Selenium Supplementation for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Summary of a Cochrane Systematic Review

Eur Thyroid J. 2014 Mar;3(1):25-31. doi: 10.1159/000356040. Epub 2013 Nov 21.


Selenium supplementation in people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis might reduce antibody levels and result in a decreased dosage of levothyroxine (LT4) and may provide other beneficial effects (e.g. on mood and health-related quality of life). The aim of our systematic review was to assess the effects of selenium supplementation on Hashimoto's thyroiditis. We searched The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science for randomized controlled trials. Study selection, data extraction, assessment of risk of bias and analyses were carried out by two independent review authors. We assessed the quality of the evidence of included studies using GRADE. Four studies rated at unclear to high risk of bias comprising 463 participants were included. One study at high risk of bias showed statistically significant improvement in subjective well-being with sodium selenite 200 μg plus titrated LT4 compared with placebo plus titrated LT4 (RR 4.67, 95% CI 1.61-13.50). Selenomethionine 200 μg as a single treatment or combined with LT4 reduced the serum levels of anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies compared with placebo (or placebo plus LT4) in three studies (p < 0.001). Although the changes from baseline were statistically significant in these three studies, their clinical relevance is unclear. In conclusion, the results of these four studies, assessed at unclear to high risk of bias, show that evidence to support or refute the efficacy of selenium supplementation in people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis is incomplete and not reliable to help inform clinical decision making.

Keywords: Evidence-based medicine; Hashimoto's thyroiditis; Selenium; Supplements.

Publication types

  • Review