Depression and Your Thyroid

Depression and Your Thyroid

There is a very strong chemical relationship between the levels of certain ‘happy hormones’ (neurotransmitters) in your brain, and your thyroid hormones. In carrying out some research recently this intrigued me and I wanted to share it with you.

The Seratonin Connection

You have probably heard of Seratonin? It’s one of the key neurotransmitters in the brain that help us to feel happy and content. Interestingly however it has been discovered that when the levels of Seratonin fall, the pituitary gland (the master gland in the body) reacts by ensuring more TSH Thyroid Stimulating hormone is produced to ensure the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones. This is important because thyroid hormones enhance the action of Seratonin in your brain cells. Although it’s not conclusive, it seems that without adequate thyroid hormones particularly T3, the brain cannot use the available Seratonin adequately and this can cause depression.

Scientific Study Links Underactive thyroid with Depression

In a study where severely depressed patients were screened for thyroid disease 15% had an under active thyroid but even more important than that was that in most cases the thyroid was only slightly under functioning. It seems that in susceptible people, just a slight under functioning of the thyroid can tip them into depression.
(M.S Gold, A L C Pottach and I. Extein “Symptomless autoimmune thyroiditis in Depression”. Psychiatry Research 6 142 1982 :262-269).
“It is now understood that thyroid hormones are one of the key aspects of brain chemistry disorders.” (p82 The Thyroid Solution: Ridha Arem M.D.Ballantine Books 2007)

What does T3 do in the Brain?

As more research is gathered it appears that the thyroid hormone known as T3 is an absolutely essential brain chemical. This means that if your levels are inadequate, your brain will not function correctly. T3 is found in the synapses (junctions) between nerve cells in the brain where nerves communicate with one another and as I have said, T3 regulates the action of Seratonin as well as noradrenlaine and GABA. All of these chemicals are significant players in depressive states.

Anxiety and Your Thyroid

In the USA 27% of adults suffer from an anxiety disorder in their lifetime; and 15 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder at any given moment. That’s a lot of anxiety!
It is postulated that noradrenaline imbalances in the brain may be responsible for anxiety disorders or panic attacks.
If your thyroid hormones are not available in sufficient quantities then imbalances in noradrenaline can occur.
It seems that a well balanced amount of available T3 in the brain is essential for maintaining mood stability.
If you are prone to anxiety and/or depression for no apparent reason then you should:
Get your thyroid function checked. Ask for TSH, T4, T3 and reverse T3 as well as thyroid antibodies.
Check your Iodine levels as inadequate iodine can cause the thyroid to under function.

The importance of Selenium

Selenium should be available in foods we eat from our soil but although some areas of the world have adequate Selenium levels , many do not. Selenium is a component of the enzyme that converts thyroid hormone T4 to active T3. Deficiencies of Selenium can definitely impair thyroid function and induce hypothyroidism. Low levels of Selenium can promote autoimmune attacks on the Thyroid. However research as shown that too much can also affect thyroid function adversely so it is advisable to take it under the guidance of a natural or nutritional practitioner.

If you are living in the UK and Europe then your dietary levels of Selenium have dropped by 50% in the last decade. Readers from the USA are more likely to have adequate Selenium levels as the soil has a better Selenium content.

The Importance of Iodine

Too much Iodine can cause autoimmune attacks on the Thyroid gland. Too little can cause under function. So it is vital to have your Iodine levels checked by your primary care physician.

The Vitamin A connection

Vitamin A is essential for the conversion of T4 to T3. Too much animal based vitamin A can be toxic so get your Vitamin A from plant based sources such as the potent antioxidants carotinoid beta-carotene.

Antioxidants and The Thyroid

Thyroid imbalance can cause you to become deficient in antioxidants, thereby promoting excessive free radical production. Overactive thyroid cause greater consumption of oxygen in the body which is toxic to cells. Supplementing with vitamins C and E helps clear damaging oxidants.

If you suffer from depression and have not had your thyroid function adequately checked then make an appointment to do so today.

Happy Homeopathic healing to you all!

© Sam Adkins 2011
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This article was brought to you by Sam Adkins The Homeopathic Coach who teaches families about healthy living and natural remedies using homeopathic medicine. An internationally renowned expert, her helpful articles are regularly syndicated online. She publishes the ezine Homeopathy @ Home to provide free Homeopathic tips, tools and resources to educate and inspire you to use Homeopathy at home. Get Sam’s BLOG.

Sam Adkins
My name is Sam Adkins, known also as The Homeopathic Coach. I have been working as a Homeopath since 2003 in both Australia, the UK and internationally via skype. I am also a qualified and experienced holistic counsellor using a Process Oriented Psychology approach. I like to combine both these skill sets to facilitate greater balance, wellness and happiness for my clients.


  1. Beautiful explanation!


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