Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
June 14, 2022
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on:

If you’re one of the estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from hypothyroidism or some thyroid disease, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with the many persistent symptoms, including brain fog.

This type of foggy thinking can make it difficult to focus on anything or complete everyday tasks.

While there are medications available to help manage hypothyroidism, they may not be enough to clear up the brain fog completely.

In this blog post, we will discuss seven ways that you can manage hypothyroidism brain fog naturally!

Let’s get started.

What is hypothyroidism, exactly?

The thyroid is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck that secretes hormones that aid in the regulation of numerous bodily processes, such as metabolism. 

Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough of these hormones, mainly thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

These thyroid hormones play a vital role in regulating your body’s metabolism, which is the rate at which your body produces energy from the food you eat.

The lack of these thyroid hormones can lead to a variety of symptoms, including chronic fatigue syndrome, weight gain, hair loss, and other health issues.  

While there is no cure for hypothyroidism, it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes depending on the result of your thyroid function tests should you decide to get them.

Some people also consider having thyroid surgery or a thyroid hormone replacement.

We also highly recommend that you check the American Thyroid Association to make an informed decision if you’re considering surgery or any thyroid therapy.

Can hypothyroidism cause dizziness and brain fog?

Dizziness and brain fog are not typical symptoms of hypothyroidism, but they can occur in some people.

The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed that the lack of a thyroid hormone may interfere with the body’s ability to use oxygen, which can lead to dizziness and fatigue.

Hypothyroidism can also cause low blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness when you stand up too quickly.

As for brain fog, the exact cause is also unknown, but it’s believed to be linked to fatigue and low energy levels that are common in hypothyroidism. 

Other possible factors that cause people with hypothyroidism to experience brain fog include:

Inflammation

Inflammation is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, and it’s believed to contribute to brain fog.

One study found that people with autoimmune thyroiditis (a type of hypothyroidism) had higher levels of inflammation than those without the condition.

The researchers believe that the inflammation may be caused by the body’s immune system attacking the thyroid gland.

This can lead to worsened brain fog symptoms and other issues brought by hypothyroidism. 

Anemia

Anemia is a common condition that occurs when there is a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body.

Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues and organs, so a lack of them can lead to fatigue and brain fog.

One study found that people with hypothyroidism were more likely to be iron deficient, which can cause anemia.

The researchers believe that the lack of thyroid hormones may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron from food.

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiencies are common in people with hypothyroidism.

This is because the thyroid gland helps regulate the body’s metabolism, and lacking a thyroid hormone can lead to a slow metabolism.

A slow metabolism can cause the body to have difficulty absorbing vitamins and minerals from food.

Some of the most common vitamin deficiencies in people with hypothyroidism include vitamin D, vitamin B12, and magnesium.

These deficiencies can lead to various fatigue and cognitive symptoms, including brain fog and forgetfulness.

Blood Sugar Imbalances

Blood sugar imbalances are common in people with hypothyroidism.

The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed that the lack of thyroid hormones may interfere with the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

This can lead to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can cause brain fog symptoms and other health problems.

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can also occur in people with hypothyroidism.

This is because the thyroid gland helps regulate the body’s metabolism, and lacking a thyroid hormone can lead to a slow metabolism.

A slow metabolism can cause the body to have difficulty processing glucose, which can lead to high blood sugar levels.

Both low and high blood sugar can cause brain fog and other symptoms.

Ways to Manage Hypothyroidism Brain Fog

There are a few things that you can do to help manage hypothyroidism brain fog naturally. These include:

1) Getting plenty of sleep

A good night’s sleep is important for overall health, but it’s especially important if you’re dealing with hypothyroidism and brain fog.

This is because sleep helps the brain to rest and repair itself.

Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night, and try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. 

If you have trouble sleeping, there are a few things that you can try, such as:

  • Taking a warm bath before bed
  • Drinking chamomile tea
  • Reading a book or listening to calm music before bed
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening
  • Avoiding screen time (TV, computers, phones, etc.) for at least an hour before bed.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about other options or get tested for a sleep disorder so that you can get to the root cause of your sleep problems and get the treatment plan that suits you.

2) Healing your gut

The gut-brain connection is well-established, and there’s evidence to suggest that a healthy gut can help reduce brain fog.

This is because the gut and the brain are connected by the vagus nerve, which helps to regulate mood and cognitive function.

There are a few things that you can do to heal your gut, such as:

  • Eating a gut-healthy diet
  • Taking probiotics
  • Reducing stress
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep.

If you’re struggling to heal your gut on your own, talk to your doctor about other options, such as taking probiotic supplements or getting tested for food allergies.

They can also refer you to a registered dietitian who can help you develop a gut-healthy diet that’s right for you.

