Surprising Causes of Mood Changes You Would Rarely Think About!
Dr. Renuka Dangare

Dr. Renuka Dangare

May 06Mental health

Surprising Causes of Mood Changes You Would Rarely Think About!

When we think of our bodies as a whole, we fail to realize how multiple systems are connected with each other. Specifically when speaking of mood changes, we don’t realize they could be subtle signs of physical disorders in our body. And there could be several identified and even unidentified triggers for these mood changes.

We have tried to put together a list of potential causes that affect the levels of anxiety and depression, which are directly responsible for causing mood changes. These will also clarify the reasons to consider before you assume it’s purely related to only mental health.

  1. Thyroid Hormone Imbalances

Thyroid is a gland present in your throat and its main function is to secrete thyroxine hormones. These hormones are responsible for regulating vital body functions such as metabolism, energy levels, immunity, etc. Overactive thyroid causes ‘Hyperthyroidism’ and an underactive thyroid causes ‘hypothyroidism’. Both these conditions have been linked to clinical anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders.

Some of the symptoms to watch out for are insomnia, regular anxiety attacks, high blood pressure, frequent irritability, sudden weight gain and lack of energy. The medications used in the treatments of thyroid ailments can invariably be related to depression, because hormone supplementation is recommended for thyroid treatments and also in treatments for depression.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by hormonal imbalances in women. Small sacs of liquid (cysts) are developed on either ovaries and this condition affects the menstrual cycle and hormonal balance in the body. It is also associated with inflammation that can be caused throughout the body. In such prolonged inflammatory conditions, the cortisol levels are quite high and increase the risk of stress and depression. High cortisol also affects insulin resistance in the body which can be a strong cause for depression.

The hormonal imbalances in this condition result in increased body weight. And the failure to lose this weight can contribute to a negative body image and thus anxiety and depression.


3. Erratic blood sugar levels

Your blood-sugar levels and mood are evidently connected. As the brain primarily runs on glucose, it is no surprise that the blood-sugar levels can affect the mood on different levels. It is observed that those with symptoms of poor glycemic regulation (glucose regulation), also show symptoms like constant irritability, anxiety, and worry. Depression currently affects about 25% of individuals with diabetes, a population more susceptible to pronounced blood sugar highs and lows.

Having more regular meals and fixed portions of food in meals will help avoid this. Opting for low to medium G.I foods is also beneficial in sugar control.

4. Low Vitamin D

Vitamin D receptors in various parts of your brain, regulate feelings and emotions. A vitamin D deficiency can under stimulate these receptors, leading to depression and mood changes.

 It also affects the serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is commonly known as the happy hormone. Studies have found an improvement in mood in D-deficient patients when they were supplemented with the vitamin. Those with adequate levels of Vitamin D were more likely to step outside, socialize and have higher levels of physical activity - all of which help combat mood changes. It also alleviates mood changes due to its anti-inflammatory property.

Some of the natural sources of Vitamin D are via soaking in direct sunlight, consumption of fatty fish, egg yolks, dairy products, citric fruits and vitamin D supplementary tablets.

5. B12 Deficiency


Chemicals that affect your mood and other functions of the brain, are directly associated with the levels of Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins in your body. Low levels of B-vitamins such as B-12, B-6 or folate can cause depression.

This vitamin deficiency could be a result of an insufficient or poor diet or inability to absorb the vitamins naturally. Especially for older adults, people with digestive disorders or vegetarians, under consumption of B-12 could be troublesome. It could also occur due to unknown reasons. A blood test recommended by your doctor can help in checking the levels of B vitamins, in case of suspected deficiency.

Common symptoms for Vitamin B-12 deficiency are constant weakness, confusion, dizziness, lack of interest and an affected thinking process.

Hence, a daily supplement that includes vitamin B-12 may help your body get the nutrients it needs. You may also increase intake of yogurt, red meat, fortified cereals, shellfishes and eggs for natural dietary supplement of vitamin B-12.

6. Iron Deficiency

Iron plays an important role in the production of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters in the brain that creates the happy emotion. Iron deficiency can affect the dopamine balance in the brains, further causing depression. With the presence of iron, our body utilizes tyrosine from protein-rich foods and produces dopamine. Hence, lack of dopamine is proven to lead to anxiety, depression, and even movement disorders e.g.: restless leg syndrome.

Symptoms of Dopamine deficiency can be following:

  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Anxiety / Depression
  • Poor Concentration
  • Restless Leg Syndrome


7. Excess alcohol consumption

Alcohol lets the body release a flood of dopamine into the pleasure panels of the brain, Also known as ‘the feel-good chemical’, dopamine gives your head a rush that lasts only for a short while. And when this rush and the alcohol influence reduces, the brain is left confused and feelings of anxiety kick-in. This could be the cause of the concept of hangxiety (hangover anxiety), and increase in the risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Heavy drinking also influences other physiological changes in the brain. It can cause an influx of the GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), which can temporarily make you feel relaxed and calm but once you stop drinking, your body starts showing withdrawal symptoms.

8. Excessive caffeine intake

Too much caffeine can be indirectly linked with depression. Although there is no such clear phenomenon. Depending on the person’s sensitivity to caffeine, his/her caffeine intake might affect the mood and emotions.

 Excess caffeine can make you sleep deprived and lack of sleep can severely affect your mood. The strong impact of caffeine can also worsen anxiety and lead up to insomnia. If you have been regularly drinking caffeinated beverages, then sudden quitting will also affect your mood until your body gets adjusted. Gradually limit your caffeine intake, and you will notice positive changes in your mood.

9. Unhealthy gut

An upset stomach can potentially result in an overall upset mood and lack of motivation. It is proven that dysbiosis and inflammation of the gut can cause anxiety and depression. Hence, a healthy and nourishing diet for maintaining good gut balances, will also work wonders for your mood. The ability of probiotics to restore normal microbial balance, makes them useful in the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression.

10. Certain medications

Certain medications have the ability to cause anxiety and depression and also worsen it in those having it already. A few examples of these are - drugs containing hormones, steroids, medicines used in the treatments of high BP, inflammatory conditions, insomnia, thyroid or severe skin ailments.

Talk to your doctor if you have started feeling low or anxious within 2-3 weeks of starting such medications and discuss other options.

Things you can try to deal better with your constant mood changes

  • Always address your mood changes and speak up about them – with yourself or even your loved ones
  • Develop habits such as meditation or deep breathing practice for relaxation
  • Maintain a journal of things that matter to you or bother you. This reflection of thoughts can sometimes give you a clear picture.
  • Make a note of 3 things you are grateful for every day and read them aloud
  • Getting out of the bed may seem difficult, but aim to do any exercise of your interest for at least 30 minutes everyday
  • Step outside and seek the morning sun to boost the Vitamin D levels
  • Develop a sleep schedule comprising of at least 8 hours of sleep
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet and limit/avoid alcohol and caffeine intakes


Talk to your doctor or reach out to a mental healthcare provider if you still do not feel better or are experiencing any of the following feelings -

  • Drastic behavioural changes such as withdrawal from relations or social interactions
  • Loss of interest in passions, hobbies, leisure activities
  • Constant feelings of sadness, grief, guilt or hopelessness
  • Lack of self-esteem and confidence in actions
  • Fluctuating mood, like a sudden change from happy to sad and vice versa
  • Emotional outburst and unreasoned and uncontrollable crying
  • Putting yourself down and feeling bad about yourself in a loop
  • Increased irritability and anger over small issues
  • Thoughts like giving up or self-harm leading to suicidal thoughts

Remember, you will always have help and things will get better! Just speak up and address your thoughts.


Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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