heart seems to race and I get hot, but I also gain weight. I’m really confused by this. I feel like it makes me hyper but then why the weight gain? If FT3 is the most important for metabolism, why do I feel worse with a higher FT3? Just wondering if your situation is the same or if you have any insights. Thanks!

  44. I supplemented with selenium 200mcg when first diagnosed and also became a paleo eater, after 4months the TPO antibodies had halved and then after 8 I no long needed selenium as my gut was restored and began absorbing efficiently from food. My selenium was very high on last test and causing hair loss and brittle nails and a few other things that seemed o have subsided. Any supplementation should be monitored.

  45. I just has my selenium level checked as part of a work up testing thyroid levels and my selenium was high at 213 with the normal range stated as 120-200. I see a lot of reference in the comments to having too much selenium but not what the symptoms of it are. Can anyone elaborate? I do not supplement selenium. I figure this must be due to the amount of eggs I consume.

  46. I suffer from Grave’s and started taking Selenium 200mcg about a year ago and it really helped with my symptoms but, last month I was diagnosed with with type II Diabetes. Now I find that it may be related to the Selenium supplement. I am going to call and get my levels tested.

  47. I accidentally began taking selenium for some other reason and only later did I learn of its role in thyroid function. This all occurred within months of my TPA’s (anti a/b?) first becoming elevated to around <200. It's possible that after a certain point, time with tpa's and level of tpa's, taking selenium will not reverse the Hashi disease process.

    Endo doctors in US, in my experience, know nothing about the role of selenium or of any other way to reverse the Hashi disease. Europe has published peer reviewed medical journals about selenium's affects on the thyroid but zip, nada, nothing coming from US medical journals.

  48. Everyone is different. Animals on the same pasture-some get selenosis, some do not. What works for one person may not work for another.
    My thyroid gland went “warp-speed” after birth of my son, then went “kaput”. Synthoid for 2 years=useless. Armour 180 for 14 years=great, until I started some potassium iodide solution, 5 drops in water. I think about 125mcg. Eventually went hyperthyroid. Now on lower dose (130) Naturthroid. Perfect numbers on blood work. I do not feel hypo. Started selenium 100mcg (countrylife selenomethionine) for skin ailments (also low dose biotin-fairly harmless) Within 3 weeks, eyebrows fell out, 20% hair loss, numbness in extremities, nausea, weakness, palm rash, nails chipping. Figured it out and quit after 7 weeks on Selenium. 2 weeks since ceasing that dose, and I still have nausea, weakness, stiff/sore, new hair loss, some regrowth. No treatment in Merck except avoidance of Selenium. I am going to try homeopathic selenium for these symptoms, I will post after dosing.
    Bottom line: Start VERY slowly, very small doses, write down all symptoms every day, give things 3-4 weeks to manifest or change. Do not just “try something because you read about it”, research every aspect of a supplement before you put it in your body. Not all formulations of supplements are accurately produced. (Think Totalbodyformula incident) and people have different threshholds of tolerance. I’ve practiced alternative health –nutrition -can we call that alternative?- herbs, homeopathy, you name it, I know it–for 20 years, and I make mistakes!! Losing my hair has made me profoundly sad! Have hope, be careful. Best, Joni

    • Armour and Naturethroid are dessicated thyroid, and have iodine and selenium compounds in them. That is what thyroid hormones are. So, if you are taking one of these, do not supplement with neither potassium iodide nor selenium. I feel great on the naturethroid, but when I added 100 mcg of selenium, together with the amount present in foods, I overdosed. All animal/fish has plenty of selenium, as does oats and brown rice. The upper limit is 400mcg per day, but that may be too much for some. Your body needs a scant 45-70 mcg per day, and elimination of excess is slow. Overload can be quite damaging. And for Pete’s sake don’t eat Brazil nuts, just google the woman who ate to many of those and ended up looking like the guy who drank from the wrong grail in Indiana Jones.

  49. Hi!
    I have had some great success with supplementing with Selenium Plus (Sisu brand) and am very excited by the positive changes that I’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks. I am however concerned about the side effects that you listed from long term use. Should this be something that I do only on occasion? Or just note if I’m feeling any of those symptoms and decrease my dose or take it only every other day? I’d like to think that I can get what I need just from foods, but I’m still working on that successful transition to following a strict paleo diet. Not far off, but not 100% solid yet… Many thanks.

  50. I have NO thyroid-they took mine. Now I take thyroid meds .375. Have all symptoms of thyroid (hypo)
    and severe gluten intolerance, and many auto-immune conditions. Can anything help?

    • Hi Julia!

      To you, and to everyone here – I am at the end of my rope in seeking information on thyroid. I too have no thyroid Julia.

      I am currently researching iodine/dide and, of course, selenium (and potassium) by extension. But, hells bells if I can find any information that provides caveats regarding biological/chemical functioning with out thyroid.

      Please, Chris – I am long term subscriber – please answer us, and in detail. Perhaps an article on iodine, and/or thyroid in general, perhaps on the significance of radioactive thyroid treatment too (what else has been killed off from this if iodine is not ONLY taken up by the thyroid?), but please add lots of info on the significance of no thyroid.

      it’s very difficult muddling through all the info, especially tricky around the THs because we take them synthetically, but – what are they exactly? Our doctors don’t tell us. And what are they missing? (How can we store them long term should there ever be a shortage – why do they need refrigerating). Thy surely cannot be as good as organic, thyroid produced, what can we do to subsidise?

      Iodine, doesn’t only get taken up by the thyroid – so, I’m guessing like the iodine deficiency experienced by the majority, it would effect us too? In what way? Or, is the deficiency mainly related to the production of TH, and the synthetic dose we take sufficiently counters that (but, still, it can’t be as good as the real stuff if we had our thyroids).

      Please can you give us some info.


      • Forgot to say, too –

        What does iodine do to any remainder cancerous thyroid cells, potentially remaining after radioactive iodine treatment? Will it feed them, or..?

        Please can you address this complicated field of understanding. I’ve done quite a bit, but just cannot bridge this last bit alone.

  51. I have had hypothyroid for 20 years and never took any meds.. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos 1 year ago and I started taking thyroid hormone that I go from the Gerson institute.. then just 1 month ago I decided I did not want to take the homone anymore because I want my thyroid to start working on it’s own.. I am gluten free, no dairy, no eggs, no soy.. lots of veges.. not much fruit.. I do not have money to pay for tests.. I am on selenium and eat lots of seaweeds.. I would appreciate any advice I could get.. I think I am feeling better and healing naturally but some days I am exhauseted although the last few days I have been sleeping like a baby, and it helps if I get in bed before 10pm..

    • Hi Caren, since you were only on thyroid supplement for a year, there is a good chance your thyroid can still function on its own. Just selenium and seaweed will not correct your thyroid function naturally. In fact, too much of either of those will just make it worse. The thyroid gland needs the right balance of nutrients to function correctly. It can be corrected over time naturally with the right foods. If you would like to learn more, you can sign up for one of my free web clinics at

  52. Iodine is part of the halide group on the periodic chart. The halide group includes Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine, Slowly and deliberately, over the last century iodine has been removed from our diet while, Chlorine (including chloramines), Flourine (including flouride), Bromine (including bleached bromated wheat flour and fire retardants in all foam pillows, including the ones in your car) have become more pervasive. Iodine is a necessary element for proper functioning of the Thyroid If your body does not have access to iodine the receptors in your body will look to the other elements in the group to fill the void. The other three especially bromine and fluorine are not part of an healthy diet.

    Please click the link below and do your own research! Also, for those familiar with Dr Gerson, he was an advocate of increased iodine consumption to battle cancer. He testified before congress in 1946 and spoke about iodine.

