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Thyroid and ADHD Connection

By Lucy Rose Clinic

March 16, 2023

Children’s health can be complex, influenced by the growth of the mind & body, and today’s article explores the potential link between thyroid and ADHD, as well as a few ideas surrounding natural treatment options.

Iodine is essential for healthy brain development.

Did you know that in Australia, the majority of children are iodine deficient?
This is a major concern for our future generation as iodine status correlates with the health of nearly every system in the body, including but not limited to

1. IQ, brain function, memory, concentration
2. Thyroid status – metabolism, energy, brain function
3. Future fertility
4. Mood regulation

ADHD in general:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults alike. ADHD is characterised by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, that can sometimes interfere with daily life. While the exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood by science, research shows that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. Recently the connection between ADHD and thyroid function has been proposed, leading to new areas of research on the topic.

Naturopathic testing has identified some common trends that warrant investigation – the two that are big red flags for ADHD are COPPER EXCESS and IODINE DEFICIENCY.

We will touch on these in this article.


Thyroid in general:

The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in the neck that produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in many bodily functions, including growth, development, and energy production. When the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, it can lead to a range of health problems, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, as well as autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s and or Graves disease.

So, what’s the link?

Growing research suggests a strong correlation between thyroid function and ADHD. A study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that children with ADHD are more likely to have thyroid imbalances or a thyroid condition than those without ADHD. The same study presented that children with thyroid problems were more likely to have ADHD symptoms. Researchers suggested this may be due to genetic factors, though also the role that thyroid hormones play in brain development and function. 

Given that both the thyroid and the brain require adequate amounts of iodine for growth, development, and function, it is not surprising to us that this link has been identified in the medical literature.

Surprisingly, we have also found toxic levels of heavy metals in people suffering from both thyroid issues and ADHD, and these need to be lessened to help relieve symptoms and bring a better balance back to the body. Detoxification of heavy metals is a specialised field of functional medicine and must be done under the instruction of a qualified health professional.

Book a FREE 15-Minute Consult to discuss any questions with us and get you or your family back on track to feeling healthier.


The role of Copper in ADHD and Thyroid

Copper is a heavy metal that we actually require for keeping your bones, brain, skin, tissues, and immune system strong and healthy. Traces of copper are a normal and essential finding in human tissue. Excess amounts are toxic.

One method the body uses to keep copper in a healthy balance is with Zinc, which we get through our diet. If your Zinc intake is low, Copper accumulates. Zinc also stops other toxic elements from accumulating too: especially Cadmium and Mercury.
Zinc deficiency in the Western world is prevalent. In Australia, for example, greater 30 percent of Australians are low in Zinc. This is because the Australian soil is notoriously low in this essential mineral. This leads to excess copper, and low zinc, which sets the stage for many diseases to develop.

Trans-generational copper accumulation is a high level of copper passed on in utero from the mother

Copper plays havoc on the endocrine system as well, and disrupts the thyroid and immune system, setting the stage for Hashimoto’s, estrogen excess, allergies, headaches, liver clearance issues, and much more.

Is Iodine The Missing Link?

It is well established that iodine deficiency causes mental retardation, lower IQ, and even milder forms of poor academic performance.

There are a growing number of doctors, including Dr. Kenneth Bock and Dr. Brownstein, who believe that ADHD symptoms can be reversed by doing a nutritional and hormonal evaluation and by correcting deficiencies. Dr. Brownstein is of the belief that iodine is often the missing nutrient in kids with ADHD.

And we agree.

Dr. Brownstein is of the belief that iodine is often the missing nutrient in kids with ADHD and that iodine deficiency may explain ADHD and that correcting iodine levels offers an effective treatment.

Natural treatment options for ADHD:

If a child is diagnosed with ADHD, treatment through The Lucy Rose Clinic may involve a combination of nutrition, detoxification, iodine correction, and lifestyle changes such as;

1. Diet:

Foods rich in iodine such as seaweed, fish & eggs can help to support thyroid function. Also a diet low in sugar and processed foods and high in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, and help to improve ADHD symptoms.

Generally speaking, the amount of iodine in food alone is not enough to correct low iodine levels affecting ADHD, and a protocol that focuses on correcting, and optimising iodine status requires testing and specialised treatment. We test with a 24-Hour Urinary Iodine Excretion test which is easy to perform at home. Iodine will require regular retesting to assess how the body is assimilating the iodine, and to tell when iodine saturation has been achieved, at which point the patient will be put onto a maintenance program. Learn more about iodine testingCLICK HERE.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids:

Quality omega-3’s found in small fish like sardines & nuts have a positive effect on brain function and may help to improve ADHD and thyroid function. 

3. Herbal supplements:
Some herbs, like Withania (ashwagandha), ginkgo biloba, and bacopa can assist in cognitive function, therefore helping to improve memory and attention. Particularly ashwagandha has been shown to regulate cortisol levels which are often elevated in those with thyroid imbalances & ADHD. 

4. Exercise:
A regular active lifestyle can help to improve thyroid function and may also be beneficial for children with ADHD. Exercise has been shown to improve attention and focus and may also help to reduce hyperactivity.

We hope this article offers some new insights and treatment options available that can dramatically improve your health.

With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, children and adults with both ADHD and thyroid dysfunction can achieve improved health outcomes and overall well-being.

Chat with one of our team at The Lucy Rose Clinic today and see how we can help you connect the dots & create an individualised treatment plan for you or your child!

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