Synthroid, Depression and Brain Fog
Are you on Synthroid (also known as Levothyroxine) and experiencing depression or brain fog?
Every cell in the body, including brain cells need thyroid hormone. If there is not enough to go around, your cells will not run efficiently.
Your systems will become sluggish.
You won't feel as energetic and your brain may feel slow or cloudy.
It can feel like you just don't have enough gas to make it through the day.
But we can simply take the right dose of thyroid medication and all is well, right?
Not so fast.
If you are taking Synthroid (Levothyroxine) for low thyroid function, your labs may appear normal but you may still be deficient in ACTIVE thyroid hormone. And that means that you can still have symptoms of low thyroid function. For example, depression and lack of mental clarity.
Here's the problem:
Synthroid (levothyroxine) is a T4-only medication. T4 is inactive thyroid hormone. In order to produce the active thyroid hormone— also known as T3— that your cells so desperately need, the body relies on an enzyme system to remove one iodine from the T4 molecule; removing this iodine turns T4 into T3 which is the active hormone your cells run on.
There are several related enzymes at work and some are more active in the brain and some are more active in other tissues in the body.
Problems can arise when one or more of these enzymes are not working properly. What are some of the reasons why they might not work well? Exposure to many common chemicals in our environment (like flame retardants and pesticides), genetics, chronic illness, stress and/or nutrient deficiencies.
And to further complicate the issue, you may only have an issue with one type of enzyme system. So while you may get enough thyroid hormone in certain cells, you may still be lacking in other areas of the body, like the brain.
The brain needs a steady supply of T3 hormone to function properly. If you're low in thyroid hormone to start with (hypothyroidism) and one or more of your enzyme systems are not working properly, your brain could be SUFFERING.
It's not your fault, your brain just doesn't have enough "juice" to function properly.
In this case, you may consider a trial of natural dessicated thyroid. This is a pharmaceutical medication sold under the brand names Armour, NatureThroid, WP Thyroid and NP Thyroid. Natural dessicated thyroid contains both T4 (like Levothyroxine) as well as T3, the active thyroid hormone.
This medication is not for everyone but it can be helpful for people that are still having symptoms of low thyroid function on Synthroid.
It's also important that to address any underlying issues that may be preventing the proper conversion of inactive T4 to active T3 hormone. Testing for chemical exposures, addressing underlying infections or chronic conditions and screening for nutrient deficiencies is a great start.