Have you ever supported a friend by joining them on some sort of crazy health challenge?
I sure have and in this case, I knew before we started that it was going to be trouble.
I just didn’t realize how much trouble it was going to be.
I’ll tell you more about this experiment a bit later.
I’ve always been one to experiment with my diet and health, so regardless of the expected outcome I knew I would learn something.
In fact, much of the self experimentation I did back when I was hypothyroid helped me discover so much of what doesn’t work or will make you worse.
But this experiment left me with the most severe brain fog I have ever experienced.
It was so bad that I spent much of my work day hiding from people so that I didn’t have to talk to them.
Eventually it got so bad to the point that I had to leave work, even though I was concerned that driving probably wasn’t in my best interest.
Well, I suppose I did learn a lot from that little experiment because I later discovered that this severe brain fog was the result of something called “Cold Brain Syndrome”
Hypothyroidism, Brain Fog, and “Cold Brain Syndrome”
“Cold Brain Syndrome” is a term I learned from Dr. Raymond Peat that might just give you a whole new perspective on hypothyroidism…
…especially when it comes to brain fog, but also for many other thyroid related symptoms which you’ll see in a second.
It’s a perfect example of a very common effect that hypothyroidism has on brain function and cognitive ability in general.
When you suffer from brain fog and it limits your mental function, life becomes difficult on all levels.
Maybe you’ve been there before.
You can’t concentrate at work, affecting your ability to do your job.
Even doing work around the house can become a challenge.
It can make getting through your day very overwhelming.
Well, that’s exactly what happened to my client Tim.
But once we began to address his underlying issues that were severely inhibiting his ability to produce energy…
…he sent me this email:
It all boils down to energy production and heat.
You see, your brain requires an enormous amount of fuel just to function.
But when you become hypothyroid…
- Your liver, muscles, and brain don’t store fuel (glycogen) well at all.
- You become deficient in thyroid hormone.
- You develop a damaged metabolism.
- And blood flow decreases to all of your cells, including your brain.
When blood flow decreases, it becomes even more difficult to get thyroid hormone, fuel, and nutrients to your cells.
This combination of a lack of fuel, lack of nutrients, lack of thyroid hormone, a damaged metabolism, along with decreased blood flow to your brain…
…all result in very poor energy production from your brain.
But here’s the important thing to understand.
It’s not just the energy production that we need to live and survive.
It’s also the heat produced as a result of that energy production.
Remember, we are warm-blooded, meaning that we have to maintain our own high body temperature for us to stay alive and for our bodies, organs, and cells to function.
With hypothyroidism, energy production becomes lowered and your body temperature drops.
And when energy production in your brain declines along with brain temperature, you develop…
…“Cold Brain Syndrome”
This is one of the primary causes of brain fog and other cognitive issues found with hypothyroidism.
In other words, when your body temperature is below normal, mental function becomes limited.
Brain Fog and Stress Hormones
While it’s nice to think that an improvement in brain fog is always a good thing, there are always exceptions to the rule…
…and stress hormones, particularly cortisol, are a big one.
Hypothyroid people compensate for their hypothyroidism by overproducing stress hormones, including cortisol.
And when overproduced, cortisol itself can actually raise your body temperature while suppressing thyroid function at the same time.
That’s not something you want to happen.
The primary purpose of cortisol is to break down protein in your body to convert it into sugar as your blood sugar drops.
The process of breaking down protein is thermogenic, meaning that it releases heat in the process.
When lots of cortisol is present, it can artificially elevate your body temperature resulting in a temporary improvement in brain fog.
This is why many people initially experience better mental clarity when switching to a low-carb diet because it increases cortisol production and therefore body temperature.
However, low-carb diets are well known to suppress thyroid function as I discuss in an article called “Stop Eating Low-Carb (If You Care About Your Thyroid)”.
This is why it’s extremely important to rule out the effects of stress hormones when properly testing your thyroid function.
(Note: I show you exactly how to rule out the effects of stress hormones in this free training on “The Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol”.)
You can access this training here.
In other words, stress hormones can easily make your thyroid health appear normal when you’re quite hypothyroid.
This is also why some people experience a worsening of brain fog when starting a proper thyroid diet.
If suppressing the stress response lowers cortisol, then it can also result in an initial fall in body temperature.
And this initial fall in body temperature is what can contribute to the temporary brain fog we sometimes see.
But don’t worry because I’ll be showing you some simple and healthy ways to increase your body temperature and energy production in just a second.
Low Body Temperature and Other Thyroid Symptoms
Low body temperature also affects many other hypothyroidism symptoms.
