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Anxious a Lot? Check Your Body Temperature

temperature and anxiety Are you becoming more anxious, shaky, or confused when faced with stress–or even for no apparent reason at all? If so, check your body temperature. It’s possible your metabolism has slowed down, making you more vulnerable to surges of adrenaline that come with even slight amounts of stress. Anxiety has a very real physical component that can explain why you might be having a hard time maintaining balance with life’s ups and downs.

Research shows that anxiety is more common in people with thyroid problems, both hyper- and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroid is well known for causing rapid or irregular heart rate, nervousness, anxiety and irritability, sweating, and tremors.  But even slightly low thyroid function can have its own subtle symptoms, including anxiety, depression and irritability. Low thyroid activity leads to slowed metabolism and lower body temperature. It impairs the body’s ability to produce important calming neurotransmitters, including GABA and serotonin.  In fact, mood changes may be one of earliest symptoms of impaired thyroid function. It’s even been suggested that some people may have “brain hypothyroidism” while the rest of their body is, essentially, normal. This could be due to defects in thyroid receptor sites in brain cells, or in thyroid hormone transport and uptake into brain cells. It’s also been suggested that stress hormones inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone.

Unfortunately, standard thyroid blood tests do not detect these sorts of thyroid problems. That’s why body temperature needs to be looked at as well. If it is consistently below 97.8 F, there’s a very good chance your metabolism has slowed down. (For complete instructions on how to take your body temperature accurately, see “How are body temperatures measured”.)

If your body temperature is consistently low despite having normal thyroid tests (a condition called Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome) you can discuss taking a course of T3 (active thyroid hormone) with your doctor.   Your doctor can call us at 800.420.5801 to get more information about how to use T3 and to discuss your individual case.  The object of T3 therapy is to normalize your oral body temperatures to average 98.6 during treatment. Proper diet, exercise, sleep, thyroid support herbs and adrenal support herbs can also be helpful for problems with anxiety.

Andrade Junior NE, Pires ML, Thuler LC. Depression and anxiety symptoms in hypothyroid women. Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet. 2010 Jul;32(7):321-6.
Kikuchi M, Komuro R, Oka H, et al. Relationship between anxiety and thyroid function in patients with panic disorder. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Jan;29(1):77-81.

Larisch R, Kley K, Nikolaus S, et al. Depression and anxiety in different thyroid function states. Horm Metab Res. 2004 Sep;36(9):650-3.

Simon NM, Blacker D, Korbly NB, et al. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in anxiety disorders revisited: new data and literature review. J Affect Disord. 2002 May;69(1-3):209-17.

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  1. Karen sweeney November 27, 2013 at 7:11 am - Reply

    I am desperate no purchase Thyrocare .. But for 2 months supply. And the cost of post and’s well over £110…any uggestions anyone please .. X

  2. Donna Ickes December 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Wbat is meant by brain hypothyroid

    • Dr. Denis Wilson December 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      It’s just a term that someone coined to describe the possibility that someone can have low thyroid stimulation of the central nervous system as compared to the rest of the body. It turns out that deiodinase converts T4 to T3. There are two kinds of activating deiodinase found throughout almost all the tissues of the body. One is D1 and the other is D2. However, there is only one activating deiodinase found in the brain and that’s D2. So the brain is different than the rest of the body and can be experiencing something different as well, even if the tests are normal.

  3. Lesa December 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Been suffering anxiety taking ad and atiivan 2mgs as i write.! Nothing is cutting it! I do highly suspect it my thyroid, gp said my “level” was fine- 1.24!! What the h does that mean. I know with all of my being something is not right with my thyroid. I live near Regina Saskatchewan Canada , are there Dr’s there or in sask that do this test!! Plz help

    • Dr. Denis Wilson December 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

      Hi L,
      Most doctors look at thyroid and they think “T4 to normalize TSH” whereas we think “T3 to normalize body temperature.” I know you may not know what I mean by that but suffice it to say that a low temp can explain anxiety. You can check here for a doctor near you:
      Best !

  4. Lynne January 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    My husband has had hives, insomnia , type 2 Diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels even though we eat great, exercise and are at healthy weights. Everything we have tried hasn’t worked. Yesterday we had a miracle happen when someone told us about Wilsons syndrome. We have read all the information on your site and have been taking temps until we see our healthcare provider on Monday! Just wanted to thank you Dr Wilson for walking through the fires to help heal, it’s quiet a blessing for those who desperately seek quality of life!

    We will let you know how it goes! IS there a patient handbook available?

    Again many thanks for showing us the way!


  5. Bett January 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    My temperature has been below 98.6 for as long as I can remember… decades. Every time I took my temp it was around 96.8. Only 1 doctor has ever commented on the low temp.

    Also, it seems like I have always been a person who needed more sleep than others, and ALWAYS had a harder time getting going in the morning than others. I have literally felt sick to my stomach when I have had jobs where I had to be in at 8 or early. So, I have always found jobs where I could go in later and work later in the evening.

    10-15 years ago, I suffered for more than a year with what I thought was Chronic Fatigue, although at the time, no doctor would recognize it or knew how to treat it. I eventually got better. But, my energy level has been up and down.

    2 years ago, after suffering for several years with constant, complete exhaustion again, a “natural” clinic in Houston diagnosed me with low thyroid and some other issues like endometriosis & allergies & migraines. I was also suffering with anxiety attacks. Most of the attacks would occur right when I woke up in the morning, or even if I took a nap in the afternoon. It is very weird, since you would think that, while sleeping, a person would be the most relaxed…. not anxious enough to cause an anxiety attack. I assumed that some hormone or chemical must be released when I sleep and that is what was causing the attack.

    I have been taking “natural” T4/T3 for about 2 years. When the doctor first prescribed the meds, they slowly, over 2 weeks or so, increased my dosage to 5 caps (12.5/3.1 mcg per cap) per day. After a few months, I ended up in the cardiologist’s office thinking I was having a heart attack. It turned out I was taking too much T4/T3, so we reduced it to 3 caps. I started feeling better, however, over the next 1 1/2 years, it seems like the dosage no longer works after a period of time. I go back to feeling totally exhausted most fo the time, so we have to increase the dosage. A couple weeks ago, we increased it to 6 caps per day. I have been feeling like, even though these doctors are into more “natural” approaches and more open to listening than some MDs, they are still missing something. Perhaps this is the “something”.

    I’m going to chart my temps, then bring this up to them. Perhaps I should take T3 without T4 for awhile to see if that makes a difference?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson January 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      Your story is very typical of the stories of some people that respond very well to T3 therapy. You may want to check our list of treating physicians on the website to see if there is a doctor certified in Restorative Medicine near you. Good luck!

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