Thyroid And Anxiety What Is The Connection
Do you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, or depression? If these sound all too familiar, thyroid disease may be at the root of the issue. The thyroid and anxiety can hand in hand. When your thyroid does not function the way it should, your mental health can suffer.
Unfortunately, many doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medications before getting to the root of whats going on. While these medications may help get you over a hump, they are only acting as a band-aid. Its important to understand why anxiety is occurring in the first place. It all starts with the proper testing to understand if the thyroid is playing a part in your anxiety symptoms.
What Labs Should I Have Done
The thyroid labs I run on my patients include: TSH, Free T3, Reverse T3, Free T4, Anti TPO antibodies, anti TG antibodies.
It is important to understand what these names mean, and what your labs are telling you so that you can ensure your doctor is running all of the proper labs, and so that your doctor can employ a proper treatment.
Lower Lactate And Increase Carbon Dioxide With Bag Breathing
While there are many things we do to stimulate energy production, it takes time to restore healthy oxidative metabolism.
So, anything we can do to protect ourselves during the process is helpful.
A healthy, high energy metabolism requires sufficient carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide both stimulates energy production while also decreasing lactate, which impairs brain energy.
Bag breathing is something that we often use multiple times a day to raise blood levels of carbon dioxide.
Simply breathing comfortably in and out of a paper bag through your nose can help.
It shouldnt be forced or uncomfortable. Take as many breaks as you need.
While this builds up carbon dioxide levels, you will lose it over time as you breathe.
So, bag breathing for a few minutes multiple times per day is most effective.
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Thyroid Problems Are Uncommon
It’s very important to remember that thyroid problems are extremely uncommon. Hyperthyroid affects 2% of women and 0.2% of men, while hypothyroid is at 1% or less for both genders . While it’s nice to blame panic attacks on something like the thyroid, never self diagnose. The reality is that if you don’t know what’s causing your panic attacks, it’s probably just anxiety.
There are many tests for thyroid problems and they’re fairly simple. Doctors can tell if you have problems with your thyroid with a simple blood test, so go to the doctor and complete one to find out if you may suffer from the condition.
Lower Nitric Oxide With L
Another easy way to help lower nitric oxide in the brain and alleviate anxiety is with the use of the amino acid, l-theanine.
L-theanine, a Component of Green Tea Prevents 3-Nitropropionic Acid -Induced Striatal Toxicity by Modulating Nitric Oxide Pathway.
The neuroprotective potential of L-theanine involves inhibition of detrimental nitric oxide production and prevention of neurotransmitters alteration in the striatum.
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Overview Of Thyroid Hormone Metabolism In The Brain
The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis is a complex interplay between several factors: thyroid hormones, deiodinase enzymes, transporter proteins, and receptors. An understanding of the interactions of these factors may contribute to better elucidate the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders as well as the response to psychiatric treatment.
Thus, the HPT axis includes complex pathways and impairment in its components has been linked in some studies to behavioral changes as will be further pointed out.
Hypothyroidism And Anxiety: Whats The Connection
Hypothyroidism has long been associated with depression, but anxiety is common as well. Find out why and what you can do to feel better.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that can leave you feeling sluggish and contribute to weight gain and mood changes, so its not a surprise that it can be tied to depression. But hypothyroidism symptoms can also include anxiety. In fact, a review published in June 2018 in JAMA Psychiatry found people with hypothyroidism are more than twice as likely as people without the condition to develop anxiety disorders and that 29.8 percent of all anxiety disorders are associated with autoimmune thyroid disease.
But hypothyroidism can affect women and men for many reasons, according to the ATA. These can range from having autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, to taking certain medications like lithium, to having too much or too little iodine in the body.
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Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
If youre currently drinking coffee, soda, green tea, or black tea, removing or reducing your intake of caffeine can be helpful. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make us feel edgy. It can also lead to heart palpitations and increased feelings of anxiety. I know that personally, I have a limit to how much caffeine I can have in a day until I become anxious.
Some people, who are slow metabolizers of caffeine and do not clear it effectively out of their body, may not be able to have any caffeine at all not even chocolate!
