Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Primary Advisor

Dr. Aimee Franklin


Hypothyroidism is a form of thyroid dysfunction that occurs when the thyroid gland does not make and secrete enough thyroid hormones to regulate certain processes in the body. Because thyroid hormones take part in many bodily functions, hypothyroidism can cause a large range of symptoms. Current research indicates that some strains of probiotics have beneficial effects on certain neurological and inflammatory diseases, leading to the impression that they can be used therapeutically for effective treatment of different mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, depression, and impaired memory. Because hypothyroidism often leads to such mental symptoms, it may be possible that probiotic treatments reverse these symptoms in hypothyroid patients. The current proposal aims to 1) observe the effects of probiotic strains Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve, and Bifidobacterium infantis on hypothyroid patients suffering from minor to severe anxiety and depression and 2) observe the effects of the same strains on cognition in hypothyroid male Sprague-Dawley rats. It is predicted that probiotics will reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms in humans and improve memory and learning in rats.