Banishing Brain Fog When you Have Hashimoto’s

Experiencing symptoms of brain fog as a result of Hashimoto’s is a frustrating manifestation of thyroid disease.  Forgetting routine parts of your day, feeling aloof in conversation, drawing blanks on people’s names, and difficulty processing information or attending to instructions are all complaints of patients experiencing debilitating levels of brain fog.  In the case of someone with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the body is in attack mode as elevated TPO levels (or thyroid antibodies) trigger an autoimmune response to seek and eliminate TPO in the blood stream. This response agitates the body and causes inflammation.  Since inflammation in one area of the body only begets more inflammation elsewhere, this self-perpetuating cycle soon finds it’s way to the brain.  With it’s own unique immune response, the brain recruits it’s powerful microglia cells protect itself and eradicate any intruders causing the inflammation.  Microglia are highly effective in protecting the brain, however the ensuing battle exasperates this sensitive organ resulting in increased brain inflammation and the onset symptoms related to brain fog.

Brain fog is a red flag that should not be ignored as it is a signal that inflammation is present, and possible degeneration is occurring in the brain. So what can you do about it?

Stopping further inflammation by pinpointing inflammatory triggers is a critical place to start.  Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a condition affecting the thyroid but it’s not simply contained within the thyroid gland.  The thyroid is a part of the endocrine system of hormone producing glands which work in harmony to keep our bodies balanced and healthy from nervous system and immune system, to lymphatic system, digestive tract, and neuro-pathways in our brain.  It’s all interconnected; when one component of the body is compromised by disease, such as Hashimoto’s, a domino effect occurs and symptoms crop up in other organs and systems as well.

To banish brain fog, addressing gut health is an excellent starting point.  How we fuel our bodies, right down to a cellular level, starts with the food we eat day in and day out.  When we repeatedly consume inflammatory foods, the digestive tract slowly deteriorates causing the intestinal lining to break down.  Eventually small food particles that should be processed and excreted through elimination end up leaking into other areas of the body.  The immune system flags these particles as foreign invaders and launches an attack.  Halting leaky gut syndrome by removing inflammatory foods from your diet can be a game changer for Hashimoto’s patients.  Consider the points below for healing a leaky gut, supporting brain health, and banishing brain fog.

  1. Eliminate Gluten – This is especially important since the molecular structure of the thyroid gland and that of gluten’s protein, gliadin, are almost identical.  As the body confuses the two, the immune system inadvertently attacks the thyroid in it’s attempt to destroy unwanted gluten.
  2. Add a Probiotic – and replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut.
  3. Replace coffee with green tea – While coffee might give you that quick fix energy boost first thing in the morning, it’s likely followed by a mid-morning crash.  The high levels of caffeine present in coffee drain adrenal function so making the swap for green tea is a healthier alternative with lower levels of caffeine.  The antioxidant properties of green tea can allow aid in reducing inflammation.
  4. Incorporate Betaine HCl Pepsin to aid digestion and maximize nutrient absorption.
  5. Increase Vitamin B12 to support neurotransmitter function, as well as improve memory, focus, mental clarity, and emotional stability
  6. Reduce Sugar – Nothing burns out your thyroid and adrenal glands quicker than a steady stream of sugar.  Sugar also reduces your brain’s ability to control appetite, causes inflammation in the brain, and ignites the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut.  Changing mood and energy levels are also directly related to sugar consumption.
  7. Get Your ZZZ’s!  Devoting 7-8 hours of sleep each night is a sure way to support your battle against brain fog.  Giving the brain time to shut down and recuperate is a cornerstone for eliminating symptoms related to brain fog.
  8. Oxygenate Your Brain & Bloodstream through exercise with O2 Therapy (EWOT), yoga, meditation. Not only are our cells fueled by the nutrients we consume, they also need sufficient levels of oxygen to function at optimal levels.  Committing to 30 mins of exercise 5 days a week along with just 5-10 mins of deep, meditative breathing is a relatively small time investment yet can yield excellent health returns.

Points to remember about today’s article:

  • Hashimoto’s disease and brain fog are connected.
  • -Symptoms of brain fog include forgetfulness, memory loss, confusion, and generally feeling in a daze throughout the day.
  • -When inflammation is present due to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, inflammation is likely to occur in other parts of the body as well, including the brain. Symptoms tied to brain fog are a manifestation of this inflammation.
  • -Altering your diet and lifestyle to support brain health can significantly improve brain fog.
  • -Eliminate foods that might be causing inflammation, such as gluten and sugar.
  • -Improve sleep quality and duration.
  • -Try supportive supplements such as probiotics, vitamin B12, and Betaine HCl Pepsine.
  • -Prioritize exercise and deep breathing to oxygenate blood flow to your brain and vital organs.

Unfortunately there isn’t a cure-all solution to banishing brain fog but many of the steps listed above will help ease your symptoms and we’d like to help you figure out the path that’s right  for you.  Multiple lifestyle choices, dietary factors, and your body’s unique response to environmental factors make each person’s case unique.  Dr. Hagmeyer can help you find a treatment plan that fits your body and your life so can begin to heal.  Please contact us today to set up a consultation.

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