The auto-immune, thyroid & mental health connection

The thyroid gland, auto-immunity and mental health

What do these all have in common?  A LOT!!!

Most people who come to see me for depression, anxiety, mood ups/downs, hair loss, insomnia, weight problems, etc etc… I discover that they have a thyroid gland which isn’t working up to speed.  Why?  Because of auto-immunity.  Often this hasn’t been found as yet by their GP.  Or has been found – but it isn’t yet bad enough for the person to be put on replacement thyroid hormone (i.e. their thyroid gland hasn’t had enough destruction yet for it to completely stop working).  I’d probably discover a few non diagnosed early or full blown auto-immune thyroid cases each month at least.

So it is recommended that these people wait and watch, and retest in 6 months or so, to see if it has progressed or worsened.  Personally I prefer to be proactive…

  • I want to introduce what the thyroid gland needs in terms of nutritional deficiencies so it functions more optimally
  • And I want to reduce or remove completely what is getting in the way of it working to its best ability

Auto-immune thyroid disease is the most prevalent cause of thyroid dysfunction in Australia.  Anyone I see in my practice, whether for whole body Naturopathic/Nutrition consultations; or Counselling/Psychotherapy – if anyone has energy problems/fatigue, brain fog, heart rate imbalances, digestion issues, mood and body temperature imbalances – I suggest they get a full thyroid panel blood test done asap (see below for what that involves).

Mental health for one – can be enormously affected by whether your thyroid is working well or isn’t working well.  If your thyroid is not working as it should, therapy will be only so supportive.  That’s why I prefer a whole body approach to mental health.

And it would seem that due to our “under testing” of whole thyroid function in our country (for many reasons which I understand, and also don’t understand) – many people with thyroid issues are missed and labelled instead with “depression”, “anxiety”, “Bi-polar”, “early menopause”, you name it…it can mimic many conditions.

The thyroid has been referred to as the canary in the coal mine due to its ability to show up as an early warning sign for underlying issues such as…

  • toxicity (heavy metals, environmental toxins such as VOC’s, building chemicals, moulds etc…)
  • too much stress & too little quality sleep
  • food sensitivities/allergies
  • gut integrity issues (leaky gut/intestinal hyper-permeability)
  • gut micro-biome imbalances
  • infections (EBV, herpes viruses, H.Pylori etc)
  • water damaged sick building syndrome or mould illness

Under these “right” conditions, our immune processes attack thyroid cells by mistake.  This is NOT what we want happening in our body.  And it can be changed for the better when we alter these conditions or our internal terrain/environment.

I don’t see too many, if ANY thyroid conditions which do not respond beautifully to the above interventions.  Even when an individual is already on thyroid medication for an under active thyroid (or originally slow thyroid) – they still need to address these issues above.  For unless these measures are followed, the auto-immunity will still be present and driving symptoms which do not entirely go away.  The risk is that more auto-immune conditions appear, if the original warning bells were not heeded.

Full thyroid testing needs to cover the following for a complete picture of thyroid health and possible auto-immunity risk – and they need to be not just in the range but at optimal functioning…

  • TSH (ideally needs to be below 2 for optimal health, fertility and energy)
  • Free T3
  • Free T4
  • Thyroid anti-bodies (ideally none present)
  • Reverse T3 (ideally try to get this, but if money is an issue focus on above primarily.  The higher this number is, then this shows your adrenals are being flogged in helping out your thyroid to work, and/or you are low in vital nutrients that a healthy thyroid requires)

In a nutshell, specific dietary changes, removing certain toxins specific to you, and adding vital nutrients lacking in your diet or soil is a must for a healthy thyroid.  It really is an easy fix when you know what to do.  Whether you already have a thyroid issue and still don’t feel 100%, or you don’t feel great and you are wondering if you fall into this category – come and talk with me.  It is too common…and all too preventable.


Categories: energy, immunity, mental health, depression, anxiety, mindfulness, winter energy, auto-immunity, auto-immune.

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