Debilitating brain fog

by Andrea

I've struggled with unexplained chronic fatigue for going on 15 years now. I was put on birth control pills at the age of 15 to control my hormonal acne and stayed on them until the age of 30 when I started to suspect they were contributing to my fatigue. After going off of them, things went from bad to worse. I was depressed, anxious, still tired, and practically suicidal, so I was just given antidepressants and told my fatigue was due to my depression. Three years have gone by since I went off the pill and I've had little help from doctors. Eventually I'd had enough of the antidepressants and managed to get myself off of those too. I did find a good nurse practitioner who did a full hormone panel on me and confirmed I have low progesterone/estrogen dominance with a sad ratio of 14:1. Troches didn't help and now I'm using Natpro at about 400 mg/day. I've only been on the Natpro for a month and I know it takes time and I'm trying so hard to be patient and deal with estrogen dominance symptoms, but the thing I cannot deal with right now is the brain fog. I have suffered with it for over a year since going off my antidepressants, but it has come to a point where it has impacted my entire life. I'm unable to work, my marriage is suffering, I'm trying so hard to do everything right and I can't get out of this fog. I haven't had alcohol, sugar, gluten, caffeine, or dairy in almost 5 months. I've stopped using all chemical or toxic lotions, potions and cleaners and make most of my own stuff. Thanks to this website, I've learned so much about PCOS, blood sugar, estrogen dominance, etc. I'm studying up on keto, but the fog makes it hard to even make dinner sometimes, let alone count carbs and calories. I've started noticing symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia where the fog gets worse after meals so I'm afraid to eat anything ever. I get dizzy upon standing frequently. I do notice sometimes that the fog lifts slightly around 4 or 5pm and I can't quite figure out why, but evenings are always a bit better than mornings or afternoons. I know I just need to wait it out, but at times it feels so hopeless.

I've had to lay off of the vitamin D as my last result on 7/27/16 was actually high. 25 HYDROXY D TOTAL 153.2 NG/ML

My thyroid tests "normal" according to my labs.

Estrodiol pg/ml: 47.0 on 2/19/16 and 109.9 on 7/27/16
Progesterone ng/mL: .66 on 2/19/16 and 3.2 on 7/27/16
DHEA SULFATE: 276 mcg/dL

Ultrasound showed no cysts or abnormalities.

I have so many supplements in my cabinet that I don't know what to do with them all, so I just decided to lay off of them. I just take a multi and 500mg magnesium citrate at night plus magnesium oil which has helped with constipation. I have inositol, tyrosine, glutimine, NAC, fish oil, and a B complex, among others that I just gave up on because it was all too much and I get confused so easily. I was taking vitex as well, but am now having second thoughts after discovering this site. If there has been any ray of hope, it's that over the past 5 months I've lost 40 pounds, my skin has cleared up, and my periods are no longer heavy or painful. But it's so hard to see the progress when everything feels blurry or like there's mud in my head. I have spent so many hours praying to every higher power (and I'm an atheist!) to help me lift the fog so I can think clearly again and be a good wife. I'm trying so hard to have patience. Wray, thank you for this site and all of the years and energy you've put into it. Thank you, Joy for your site and input as well. It's keeping me just sane enough.

Comments for Debilitating brain fog

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Sep 11, 2016
Iodine for brain health
by: Anonymous

It sounds like you are doing many very good things for yourself. I hope you give yourself credit. Yes, the vitamin D level may be high, but just cut back a bit. I have heard experts on the subject of vitamin D say that levels above 100ng/ml are most likely not toxic. So I wouldn't get too worried, just cut back for a few weeks.
As far as thyroid, I personally find all those numbers confusing. I myself use to take thyroid tests but now I don't. I test my basal body temperature, which is considered to be the best way of testing thyroid. The late Dr. Broda Barnes was the one who advocated this testing and it has further been supported by the iodine/thyroid expert Dr. David Brownstein and many other specialist. Place a digital thermometer under the arm first thing in the morning without moving. Wait a few minutes before turning it on, and wait another few minutes after it beeps. If the reading is between 97.8 - 98.2, you are okay. If below, you may be hypothyroid. If that is the case - and I have a feeling it may be - please start taking iodine! It is crucial for your brain health and every other area of the body. It is in every cell in the human body. I suggest you look up Dr. Brownstein's account of the importance of iodine. This may be the missing link in what other wise appears to be a good regime you have for yourself. Also, what is your diet? Please cut out sugars, starches such as gluten, and add coconut oil into your diet , as it supports thyroid and metabolism. Good fats should comprise most of ones diet not glutens and sugars.
I am no doctor but have dealt with these issues you have gone through and I have found that the addition of progesterone, iodine(for me personally in the form of Lugol's or you can take Iodoral which is the tablet form) and a natural desiccated thyroid supplement called Thyro Gold (which does not require prescription) have been wonderfully helpful.I also take many other important supplements similar to what you take. I hope my two cents worth may help you. You are doing a lot of good things for yourself. I wish you all the best!

Sep 12, 2016
You should have iron checked also
by: Laura

You may also want to have your serum ferritin (iron level) checked. The "feeling dizzy upon standing" is a red flag for low iron. I had the same thing for a long time (along with a number of the same symptoms you are having) and my serum ferritin was 8 (it should be well above 70). The comment above regarding iodine is very good advice. My iodine results came back very low and I brought it up (under doctor supervision) with Iosol by following the directions on the bottle. I am hypothyroid and take T3 daily but even on T3 for many years, my iodine was extremely low. I feel more alert and have more energy after bringing up my iron and iodine levels. Hope this helps.

Sep 12, 2016
Brain fog
by: Andrea

Thank you so much for your reply. Sometimes it helps to just not feel so alone. I've already alienated myself from my friends and family because I have such a hard time leaving the house, so again, thank you.

