Is Depression Caused By Thyroid Disease?

Issue #231  August 25, 2014

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.

I hope everyone is doing well.

Today, Suzy Cohen is going to talk about depression. With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, depression is in the spotlight and Suzy was asked if she had any suggestions to help those who suffer from depression. Many people do not know that depression is also caused by hypothyroidism, a fact that many health care providers seem to ignore especially if  your thyroid labs are normal, regardless of how you actually feel. Suzy also included some additional reasons why you may be suffering with depression.



Depression can be caused by many factors, but one main cause may be thyroid disease.

By Suzy Cohen

Dear Pharmacist: I am saddened by the suicide of Robin Williams. I’ve dealt with depression on and off for years, and I was wondering if you have any natural suggestions for me to ask my doctor about?

— L.C., Gainesville

Answer: When I hear a person say they’ve battled depression “on and off” for a long period of time, I ask the question why is it on and off? Something you are eating, doing, or taking is impacting you so much so, that your mood is affected. Hormone imbalances are frequently the problem, especially estrogen and testosterone.

Thyroid hormone is my specialty, and if it drops too low, you get depressed. When it moves into a healthy range, you feel happy and content. When I say “normal range” I don’t mean the normal reference range indicated on your lab test. My opinion is that the so-called normal range is based upon a sick and hypothyroid population. This may explain why you feel terrible but your levels are “normal.” I don’t go by labs, I go by clinical presentation.

I adored Robin Williams; he was brilliant, and behind his smiling eyes and hysterical jokes, he battled depression for years. You may feel the same way as you read this today, and I am glad you’re still holding on. Depression is one of those conditions that people judge. Here are some reasons for depression that you might explore with the help of your physician:

  • Hypothyroidism and hypoadrenia — I’ve mentioned this one already, however, I want you to get a copy of my “Thyroid Healthy” book so you learn how to test properly. Testing and treatment is the key to your happiness. Also, do not take thyroid medicine until your adrenal glands are strong and healthy. You may need to be supported adaptogenic herbs, a healthy diet, relaxation and other stress reducers.
  • The Pill — Synthetic hormones for birth control or menopause reduce your body’s levels of B vitamins and minerals to the point where you cannot manufacture happy brain chemicals. A reduction in key neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin causes depression. It could be on and off as you describe.
  • Statins and Binders — We know these drugs reduce CoQ10, but do you realize they crash your ability to activate vitamin D? Ever heard of seasonal affective disorder or SAD? That is often related to low D levels so you might need D if you take cholesterol reducers.
  • Medications — Drugs mug life-sustaining nutrients. Ibuprofen steals folic acid, and diabetic drugs steal B12. Read my “Drug Muggers” book for more drug-induced nutrient depletions. If you take medications periodically, then you can’t make neurotransmitters, then you deal with that “on and off” situation you describe.
  • Infections — Last on my list but huge news. Certain infections that we carry in our body can affect the brain. You can have bipolar, depression, insomnia and/or anxiety because of Bartonella, Lyme, syphilis, HIV, fungal infections (and their mycotoxins), herpes and many others. Clearing the infection improves mood better than any prescribed antidepressant.

One of the best ways to improve your thyroid and adrenal glands is through diet. However, most of us don’t know where to start. If want a reference cookbook to help you on your way to a better diet, take a look at Bite Size Pieces. The author, Connie Rogers, believes changing your diet in bite size pieces is the only way to sustain lasting and beneficial improvements to your diet.

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of ‘The 24-Hour Pharmacist’ and ‘Real Solutions.’ For more information, visit This information is not intended to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure your condition.