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.