3) Vitamin supplementation

If you’re deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, taking supplements can help improve your brain fog symptoms.

This is because vitamin deficiencies can cause a variety of symptoms, including brain fog.

Some of the most common vitamin deficiencies in people with hypothyroidism include vitamin D, vitamin B12, and magnesium.

If you think you might be deficient in one or more of these vitamins, talk to your doctor about getting tested.

They can also recommend a supplement that’s right for you.

Vitamin D is available in both supplement and food forms, but the best way to get it is by spending time outside in the sun.

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. If you don’t eat these foods, you may need to take a supplement.

Magnesium is found in both food and supplement forms. Some good sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

If you’re taking any other medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start taking any supplements.

This is because some supplements can interact with medications and cause dangerous side effects.

Your doctor can tell you if there are any risks associated with taking a particular supplement. They can also help you figure out the right dosage for you. 

Talk to your doctor if you’re unsure whether you need to take a supplement. They can order a blood test to check for deficiencies and recommend the best course of treatment.

In some cases, simply changing your diet may be enough to improve your symptoms.

4) Eating healthy saturated fats

One of the best ways to improve brain fog is to make sure that you’re getting enough healthy fats.

This is because healthy fats are essential for cognitive function.

They help to support the structure of the cell membranes in the brain and protect against inflammation.

Some good sources of healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts.

You can also get healthy fats from grass-fed beef, eggs, and full-fat dairy products.

If you’re not used to eating a lot of fat, start by adding a small amount to your diet and gradually increase it over time.

This will help your body adjust to the new way of eating and reduce the risk of side effects, such as digestive issues.

If you have trouble digesting fat, talk to your doctor about other options, such as taking a supplement. They can help you figure out the best way to get the healthy fats that you need.

Eating a diet that’s high in healthy fats can help to improve brain fog and other symptoms of hypothyroidism.

But it’s essential to make sure that you’re also getting enough other nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A balanced diet is the best way to support your overall health and well-being.

If you’re not sure how to eat a balanced diet, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you develop a meal plan that’s right for you.

5) Exercising regularly

Exercise is another excellent way to reduce the symptoms of brain fog. This is because exercise helps to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.

It also helps in increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a protein that’s essential for cognitive function and mental health.

Recent research suggests that people with hypothyroidism may have lower levels of BDNF. This can contribute to the development of brain fog and other cognitive problems.

Regular exercise can help improve BDNF levels and reduce the symptoms of brain fog.

It’s important to find an exercise that you enjoy and that you can stick with long-term.

If you don’t like to exercise, there are plenty of other ways to get active. You can go for a walk, take a dance class, or even do some yard work.

Find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your regular routine. Even if you only exercise for 30 minutes a day, it can make a big difference in your symptoms.

6) Playing memory games

One of the best ways to improve brain fog is to keep your mind active. One way to do this is by playing memory games.

This can help improve your attention span and memory. It can also help reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life.

There are plenty of memory games that you can play online or on your smartphone. You can also find memory games in apps and on websites like Lumosity or NeuroNation.

You can also try other brain-training exercises, such as:

  • puzzles
  • crosswords
  • scrabble
  • chess
  • checkers

Or you can simply make a point to learn something new every day. This could be a new language, skill, hobby, or piece of information.

Keeping your mind active can help improve brain fog and reduce the risk of developing cognitive problems in the future.

7) Focusing on one thing at a time

Another way to improve brain fog is to focus on one thing at a time. This can be difficult if you have a lot of things going on in your life.

But it’s important to remember that multitasking doesn’t actually save you time. In fact, it can actually make you less productive.

So, instead of trying to do several things simultaneously, focus on one thing at a time. This will help you be more productive and less forgetful.

If you’re not sure how to focus on one thing at a time, there are some helpful tips that you can use:

  • Make a list of the things that you need to do and prioritize them.
  • Set a time limit for each task and stick to it.
  • Take breaks often to rest your mind.
  • Eliminate distractions by turning off your phone, email, and social media notifications.

Focusing on one thing at a time can help improve brain fog and make you more productive. 

The Bottom Line

The symptoms of hypothyroidism and brain fog combined can be debilitating. They could block you from achieving your goals in your career, business, or life in general.

People with hypothyroidism brain fog even report that their mood, energy, and relationships have been negatively impacted.

Thankfully, you can make a few lifestyle changes, such as the recommendations we listed above, to help you manage your symptoms, take back your mental clarity, and even improve your cognitive function in the long run.

If you want to learn more about hypothyroidism and how to take care of your thyroid, the American Thyroid Association has many resources that can help you.

And if you want to learn more about brain fog, check out these helpful resources, and feel free to join the conversations of brain health advocates in our online community. 

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