The first indicator of low thyroid is actually an elevation of TSH. Elevated TSH indicates that T4 is not getting converted to T3. Such an elevation adversely affects thyroid activation in your brain. This is why many report a feeling of ‘brain fog.’ Brain fog is characterized by a heavy or sluggish feeling in your head is a key symptom of poor thyroid function. It is now obvious that unless this is corrected it will lead to cognitive decline. This would probably explain why women get alzheimer’s more often than men.
The reason elevated TSH makes brain function worse is because thyroid function in your brain is regulated by every cell. The rest of the body is dependent on the liver (which is the main site) of conversion of T4 to the biologically active T3.
Data shows that individuals with a baseline higher TSH at age 65 had lower scores on mental performance, even though they did not have cognitive impairment at that time. Interestingly, high normal levels of T4 signified even worse cognitive scores and a stronger likelihood of cognitive decline as time goes by.
The reason your brain works this way is because your head has to be able to stay awake in times of extreme famine so that you could hunt if you happened to see something to hunt. However, the rest of your body needs to be in “hibernation mode” so that you don’t use too many calories. This is a key survival mechanism.
Thyroid hormone function is intricately linked to the central nervous system. Adults with hypothyroidism are more prone to depression, whereas those with hyperthyroidism are subject to confusion. Also, recent studies have related thyroid dysfunction to an increased risk for irreversible dementia. “So we know there are some connections between thyroid function and cognition, but I don’t think anyone has figured out yet what the exact connection is,” said Dr. Tan.
How To Deal With Low Thyroid
Get a hormone panel. Many times high stress hormones e.g., cortisol and estrogen are the culprits. Find ways e.g., through good nutrition to resolve thyroid issues!