CATCH 22 - Anti-depressants damage the thyroid!

I've been on anti-depressants for 21 years, really needed them and they helped my state of mind as I was very depressed. Never felt emotionally strong enough to start weaning myself off. But now am demonstrating hypothyroid symptoms (discussed fully in other posts and still undiagnosed). Reallyfedup123 pointed out that anti-depressants damage thyroid (longterm usage I'm guessing she means). What would/should have been my options other than the anti-depressants?

Strangely enough when asking a private specialist why my adrenals were so fatigued, he replied due to my thyroid problems, which he said were down to genetics most likely. He was made fully aware of my anti-depressant usage history but this wasn't mentioned as a possible cause. Google research suggests reallyfedup123 to be correct, though couldn't find definitive info. Any comments appreciated?

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27 Replies

  • Amino acids could be the answer! I believe many cases of depression are causes by gut issues, like gluten intolerance and/or low stomach acid.

    With these problems proteins are not digested properly and therefore the body doesn't get the amino acids needed to make neurotransmitters like serotonin.

    I was on Fluoxetine for a number of years not knowing it contains fluoride, were you on those too?

    I'd recommend the book "The mood cure" by Julia Ross.

    She suggests everyone get on basic "core" supplements to get enough vitamins, minerals, etc, and getting enough protein, proper nutrition overall, avoiding "bad mood" foods, eat more "good mood" foods, etc. It's very comprehensive and easy-to-follow.

    For a lot of people, just the aminos will help -- within minutes oftentimes. But nothing is a magic bullet for everyone. Everyone's physiology is different.

    For me getting on HCI-Pepsin, 5-HTP, Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine has been a God-send. Some will find greater results from tryptophan than 5-HTP -- both are precursors to serotonin, and boost serotonin levels significantly!

  • I've never tried tryptophan, but I do take 5-HTP. It has been an absolute life-saver for me - an anti-depressant with no side effects and no withdrawal problems - wonderful stuff!

    Edit : I should mention that 5-HTP, like any other anti-depressant, can't be mixed with other anti-depressants.

  • Hi kiltis, I was on paroxetine and seroxat for several years, In last year changed to Fluoxetine, hoping would have less effect on energy levels. GP reasoned the change by saying I had been on the previous type for several years so change might be good?!?!?

    I seem to have excess stomach acid as I suffer from acid reflux.

  • Perhaps Sertraline would be better choice for you as fluoride is to avoid, especially for us with thyroid problems. I don't think the doctors have a clue about this though.

    I thought I had excess stomach acid too but learned it was the opposite.

    A test, the "Heidelberg Capsule Test" is available that is capable of scientifically determining the stomach's ability to produce adequate concentrations of acid (HCL).. Unfortunately few physicians have the equipment in their offices to provide it.

    By Chris Kresser

    Heartburn and GERD are not caused by too much stomach acid. They are caused by too little stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and intestines. Therefore successful treatment is based on restoring adequate stomach acid production and eliminating bacterial overgrowth. By Chris Kresser.

    There is a simple and practical way to test whether or not one needs stomach acid supplementation (betaine HCl with pepsin) and even estimate how much one needs:

  • Thank you for your excellent tip re: fluoride and changing to Sertraline.

    I tried the stomach acid home test, but the jury is still out as I wasn't sure what I felt. But I do take a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with water every night which mostly keeps the symptoms under control.

    By the way I'm about to start taking Nutri Adrenal Extra, now that I've just had the blood test for iron, folate, calcium, Vit D, ferritin, B12, FT3. Results due next week. Following blood test resulsts in Oct 2012 of TSH 8.1 H mu/L (0.3-4.2) and FT4 15.6 pmol/L (12-22).

  • You're welcome!

    You sound just like me, I used to take bicarb of soda, aloe vera, ginger, you name it. I've also been on antidepressants for a long time.

    I hope the Nutri Adrenal Extra will work for you.

    I've recently come to understand that having hypo means that we're generally low in stomach acid and also are very susceptible to candida, due to the low body temperature.

    There is an other test you can do, simply take a HCL/pepsin tablet a few minutes into a (protein)meal. If after 10 minutes there is no sense of warmth in your stomach you take two tablets the next day. When you get a warm, slightly burning sensation you go back to the number of tablets you took the day before. Now you know that you have low stomach acid and you also know your dose.

    If you are one of the few people with excess stomach acid you will feel the warm sensation after the first tablet.

    DO NOT do this test if you have PEPTIC ULCERS and please read the info below.

    I got this explained to me by a Swedish doctor.

    Here is more info:

  • Thank you kiltis, I will certainly try this.

    Re: the nutri adrenal extra, recommended by a a private specialist who said that he thought that I had thyroid problems for many years and this has been combined with fatigue and exhaustion of your adrenals. These two problems have created all symptoms. He prescribed Nutri Adrenal Extra (NAX) product code: 3205) and Nutri Thyroid (NT product code: 3201). He recommended that I start with 1 Nutri Adrenal Extra at breakfast and after 10 days have also one at lunch, then later if required 3 a day one with each meal. After 3/4 weeks, start also with the Nutri Thyroid, again with 1 at breakfast, then after 10 days two, then three later on. I was just going to follow this, but on posting on here I was advised to do the iron, folate, calcium, Vit D, ferritin, B12, FT3 tests first, and hopefully be treated by the GP with levythyroxine plus be referred to an endo.

