Anxiety and panic attacks are actually pretty common symptoms when it comes to thyroid imbalance. I have personally experienced both of these symptoms (more often than I would like to admit) when I was struggling through my thyroid issues. It can be very frustrating and even a little debilitating – especially if you have never experienced it before. Through my own experience working with a nutritional therapist, and then my own nutritional therapy training I have learned a few ways to use diet and lifestyle as a tool to reduce and support anxiety naturally.
More times than not when someone has some form of thyroid imbalance or dysfunction, anxiety, and or panic attacks, these symptoms are often rooted in adrenal imbalance and or amino acid and mineral deficiency.
The adrenal glands are basically the body’s emergency system. When the body is under chronic stress, the adrenals will release cortisol into the bloodstream. Over time, this chronic output of cortisol will wreak havoc and weaken the endocrine system, digestive system, liver, brain, and create thyroid hormone imbalances, with symptoms such as anxiety and panic attacks.
If you want to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, I would suggest that you start by supporting your adrenal glands.
Other adrenal imbalance symptoms:
♦ afternoon fatigue
♦ digestive issues
♦ craving sugar in the afternoons
♦ hormonal imbalances
♦ blood sugar imbalance
♦ low libido
♦ extra weight gain around the waist
♦ walking up in the middle of the night
♦ getting a second wind at the end of the day
♦ PCOS and infertility
♦ brain fog
♦ unable to relax and take time off
♦ cravings for salty food
♦ thyroid hormone imbalance
Being deficient in specific amino acids and minerals can also have a big impact on your mood, and manifest in symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc.
The Mood Cure by Julia Ross is a fabulous resource that goes into depth on this topic.
Symptoms of low amino acids in the body
Low in Serotonin:
♦ often worried and anxious
♦ irritable and impatient
♦ anxiety and panic attacks
♦ hate hot weather
♦ obsessive behavior
♦ shy or fearful
♦ dislike dark weather, or have clear-cut fall/winter depression
♦ fear of heights, flying, enclosed spaces
Low in Catecholamines:
♦ often feel depressed
♦ low in physical or mental energy
♦ difficulty concentrating
♦ put on weight too easily
♦ you feel a need for caffeine, sugar, or sodas to keep you going
Low in GABA/Cortisol:
♦ feel overworked, pressured, or deadlines
♦ your body feels stiff and uptight
♦ feel overwhelmed as if you can’t get it all done
♦ sensitive to bright light, noise, or chemical fumes
♦ easy upset, frustrated, or snappy under stress
♦ you to wear dark sunglasses
Low in Endorphins:
♦ you tear up easy or cry
♦ tend to avoid dealing with painful issues
♦ you crave pleasure, comfort, enjoyments from foods, wine, or coffees
♦ you’ve been through a great deal of physical or emotional pain
Symptoms of mineral deficiency
♦ poor cognitive processing and function
♦ sluggish digestion
♦ poor sleep quality
♦ mood and behavioral disorders
♦ muscle cramping at rest
♦ numbness and tingling
♦ dry mouth, eyes, nose
♦ wounds heal slowly
♦ white spots on fingernails
♦ gag easily
♦ difficulty swallowing
♦ chocolate cravings
♦ history of anemia
♦ morning stiffness
♦ pain or swelling in joints
♦ frequent rashes or hives
♦ joint pop or click
11 Steps to support and reduce anxiety naturally
1. Eat breakfast within 30 minutes to 1 hour of waking up. This is a very unpopular stance (hello intermittent fasting trend) but will be life-changing when implemented. If you tend to wait any longer than this, it causes blood sugar levels to decrease dramatically and this puts extra (and unnecessary) strain on your adrenal glands, which can lead to anxiety.
I understand that it is not always feasible to do this, especially when you have small children, a little hack you can implement is to eat a small nourishing snack (a glass of raw milk, some gelatin gummies, a small bowl of yogurt with raw honey) to hold you over while getting around to making a nourishing breakfast.
2. Do not skip meals. It is very important to include some protein, healthy carbohydrates, and fat in all of your meals. Skipping meals will put more strain on your adrenal glands, and it will end up increasing your symptoms. The body needs nutrients and nourishment to function optimally, restricting and eliminating these vital components will lead to dysfunction and imbalance.
3. Eat slow and mindfully, sitting down to eat each meal. Don’t eat on the go, when you are stressed out, or even while driving. This will only inhibit your body from using the nutrients in your food that it needs to help reduce all the symptoms. The body can not prioritize digestion when it is in a chronic state of stress (sympathetic state.) Here’s an article to help you understand the importance of eating in a slow and relaxed state.
