• Tara Nelson

How To Cope With Thyroid-Related Brain Fog

Have you ever found yourself struggling to focus, forgetting little details or having no mental energy to get through your day? If so, you might be dealing with brain fog.


Brain fog is a common symptom for many people, but it’s particularly prevalent in those with thyroid conditions. Some people have intermittent brain fog, but others struggle with it daily.


But why do we get brain fog, and how can you clear it up? Let’s take a closer look at this pesky symptom.

Why do you experience brain fog with thyroid issues?

There are a couple of reasons why brain fog is so common with thyroid problems. The main reason is because of the direct effect of thyroid hormone levels.


Almost every single cell in the human body needs thyroid hormone to function properly. The brain is no exception to this. If there isn’t enough thyroid hormone in the brain, it impairs brain function. This leads to symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, poor concentration and poor cognition overall.


However, brain fog is not always just about the lack of thyroid hormone. It can also be a side effect of other issues that arise with thyroid conditions. High stress levels, poor sleep, impaired gut health and deficiency of certain nutrients can all cause or exacerbate brain fog.


Inflammation and high antibody levels can also contribute to brain fog. As the antibodies ‘attack’ thyroid tissue, the area becomes more inflamed. Because this inflammation occurs in the neck, it is quite close to the brain and can affect how the brain functions.


Tips for reducing brain fog

It’s one thing to know why you’re dealing with brain fog. But what you really need is some relief!


As with any symptom, identifying the underlying factors is key to relieve it. But there are a few steps you can take to help address brain fog in the meantime.


Feed your thyroid

Just like any other thyroid-related symptom, an important step is to ensure your thyroid has the nutrients it needs. This includes minerals such as iodine and zinc as well as vitamins and amino acids.


Some of the thyroid-supportive nutrients also play a role in other important processes in the brain. To learn more about thyroid nutrient and how to include them, have a read of this article.


Turn down the inflammation

Inflammation can be a major contributor to brain fog, especially when caused by thyroid antibodies. So we want to focus on reducing inflammation to relieve the symptom.


How do we do that?

  • Focus on wholefoods

  • Include plenty of colourful plant foods – these are full of nutrients and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties

  • Rethink gluten if you haven’t already taken it out of your diet

  • Minimise processed foods, added sugars and alcohol

  • Stick to one caffeinated drink in the morning

  • Take some steps to heal your gut such as incorporating bone broth, removing food intolerances and including gut-nourishing foods – learn more about gut health here


Focus on a good night’s sleep

Getting a good night of sleep can make a big difference with brain fog. Many people report that their brain fog is worse after a poor night of sleep. But sleep is also needed so that the brain can flush out waste from the day and the body can heal.


This can be a bit of a catch-22 for many people with thyroid conditions. We need quality sleep to heal, but then often struggle to get a good sleep because of thyroid symptoms and side effects.


Want to get some good rest tonight? Try these simple tips:

  • Create yourself a wind-down routine to signal to your body that it’s almost time to sleep. For example, you might make yourself a cup of calming herbal tea, take a shower or spend some time reading before bed

  • Switch off bright overhead lights after sundown. Try to use lamps or candles instead

  • Avoid using any of your electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before bed

  • Make sure your bedroom is pitch-black and cool (around 16-19 degrees Celsius is best)

  • Practice deep breathing for a few minutes as you drift off to sleep


Get moving

Moving is often the last thing on your fuzzy mind when you’ve got brain fog. But moving the body can increase circulation to the brain, feeding it more oxygen and nutrients.


You don’t have to run a marathon – rebounding on a trampoline or going for a walk can be enough. Even if you only have 60 seconds to spare, have a good stretch to get the blood moving.


Hydrate

It’s easy to forget the basics when you have brain fog. One of the key basics for brain fog from any cause is drinking plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can have a significant impact on brain function.


Everyone is different, but most people need between 1.5-3L per day. You’ll need an extra cup or two of water for every hour of exercise or if it’s a hot day.


If you’re not used to drinking a good amount of water, start slow. Add in an extra 1-2 cups per day for a week, then add more until you hit your goal.


Work with a practitioner

The best way to tackle brain fog is to address the underlying factors in your specific case. Working with a qualified practitioner who understands thyroid symptoms can be a game-changer for many people.


Want to banish brain fog for good? Book an appointment with Tara here.

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