Selenium deficiency mitigates hypothyroxinemia in iodine-deficient subjects

Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Feb;57(2 Suppl):271S-275S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/57.2.271S.


Studies were performed to assess the role of combined selenium and iodine deficiency in the etiology of endemic myxedematous cretinism in a population in Zaire. One effect of selenium deficiency may be to lower glutathione peroxidase activity in the thyroid gland, thus allowing hydrogen peroxide produced during thyroid hormone synthesis to be cytotoxic. In selenium-and-iodine-deficient humans, selenium supplementation may aggravate hypothyroidism by stimulating thyroxin metabolism by the selenoenzyme type I iodothyronine 5'-deiodinase. Selenium supplementation is thus not indicated without iodine or thyroid hormone supplementation in cases of combined selenium and iodine deficiencies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism / etiology*
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iodine / administration & dosage*
  • Iodine / deficiency*
  • Selenium / adverse effects
  • Selenium / deficiency*
  • Selenium / therapeutic use
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Thyroxine / deficiency*


  • Iodine
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Selenium
  • Thyroxine