4. Supplement various forms of magnesium throughout the day. When we are stressed out, the first mineral our body burns through is magnesium (hello common deficiency.) Magnesium deficiency is a big thing in the overall population, and this important mineral is very calming and soothing to the central nervous system. Magnesium deficiency is most often caused by the over-consumption of processed foods and sugar, high stress, or being in a chronic sympathetic state. When stressed out, the body turns to magnesium first, and this is why we need so much of the vital mineral. A super (and relaxing) way to increase magnesium stores in the body is to take a magnesium salt bath for 20-25 minutes – add your favorite essential oil (I love the Adpativ blend) to help relax your body and in turn replenish the magnesium stores. This lotion is also a great option to increase magnesium levels topically. I always recommend getting a variety of the different kinds of magnesium when supplementing – I love Smidge Morning and Evening Magnesium (available on my Fullscript dispensary), as well as this liquid form.
5. Take the right kind of B-vitamins. I love and recommend Cataplex B from Standard Process (available on my Fullscript dispensary). These vitamins are vital for adrenal health and many people do not get enough of them. If you don’t tolerate B vitamin supplements well, pastured beef liver capsules or powder several days throughout the week can be very helpful.
6. Go to bed by 9 pm each night and eat a bedtime snack. The best and most effective way to heal the adrenal glands, and in turn help balance the thyroid hormones and reduce anxiety is with sleep. Eating a small nourishing bedtime snack will also help to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the night. Sleep plays such a key role. If you find you have trouble sleeping at night or wake up shortly after falling asleep, you can troubleshoot here.
7. Include protein at each meal. It is important to get whole protein from foods like pastured meat, pastured organ meats (liver), poultry, wild seafood, and pastured eggs. Amino acids from pastured animal foods are so important to help reduce anxiety and depression. A variety of properly raised animal products are essential for optimal health and wellness.
8. Diffuse essential oils throughout the day to help you feel more relaxed. If you are unable to diffuse essential oils, put a drop or two on the soles of your feet twice a day to help lower the stress levels. This study found that simply inhaling lavender oil can decrease cortisol levels. This is such great news for the adrenals. I love diffusing essential oils throughout the house, so we can all enjoy the therapeutic benefits.
** always make sure you only use pure therapeutic grade essential oils so that you aren’t adding any synthetic chemicals to your body – this will only stress your body out more.
9. Eat pastured animals fats. The body has this amazing ability to produce cannabinoids from healthy animal fats in the diet. When the body is well-regulated, the endocannabinoids act like “feel-good chemicals” that provide the proper production of just the right amount of dopamine and limit the overproduction of cortisol. You can learn more about all the fantastic roles of fat here, and the best fats for cooking and baking here.
10. Use CBD oil as a tool, while working on the foundations. CBD oil at its core works to reduce inflammation – and that is typically the root cause for many health struggles and diseases. Full-spectrum CBD oil work to balance the endocannabinoid system – and this system is made up of different receptors throughout the body to help the body run smoothly and balanced. These receptors impact sleep, nerve function, mood, appetite, memory, pain receptors, reproduction and so much more. CBD oil binds to these receptors and helps them to function more efficiently. CBD oil is most effective when used consistently.
11. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water every day.
Drinking ½ your weight in ounces a day is a great goal. Proper hydration is really important for the endocrine system. Without the right amount of water (and minerals), the body can’t transport all the necessary nutrients and hormones to the cells properly. It is essential to make sure that you drink plenty of clean filtered water each day.
I love adding a pinch of sea salt to my water to help with replenishing and balancing minerals.
12. Prioritize taking a day each week to rest and reset.
While it is popular to glorify busy and to “hustle” that kind of mentality can lead to all sorts of health problems and consequences. It will strain the adrenal glands and as a result, cause very negative symptoms throughout the body. Take a day every week. Turn off your cell phone, go outside, or even just sleep all day if that is what your body is craving.
** Please note: I am not saying there isn’t a place for medication and medical intervention, or that everyone can eliminate anxiety and panic attacks through natural means. These are simply some ideas to support your body and to use as a tool in conjunction with whatever instructions from the medical provider.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Use code “NURTUREMEWILD” at checkout to save 10% off your entire first order over at Perfect Supplements!
Use code “NURTUREMEWILD” at checkout to save 10% off your entire first order over at Crucial Four!
Use code “NURTUREMEWILD” at checkout to save 10% off your entire first order over at Live Pristine!
Use code “NURTUREMEWILD” at checkout to save 15% off your entire first order of CBD products over at Equilibria!
Use code “FIRSTTIME” at checkout to save 10% off your entire first order over at Earthly Wellness!