supplementing iodine and selenium with kelp and brazil nuts

by 571 · February 28, 2013 at 03:46 AM

I had some bloodwork done and it all looks good except for my thyroid panels. T3 came in low at 2.0 and TSH is 1.48. I believe this indicates an iodine/selenium deficiency. This is not surprising since I don't eat fish or use iodized salt. Add to that the fact I feel cold/tingly sometimes, and frequently get the Raynaud's thing in my fingertips and toes. It all seems to indicate a thyroid issue, right?

Instead of going out and getting supplements, I'd rather take a whole foods approach, so I bought a bag of Brazil nuts and some Maine Coast Kelp. I know iodine content varies, but on average, how much of this stuff should I be eating per day? The bag says 1/3 cup = 2110% DV. I definitely don't want to over do it, so I've been cutting it into small strips, roasting for a few minutes, then crumbling it over my food.

I've read one Brazil nut per day should be sufficient for selenium. Is it dangerous to be eating one per day if I'm not getting enough iodine? I've been erring on the side of caution and only having very little kelp.

Also, I'd like recommendations on other ways to eat the kelp. The package says I can make a broth with it. If I did that, would I still need to eat the actual leaves to get the iodine, or would drinking the liquid be sufficient? And would it be okay to eat a larger amount once per week instead of smaller amounts once per day?

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

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5 Replies

3967 · February 28, 2013 at 01:35 AM

The Perfect Health Diet (2nd edition) recommends selenium that comes to about the equivalent of 2-3 Brazil nuts per day (selenium comes from lots of sources though), and about 1,000 mcg of iodine per day. They recommend that iodine be titrated from a low amount up to the target of about 1,000 mcg, not starting at that amount right away.

Lastly, the Jaminets also say that Iodine is a perfect mineral to get from supplement since it is so difficult to get from food. I started taking four drops from a Potassium Iodine liquid from Marine Biotherapies.

1190 · February 28, 2013 at 01:19 AM

I felt like I was getting low thyroid symptoms when I started Paleo (vlc paleo). I would feel deeply cold for the first time in my life and thought I was losing some hair. I also started having bad insomnia.

I read about the connection between low-carb paleo and hypothyroid symptoms and began to include some starch into my diet. At the same time, I began adding 2 tablespoons of dulse and 2 brazil nuts into my morning shake (also kale, egg yolks, berries, ginger, .5 lemon, water kefir, and....a little piece of raw liver). Since making these adjustments, I have never felt that cold feeling again and my hair has been growing like crazy. My sleep is also much better. Since I made all three changes at the same time, I don't know which of them, or which combination of them, helped.

Maybe experiment with low levels of each like I did and see if it helps you.

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39204 · February 28, 2013 at 03:46 AM

I've heard people claim that the content of other halogens like bromine in kelp makes it a wash or a net harm for thyroid function. Not sure how true that is.

I also wonder if the radium content in brazil nuts is problematic: https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/brazilnuts.htm

Additionally, there are somewhat worrying studies like this about selenium supplementation: http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/46763.

The safest bet would be to eat a lot of small, wild ocean creatures. Barring that, you might want to take conservative doses of both (maybe around 100mcg each and possibly increase iodide later) since it's tough to determine if the specific meats you eat have much of either. I think wheat is a major source of it for most North Americans, so for those of us who don't eat it, it may be worth pursuing. I continue to be quite skeptical of the massive supranutritional doses of iodide that many people take.

That all being said, I'd bet your symptoms are actually from carbohydrate restriction and/or fasting. When I restricted carbs, my body temperature routinely dropped into the 96.* range. F that.

2483 · February 28, 2013 at 01:57 AM

I don't believe you can get too much selenium from brazil nuts but selenosis is very possible if you consume excessive selenium supplements. I eat a handful of brazil nuts daily without issue.

As for consuming kelp I like to wrap stuff in nori when eating lunch.


880 · February 28, 2013 at 01:33 AM

Depending on your lab ranges your numbers don't sound that off to me... I eat 3 brazil nuts a day to go with my iodoral. PH-Jaminet says 3, but no more. Eating kelp, it would be hard to over do it in the iodine dept.

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