Selenium pp 157-173 | Cite as

Selenium and Thyroid Function

  • Mara Ventura
  • Miguel Melo
  • Francisco Carrilho
Part of the Molecular and Integrative Toxicology book series (MOLECUL)


Selenium is an essential trace element embedded in several proteins. Most of the known selenoproteins are found in the thyroid gland and this is the organ with the highest amount of selenium per gram of tissue. Selenium levels in the body depend on the characteristics of the population and its diet, geographic area, and soil composition. In the thyroid, selenium is required for protection from oxidative damage and for the metabolism of thyroid hormones. The literature suggests that selenium intake is associated with autoimmune thyroid disorders and selenium supplementation in those patients is associated with a reduction in antithyroid antibody levels, improved thyroid ultrasound features, and improved quality of life. Selenium supplementation in Graves’ ophthalmopathy is associated with an improved quality of life, less eye involvement, and delayed orbitopathy progression. Supplementation with the organic form is more effective, and benefits in immunological mechanisms have been observed in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis.


Selenium Thyroid dysfunction Selenoproteins Autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto thyroiditis Graves’ disease Graves’ orbitopathy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mara Ventura
    • 1
  • Miguel Melo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Francisco Carrilho
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (I3S)PortoPortugal
  4. 4.Institute of Pathology and Immunology of the University of PortoPortoPortugal

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