  53. I am a 64 year old woman that has had health issues all her life. I am tired of the medical doctors and have tried to find info on the internet as to why I am feeling the way I am. I linked up to your website after putting in some of my symptons and coming up with Hypothyrodism. It makes perfect sense to me giving the symptoms I am having. I am experiencing a tremendous itching on my body but mostly on my head. I am having sweats like no other and I can’t quite from falling alsleep every time I sit down or stop moving for a while. I am desperate to find help and I don’t know what step I need to take next. Anything would suggest would give me some emotional relief. Thanks Ann

  54. I have Hashi and was having trouble conceiving so my endo said to take 200 mcg to help with thyroid function. My antibodies were “off the charts” and after a year it brought them down significantly. They are still high and it is an issue b/c I can’t conceive without IVF and I’ve had one miscarriage- possibly antibody related. However, both my endo and fertility dr. agree I should stay on selenium until I am past conception age. I’ve been on it for 8 years with no new issues. (Hair loss began with Hashi and is cyclical for me)

    • Deb

      My daughter was diagnosed recently with PCOS. And was tested to see if she was insulin resist. That has a lot to do with conception and ability to carry a baby thru the first 16 weeks. She is now on metformin for her insulin resistance. And her body is back in sync. We’ve learned that insulin resistance can cause miscarriages, and go long periods of time without having a period.

      A week ago the Dr tested her for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Disease and her numbers were off the scale around 600. So The Dr has put her on a gluten free diet as her TSH levels were all still fine. She’s only 19 and has been hit with this all in two months. It breaks my heart. Have you been tested for ur insulin. Many times it’s over looked. I myself had many issues getting pregnant and staying pregnant. 3 miscarriages and two c sections.I had a hysterectomy at 26. I hope it helps knowing ur not alone. But these days you need to be your own health advocate. Good luck sweetie.

  55. I am not a fan of supplements that only provide the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E. It’s safer and more effective to ingest the entire family of tocopherols and tocotrienols. Too much alpha-tocopherol, for example, displaces gamma-tocopherol from the cell membrane; each one protects against a different type of radical. This likely explains why mega-dosing on a single form of vitamin E increases the risk of cancer.

    • It’s also best to take the tocotrienol form of E at least six hours apart from the tocopherol forms, according to an article in 2013 in The Townsend Letter.

  56. Hi,
    I have started taking multivitamins and supplements. I have hashimotos since past 15 yrs. I am 31. Recently I came to know that the thyroid defeciency is actually hashimotos when I tested my thyroid enzymes.
    Last 2 months I have started taking supplements from Nutrilite…which includes multivitamins, selenium+ vitamin E, Salmon omega3, calcium + vit.D, coQ10.
    yesterday I checked my TSH level, and doctor asked me to reduce my eltroxin tab. from 100mcg to 75mcg.
    So I dont know which supplement caused increase in available thyroid hormones in blood.
    But nevertheless m feeling gr8 and want to continue with the cocktail. 🙂

    • I think you’re partially right but Hashimoto’s is an auto immune disease I reread and keep in track with the lady at thyroid pharmacy on Facebook she says is caused by a virus

  57. I have hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. Diet changes helped but not that much. I started taking a Selenium supplement 3 months ago and now it doesn’t matter much what I eat, the symptoms have faded almost completely. I’m amazed.

    Wish I’d known about the connection years ago!

  58. My post doesn’t seem to be showing….
    I will try again later if there is an issue. I also wanted to say…..THANK YOU, for caring to post this information. I finally feel like maybe there is some hope to find positive changes for my health. 🙂

  59. OK, wow. I have read every section on here and realize I am in this boat and it may be too late for my thyroid. My thyroid might be dead, and no longer producing anything….but maybe not? Yikes. Diagnosed 21 years ago, and have been on meds (synthroid) and now Cytomel for 21 years. I thought I was gluten intolerant so have been easing up on gluten, and now I find these articles. I wonder why NO dr has told me this over 21 years. I asked to see and endocrinologist 2 years ago….he said I was taking enough Synthroid for an elephant. Well then. WHY then, do I not FEEL hyper-Thyroid? They wanted to reduce, and they are constantly checking my blood levels and they do not feel comfortable on the dose that I am on. I have NO hyper-thyroid symptoms, and if anything, was hoping for an increase so I wasn’t as tired in the mornings after 8 hours sleep! I am on 250 mcg (divided into morning and night) of Synthroid and on my asking, I am also on 10 mcg cytomel (divided into morning and night). I get tested for TSH (non existent now) and Free T3 and Free T4 which are indicating on the “hyper” side but just slightly now. I do not know who else to see here (BC Canada) in order to be actually heard, and taken care of. When I went to the Endocrinologist, I told him I want to know how the Hashimoto’s is effecting the rest of me…and what I should do. He had no time for me and his letter to my family dr was, her dose needs to be reduced. They are worried about me having opposite effect of my condition, and it turning into Graves and osteoporosis. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto, it was prior to the birth of my son, and my levels went out of whack after he was born. I am interested in now trying Selenium, and D3 (I was taking D3 on and off), and going gluten free completely. Do you have anybody you can refer me to in BC canada? One year I tried to get off synthetic Synthroid and tried desiccated Thyroid. My symptoms took a nose dive so I went back to synthetic. Is it too late for me after 21 years of synthetic replacements, and is it possible my thyroid has stopped functioning all together? Why is my blood work changing, (appearing hyper over previously “within range”) with no change in dosage? Is it possible going gluten free has had some effect on this for absorption? I told my Dr’s that I felt with the high dose that I wasn’t assimilating the meds, buy they shrugged their shoulders. 🙁 help!

  60. Hi
    Thanks for all the information it is really helpful. I have some questions in regards to HT and multinodular goiters on my thyroid that are benign. I was diagnosed with it last month and my endocrinologist wants me to just wait and watch till it gets inactive, as per her discussion my TSH,T3 AND T4 levels are all working fine, should I ask her for more specific numbers of all those hormones? . I was wondering if taking Selenium would affect the function of normal thyroid hormones while decreasing the antibodies? or will it trigger it to become more hypo? Also is it safe to get pregnant now or wait till I get my thyroid surgically removed? Please help me any time and concern into this matter will be helpful and appreciated..

  61. I was taking 200mcg daily until diagnosed with basl cell carcinoma, a small skin cancer. Apparently, there is a link between some forms of skin cancer…for those at high risk of getting it…and selenium supplementation. I have Hasimotos, and am sick and tired of all the conflicting info about supplements (iodine, selenium, amount of D3, etc.) and what foods we can eat (broccoli/goitenus veggies, cooked vs uncooked, fermented soy is/is not ok, barley, corn, turkey, spinach, arugula, etc.

    Why isn’t there one source of info backed by research…double blind studies? So many people needthis information?

    • Agreed! It is so crazy that mainstream medicine just gives you levothyroxine and lets your thyroid go downhill. There should be MUCH more attention to the nutritional aspects of Hashimotos. More studies. You are right — there are so many people!

    • PS One possibility is that selenium is good if you are deficient, not if you are not. I just got an analysis by SpectraCell labs – my functional medicine doc ordered it. I don’t know how reliable it is, but i am supplementing according to what it says. Some people go with hair analysis for minerals. I don’t know which is best but think the idea of supplementing and then rechecking levels makes sense!

  62. Dr Kresser,
    I have had some success with adding Selenium to my daily supplement regimen. I’m hypothyroid, recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (thanks to websites like yours).
    While selenium INITALLY caused incredibly positive change ( lost 5 lbs easily), it suddenly wore off, and I had a bad autoimmune flare up–including sudden swelling of the thyroid/throat– AFTER trying to implement the paleo protocol that you and some others advocate.
    I even purchased your diet protocol. I had previously found some success with a 90% raw food vegetarian diet and juicing.
    Any idea why someone would be totally unable to process meats and animal fats? Same with coconut. My body blows up immediately.
    I have been strictly gluten free and dairy free for years, have cut out all grains, eggs, nightshades and soy. Still cannot tolerate meat, poultry or coconut or nuts unless soaked. Digestive enzymes don’t help much.
    I cannot find any references to such a dilemma on your website. Do some folks have an inflammatory reaction or intolerance to dense proteins/fats?
    Thank you!

  63. OMG! I just stumbled upon your site. I was recently diagnosed with hypo/hasimotos. My TPO was 118 but TSH 2.68. They put me on 75 mcg of synthroid and than tested 3 weeks later and I went to .263 and adjusted synthroid to 50 mcg and went to .069. I feel horrible at this number.I am competitve runner who use to run 8-12 miles a day and now have a had time managing 3-6 miles. I have got off the synthroid while waiting to see a respected Endo but wondering how I could go so low so quickly and maybe I didn’t need the synthroid and just need to address the TPO.