  • Hi kiltis, I just wanted to thank you for bringing to my attention to the fact that I have low stomach acid when I suspected high stomach acid as I suffered from Gerd/heartburn. I have now taken 1 x capsule:: Betaine Hydrochloride- 648 mg- ** Pepsin- 130mg- , at 2 / 3 meals a day for only 2 days and already there is a noticeable difference in my stomach discomfort, so that I don't need the teaspoon of Bicarbonate of soda each night as I did before and much more comfortable through the day and night.

  • I am so glad I could be of help. It's wonderful to hear it has helped you. Thank you for taking the time to let me know :-) x Kat

  • You're welcome. I bought it from, 120 tablets for only £5.59, buy 1 get 1 for £1 and no p&p. It's even easier to take this throughout the day rather than the BOS just before bed when I'm exhausted.

    Do you take anything other from HCI-Pepsin, 5-HTP, Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine, eg: thyroxine and are you hypothyroid?

    I was considering taken Sertraline instead of Fluoxetine, but some posts on here complained of it causing fatigue and also other sources comment on difficult change over period. But am considering tryptophan or 5-HTP as you also suggest.

    If you get a moment would really appreciate your looking over my last thread:


  • I've never been diagnosed as my TSH has never been elevated. It's 0.93. I have however always had hypo symptoms and I believe I have thyroid resistance or Hypothyroidism type 2. I self medicate with T3. I also take tons of vitamins and minerals, Chinese herbs from my acupuncturist and adrenal support.

    I will look into your other thread in a little bit. x Kat

  • Have you had your estrogen and progesterone levels checked? You take HCI-Pepsin for digestion, 5-HTP for mood elevation?, can you let me know what you take Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine for? Thank you for looking at my new post will reply to you there.

  • No I haven't had estrogen and progesterone checked, perhaps I should? Yes I take HCI-Pepsin for digestion, 5-HTP for mood. L-Tyrosine for mood as well, it's a precursor of adrenaline, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are important for maintaining a sense of well-being and energy, and also promote a healthy metabolism and nervous system. Tyrosine also works with iodine to promote thyroid health.

  • Oh DL-phenylalanine I only take sometimes, I can't remember what exactly it does. Check out the Mood Cure, it's really good. Perhaps you can request it at your library?

  • Hi kiltis, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, been a rough couple of weeks. Thank you for clarifying regarding your supplements. I plan to start with Spatone to increase ferritin / folate levels, and also start 5-HTP or tryptophan or/and L-Tyrosine so I can start to wean myself off of Fluoxetine. Yet to send letter but if unsuccessful with GP for Levythyroxene will get either armour or nature-throid from online pharmacy. Is there a preference between these?

    The HCI-Pepsin is still working very well, which I am very pleased about. Regards cc120

  • Just found armour vs other brands article for others interest:

  • Hi cc120, glad to hear the HCI-Pepsin still works well. I've only tried Nature-Throid so couldn't tell which ndt is best. Can I suggest that you get on Levo or ndt first and give it a while before starting to cut down on the Fluoxetine? Just so you know how you react on thyroid replacement without having withdrawals from a/d at the same time.

    Have you done a saliva test for adrenals?

    I know you're adrenal support. It would be a good idea because if you're morning cortisol is low you can then raise it with the ndt (CMT3) or avoid starting levo until it recovers.

  • Hi kiltis, how did nature-throid work for you? I will take your advice re: fluoxetine, thank you. I was prescribed nutri adrenal extra by specialist who can't prescribe thyroxine, following tests he carried out, namely reflex tests. I would do the adrenal test if money wasn't a problem, for sure. Wouldn't be surprised if morning cortisol is low as don't feel great when I wake up. I will try to increase ferritin/follate, b12 and d3 (though not tested, assumed low) levels, then get them tested before starting either armour/ndt or levythyroxine.

  • My husband very reluctantly took seroxat for just a few months when thyroxine failed to touch all his symptoms following thyroidectomy for graves disease

    in his words they were hell to get on and even more hell to get off

    the difference in my husband on armour thyroid is incredible versus the half a life on lousy thyroxine or t3 or any combination of thyroxine and t3

    My daughter and grandaughter are similarily going nowhere on the synthetic thyroid meds

  • I was on Venlafaxine and the withdrawal symptoms were horrendous. It should be illegal to prescribe that poison. No one bothered to tell me about the hell of coming of them either. I guess they had planned for me to be on them for the rest of my life :-( NDT/T3 and amino acids made it possible for me to come off it antidepressants and feel good for the first time in 16 years.

    I hope your daughter and grandaughter can start Armour instead of synthetic thyroid meds.

  • Is a NHS endo likely to prescribe armour?

  • The odd few will but the new CCGs are blocking prescribing of anything but lousy useless thyroxine

  • Why do you think that is?

    CCGs: Clinical Commissioning Groups are groups of General Practices that work together to plan and design local health services in England

  • They control the budget plus take all advice from BTF and BTA when it comes to thyroid patients

  • Thank you reallyfedup123, yes, they would try to keep the budget down and follow accepted info on the subject.

  • I'm so pleased i subscribe to Thyroid UK. Id been on citalopram for six years, however i stopped in July completely, having weened myself off them over 2 years. However from October i've been 'struggling' just about holding down my job and relationship. I hope my long awaited Endo appt will bear fruit, otherwise i can't see myself going on this way.

  • Perhaps try some 5htp meanwhile? I take 400 mg day. My psychiatrist admitted that it really does work.

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