The way in which selenium and iodine interact is determining for the thyroid gland and the metabolism. A deficiency of one or both nutrients coupled with exposure to environmental toxins may have grave consequences and contribute to some of the most commonly occurring metabolic disorders.
The rate of metabolic disorders has increased exponentially on a global scale. Most of these disorders fly under the radar so to speak and remain undiagnosed. At the same time, up to 20 per percent of those people who are diagnosed and get medical treatment for their condition do not improve. We need to focus much more on selenium and iodine - partly because these essential trace elements work as a team in regulating thyroid hormones, and partly because modern diets and exposure to environmental toxins increase the risk for deficiencies and imbalances.
How iodine and selenium regulate thyroid hormones
The thyroid gland that is located on the front side of the throat produces two different thyroid hormones. T4 is the passive hormone that contains four iodine atoms, while T3, the active hormone, contains three iodine atoms. In order to activate the metabolism in the different tissues and cells of the body, selenium-containing enzymes remove an iodine atom from the T4 hormone, thereby converting it to active T3. This conversion is regulated in accordance with the body's specific needs. As expected, it requires sufficient amounts of selenium and iodine for this to take place, but is there enough or do we have a shortage?