  64. Fantastic article…thanks Dr. Kresser…wish I had seen it when it first come out!! I recently started eating several Brazil nuts a day and am feeling so much better. I have come a long way in healing my thyroid by changing my diet over the last 5 years in accordance with the Weston Price Foundation. Most of my symptoms have gone away but still struggle with low energy and a little brain fog (neither as bad as before). I am so excited to be feeling so well these days; before the Brazil nuts I felt that I had hit the ceiling and could not get any better since I had implemented everything I knew to do. The number of Brazil nuts I eat has varied from 4 to 8…dont’ really know how much I should eat while trying to make up for my deficiency. Can anyone tell me how many I should eat daily and how long will it take before I change to eating just 2 per day as a maintenance level. Also, I don’t want to mess up a good thing…so now, I don’t know if I should add a little kelp for iodine to my kefir smoothies or just continue eating Brazil nuts daily. I appreciate any help in this matter!!

    BTW, my last thyroid results: TSH—- 0.85 (0.34 – 4.82 reference range)
    FT4—- 0.75 (0.77 – 1.61 reference range)

  65. My daughter has a heterogenous thyroid, and her antibodies were highs few years ago, but since then have been normal. She also has a gluten intolerance.Doctors say to keep an eye on things and that she has potential to develop Hashimotos.
    She is living near a nuclear plant located (within 5 miles.) I worry about any excess radiation from plant. Should she be supplementing with iodine and selenium, or just selenium?

  66. I have been hypothyroid for about 18 years. For years I was on Synthroid, then Levoxyl. I’ve been on Armour for a few years. A year ago I felt like I crashed- no energy, no appetite, overwhelming fatigue, etc. My naturopath put me on additional T3, increasing it every few weeks. Two months later I felt like a new woman, so I maintained the 90mcg of T3 with my one grain of Armour. Then I had a Rbc elements test that showed I was low in selenium and iron. I started taking 200mcg of selenium right away, and after further testing I added iron. Although this is not necessarily related to my thyroid, I have had warts in my hands for several years and I have tried practically everything to get rid of them. I was still getting new ones, and I had so many already. After a couple of weeks on the selenium, the warts just started disappearing. It did take six months for the last one to go away, but they are all gone.
    I was taking my temperature every day before I started the selenium, and after adding the selenium my morning temp went up almost every day until it was a degree higher than before, and then it leveled off about 3/10 of a degree lower than the hi point.
    Also, I had my TSH, T4, T3, Reverse T3 checked in July and the results showed I was not converting any T4 to T3. We did the tests again in December, and there was great improvement and we are lowering my added T3. It appears that the improvement in my thyroid levels is due to the selenium, and possibly the iron as well, since those are the main changes I made during that time. Best of all, I feel better now than I have in a long time. I sleep better, and I feel as though my sex hormones are balancing out even though I haven’t supplemented hormones.

    • Iron is a required co-factor. If you don’t have enough iron in your blood, your thyroid medication can’t work effectively. However, do not take iron within 4 hrs of oral thyroid meds.
      I take my T-3 sublingually, which means I can take iron at the same time. Different pathways.
      Also, be careful of the type of iron you take.

  67. Dear Chris. I am 26 years old and have an 8 month old baby. My thyroid completly crashed after his birth and it took doctors 6 month to figure out my t4 was at 5 and my tsh was so high it did not register on the chart. I was experiencing kidney pain, swelling in the throat,horrible body pain, hair loss, major digestion problems,bleeding, memory loss, and extreme fog brain. I am only on synthroid .125 and slowly am on the mend. They recently ran the hashimotos test and i am positive. I still feel as though i am going from hypo to hyper depending on my cycle. It is very hard and i am at my wits end. Any help from anyone is appreciated.

  68. I have recently been diagnosed w Hashimotos .. Numbers showed in the 800’s so it la high but the doctor as she has seen higher and mine may be a result of childbirth and should correct itself. I have bone/muscle pain and fatigue and coldness. I have decided to take a thyroid helper along w daily energy multiple vitamin. I have yet to try iosol iodine drops. Am I on the right track w this? Since I have taken the two minus the iosol drops my brain fog is lessened tremendously and I don’t ache as bad.

  69. Great info, thank you. I’m 5 months postnatal with significantly elevated TSH and enlarged thyroid. Is selenium and or iodine supplementation a good idea (am breastfeeding) or should I just let things settle (as I’ve been advised)? I’m receiving conflicting information. Have never taken either before (just thyroid meds) as my Hashimotos usually very stable.

  70. Thanks for the article. Selenium supplementation had some unexpected effects for me. I have been fighting with very low energy and mental sluggishness for the past 1.5 years. My TSH is in the *normal* range (3.8) but I finally found out that my antibodies are too high (TPO 267). I started Selenium 200 mcg per day and immediately felt great. My energy levels are pretty much optimal now and the brain fog has lifted completely. I have been on it for 4 weeks and am very happy with the way I feel. My only problem is that we’re trying to get pregnant and the selenium seems to have a negative impact on my menstrual cycle. It shortened my luteal phase from 12 days to 9 days, delayed my ovulation from day 15 to day 20, decreased my basal body temperature from 97.1 – 97.3 (pre-Ovulation) to an 96.7-96.1 degree. I also seem to gain weight (despite eating healthy and doubling my exercise thanks to the new energy boost). Does selenium affect progesterone and estrogen levels? Thanks.

  71. Thanks for the article. Selenium supplementation had been good and bad for me. I have been fighting with very low energy and mental sluggishness for the past 1.5 years. My TSH is in the *normal* range (3.8) but I finally found out that my antibodies are too high (TPO 267). I started Selenium 200 mcg per day and immediately felt great. My energy levels are pretty much optimal now and the brain fog has lifted completely. I am very happy with the way I feel. My problem is though that we’re trying to get pregnant and the selenium seems to have a negative impact on my menstrual cycle. It shortened my luteal phase from 12 days to 9 days, delayed my ovulation from day 15 to day 20, decreased my basal body temperature from 97.1 – 97.3 (pre-Ovulation) to 96.7-96.1 degree. I also seem to gain weight (despite eating healthy and doubling my exercise thanks to the new energy boost). Any insight in why that might happen? Does selenium affect progesterone and estrogen levels? Thanks.

  72. If I take 200mcg a day, how long will it take to build up in my system? will it take months or what? and also, if I take it for about a month straight then take off for a few days, will that be okay? will it still build up?

  73. Hi- very good info here, I have a goiter and Hashi’s. My doc said all was ok, she would not treat with anything at this point. My main struggle is sleeeeeep!! I am a very easy going person but have terrible panic attacks and rapid heart beats mostly just at night and very poor sleep. I recently cut out gluten, but it seemed to make my symptoms worse? I have taken iodine (big mistake) and suffer for days until it gets out of my system. Will check into a naturopath this week, any thoughts?

  74. Thanks for the response. Do you feel the same way for someone who already is hypothyroid and has a history of heart disease??? He, too, is eating one Brazil nut/day and wants to know if this is problematic for someone like him…

      • OMG this is sooo complicated. From one reply to the next, each with differing stories, symptoms, differing supplements, dosages and differing success! I was diagnosed with what they called Fibromyalgia in 2001 and this year through my research stumbled onto the possibility that it might be my thyroid and sure enough was diagnosed with Hashimotos. Can a girl get a straight answer? I’m about to give up! Too much selenium and I could gain weight and lose my hair. Severe pain, fatigue and brain fog for years has stolen my life and career. It is unbelievable to me that this should be sooo complicated… 🙁

  75. Hi Chris,

    In this article, you mentioned that “For those concerned with the high level of omega-6 fats in brazil nuts, it may be worth considering the fact that it only takes one or two brazil nuts per day to improve your selenium status and boost immune function.” As a result, I encouraged each of my family members to eat ONE brazil nut/day as a way to support their thyroid health. Today in your Beyond Paleo series, you said, “Selenium is plentiful in organ meats, ocean fish, and in brazil nuts. One brazil nut contains 100 mcg of selenium, but it also contains a whopping 1 g of omega-6 linoleic acid, which as you know from previous articles in the series, we want to limit significantly. This is why I don’t recommend brazil nuts as a source of selenium. Ocean fish are also good sources of selenium. 100 g of cod contains about 150 mcg.”