I've suspected thyroid problems for years and have all but begged my doctors to consider subclinical hypothyroidism since serious thyroid problems run on my mother's side of the family. I have an appointment tomorrow where I'm going to give once last ditch effort to see if she'll consider it before looking for yet another doctor. I ordered a full thyroid panel from zrt including urine testing for iodine. I've actually been heavily researching iodine deficiency in the past few weeks and am currently waiting out an iodine patch test on my arm, although I don't know how accurate that is.

My diet is incredibly clean without processed foods and I ditched gluten years ago. Again with the alienation of friends since no one wants to invite me over or out to eat anymore! The only sugar I eat is natural, like in the occasional fruit, but I'm trying so hard to move toward a keto diet. Coconut oil has become my new love affair and I use it for everything.

I'm just feeling so hopeless and out of options because I feel like I've tried everything. So thank you for supporting what I've suspected for so many years which is a thyroid problem.

Sep 13, 2016
by: Andrea

Thanks, Laura. You are right, I've been struggling to get my ferritin levels up all year after having such heavy periods for so long. On 2/19/2016 my iron level was at 37 and ferritin was only at 7.5. On 7/27/16 iron went up to 83 and ferritin went up to 51.6, so still working on that as well. Thanks!

Sep 13, 2016
brain fog
by: Anonymous

You are most certainly not alone in this. The beauty of this site is that women realize that most of their issues have been experienced exactly the same way by many other women! Thank you Wray Whyte for all those years of endless research!
I am glad you are doing the iodine patch test. I think it is a good indication. But your body temperature is really the best indicator. Are you feeling cold in warm weather, etc.? That simple basal test under the arm is a great way to judge. Iodine will help! Lugol's or iodoral contain the two types of iodine that Dr. Brownstein recommends. I personally would not use Iosol. I agree with the comments about iron/ferritin levels. Also, you adrenals need support - and how - and there are excellent adrenal supplements available. I personally use Premier Research Labs Adrenal Complex and their Adpatogen. I have used these for years and wouldn't be without them! They contain Rhodiola and other nutrients to support your adrenals. Thyroid and Adrenals go together - they need support simultaneously!
You are doing well. Hang in there! And so glad you love coconut oil! Every day I take it straight from the bottle - up to 4 tablespoons a day!!

Sep 13, 2016
You have options for thyroid meds
by: Laura

I know exactly what you mean. I also alienated myself from my friends and family. I would look in the mirror and my face didn't even look the same. I felt I looked distorted, swollen, my eyes were blurry to the point I couldn't focus and I felt my brain was shutting down. Fortunately, after many doctors and much research, I found one that would actually listen to me. Please do look into the iodine. I felt a difference as soon as I started it even though I've been on prescription thyroid meds for a few years. You do have over the counter options for thyroid meds. The website is very helpful. I pulled this from their website: "Thyrogold is sold by Tammy Lowe, widow of Dr. John C. Lowe, and many are very happy with it. Capsules are 150 mg and 300 mg from New Zealand pasture-fed cows and 25 mg of Coleus forskohlii, which is said to promote thyroid function. The website will say it’s a dietary supplement, but patients find it to work as well as prescription. Says a patient on Thyrogold: I lost 23 lbs. I can fit into my clothes again! My digestion improved. My memory improved 100%. Joint pains went away. I sleep all night through and my weight remains stable, and I can enjoy food. I am 64."

Unfortunately, there is not one magic pill. I had to endure much suffering including losing over half my hair the last 10 years. My thyroid, hormones and vitamin/mineral deficiencies all had to be corrected before I was able to see any improvement. The good news is, I do feel better and I have gotten invaluable information from this website and the thyroid madness website so you are in the right place. For reference, here's what I currently take: T3 for thyroid (prescribed by doc); 200mg bio-identical hormone cream every day (prescribed by doc); quality, food-based multivitamin; I also take extra vitamins to include iron, biotin, selenium, vitamin D3, magnesium and iodine. Stay positive!

Sep 14, 2016
I agree with previous comments
by: Anonymous

I am so glad you reiterate the information about the supplement/desiccated thyroid hormone called ThyroGold. Tammy Lowe is an absolutely wonderful woman. She has devoted her life to helping people with thyroid issues ever since her beloved husband Dr. Lowe passed away in 2012. Dr. John Lowe devoted his life to the study of thyroid hormone. He wanted to give people the freedom of choice - of control of their own body. They never advocated that one not monitor their progress with a doctor, if that was what one wished, but he believed individuals probably do a better job of listening to their own bodies! It is a wonderful supplement that is comparable to prescription medications of thyroid. Some people who have been on synthetic thyroid hormone for years switched to ThyroGold and never turned back. There are testimonials and a question and answer section on their site. I use to take prescription thyroid but found it frustrating to have to go periodically to the doctor to renew prescriptions. I wanted to control this myself. So I no longer do blood tests, only basal temperature and going by what I feel! It has worked. As I have mentioned, I also take Lugol's iodine 5%, some days up to 50mg. It varies. And of course I take a number of supplements to support nervous system, ie., B complexes, B12, and many other aspects of health, including The Synergy Company's organic food based Multi vitamin, Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate, up to 10,000 units Vitamin D 3, and many others. Progesterone is up to 300mg in the form of Natpro, which I love!
It's all about achieving a balance. So far, this is working very well indeed! I too have had hair thinning, and I realize that it can take many months to regain some of what has been lost. I believe that the benefits of progesterone are worth the wait, not to mention the addition of good supplementation, stress management, which for me is daily meditation practice, exercise…. and love in your heart! You can't go wrong! The body is designed to heal!

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