Thyroid & Mental Health
Mental Health & Thyroid
In one study of depression where medication didn’t help, fifty percent of patients improved once their thyroid was treated. The link between thyroid and mental health is confirmed. The root cause of anxiety, panic, PMS, sexual dysfunction and chronic fatigue can also involve impaired thyroid function.
In another study, 75% of women with clinically reported PMS tested positive for hypothyroid. When this was treated, 60% enjoyed a complete resolution of associated symptoms.
Two types of thyroid problems
The first is a supply problem. Thyroid hormone is not producing enough to meet the needs of the body. A marker called TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone will be high. The conventional range considers anything over 4.5 to be a concern. This is based on research that included both diagnosed and undiagnosed thyroid patients. More recent studies removed thyroid patients and a more accurate range has been established at 2.0 – 2.5.
The second problem is a conversion or uptake problem. TSH may be normal in this case. It will stimulate the release of T4 which is the inactive form of the hormone. T4 needs to be converted to T3 to be used in the body. Reverse T3 (rT3) is another marker. If there is significant inflammation or too much synthetic hormone replacement this marker can be high. The body can’t use rT3.
Stress and Inflammation
Women are more likely to develop thyroid issues. Pregnancy is the most common onset. Other major life events that increase stress and inflammation can also be triggers. Remember that the stress hormone cortisol helps reduce inflammation when its regulated well. In chronic illness, gut infection, heavy metal toxicity or food allergies cortisol may be dysregulated. One night of poor sleep can increase inflammation. Any inflammation can impair thyroid conversion. So can low testosterone.
Testing for thyroid antibodies is rarely done in conventional medicine. This is very unfortunate because over 80% of hypothyroid cases are autoimmune. Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by an autoimmune response. This is called Graves disease. Often one autoimmune disease will occur with another exacerbating symptoms. For this reason alone it is important to catch the autoimmune component. Preventing further disease processes from developing and paying attention to early warning signs saves both the patient and the system resources.
Specific nutrients are crucial for thyroid health include iodine and selenium. Its safest to get these from food sources. Iodine can be found in kelp and bladderwrack. It works synergistically with selenium and the daily intake should be 800 mcg. Selenium reduces TPO (the antibody production in Hashimoto’s). It is also needed for conversion. Two brazil nuts per day gives an adequate amount. Supplementing selenium should be done with caution and only as a short term measure at 200 mcg.
A synthetic form of T4 is what is commonly prescribed in cases of hypothyroid. This replacement therapy doesn’t always work. In some cases can make symptoms worse and in others the dose continues to be increased. You may not need T4 and it may be impacting thyroid hormone conversion negatively. Decreasing T4 & rT3 can be achieved by changing the medication to desiccated thyroid or by using T3 if this is what’s needed. What I like about desiccated thyroid is it has been around as a treatment for over a hundred years. It includes T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. Our Canadian brand ERFA is very good.
8 Steps You Can Take For Your Mental Health and Thyroid
1. Reduce immune response to food. Support detoxification pathways by switching from a standard diet to an anti-inflammatory one.
2. Optimize Vitamins B2, B12, C, A, D, Zinc, Magnesium and Iron. Testing is important.
3. Autoimmune diet: remove nightshades, eggs, nuts and seeds to see if reaction.
4. Reduce the negative effects of goitrogens and nitriles by cooking them.
5. Ensure a moderate carb diet. Nutraceutical vitamin and herbal support.
6. Manage stress, sleep and rest more.
7. Optimize blood sugar.
8. Increase the amount of movement, play and pleasure in your life.
Talk to your healthcare provider about these:
2. Commiphora mukul (Guggul): increases T3 levels & lowers when too high
3. Curcumin, boswellia, EPA/DHA, pro and prebiotics for inflammation and gut health
4. Coleus forskohlii: stimulates thyroid secretion
5. Iris versicolor (blue flag): stimulates glandular secretion & lymphatic waste removal
6. LDN for autoimmunity: start with 0.5 g and titrate up to 1-4.5 g.