If you suffer from depression, or you feel like you suffer from frequent bouts of “brain fog”—that disconcerting condition when you feel you can’t concentrate no matter how much you try– one possible cause may be your thyroid.
General physical and emotional health includes a healthy thyroid gland. The thyroid is an endocrine gland that sits in the front of the throat, just above the collar bone. The gland’s butterfly-shape might suggest a gentle presence, but the thyroid is a powerful workhorse and is responsible for a great many of the body’s functions. Because of the enormity of the biochemical effect that the thyroid has on the entire system, our emotions can be swept up by changes in the thyroid’s hormonal output.
Here is a very quick lesson in endocrine system: the thyroid’s hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4), help to control the body’s metabolism. Breathing, heart rate, body temperature, body weight, and menstrual cycles are a few of the functions that are controlled by the thyroid. When the metabolism needs to be sped up, the thyroid releases more T3 and T4 into the system; when everythingthyrglutenglute needs to slow down, the thyroid backs off and responds by releasing less of these hormones. Easy, right? It’s like a child’s seesaw and the thyroid is working to keep everything balanced.
When issues arise with the thyroid and its ability to function properly, the results can be both physical and emotional. The delicate balance of the body’s function is thrown slightly off, and the results can be disorienting.
If the thyroid is producing too much hormone, the result is hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is marked by sweating and sensitivity to temperatures; hand trembling; hair loss; and anxiety or irritability.
Hypothyroidism is the condition that occurs when the thyroid underproduces the hormones necessary for a balanced system. Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Sensitivity to cold
- Frequent and heavy periods
- Difficulty concentrating (aka brain fog)
- Muscle and joint fatigue
- And yes, depression
There are many causes of hypothyroidism:
- Inflammation of the thyroid
- Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder in which the thyroid is attacked by the immune system
- Surgery on the thyroid
- Certain medications
- radiation treatments
- And congenital hypothyroidism
Who is more at risk for hypothyroidism?
The well-documented list includes people who:
- Are women
- Are over 60 years of age
- Have a family history of thyroid issues
- Have type 1 diabetes
- Have rheumatoid arthritis
- Were pregnant or had a baby in the last six months
- Suffered from any number of different issues that affect the thyroid in one manner or another.
If you are depressed– especially if the depression is coupled with any of the other symptoms– and you fall into one of the at-risk categories for hypothyroidism, it might be a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to have your thyroid tested. The doctor will give you a simple blood test to check your levels of T3 and T4.
Thyroid Loving Care also offers an at-home Thyroid Testing Kit through its partner Paloma Health. You can read more about it HERE.
An estimated 4.6% of the US population over the age of 12 suffers from hypothyroidism. The condition can be so mild that it is deemed “subclinical.” No big red flags go up when you are tested. But being told the condition is mild does little to help when faced daily with the symptoms that accompany the condition, especially depression and brain fog. All the times you have simply thought that it might be “in your head”—or worse, you were told it was in your head– in fact, it was your thyroid.
So, if you test positive for hypothyroidism, what do you do next?
There is a great deal of scientific data that suggests that a healthy thyroid gland is directly connected to a healthy stomach and digestive system. There are all sorts of foods, like carbs and chocolate, that might taste wonderful going down—your body may even crave these foods—but that have a negative effect on your stomach and digestive system—your gut.
So, one of the best ways that you can help your thyroid and reduce the symptoms of hypothyroidism, is to take better care of your gut.
All those cravings that you try so hard to ignore, or that you are busy fulfilling, are slowly creating a toxic environment in your gut. Gluten, sugar, alcohol, and chemicals like preservatives wear away at the lining of the intestine, creating cracks and holes, until they can get into the tissue and possibly into the bloodstream. The result is known as “leaky gut,” an unattractive but entirely appropriate name for the condition. Leaky gut causes a systemic inflammation because many of the proteins found in food aren’t normally found outside of the digestive tract. Consequently, the body initiates inflammation as a response to the “foreign” particles.
Also, leaky gut affects the normal bacteria—the gut flora—normally found in the digestive system. These changes lead to problems in the digestive system and beyond, and one of the places most affected is the thyroid gland.
The fastest path to restoring the gut flora to your system and therefore a healthy balance to the entire digestive tract, is to create change in your diet that better serves your gut health.
- Eliminate sugar from your diet. We all know the mood swings associated with sugar—just give a plate of cupcakes to room full of six-year-olds and see what happens. Too much or too little sugar can cause irritability, depression, and lethargy, among other issues. Sugar can exacerbate depression. And sugar is huge source of inflammation. Get rid of the sugar and allow the gut to heal.
- Eliminate gluten and soy. Same reasons as sugar. The digestive tract can have a difficult time with gluten and soy, causing inflammation that might go unchecked by your doctor. Again, by eliminating it from your diet, your gut has an opportunity to heal itself. Interestingly, new research shows that there the same genetic components that cause thyroiditis are also markers for celiac disease which is an allergy to gluten.
- You may want to take a break from dairy. Dairy can cause a great deal of inflammation.
And lastly, and extremely importantly…
- Take a probiotic supplement consistently for at least six months. Probiotics are microorganisms that assist the body in restoring gut health. MegaSporeBiotic is a broad-spectrum probiotic that has been clinical shown to maintain healthy intestinal lining. It is a pharmaceutical-grade blend of five bacillus spores that can withstand the harsh environment of the stomach. With a six-month program of MegaSporeBiotic, and an elimination of sugars, gluten, soy, and any of the other irritants that may be causing systemic inflammation, your thyroid will see improvement. And as your thyroid responds, the depression and irritation will fade to thing of the past.
We here at Thyroid Loving Care focus on holistic solutions to thyroid imbalances. That’s all we do. We work hard on our products so that you don’t have to be a prisoner of depression, distracted by brain fog, or dependent on pharmaceuticals. We developed our top selling product, MegaSporeBiotic, to be a probiotic that aides the gut, and therefore helps your thyroid.
And a happy thyroid will lead to happier days…We promise.