Have you ever experienced brain fog so severe that it left you unable to focus, mentally fatigued, feeling spaced out, and can’t-remember-where-I-left-my-tupperware forgetful?!
These are all symptoms that thyroid patients experience with what is colloquially known as brain fog.
What is the connection between thyroid disease and the lack of mental focus?
There are several factors to consider, but we’ll look at a few that should be addressed and some tips on ditching the fog for good.
There's no denying that poor gut health affects our entire body. When someone is eating a high carb diet that is loaded with sugar and lots of processed food, chronic inflammation begins to develop in the body. In the thyroid patient’s body, it can affect the brain, causing mood disorders, forgetfulness, and a host of other issues.
Low Thyroid Levels
When a patient doesn’t have enough thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) in their body, or if the body isn’t converting the hormones properly, the brain is majorly affected. Thyroid hormones play a key role in how your brain operates and when there are too much or too little of these hormones at work, it can lead to severe brain fog, confusion, and personality changes.
If you have been diagnosed with thyroid disease, you may also be deficient in certain vitamins such as vitamin B, D, and C. These vitamin deficiencies can have a dramatic effect on the brain.
So, what can you do?
There are several steps that you can take to make improvements to your brain health so that you can gain control and stop the damaging, daily effects of the mental issues that come with thyroid disease.
Heal your gut
If you think gut health is only important for your digestive system, think again! It actually plays a role in your overall health. Everything from metabolism to the immune system is affected by nutrition and gut health.
Typically, we Americans consume far too much sugar, empty carbs, and processed food, which is destructive to the gut.
One way to begin healing is to consume bone broth. One of the most nutrient-dense foods, bone broth can help build a strong immune system, increase joint and bone strength, improve your skin and gives the body important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and more.
Another way to heal your gut is to eliminate gluten. Lots of people with thyroid conditions also suffer from gluten intolerance and not even be aware of the issue. Gluten is found in many products, and when you pair it with poor gut health, it can cause many thyroid related symptoms plus inflammation in the brain.
Finding a doctor that not only specializes in thyroid conditions, but one that will order a full set of labs is crucially important to find the correct medication and dose for your body. Ideally, your doctor will also work alongside a nutritionist to ensure that you are following a proper diet for your condition.
Paloma Health only treats patients with hypothyroidism. Unlike traditional healthcare, where patients only check in with their endocrinologist or GP a couple times a year, our team of board-certified physicians and registered nutritionists provide around-the-clock, personalized care.
All our doctors authorized full thyroid labs tests to measure Free T3, Free T4, and TPO antibodies, in addition to the standard TSH.
Talk to your thyroid doctor about vitamin deficiencies that you may be experiencing. Many thyroid patients suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Some of this is due to the increased likelihood of having poor gut health as mentioned above. Vitamin B, vitamin D, and magnesium are all generally low in people with thyroid conditions. These vitamins play a key role in mental clarity, focus, depression, and overall energy levels.
Eat healthy saturated fats
Saturated fats support your thyroid and provides energy. Coconut oil is one example of a healthy saturated fat that would be beneficial for your thyroid health. It has the ability to energize your brain and is anti-inflammatory. Around two-thirds of the fat in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Our bodies are able to use the fat from the MCTs as energy, instead of storing the fat in our body as it does with other types of fat.
Exercise the fog away
When you feel exhausted, the last thing that you want to do is exercise. But exercise is exactly what your body needs when you have brain fog.
For lots of thyroid patients, high-intensity workouts can be harmful and cause you to crash. The perfect form of exercise for a thyroid patient would be to take a nice walk, bike ride, or simply rebounding for a few minutes. These are all good examples of low-intensity workouts that will wake up your mind and body.
Exercise increases oxygen to the brain, improves memory and concentration, and can protect your brain from stress and inflammation.
Get plenty of sleep
Lack of sleep can have a major effect on the body including impaired judgment, feelings of depression, and memory loss. All of these are also symptoms of thyroid disease as well, so make sure to get adequate amounts of rest and stay tuned to your body to see if you are still experiencing brain fog after addressing your sleep pattern.
Set yourself up for success by working backward. If you know you need to wake up at a certain time, give yourself a bedtime of 7-9 hours earlier. Then, set an alarm for an hour before your bedtime so you know to start winding down! This way, you’re less likely to get stuck in the Netflix-loop (that dang auto-play feature) and be ready to seize the next day.
Sugar contributes to inflammation in the body and prevents healing. Sugar can also cause issues with your mood and energy levels. Consider swapping sugar for a natural sweetener such as stevia.
You can regain control of your mental clarity by taking the few steps mentioned here!