    This statement says you DON’T recommend brazil nuts as a source of selenium.

    Has your stance changed? Should we not be consuming even one/day?

    I have a friend who is hypothyroid. Should he be consuming them as well?

    Please help!!! I respect your opinion and advice and am in need of some clarification.

    • My stance on omega-6 in whole foods like nuts has changed somewhat. I don’t think a single brazil nut a day is problematic. That said, ocean fish is a superior source.

  76. My question is this: what should be done to reverse (potential) selenium toxicity? I am not sure, but I *think* eating too many brazil nuts (I guess around 4-8 daily) might explain my alarming hair loss (handfuls after each shower, lots on the pillow in the morning). I have been losing hair for about a year, but recently it starting coming out in handfuls, and fairly recently I have discovered I like brazil nuts (last 5 months or so?). My thyroid reads normal (talked to neuro, ob/byn and dermatologist–all clueless). I normally take Rebif for relapsing remitting MS (although I have been off rebif for about 4.5 mos)–neuro says it’s not rebif. I recently (1.5 mos ago) suffered a miscarriage–ob/gyn & dermo say that this could cause rapid hair shedding, but my hair has been falling out long before I was pregnant. No one has asked me about selenium supplementation or eating brazil nuts–came to that on my own (I am a big fan of your site Chris and about 90% paleo most of the time). Let’s say it is the brazil nuts. If I stop eating them (well, when, as in right now!) will my hair loss subside/grow back? Anything is particular I should be doing along with stopping the nuts? Thanks!!

    • It may also be a coincidence that the hair loss is increasing with brazil nut consumption. Don’t discount nutrient deficiencies like biotin, Bs and trace minerals like silica.

      Also thyroid conditions are well known to cause hair loss – there is no such thing as “normal” when it comes to thyroid results. It’s likely the doctor only checked TSH which is pretty much useless in isolation. I suggest finding a functional medical practitioner who will order the right thyroid tests and knows how to interpret them!

      Good luck 🙂

  77. I have been eating one Brazil nut per day. Never diagnosed with low thyroid, but my mom has it and I have been very low on energy, low tolerance to cold, thinning hair. I bet it is border line. Ever since I have been eating this high selenium rich food, I have noticed my energy levels and body warming levels are UP! My mom swears by it too…no meds for either of us. Dont eat more than one or two nuts a day, you can overdose on selenium.

  78. I have a tsh at .03 everything else is normal range, dx of discoid subacute contanieous lupus, ana tested under 1000, sx include racing heart, lethargy, weight gain, brain fog to name a few.

    • Julia,
      You could be hyperthyroid or be in a hyper phase of Hasimoto’s. Did you and have your thyroid antidoies tested for TPO, TGB and TSI? They will help you determine if you have hyperthyroidism, or are in a hyper phase of Hasimoto’s thyroiditis.

  79. I have thyroid antibodies for hypo at 161. I read a blog about selenium and have been taking it. I am extremely worried now because I have taken about 17,000 mcg within 2 weeks. Then I read about it being bad for thyrid if you arelow in iodine. I think I have taken way too much because I’m desperate to feel better! Pleaseeee help me. What do I do? Not take any for a few days and only take one a day from now on?? Please help. I really appreciate it!

    • Selenium can be toxic at high doses. Please do not exceed 200 mcg per day in the supplemental form. I would stop for at least a couple of weeks before continuing. Iodine can be problematic for people with Hashimoto’s if they are selenium deficient and/or they take too high of a dose too quickly. I would get back on selenium for a few weeks before attempting to take iodine, and if you do take iodine, start with a very small dose (i.e. 200 mcg) and build up very slowly.

  80. I started taking synthroid 25 mg and then upped by my doc to 50 over a 5 month period. I have Hashimotos. he always recommend high dose D, and I am taking that but then he recommended Selenium OTC and a week after starting it, I started havign severe headaches, and neck and joint pain.
    My stomach was upset too. and several other negative side effects mentioned in articles about Selenium pills (not the stuff found in foods). I stopped taking the Selenium and called my endocrinologist !!!! I eat all the right foods for taking in Selenium, and will never take Selenium again!

  81. Hi! Great information! I had a full hysterectomy 5 years ago and have been taking bio-identical hormones for the last 1.5 years. My pharmacist is in the process of eliminating all estrogen from my hormones and also from my diet. I do eat very clean and exercise regularly. I struggle with losing weight. Cannot budge a pound. My doctor mentioned that it could be my thyroid, and even though my levels may show normal it could still be presenting the problem. I am tired alot, and also have foggy brain. I was told that taking selenium and iodine may help reduce these problems. If that is the case, how much should I take daily and how long before I know that is helping or not???

  82. Could you have poor absorption while taking Metformin. I take both synthyroid and Metformin for hypo and pcos. I know Metformin inhibits absorption of some fat and sugar but what about nutrients

  83. Is 200mcg of selenium and vitamin e safe to take if you are trying to conceive? Would it be safe to take during pregnancy?

  84. Howdy Chris, how are you?

    Thanks so much for your informative website – much appreciated!
    Is it possible to grab a quick moment of your time?!?! I’d greatly appreciate it!
    (sorry if Ive posted this comment in the wrong section but the blood sugar section forum was closed)

    After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism (hashimotos) & adrenal fatigue (over a year ago) & more recently leaky gut, my treatment has been the following (amongst other things): medicating on T3/HC (after reducing RT3) & other supps, Leaky gut diet & measuring my body temps & blood glucose recently…..been feeling much better!

    I suspect that I have insulin resistance (T3 pooling) due to many reasons including: my FT3 is slightly over range yet my body temperatures are still lowish (36.7 degrees not 37), lowish pulse (60 odd), high glucose in fasting & pre prandial tests, crave sugar/ sleepy after meal etc. Can I have your advice on how to treat insulin resistance? any tests? Specific nutrients? Exercise?

    Id greatly appreciate it!

    Thanks for your time & I look forward to your response!

    Ro 🙂

    • Hi Ro,
      Sorry, it’s not Chris answering your question…but I do have a question for you, if you don’t mind!
      You mention you corrected some of your issues by supplementing with T3/HC (i assume HC means cortisone?). I also have Hashi’s with current swelling of my thyroid, and have VERY high RT3 levels, like off the charts. Been on Natural Desiccated Thyroid and was doing ok on it until this sudden attack. Doc told me to get off all T4 containing meds ASAP and go on T3 only…he did NOT give me specific guidelines on how to dose the T3 though, so I am operating blindly on my own.
      Curious if you could share how you used T3 to fix your RT3 levels?? Thanks!

      BTW, per your question about insulin resistance, that is directly related to the inflammation from your leaky gut and who knows what else (have you been tested for Lyme, heavy metals like mercury, and other viral agents? That often perpetuates inflammation in the body). For inflammation I use an amazing supplement called Anatabloc. Check it out, may help you!


      • Erin, I have hashimotos and I am on synthroid. my thyroid levels are ‘normal’ but I feel worse after starting the medicine in January. I am desperate to get on desiccated thyroid and cant find a natural doctor to help me. my endo said the T3 is fine so I Dont need it. would you recommend natural thyroid medicine? im only 18, and more then desperate to get my life back! do you have any advice for me? ,thank you!

        • The cure for you would be: selenium and iodine at the same time.
          Read this whole article right to the end. You’ll learn that selenium and iodine combined are absolutely essential together. Taking selenium alone or iodine alone will make you very sick. Taking both at the same time will cure you of all thyroid related diseases. You might need vitamin C, vitamin B2 and B3 if your symporters are broken (a symporter is the mechanism that absorbs and concentrates iodine the cell).

  85. Hi Chris,i have alway thought that i have an issue with my thyroid.Went for test .T3 0.53,T4 6.03 and TSH 1.406,is my thyroid fine

  86. Hey Chris. What if you don’t tolerate grains well. The selenium you recommend has rice flour in it. Any other good brands out there?

