Memory loss can feel like a curse that strikes out of the blue and has no cure when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Although genetics play a role, so does your diet and lifestyle, which means you can do something about memory loss before the damage is too great. The strategies that help protect you against memory loss will also help you manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Study shows memory loss can be reversed
In the first study of its kind, nine out of 10 patients reversed their memory loss and showed considerable long-term improvement following a program that included dietary changes, exercise, supplementation, sleep improvements, and brain stimulation. Some were able to return to jobs they had to quit due to declining memory. Only the patient with late-stage Alzheimer’s did not improve. It’s the first study to suggest that memory loss can be reversed and the improvement sustained.
The research was inspired by studies that looked at the effect of diet and lifestyle changes on other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and HIV.
In the study, subjects reversed their memory loss through approaches that included:
- Eliminating all simple carbohydrates, which led to weight loss
- Eliminating gluten and processed foods
- Increasing consumption of produce and non-farmed fish
- Yoga and other stress-reducing activities
- Increasing sleep from 4-5 hours to 7-8
- Taking methyl B12, vitamin D3, fish oil, CoQ10, curcumin, resveratrol, ashwagandha, and coconut oil
- A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 4-6 times a week
- Cut out snacking
- Hormone therapy when necessary
The biggest obstacle in the program was the study subjects’ complaints about making so many changes. However, all but one experienced notable improvement without the side effects that drugs bring.
These same strategies can also help you better manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Factors that affect memory and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
It’s important to note the reduced consumption of carbohydrates in the study –- some researchers have called Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes due to the deleterious effects of excess sugar and carbohydrates on the brain.
Exercise is also a fairly potent magic bullet when it comes to brain health and regular exercise has been shown to positively affect memory and help reverse memory loss.
Sufficient sleep is necessary to protect a healthy memory. The brain waves produced during sleep help us store memories. These brain waves transfer memories from the hippocampus, an area of short term memory, to the prefrontal cortex, where long term memories are stored. Lack of sleep and poor quality sleep disrupts this process and leads to memory loss.
Gluten and other foods to which you may have an immune reaction can cause memory loss by inflaming the brain. Although most people associate a gluten intolerance with digestive symptoms, the truth is gluten most often affects neurological tissue. Sometimes simply going gluten free can significantly improve brain function. Gluten is especially important to avoid if you have Hashimoto’s.
Ask my office for more ways you can support your brain and thyroid health.