The trace elements iodine and selenium (Se) are essential for thyroid gland functioning and thyroid hormone biosynthesis and metabolism. While iodine is needed as the eponymous constituent of the two major thyroid hormones triiodo-L-thyronine (T3), and tetraiodo-L-thyronine (T4), Se is essential for the biosynthesis and function of a small number of selenocysteine (Sec)-containing selenoproteins implicated in thyroid hormone metabolism and gland function. The Se-dependent iodothyronine deiodinases control thyroid hormone turnover, while both intracellular and secreted Se-dependent glutathione peroxidases are implicated in gland protection. Recently, a number of clinical supplementation trials have indicated positive effects of increasing the Se status of the participants in a variety of pathologies. These findings enforce the notion that many people might profit from improving their Se status, both as a means to reduce the individual health risk as well as to balance a Se deficiency which often develops during the course of illness. Even though the underlying mechanisms are still largely uncharacterised, the effects of Se appear to be exerted via multiple different mechanisms that impact most pronounced on the endocrine and the immune systems.
Schomburg L, Köhrle J. On the importance of selenium and iodine metabolism for thyroid hormone biosynthesis and human health. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 November Institut für Experimentelle Endokrinologie und Endokrinologisches Forschungs-Centrum der Charité EnForCé, Charité Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.