What You May Not Know
About Hypothyroidism And Depression

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What You May Not Know About Hypothyroidism And Depression

When it comes to depression causes, deficiency in the thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) is a potential culprit.

This is something many people do not know about. In fact, many sufferers of hypothyroidism are not even aware that they are suffering from this condition.

Yet psychiatrist Mark Gold and his associates at the Fair Oaks Hospital in New Jersey, as well as many others, have confirmed through studies involving more than a thousand patients that 20 to 50% percent of depressives who are not responsive to drugs have mild or subclinical hypothyroidism, if not full blown deficiency in the thyroid hormone. [1].

This means that you don’t need to have full blown hypothyroidism or a hypothyroidism diagnosis for deficiency in the thyroid hormone to be one of your depression causes, or for you to benefit from thyroid hormone treatment.


Functions of the thyroid and thyroid hormones

The thyroid plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism and calcium balance in the body.

Thyroxine (T4) is the key hormone produced by the thyroid gland. T4 is subsequently converted to triiodothyronine (T3), the biologically more active version of the thyroid hormone. [2]

In turn, these thyroid hormones are crucial for the use of nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, electrolytes and water), energy and oxygen, heat production, growth, immune regulation in the intestines, and fertility [2]. The hormones also sensitize the brain’s nerve cells to the brain’s natural “stimulants” and “tranquilizers” (e.g. serotonin) [1].

Other hormones linked to the function of the thyroid include

  • thyrotropin (also known as the thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH), which is secreted by the pituitary gland when T4 drops to stimulate thyroxine production.

  • the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), which is produced by the hypothalamus in the brain and monitors thyrotropin levels. [2]

When you have a deficiency in the thyroid hormone, you have hypothyroidism or low thyroid functions. In turn, hypothyroidism is either caused by the underproduction of the thyroid hormone, or the excessive breakdown of the hormone, as in Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis (HAIT) where the body produces thyroid antibodies that kill off thyroid hormones in the body). Both forms of hypothyroidism can contribute to depression causes.


Hypothyroidism and depression

If you are wondering what the thyroid hormone has to do with depression causes, here’s the link.

Because the thyroid hormone enables the efficient use of oxygen by cells in the body, deficiency in the thyroid hormone is one of the potential depression causes due to insufficient oxygen supply to the brain [3]. Deficiency in the thyroid hormone also brings about lowered immunity and increased infections, which can in turn contribute to depression.

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