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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1297658, 9 pages
Review Article

Selenium and Thyroid Disease: From Pathophysiology to Treatment

1Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Correspondence should be addressed to Miguel Melo

Received 14 August 2016; Revised 31 October 2016; Accepted 17 November 2016; Published 31 January 2017

Academic Editor: Marek Bolanowski

Copyright © 2017 Mara Ventura et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Selenium is a micronutrient embedded in several proteins. In adults, the thyroid 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 the antioxidant function and for the metabolism of thyroid hormones. Methods. We performed a review of the literature on selenium’s role in thyroid function using PubMed/MEDLINE. Results. Regarding thyroid pathology, selenium intake has been particularly associated with autoimmune disorders. The literature suggests that selenium supplementation of patients with autoimmune thyroiditis is associated with a reduction in antithyroperoxidase antibody levels, improved thyroid ultrasound features, and improved quality of life. Selenium supplementation in Graves’ orbitopathy is associated with an improvement of quality of life and eye involvement, as well as delayed progression of ocular disorders. The organic form of selenium seems to be the preferable formulation for supplementation or treatment. Conclusion. Maintaining a physiological concentration of selenium is a prerequisite to prevent thyroid disease and preserve overall health. Supplementation with the organic form is more effective, and patients with autoimmune thyroiditis seem to have benefits in immunological mechanisms. Selenium supplementation proved to be clinically beneficial in patients with mild to moderate Graves’ orbitopathy.