Thyroid brain fog is a characteristic symptom of low thyroid function, also know as hypothyroidism. It serves as an umbrella term to describe a specific constellation of mental and emotional symptoms which can affect quality of life for patients. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5 percent of the population suffers from hypothyroidism.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland found at the base of the neck just above the collar bone. It manages the body's metabolism, cardiac function, protein usage and hormone regulation. It produce two hormones of its own, T4 and T3, which act as messengers to other cells in the body.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough T4 and T3 hormones, resulting in a decline in metabolic function. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, slowed heartbeat, lowered basal body temperature and thyroid brain fog.
As metabolic function slows down, so does the pumping of blood through the body and the production of certain chemicals in the brain. These factors cause the experience of thyroid brain fog, which thyroid specialist Dr. Lawrence Wilson describes as "a cloud that reduces your visibility or clarity of mind."
The symptoms of thyroid brain fog include depressed mood, low self esteem, difficulty concentrating, feeling of detachment from people or daily activities, confusion, inability to connect basic details and short term memory issues. A slowed reaction time to events or slowed processing of simple information is also characteristic of the state.
The symptoms of thyroid brain fog can be alleviated by taking medication to boost thyroid function and reduce hypothyroidism. Boosting brain chemical production and increasing blood flow through exercise and daily supplements of St. John's Wort and Omega-3 also reduce symptoms.