Anxiety and Thyroid Health


So what is anxiety? It's actually a protective mechanism. Like pain, it keeps you safe when danger is near. Anxiety motivates you to accomplish goals. Some people have a hard time turning off the feeling of anxiety. Others the severity shoots up so high and fast that they experience panic attacks.

So what can you do? Well, I wish I could tell you that there was a single pill that could solve all your troubles. Anxiety is a complicated, chronic problem. This means it ultimately has many causes both involving the mind and body.

At my last community talk, I reviewed the anxiety - hormone connection. 

The thyroid hormones are where I like to look first. If your thyroid is out of balance, you could experience a range of symptoms like anxiety, heart palpitations, foggy memory, low mood, sensitivities to temperature changes, and even constipation.

Blood tests are routinely run to evaluate your thyroid health. So often many people are told their thyroid function is fine, even though they are experiencing symptoms of low thyroid. This is because TSH is most often the only marker of thyroid health run. This is actually not your active thyroid hormone! I commonly see this marker normal with other markers out of balance. I prefer to get the whole picture so at a minimum I always run at least 2 markers to assess thyroid health. A complete thyroid panel runs at least 6 + markers. 

Comprehensive Thyroid Panel
Thyroid stimulating hormone - TSH
Storage thyroid hormone - free T4
Active thyroid hormone - free T3
Thyroid peroxidase antibody
Thyroglobulin antibody
Reverse T3

At the very least, the active thyroid markers should be checked. 

Another thing I want you to know is that "normal" is not "optimal". So many people with thyroid symptoms have blood markers that are "normal". We call this a functional thyroid problem and we have many tools to "optimize" the thyroid.

I like to always use food first.  Brazil nuts is one functional food packed with selenium. This nutrient is important for thyroid hormone production.

It can be overwhelming thinking of all the steps needed for recovery. This often prevents us from taking the first step.

If you are feeling trapped from anxiety, I want you to know recovering from anxiety naturally is possible!

Dr. Nathan Jeffery, ND, BSc.