Brain Fog? | Memory Loss? | Hormone Connections
Senior moments happen in children, teenagers, in men and women throughout all stages of life. Was it ADD or could it have been the waffles with syrup and jam for breakfast? Normal brain functioning can be impaired by life habits, toxic exposures and inherited or acquired hormonal imbalances. Fortunately, there are many positive steps to repair and rebuild foggy brains and fading memory.
Some people come into the world with weak adrenals (chief stress modulating and energy giving glands on top of the kidneys) inherited from their mother causing them to be much more reactive to stressful events during their whole life. This causes poor blood sugar control that manifests in many ways and especially can cause low energy and difficulty with focus, concentration and memory. Eating a high protein diet, avoiding sweets, carbs and bread can help maintain brain power. Also eating good sea salt with lots of minerals and supplementing vitamin C and B vitamins, (especially B5) helps the adrenals to cope and give steady energy to the brain. Adrenal cortex supplements taken through the day also support the brain’s energy and are great for clear thinking.
Women have the additional challenges of fluctuating hormone levels throughout life which can cause the brain to swell and reduce oxygen and blood sugar concentrations in the brain. PMS is no laughing matter. When there is a relative estrogen excess and progesterone deficiency it can cause a host of symptoms including foggy brain and memory loss as well as fatigue, irritability, menstrual cramps and rarely, homicidal behavior. Fortunately, safe, topical progesterone (not the dangerous progestin) is available over the counter and can be applied from day 12 through 26 of the menstrual cycle and usually completely eliminates PMS and cramps by the second menstrual cycle.
Menopause not only causes progesterone deficiency but also estrogen deficiency. Around perimenopause estrogen levels can go up and down quickly and some women feel they are losing their minds. On some days they can feel normal and on others have terrible forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating along with mood swings and crying jags for no reason, added to hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Topical, natural estrogen patches or gels can be safely administered along with supplementation of cruciferous vegetable concentrates to help with proper elimination of the estrogen along with the progesterone cream to avoid unopposed estrogen replacement.
Andropause, male menopause, happens more slowly than menopause in women and is sometimes more difficult to pick up. It is usually associated with a drop in testosterone levels which can be measured in the blood. This sometimes happens in younger men especially if they are on a lot of medication. They can become apathetic, forgetful, lose motivation and sex drive and, of course, become grumpy old men. These brain changes can be easily and safely reversed with testosterone cream and a thorough physician workup for any serious prostate problems.
We can’t neglect the thyroid gland as a chief suspect in causing brain fog and memory impairment. Many people, especially women after childbirth, can run borderline low or hypothyroid (the blood test is only one of the many ways of determining low thyroid functioning). It can cause memory impairment, slow speech lethargy, apathy and listlessness. Replacing a little thyroid hormone with attention to life habits that block the thyroid, such as soy, fluoride, chlorine, bromine and cruciferous vegetable consumption, plus reducing exposure to plastics, metals and radiation can improve the brain remarkably. Thyroid controls all the DNA, RNA and mitochondria in the body (energy manufacturing plants in the cells).
Hormone imbalances can certainly cause brain fog and memory loss. In the next issue of Healthy Beginnings watch for an article on brain fog and memory loss in relation to blood sugar and food sensitivities.
1. Speroff L, Glass R, Kase N. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 7th Edition, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.
2. Williams, R, Textbook of Endocrinology. 5th Edition, W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, PA.
3. Shippen, Eugene, MD and William Fryer, The Testosterone Syndrome. M. Evans and Company, Inc. New York, NY.
For more info, contact Michael Gerber, MD, HMD of the Gerber Medical Clinic at (775) 826-1900 or visit www.gerbermedical.com.