How Thyroid Antibodies Affect Your Mood
Figuring out the causes of your anxiety and depression can be frustrating. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications and supplements certainly have an important role to play in relieving mood symptoms. But I’m always disappointment when I see that the treatment plan usually stops there. We should be doing a much better job at uncovering and treating potential contributing factors to anxiety and depression. The health of your thyroid is one such factor.
If your thyroid is overactive or underactive it can contribute to depression and anxiety. Pretty much all health care providers are aware of this so if you complain about your mood or anxiety levels, there’s a good chance your TSH and T4 (maybe T3) will be tested. If these come back normal, your thyroid is crossed off the list as a cause of concern.
But did you know that the health of your thyroid could be affecting your mood even if your thyroid hormone levels are normal? There is growing evidence that elevated thyroid antibodies can play a role in depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and panic attacks even if thyroid hormone levels are normal. I’m starting to see a few more patients coming to me with thyroid antibody test results, but I’m still surprised that antibodies are not tested more often.
What are thyroid antibodies? Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that governs your metabolism and is in charge of a number of different functions. Thyroid antibodies form when your immune system accidentally decides to attack various components of your thyroid. This leads to inflammation and damage in your thyroid. Sure, this damage can cause abnormalities in your actual thyroid hormones – but not always. Just because your thyroid hormones are normal doesn’t mean we can ignore thyroid antibodies.
Testing thyroid antibodies involves a simple blood test and it’s relatively inexpensive. I run antibody tests for my patients all the time and the results help me to decide what treatments are worth while and what aren’t.
Anxiety and depression can have multiple different root causes. Sometimes the causes are obvious and sometimes they’re not. If you really feel ready to do a deep dive into the potential contributing factors to your mood symptoms, reach out to me and we can discuss options. You deserve to have a comprehensive, robust treatment plan for your mood symptoms.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].