  87. First, I love your site. It’s the only source of information that actually makes any sense and speaks to my issues. That being said, I have a few questions. Would it ever make sense to take both synthroid and naturethroid? I’ve tried each in isolation, and felt much better on nature throid, but the doctor put me on synthroid anyway. I felt worse on that, so went back to nature throid, but am worried I might be missing something by not taking synthroid. I supplement with selenium, iodine (occasionally, via supplements and seaweed), vitamine D, magnesium, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and cod liver capsules (occasionally). Before taking either synthroid or nature throid, my free t3 was 1.7, tsh 1.33, ferritin 27, free t4 .82. After 3 months on nature throid, I had t3 of 76, tsh of 1.08, t4 of .84. A month later, free t3 of 2.7, t3 of 90, tsh of 1.37, and free t4 of .79. After 6 weeks of synthroid (and no naturethroid), I had tpo Ab of 12, t4 of 6.3, dhea-sulfate of 134.1, t3 of 51, tsh of .765, transferrin of 180, iron of 131, and free t4 of 1.13. So, I think the synthroid (and supplements) were working in terms of free t4, if that’s possible, but obviously not in terms of t3. Do I need both? If I can only have one (i.e., t4 via synthroid or t3 via nature throid), which is better/advisable? Overall, in response to your question, I can’t tell if supplementation helps, but I also don’t know if that’s mediated by the fact that I was switching from nature throid to synthroid. Either way, I’m going to continue supplementing because I don’t feel worse doing so. Is that a good approach?

    I should add that I eat fairly strict paleo, and avoid gluten, soy, and dairy.

  88. “Has anyone had any experience with selenium supplementation? Was it a positive or negative experience? Let me know in the comments below.”
    Hi, I’ve been diagnosed with hashimotos and yes I have tried supplementing with selenium but my experience was definitely negative.The side effects I experienced were a sudden drop in my energy levels the next day accompanied with brain fog and a mood swing of feeling depressed. Although I’m not sure whether if it was due to the selenium itself or the brewers yeast that the supplement contained.Since I also suspect having a leaky gut and ppl with LGS can also be sensitive to brewers yeast. I’ve now resorted to brown rice as a natural source of selenium and haven’t seen any negative effects there has also been an improvement in my hair growth since I’ve been eating it.
    You mentioned brazil nut as a good source of selenium , should the nuts be soaked before using? I’ve read nuts contain lots of phytic acid with prevents minerals like zinc(that is very essential for the thyroid gland) from being absorbed.

  89. Chris, love your site. I’ve learned a lot from your site.

    I was dx with hashi about a year ago with very high antibodies >2500, My dr did 3 tests and the last test, my tsh, t3 and t4 were all normal. He did not retest for antibodies. During the day, I feel fine with generally no symptoms. However at night, I cannot sleep through and wake up drenched with sweats. This has been happening for a year. I’ve tried Armour and Iodine and neither helped. I take 100mcg Selenium daily, B complex, 400 mg magnesium, 4000 iu Vit D, 1 astaxanthin. I wonder if I’m in hyper mode right now. What can I do to stop the night sweats and thyroid burn out?

  90. Bonjour ! so, may i know the tendency of selenium to the iodine deficiency are more to give advantages or disadvantages?? hope to get the reply as soon as possible since i have to do presentation about risk factors of iodine this coming Monday. Thank you =)

    • Y’all, get your selenium the EASY way, one Brazil nut a day! I personally hate them, so I throw them in my smoothie. Super easy and simple and you get your 200mcg in!

  91. I have hashimoto’s after a recent decline in my health I went gluten free (largely based on info from your site) and after only 2 months all of my symptoms have been alleviated and my TPO antibodies have dropped from 944 to 631, so thank you for that.
    My question is regarding selenium, on the advice of my neurologist I started supplementing with selenium 200 mcg/ day about 4 months ago. I had my GP do a test for my selenium levels just recently and they are at 320 mcg/ L which he says is high and so I have stopped the selenium. I am wondering what the target range is for Selenium levels, he didn’t know the answer so I have been trying to research it but I’m not getting anywhere so far.
    Thank you,

  92. Hello,

    I agree with everything I have read from you. Hoping you might be able to help with a question.

    Info: Female 41, hashy diagnoses in 11/11. Anti body level in 400’s. 3 grain of Amour a day. Selenium 200, coconut water & oil. Vit C 5000 a day, B12 4000 a day, B complex (just started). Gluten free for 1 month now.

    I am having a very hard time with menstruation. Week before and week of ; I slow down, joint pain, anxiety, Very loud tinnitus, lethargy, and swelling. The week after I slowly get better , by Thurs Im ok.

    Can you please suggest anything that may help this? Would getting on birth control and skipping all of ovulation help? I generally have a “hard time” with birth control but would gladly take it to forgo the other horrible Hashy symptoms.

    I so hope you are able to respond and thank you for your time,
    Linda B.

    • Hi Linda : very loud tinnitus, lethargy, AND during the menstruation>> Have you had your iron levels checked ? low iron levels ( not necesarely anemia) could be your issue. I was myself told I was fine because my iron levels were within “normal” ranges even though they were ridiculously low (30)!!. I decided to supplement with iron and feel WAYYY much better now.

  93. I have been able to substantially shrink my enlarged thyroid by supplementing with at least 10,000 IU of Vitamin D and 400 mcg of Selenium daily. I also take a multi-vitamin twice a day and a combination calcium/magnesium/zinc tablet. Thanks to the brilliant Dr. Mack Harrell in Ft. Lauderdale for making the Vitamin D deficiency diagnosis–the shrinking was nearly immediate . . . everyone else told me I had cancer and wanted to do surgery, even though I had consistently normal thyroid levels and no Hashimoto’s antibodies in my blood.

  94. pHow long does hypothyroidism take to fesimant?br /Twice I have tested low on my TSH levels, the later test involving both T3 and T4. My doctor now sent me a prescription for synthroid a few days ago that I have yet to fill. The only reason I even had my thyroid checked in the beginning was because of some infection they thought my toe had that really wasn’t that bad and the antibiotics ended up making me feel worse because they were too strong, which is a whole nother story. I’ve had a few CBCs, but I guess that doesn’t indicate thyroid function because they never told me anything./ppI know what the symptoms are for hypothyroidism, but I don’t have any of them. I mean, yeah I’m sleepy or drowsy when I get less than 7-8 hrs sleep and I do have iron deficiency anemia which could be the cause of that. I get hot or cold when it is truly hot or cold and everyone else feels it. My hair and nails continue to grow without abandon and my skin is not pale (I’m tan) or flaky, although it may be dry from time to time because I have had eczema all my life./ppSo if I actually did have hypthyroidism would I know it right off or would it take some time? If anything, I would have HYPERthyroidism as I only weigh around 125-130 lbs and 5’7 . I’m freakin skinny! In the meantime I’m taking an herbal supplement my mom already had in the cabinet that is kelp and alfalfa that has 100% DV iodine. IDK how much good that’ll do since I don’t feel symptoms anyway./p

    • Just because your skinny does not mean that you are Hyper. I have been Hypo for over 13 years and have always had a problem with weight gain. I now have Hoshi and still have the a problem with keeping weight on.
      So just fyi. Being skinny does not necessarily mean Hyper. But in my experience it does not help with finding a good doctor that listens to you cause most look at you and see that your skinny and therefore think you are crazy as you sit there and state all of your Hypo symptoms.
      Good Luck 🙂

  95. What do you think of selenium supplementation with Graves disease? The only research I could dig up stated it was beneficial in treating orbitopathy in patients with Graves. Is there any research that suggests it can aid in proper thyroid function in hyperthyroid patients?

  96. As an integrative Gynecologist, I see many women suffering with sub-clinical and otherwise untreated hypothyroid. By testing more than just TSH (checking free T3 and free T4, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies) we get a great lab picture to add to my clinical impression from the exam and the symptom survey.
    I recommend selenium rich foods and supplementation when I see elevated antibodies and/or poor conversion of T4 to T3. This helps every time. Too many physicians forget the basic physiology and neglect the roots to so many common imbalances. These tiny (and many other fact-based) corrections yield enormous benefits.
    What are your thoughts on people who have a confusing set of labs (low TSH and Low levels of T3 and T4)? Have you read of pituitary gland dysfunction or over-function making the TSH less relevant?