Others, who are fast metabolizers and are able to clear caffeine more quickly from their bodies, may be able to tolerate more daily caffeine without it impacting their anxiety levels.
Regardless of your genes and metabolism of caffeine, the weaker your adrenals and the more unbalanced your blood sugar levels are, the more likely you are to experience anxiety from caffeine. This is because caffeine forces more glucose to be produced by the liver, sending the body on a blood sugar rollercoaster that can trigger anxiety.
Other clients have been able to eliminate their symptoms of anxiety, as well as headaches, palpitations, insomnia, and frequent urination, by cutting back on caffeine.
Fuel Brain Energy With Keto
In some cases, there are other factors that can block brain energy.
For example, there can be a degree of insulin resistance in the brain .
In these cases, we can use an alternative fuel source to restore brain energy quickly.
This is where keto-acids can help.
Studies show that keto-acids can be used to fuel your brain very efficiently in times of need.
They also show that this brain energy boost improves markers of anxiety.
Now, were not talking about your body producing its own ketones. Thats a severe sign of stress. Thats your body trying to survive a serious nutritional deficiency that will shut your thyroid down quickly.
Were talking about getting a highly concentrated source of keto-acids from foods, such as potatoes.
Dr. Raymond Peat has recommended juicing potatoes to remove the starch, leaving behind a keto-acid rich potato juice.
This can be cooked into a pudding like consistency and eaten with plenty of salt to taste.
All of the methods described here can help significantly with anxiety.
An energized brain is one of the most important steps to improving brain function.
1. LeBlanc, Victoria. Introduction to Anxiety Caused by Hypothyroidism. Calm Clinic, 27 Oct. 2018, www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/causes/hypothyroidism.
2. Harvard Health Publishing. Thyroid Deficiency and Mental Health. Harvard Health, May 2007, www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/thyroid-deficiency-and-mental-health.
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How Does This Play Into Your Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Adrenal stress feeds into your sympathetic nervous system which mobilizes your fight-or-flight response. So, something simple like sitting in traffic, standing in line somewhere, getting the kids out the door, or completing a general task will suddenly put you in survival mode and manifest itself as an anxiety attack. Whats happening is that stress gets triggered and that stresses your adrenals which signals your sympathetic nervous system that its high alert time and that spirals into your personal freak out. Stress begets stress this is why even when youre trying to be a normal person, you may have trouble managing your emotions and reactions to situations. When your thyroid and adrenals are out-of-whack, it creates a recipe for panic soup and thats not tasty.
Trouble Concentrating Or Remembering
Many patients with hypothyroidism complain of mental fogginess and trouble concentrating. The way this mental fogginess presents itself varies by person.
In one study, 22% of low-thyroid individuals described increased difficulty doing everyday math, 36% described thinking more slowly than usual and 39% reported having a poorer memory .
In another study of 14 men and women with untreated hypothyroidism, the participants showed difficulty remembering verbal cues .
The causes for this are not yet fully understood, but difficulties in memory improve with treatment of low thyroid hormone .
Difficulties in memory or concentration can happen to everyone, but if they are sudden or severe, they could be a signal of hypothyroidism.
Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause mental fogginess and difficulty concentrating. It may also impair certain kinds of memory.
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Hypothyroidism Is When The Thyroid Does Not Create Enough Thyroid Hormone Causing Many Symptoms Can Hypothyroidism Cause Anxiety Then
Anxiety is a frustrating condition of internal turmoil, frequently followed by anxious conduct. It is the subjectively repulsive sentiments of fear over expected occasions, such as the inclination of fast approaching death. Anxiety is not the same as trepidation, which is a reaction to a genuine or visible threat. It is an inclination of dread, stress, and uneasiness, normally summed up and unfocused as an overcompensation to a circumstance that is subjectively seen as menacing. Some health conditions can trigger anxiety and it’s essential to get the underlying condition treated.
Hyperthyroidism And Your Heart
Some people may be misdiagnosed as having panic disorder or heart problems. In reality, they may actually have an overactive thyroid. The body makes too much thyroid hormone, which causes the heart to work harder. This can create symptoms such as:
- Rapid heart rate, even at rest and especially after exertion
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased cardiac output
- Increased pulmonary artery pressure
- Chest pain
- Increased heart contractions
Once treated for their overactive thyroid, these people go on to be free of these symptoms. However, the condition also raises the risk for other heart conditions.