This includes, but is not limited to…
- Weight Gain
- Muscle/Joint Pain
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Hair, Skin, and Nail Problems
- Anxiety and Depression
Oftentimes you can experience direct changes or temporary relief in some of your thyroid symptoms by simply raising your body temperature.
For example, a warm bath can quickly improve mental function and reduce muscle, joint, and arthritic pain.
While this can provide temporary relief as long as your body temperature remains elevated…
…the only way to get permanent relief is through permanently raising your body temperature.
We do this by regulating your thyroid function and increasing energy production through the proper pathways.
Yet, this is another area where modern medicine and doctors today are missing the big picture.
Doctors continue to prescribe thyroid medication and oftentimes see changes in your thyroid labs values while your body temperature remains quite low and your symptoms unchanged, or even worsen.
Doctors today fail to even take your body temperature into account at all.
However, when you do account for body temperature, you can quickly and easily determine what’s working and what is not.
This is why we teach our clients how to track their temperature and how to use it to optimize thyroid function.
Then overcoming brain fog and restoring mental clarity becomes easy.
It becomes a matter of decreasing things that limit brain function and increasing things that improve it.
4 Simple Ways to Fix Brain Fog and Energy Production
The overall best approach in eliminating brain fog and improving energy production is twofold.
First, we want to eliminate the factors that lower body temperature and energy production.
- Lack of T3 thyroid hormone
- Excess T4 thyroid hormone
- Excess TSH and other pituitary hormones
- Blood sugar imbalance
- Stress hormones
- Estrogen dominance
- Polyunsaturated Fats
- Thyroid suppressive proteins
- And the list goes on…
Then we can also use things that improve brain function and energy production…
1. Thyroid Hormone (T3)
If you’re not producing or getting adequate T3 then energy production will be limited regardless. T3 is one of the fundamental drivers of cellular energy production and body heat.
Of course, there are factors that inhibit your ability to use T3, as covered in this article on “How We Overcome Hypothyroidism When All Else Fails”.
Oftentimes simple dietary changes can be very effective at improving your ability to use T3.
In fact, in the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol, I show you a simple way to do just that.
You can download this daily protocol here.
2. Healthy Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are not only thyroid protective, they also support healthy and efficient metabolism and energy production.
You can find exactly what I recommend and how it supports your thyroid in this article on “3 Reasons You Need Coconut Oil for Thyroid Health”.
One particular benefit of coconut oil is its unique ability to help energize your brain due to its high levels of keto-acids.
Your brain can quickly and easily use these keto-acids as a significant source of energy giving your brain a much needed boost.
This is why it’s being used effectively to help treat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
3. Red Light
There are many factors that influence metabolism and energy production aside from thyroid hormone alone.
Red to infra-red light has been shown to effectively activate an important metabolic enzyme known as cytochrome c oxidase.
Something as simple as the right type of light can very effectively stimulate metabolism and increase your energy production and body heat.
I show you a simple way to use red light therapy in this article on “How to Build Your Own Thyroid-Boosting Light Therapy Lamp”.
4. Carbon Dioxide
Another very effective stimulator of energy production and healthy metabolism is carbon dioxide.
By increasing carbon dioxide retention, we can effectively increasing oxygen delivery to your cells through what’s referred to as the Bohr Effect and Haldane Effect.
In other words, by increasing carbon dioxide in our blood, we can stimulate healthy oxidative metabolism for greater energy production.
One simple way to do this is through bag breathing, as I describe in more detail in this article on “How To End Insomnia and Wake Up Refreshed With Hypothyroidism”.
As you can see, there are many very simple ways to combat “Cold Brain Syndrome” and brain fog by increasing blood flow, energy production, and the temperature of your brain.
And while this isn’t an all inclusive list, these are some of the simpler methods that we typically start with.
Now, getting back to my experience with severe brain fog…
I did something that is well known to severely inhibit thyroid function, deplete fuel reserves, reduce blood flow, and slow metabolism to a snail’s pace.
All of which are a recipe for brain fog.
I supported my health conscious friend by joining her on a multi-day fast.
Pushing through day one wasn’t a problem.
But a healthy liver can store enough fuel for a good part of the day.
After that you’re out at sea without a life raft.
By day two, I was out of fuel, my body began breaking itself down, my T3 levels had declined, and my body temperature dropped like a rock…
…and I became a victim of “Cold Brain Syndrome”.
So, tell me…
What’s been your experience with brain fog?
Do me a favor and let me know by leaving a comment below.