    I appreciate the excellent research and writing you do here on this website.

    • Steven,
      I’m quite curious about your question “What are your thoughts on people who have a confusing set of labs (low TSH and Low levels of T3 and T4)? Have you read of pituitary gland dysfunction or over-function making the TSH less relevant?”

      Have you ever received a satisfactory answer?

      I inquire because that is the result I had on my very first thyroid labs done over a year ago. I was VERY hypo–for years–in terms of symptoms, but because TSH was low and T3/T4 were “low normal” my complaints were always dismissed. I began Natural Desiccated Thyroid supplementation thanks to an open-minded doc who didn’t care what my TSH was. Now I have full blown Hashi’s with very low TSH, higher T3 and very hig Reverse T3 levels that are 2x the top of the range! Started T3-only therapy in attempt to fix this.

      Anyhow, would love to know if you ever found the answer to your question, as it may help me. Thanks!

  97. HI Chris,

    I was wondering If i eat eggs, meat, and seafood regularly–which averages to roughly 150 mcg of selenium daily–should I still supplement with selenium? or is that overdoing it? THanks for any input =)

  98. Chris,
    In your opinion would a high TSH with normal T3 & T4 be a reason to be cautious with supplemental iodine?

    Thank you for the wonderful knowledge you share, it’s much appreciated!

    • No, not necessarily. TSH is a much more sensitive indicator of thyroid function than T3 & T4, because it responds to changes at the cellular/metabolic level.

      • Sorry Chris, but you are dead wrong when you say “TSH is a much more sensitive indicator of thyroid function”. THe. TSH test is a farce For detecTing hypothyroidism!!!! Explains why the TSH test Is a joke

        • I’m well aware of the perspective at Stop the Thyroid Madness, but it’s hardly accurate to say that TSH is a farce. There are many other factors to consider (which I’ve outlined in great detail in my thyroid series, but TSH is still a valid and important marker. The problem is when it’s used in isolation and other markers are ignored.

  99. I don’t know if you’ve mentioned this book before but I often reference the book: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian when I am working with my patients with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. She talks about selenium but also there is a great section on TH1 vs TH2 immune modulation for patient’s with Hashimoto’s, and various nutrient and herbal protocols to help address the autoantibody piece. I have found this to be really helpful.

    Dr. Julieanne Neal, ND

    • I am in the process of figuring out what is going on with me and cannot find a doctor that will listen to my symptoms and not look just at my numbers with regards to my thyroid. I’m almost certain that I may have Hashimoto’s but my blood results don’t support that. Can you recommend a doctor in the Northern CA area that specializes in Hashimoto’s and other thyroid issues? I have a large nodule on the right that has been biopsied non cancerous. Please help.

  100. Cate – check out for tons of great info on the thyroid. If I were in your shoes, I’d be seeking treatment for sure. Sadly, that often involves hunting for a good doctor, which can be difficult.

  101. I have hashimoto thyroiditis and I am on thyroid harmone therapy. I take one lamb kidney per day which may be giving me approximately 100mcg of selenium. I am off wheat, cow’s milk, pepper, eggs and tomatoes. My thyroid drug was reduced six months back. I hope to see the trend continues.

  102. Here’s an interesting recipe for a pesto to detox mercury . It looks like it might be good for this as well. It’s yummy and it can be used straight out of the freezer.

    Cilantro Chelation Pesto
    4 cloves garlic
    1/3 cup Brazil nuts (selenium)
    1/3 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine)
    1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium)
    2 cups packed fresh cilantro
    2/3 cup flax/olive oil
    4 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tsp dulse powder
    Sea salt to taste

    Process the cilantro and oil in a blender until the coriander is chopped. Add the garlic, nuts and seeds, dulse and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste. Add a pinch to sea salt to taste and blend again. Store in dark glass jars if possible. It freezes well, so purchase cilantro in season and fill enough jars to last through the year.

  103. I was recently diagnosed with “mid-range” Hashimoto disease and exceptionally high iodine levels. My doctor also discovered 2 thyroid nodules, performed a biopsy which was negative and did not recommend any treatment at this time. My TSH, T4 and T3 are “normal”. I’m a 64 year old type II diabetic following a gluten-free diet and still can’t lose weight and continue to feel unhealthy most days. Any suggestions for lowering my iodine levels and increasing my energy?

    • Cate, you’re on the right track- definitely check out and look into seeing a functional medicine practitioner (Chris is one;-) The book also addresses insulin issues that are often present with Hashi’s.
      Since Hashi’s is an autoimmune condition, it often leads to or is present with other autoimmune conditions, so it’s super important to get that immune system balanced.

      Also, a lot of Hashi’s/hypothyroid women are having really good results regaining leptin (our master hormone) sensitivity and finally losing weight with Dr. Jack Kruse’s Leptin Rx protocol:
      (There are more leptin articles there that I recommend reading for a better understanding).

  104. Selenium deficiency is not thought to be common in healthy adults, but is more likely to be found in those with digestive health issues causing poor absorption of nutrients, such as Crohn’s or celiac disease, or those with serious inflammation due to chronic infection.”

    So if we’re not deficient (i.e. most of us eat our muscle meats), then why is this important(assuming we don’t have hashimoto’s)?

    • The vast majority of people with thyroid problems also have digestive health issues. T3 hormone is required to activate stomach acid and digestive enzyme production, and to stimulate intestinal motility.

  105. My understanding is that selenium and iodine content both depend heavily on the conditions of the soil in which plants grow. For animals, it depends on the levels in the plants they ate. Some more info on this is here.

    The distribution of Se and I in soils vary considerably with geography/geology: some areas are very high and some very low. I’ve also read that the levels in a given patch of soil also tend to decrease over time in conventional agriculture since they are decreased by each harvest and aren’t replenished by conventional fertilizer.

    So the levels of Se and I in a given item of food may differ significantly and unpredictably from what it says in nutrition tables. This is particularly important for people trying to eat locally in areas where the soil is deficient. I realized this after moving to Pittsburgh and getting into local food. Turns out we’re in the “goiter belt”: an area around the great lakes where the soil is very iodine deficient. I pay attention to getting adequate Se and I from supplements since it doesn’t seem to me sufficiently predictable to get it from food.

  106. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for all your work on hypothyroidism! What do you think about eating kelp to get your day’s worth of iodine? How much would I need? My T3 is slightly low and TSH is borderline low. I get mixed reviews, Dr. Ray Peat seems to think it can suppress function in this interview:
    Dr. Ray Peat: 30 years ago, it was found that people in the US were getting about ten times more iodine than they needed. In the mountains of Mexico and in the Andes, and in a few other remote places, iodine deficiency still exists. Kelp and other sources of excess iodine can suppress the thyroid, so they definitely shouldn’t be used to treat hypothyroidism.

  107. Great article Chris!

    True story about selenium: when the s*** hit the fan in 2008 and I got *really* sick (bedridden for 2 months and had to move back to my home country) I had a list of about 30 really distressing symptoms – everything from angular cheilitis to my body’s thermostat being screwed (alternating between feeling very hot and cold)

    Anyway, one of my symptoms was really awful pain in my thyroid area – alternating between stabbing pain and a feeling of inflammation . I joined a thyroid group and did research – selenium was one thing recommended for thyroid function. Lo and behold, after only a few days of taking selenium, that pain disappeared. Then, I stopped it for a few days and it came back again. I only get it now if I happen to change thyroid meds or doses – it must spark something up. But it always settles back down again pretty quickly.

    The frustrating thing is that I test very very low for all thyroid antibodies and my other tests (TSH, FT3 and FT4) also look “normal” but I definitely had clear symptoms of an autoimmune thyroid problem (thyroid pain and body temp dysregulation). The only indicators apart from symptoms were an ultrasound that showed decreased vascularity and a reflex test called Thyroflex that showed hypothyroidism (that test is the modern equivalent of a physical test docs used to do all the time before thyroid testing came in).

