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Thyroid Health Hurdle: Overcoming Memory Loss & Difficulty Concentrating

Many people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions have problems with memory loss, as well as difficulty concentrating.  This affects people with both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, as well as autoimmune thyroid conditions such as Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  This problem frequently is due to the imbalance involving thyroid hormone, although it can be due to other factors as well.  On both my male and female health history questionnaires, I have a place where my patients can check off whether or not they have memory or concentration problems, and I’d guess that about 60 to 70% of my patients check off at least one of these.

Upon following a natural treatment protocol, these problems can usually be corrected.  But it’s important to understand that just balancing thyroid hormone levels alone won’t always help with memory and concentration issues.  There are many people taking thyroid hormone or antithyroid medication who experience memory loss and have difficulty concentrating.  So while balancing one’s thyroid hormone levels is essential, doing this alone is usually not enough.

Eating Well Is Essential For Memory And Concentration

It is very common to consult with a patient with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism who is taking thyroid medication, but at the same time is eating too many refined foods.  I realize it can be very difficult to eat well, as it’s much easier to grab some fast food or munch on a bag of potato chips as a snack.  And while doing this every now and then isn’t too big of a deal, doing this on a regular basis will affect your health, and can definitely have a big impact on memory and concentration.

So many people who are experiencing memory loss and/or difficulty concentrating notice a big difference simply by eating healthier.  Cutting out or at least reducing the amount of refined foods you eat, and consuming mostly whole foods will make a big difference.  Also, try to avoid drinking sugary beverages as well (sodas, fruit juice, sweet tea, etc.), and drink mostly purified water.  Cutting out common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, and unfermented soy can also help greatly.

Can Taking Nutritional Supplements & Herbs Help With Memory Loss And Concentration?

Many people try to address different conditions by taking nutritional supplements and herbs.  And while there definitely are supplements and herbs which can help with memory loss and concentration, the goal really should be to get to the underlying cause of the disorder.  So while I’m going to list some herbs which can help, keep in mind that these typically won’t offer a permanent cure for memory and concentration problems:

Herb #1: Ginkgo. This is the primary herb I recommend for people who have memory loss and difficulty concentrating.  I personally take it myself every now and then to help me focus better.  For example, on days when I conduct a webinar I will take a few tablets of Ginkgo.

Herb #2: Bacopa. This is another very useful herb for memory and concentration.  It is an Ayurvedic herb that also helps with immunity, and has been used to help with conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and depression.

Herb #3: Korean Ginseng. A good herb for mental clarity, although it has many other functions as well.  Even though I listed it here, I usually will recommend either the Gingko or Bacopa first for problems with memory and/or concentrating.

Address Other Types Of Hormone Imbalances

While most endocrinologists and other types of medical doctors will focus solely on balancing a person’s thyroid hormone levels, people with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism frequently have other hormone imbalances as well.  It’s not uncommon to have imbalances in estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, as well as other hormones.  This is why some people will benefit from obtaining a male or female hormone panel, which will reveal whether someone has an imbalance in one or more of these hormones.

In summary, many people with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism experience memory loss and have difficulty concentrating.  This is frequently true for those who are taking synthetic thyroid hormone or antithyroid medication, which of course are used to balance the thyroid hormone levels.  So while balancing the thyroid hormone levels is of course important, and can help greatly with memory and concentration problems, it is also important to eat well, get sufficient sleep, and correct other hormone imbalances.