These other issues can lead to palpitations and feelings akin to panic attacks on their own. They include:
- Heart failure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Pulmonary hypertension
A condition called toxic multinodular goiter, caused by nodules growing on the thyroid gland, also may cause episodes of overactive thyroid. These episodes can be a trigger for panic attacks or cause heart palpitations.
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What Can You Do
Remember to eliminate, and then reintroduce and then consume to your tolerance. Some people need to be very strict, other people have some leeway and its important to understand that. Also, to understand that a thyroid condition is not a death sentence, its actually a very manageable condition that should respond well to these therapies, plus or minus medication if you need it. You can live a very healthy, happy, productive life, which is important for people with thyroid problems to hear, because you may have a tendency to be more anxious and depressed. So we dont want to fuel that fire.
The truth actually is that you can be very happy, very healthy and very functional. So hopefully this is a lifeline that will pull you out of any despair you can fall into if youre reading the wrong information on the Internet. So, this is Dr Ruscio with some thoughts on this study Looking at the connection between thyroid autoimmunity, anxiety, depression.
I hope this information helps you get healthy and get back to your life. Thanks.
Need help or would like to learn more?View Dr. Ruscios additional resources
Thyroid Hormones And Anxiety
The impact of anxiety on thyroid hormones is not researched as well as it should be, but the evidence does exist. Gonen M.S. et al found that subclinical thyroid dysfunction enhances anxiety in patients with both hyper- and hypothyroidism.
Mood changes associated with anxiety have a negative impact on a patients quality of life.
The same group of scientists explained, in their review, that although normal in range average thyroid hormone profile of hypothyroid subjects was still lower than in euthyroid persons. People with hypothyroidism had different levels of free T4 than their counterparts with the healthy gland.
Whats more, disturbances in fT4 could be the cause of mood disturbances in hypothyroid patients with anxiety.
Kikuchi M. et al also discovered that anxiety disorder is linked with some alterations in thyroid hormone levels. This particular research focused on panic disorder and found that the more severe panic attacks, the higher the levels of TSH.
Additionally, the severity of anxiety correlated negatively with fT4. As youre already aware, hypothyroidism is characterized by insufficient production of thyroid hormones.
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Hyperthyroid Euthyroid And Hypothyroid
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that regulates energy production and metabolism throughout the entire body. Your heart, brain, skin, gut, and even your body temperature are regulated by your thyroid.
Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones, triiodothyronine and levothyroxine . About 20% of the hormones are T3 and 80% T4. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone, and T4 becomes active when its converted into T3 in cells throughout the body. A third hormone, TSH, is called a thyroid hormone, but its actually produced in the anterior pituitary in the brain. TSH travels to the thyroid gland where it signals to the gland to produce more hormones .
There are lots of reasons to test your thyroid, but when most people get it tested, doctors usually only test TSH. However, to get a more comprehensive picture of whats going on, its important to also test T3 and T4.
Too much or too little of the thyroid hormones can have a major impact on your health, including mood changes and the ability to remain calm and centered. But even when blood levels of T3 and T4 are normal, which is called euthyroid, there could still be problems. Even when T3 and T4 are normal, if TSH is normal, theres still an up to 50% increased risk for fractures.
Mild Hypothyroidism May Contribute To Depression
While more severe hypothyroidism might lead to more depressive symptoms, even cases of a milder underactive thyroid may cause problems. Some research has found that subclinical hypothyroidism, in which TSH levels are on the higher end of the normal range or barely above normal, may be linked to depression.
One study found that 63.5% of participants who had subclinical thyroid problems, or had symptoms of underactive thyroid but were below the diagnostic criteria for hypothyroidism, exhibited symptoms of depression. Treatment with thyroid hormone led to some relief, but it was not enough on its own to induce full recovery.
The connection between underactive thyroid and depression is strong enough that the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists suggests that all people diagnosed with depression should be evaluated for subclinical or clinical hypothyroidism.
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