    So, I am a fan of selenium 🙂 I still take it now but never go over 100mcg/day. I also eat brazil nuts a few times a week. I do fine using NOW brand selenium. I am on the T3-only protocol as any T4 medication (synthetic or otherwise) is an absolute disaster – I end up with high Reverse T3 every time. I am hoping that by staying on the Paleo diet, keeping selenium optimal, and fixing my copper:zinc imbalance means I can wean off thyroid meds in around a year – fingers crossed.

    • I should also note that my father was diagnosed with Graves last year so I am fairly confident I *do* have an autoimmune issue going on – I’m just unlucky in that my antibodies appear to be low, so the doctors assume nothing is wrong…that is another huge issue in thyroid treatment – blind reliance on blood tests by medical professionals…ignoring patient symptoms and signs.

      • Exactly same here about what you told ordinary school of doctors.
        Basic blood tests didn’t show anything. If I still keep talking about it I get “mental issues” stamp on my forehead.

        • Forgot to say that I’m from Finland. Our National Health Institute follows pretty much everything that USA does and suggests it. And they still get paid, and all they do is copy others work elsewhere. 😀

          Ok, they don’t have copied that new direction of cannabis laws. We still have strict prohibition in that manner.

    • Allison: only 70% of people with AITD (autoimmune thyroid disease) test positive for the antibodies. That leaves 30% that don’t. A thyroid ultrasound is another way of detecting autoimmune activity in the thyroid.

      • thanks Chris – haven’t come across that stat before, very interesting. I did know that the blood tests are not always an indicator, so I am comfortable going by symptoms and now family Dx. Do you happen to have a reference for that stat? Any ammunition is very useful. An endo did tell me once that a biopsy is the gold standard to see what’s going on in the tissues. The ultrasound only showed decreased vascularity – assuming that not much actual damage to the thyroid had taken place at that stage.

  108. I am hypothyroid, supposedly with “Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome”, but regardless, my T4 was not terrible, T3 extremely low, and reverse T3 high. I started supplementing with Selenium at night, Vitamin D in the morning. My energy levels increased, I stopped experiencing heavy afternoon fatigue. Since both supplements started simultaneously for me, I do not know which is accountable; but, do not have the desire to eliminate one to find out…

    • Hi Kristen,

      I have Hypothyroid and had a blood test just before Christmas to test for Hashimotos that I won’t find out the results till my medical centre opens up Next year.

      I have heavy afternoon fatigue and I’ve been on Thyroxine for the last 36 days ( I’m on a 90 day trial period)

      I’m keen to give Selenium and Vitamin D a go, so could you please tell me what brand & dosage’s to take as i would like to give your method a go to get rid of this horrible fatigue.
      Kind regards,

    • Hi Kristen, can you please update me on your progress. We sound similar. I have low TT3 (below the low end),,,, Call me if you wish: 724-544-1866 Thanks:D

  109. Hi Chris,
    Hair loss as a side effect of selenium supplementation caused me to raise an eyebrow. I’ve been hypothyriod for 13 years starting after the birth of my first child and have been on synthriod ever since but with decreasing dosages over the years. I started paleo/PHD last January with much success but definately not an answer to every problem as of yet. In April/May I started supplementing with selenium and iodine as per yours and the PHD recommendations. Within a month I started losing hair. I had medium length thick scraggly/wavy hair and I would lose quite a bit everytime I took a shower and combed it out. This went on for about 5 months. Eventually I ran out of the selenium and didn’t get anymore. I kept up with the iodine though and had added weekly liver, extra pastured egg yolks and a lot more veggies to my diet so figured I didn’t need the extra selenium. Well around Sept/Oct the hair loss stopped almost completely and my hair became a nice ringlet curl instead of the scraggly curl it had been for the last 10 years or so. I have no idea if it was the selenium supplementation that caused the hair loss, or maybe just better micronutrient consumption from real food that stopped the hair loss and caused the change in curls, or maybe its neither and has something to do with hormones as I’m 41 now. But again the mention of too much selenium causing hair loss caught my attention and I thought I’d relay my story. Thanks for all the work and research and time that you put in too all this!

        • I was only taking the 200mcg of selenium that was recommended. I did start out a little too high on the iodine initially at around 2mg for a week and had some almost hyper thyroid symptoms for a week, but quickly brought the iodine down to 200mcg and never had issues after that. the hair loss didn’t start till after a month or so of being on the combo.( I had started the selenium about 2 weeks before I began the iodine) Again, I’ve been hypothyroid for 13 years and never had the hair loss episode I had for those 5 months or so. I had been eating a pretty clean paleo/PHD since January with plenty of meat, so it couldn’t have been the protein issue either.

          • Yes, Thank you Mario. I just read the link and i bet it was the bromine detox reaction that was going on as I had a host of those side effects. I thought several of them were probably due to the fact that I started my iodine accidentally at 2mg instead of 200mcg but now i wonder if it was the initial detox reaction. I had heart palpitations, the eyelid twitching, tingling in my fingers and toes and the sides of my face, the mouth sores, and the metallic taste. They all settled down after about two weeks. ( I had taken the 2mg for a good week before i lowered it to the 200mcg) The hair loss started a bit later and lasted about 5 months.(havent lost any appreciable amounts since before the holidays) I was wondering though how long this detoxing can go on for as I actually do still have the strange occasional acne on my chin line, my neck, my back and shoulders and occasionally my arms and thighs. Not exactly sure what “skin cuts” means but I did and still do get these tiny little “scratches” that i have no idea where they come from and seem to stay irritated for a week or more. I developed some tiny cherry angiomas on my chest abdomen and thighs and face at that time as well. I still occasionally get the tingling in my toes fingers and sides of my face. I have been titrating my iodine dose upward very slowly and am currently on only around 2.5 mg of iodine, and get my selenium from two brazil nuts a day and the liver and meats and veggies. So could there still be bromide detoxing going on after after this 9- 10 months of iodine supplementation or should that be about over by now ?

            • Shelley,

              From your symptoms, definitely it’s bromide detoxing. Cherry angiomas is associated with bromide poisoning:


              From what I’ve read, bromide detoxing is a long process, and depends both of your iodine and sodium intake. Some people, at the iodine group on Yahoo, report high bromide excretations for years. And some take up to 200 mg of iodine (specially those with breast cancer)!

              So, it’s seems a good idea to keep slowing increasing iodine. And, if your sodium intake is low, increase your sea salt consumption too. And keep track of your symptoms and monitor your thyroid function with regular blood tests.

            • You have symptoms of lyme disease. I too have these problems and are classic symptoms. Thyroid problems are common with lyme patients also. You may want to visit the lymestrategies on yahoo groups website.

            • Shelley, I tend to be skeptical of the notion of “bromide detox”. My experience with selenium was similar to yours, and at the time I was taking it alone, without iodine.

        • Hi Mario and/or Chris,

          What’s your opinion on supplementing selenium/iodine as a means of clearing bromide from the body? I had been on a bromide containing medication Citalopram hydrobromide (Celexa) for many years so I probably am probably full of the stuff. Is there a particular protocol? Do I even want to detox, or will I naturally detoxify over time by eating a nutrient rich diet?

          • Iodine is the recommended treatment for bromide toxicity. The body will not naturally clear bromide in the vast majority of cases. Start at a low dose (500 mcg) and build up slowly over time, to a therapeutic dose of 25 mg/d. Some take 50 mg or even as much as 200 mg, but I don’t recommend doing that without supervision. Make sure to get at least 200 mcg of selenium a day while you’re taking iodine.

          • Luther,

            Chris advices are very wise, as usual. 🙂 Just want to add two things:

            Brest Cancer Choices page about bromide detox strategies is a very good one:


            Ingesting enough sodium is vital, since half-life of bromide is associated with sodium ingestion. This is important, because many Paleo/PHD followers that eat a clean diet (even more those following Stephan’s bland diet) do not eat enough salt.

            The following research was done in rats, but since too much people get better with the salt load protocol, I assume the same should applies to us:


  110. Is there a preferred TYPE of selenium you would recommend, Chris? I noticed in my local health food store, there is yeast-based and non-yeast-based. I don’t have a yeast problem so I bought the yeast-based because Dr. Langer recommends it in his book. Can you give us some guidelines regarding what type of selenium to choose and how to choose it?

    • Se-Methyl L-Selenocysteine is what is incorporated into proteins in our bodies, so that’s probably preferable. The Super Selenium Complex I linked to in the article has 4 different forms, which may be beneficial.

  111. i think that adding selenium to the large dose of Iodoral i was taking has improved my T3 conversion, though i don’t have the “numbers” to prove it. i’ll have to check out the brand you recommend when i need a refill.

    thanks, Chris — it always makes me cringe to see the “DON’T take iodine!” scaremongering, when the word “selenium” isn’t even mentioned….

    • I don’t think it is scaremongering – as someone who’s thyroid responded badly to iodine. I feel the same way. I have Hashimotos and took iodine – probably too much too quickly. My TSH rocketted up, my thyroid enlarged and I started getting hypo symptoms.

      • I have Hashi’s and took an Iodine/Iodine supplement with selenium. I never had one bad symptoms at dosages of 30mg daily (Although I was urinating quite frequently when I started) … I did the Iodine for 3 months. I stopped only because of all the negative news on here and Dr. K’s site scaring me about Hashi’/Iodine. Anyhow, Does anyone know why some people have such bad effects using the iodine and other don’t with Hashimoto’s?

        This seems to be SO very controversial.

        Is it truly the selenium?

        • Some say the bad reaction some people have to iodine is a detox reaction from the release of Bromine as the Iodine replaces it on the receptor sites. However if your TSH starts going up, the thyroid enlarges and symptoms increase that’s a pretty good reason to stop the high dose iodine.

        • I think the reason iodine is bad for some people and not for others has to do with people’s different iodine levels. Maybe if you are deficient, taking iodine is fine. My iodine was not deficient, and when I started adding dulse seaweed to smoothies my thryoid, which had been going down due to starting armour, suddenly skyrocketed.

      • I too had a horrible reaction to iodine in prenatal vitamins( not pregnant taking them while ttc) I could barely walk, thyroid swollen, and tsh high.

    • I think Se-methylselenocysteine is probably the best form if you have to choose one. I haven’t seen any evidence that the amount of selenomethionine present in the Super Selenium Complex would be problematic, but I wouldn’t take it in high doses.

    • I think the form of selenium needs to be tailored to the reason you’re taking it. While selenomethionine is great for the production of the selenoproteins, it seems that methylselenocysteine (MSC) is too far down on the metabolic pathway to contribute to the selenoproteins. However, MSC is non-toxic and converts immediately into methylselenol, which has potent anti-cancer effects. So it seems that for thyroid, selenomethionine (in modest doses) would be the ideal choice, while for cancer, MSC is the right one, and even very large doses can be safely tolerated. I can’t see how MSC could have a beneficial effect on thyroid function since it does not play into the production of selenoproteins.

  112. This study is quite sad too:

    “Oral administration of selenium, 200 microg/d, or placebo.

    During an average follow-up of 7.7 years (SD, 2.7), type 2 diabetes developed in 58 selenium recipients and 39 placebo recipients (incidence, 12.6 cases per 1000 person-years vs. 8.4 cases per 1000 person-years, respectively; hazard ratio, 1.55 [95% CI, 1.03 to 2.33]).”

    But yea, maybe we can avoid this if we make sure we get some iodine too and that the selenium isn’t selenomethionine only.

  113. I am a 68yr old very active woman. Had a total thyroidectomy about 2yrs ago – taking synthroid, following the Paleo Diet but still have some issues with fatigue & occasional increase in appetite wondering if Selenium could help these issues.

    • I used to be on Syhthriod before and my blood test was normal but I continued to have symptoms of hypothyroidism(low energt, cold, needed more sleep) till I changed my medicine on the natural dessicated tryroid. The difference was huge, but it took about 6 months to figure out the right dose.

  114. I am hypothyroid and on T3 only. I recently had a Spectracell blood test which looks at nutrient levels at the cellular level. I was deficient in Selenium and have now started supplementation, 200 mcg a day. I am currently using the Life Extension supplement but the additives and fillers they use really bother me. Why do so many doctors and online sites recommend Life Extension brand when there are equally good brands like Metabolic Maintenance, Pure Encapsulation, etc. that don’t use the fillers and additives?
    It was also interesting to note that despite a good diet and adequate supplementation at a cellular level I was low in several of my anti-oxidants including B12, CoQ10, Selenium, Inositol, and Zinc. They are going in but they weren’t be absorbed. You wouldn’t know that unless you have a Spectracell test done, so I highly recommend it to anyone with thyroid disease.

    • I frequently use Pure Encapsulations with my sensitive patients, but the expense is prohibitive for many people and unnecessary for those that aren’t bothered by the fillers. I haven’t found an equivalent Pure or Metabolic Maintenance product with the 4 different forms of selenium.

        • Chris, Do you have an office? I have normal TSH and T4 but low T3. I have 15 out of the 16 symptoms you mention in your articles. I can’t find a doctor that really treats this or heard me. I live in Dallas. My T3 uptake was 20. Do you have recommendations for doctors in Dallas?

          • Laurissa…I have the same lab results: normal TSH and FT4 but low FT3. You may not know but I wonder why doctors will not treat that especially when symptoms exist.

            • Fish has mercury , kelp too, nuts and selenium depends on the soil raised in and finally the selenium has to be leveled out with iodine. Selenium protects inside of thyroid but will make bad matters worse if taken alone

          • Laurissa, I go to new leaf health and wellness off McEwen Rd which is by Midway and 635. I have been working with them to optimize my health.

    • So how are your vitamins absorbing now? Are you doing something special to make them absorb? It’s one thing to know it via the Spectracell test. It’s another to know how to fix it. I have this issue as well. I took EFA’s for over a year, and I did a test that showed I was deficient in EFA’s, and …… Chromium and I was shocked. So now I need to figure out if I am actually absorbing these nutrients. I have always wondered this.

      • bioperine will help just about any vitamin absorb better. But if you are having an absorption problem, you need a detox, spiraling, L-Carnosine etc… for heavy metal

        and a look at what you may have in your mouth (?) or body that is causing the block. For me it is mercury amalgam fillings

        • bioperine will help just about any vitamin absorb better. But if you are having an absorption problem, you need a detox, spir-u-lina, L-Carnosine etc… for heavy metal

          and a look at what you may have in your mouth (?) or body that is causing the block. For me it is mercury amalgam fillings

    • How do you feel being low on those nutrients at the cellular level? Have you been able to increase absorption since your post?

  115. Supplemental selenium was good for my dog, who was on doggie synthroid (T4 meds) and after fiddling with her dosages with the vet a few times, I still felt she had hypo symptoms. … I’d used it for myself a couple years prior, but I changed a few things at once and I can’t say that I saw specific improvements directly from the selenium, though maybe I’ve helped ward off autoimmune issues.

  116. great write up as usual man! quick question, it’s my current understanding that sardines (whole i.e. bones and all, heads optional) in addition to the o3 fa’s and phospherous and calcium that they’re a pretty great source of highly bioavailable selenium without the brazil nut o6 and antinutrient issues. do you knwo if this is correct. i recall reading this to be true only if you eat skin and all since i believe that’s where the little critters keep most of it. just want to make sure i can keep em as a almost one stop shop for these important elements.

    thanks for your work!

  117. Yes, I had hypothyroid symptoms, that were not ‘bad’ enough to show on blood tests. I took liquid dulse (an iodine containing seaweed) along with selenium. It worked for me. I also have gluten intolerance/celiac.

  118. This is a great article, thank you Chris. I have Hashimoto’s and when I was in my hyper phase, my naturopath started me on selenium. It made me feel better and my thyroid actually never went hypo afterwards, just returned to normal. Then I had another hyper episode two years later, which was much milder and I did not supplement with selenium (I didn’t really have a good reason). After that, my thyroid went hypo and I was on medication for a year and a half. During that time I stopped eating gluten (1 year ago) and try to make sure that I have enough selenium in my diet. So far I have had no problem…

    • Jana, how much selenium you took per day? did you check your mineral/vitamin level by the blood test? what else your homeopath/naturopath advised? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]