In this part 1 of 2 episodes, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss why “Mom Brain” or “Super Brain” is a thing and what you can do about it. Your brain gets rewired to respond to cues from your kids to keep them alive, which is a good thing! Learn how to treat your new Super Brain well so it function its best.
In today’s episode, we cover:
How and why your brain gets rewired from hormone changes in pregnancy
The hormones involved in your brain’s rewiring
The importance of the maternal locus of control in your brain to allow you to respond to the cues from your kids
The physical presence of your kids in your brain due to fetal microchimerism
Other factors that can impact how you experience Super Brain, including sleep, nutrient depletion and stress
Some tips to support your brain to work its best
Today’s Mama Must-Have:
Dr. Toni loves using steam inhalation in addition to humidifier for dealing with dry air in winter. Sometimes she adds 1-2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to reduce congestion and provide some anti-viral activity.
Dr. Lisa is a big fan of her 5 minute meditation daily, in addition to her walking meditation.
What’s Else is Happening?
Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening soon. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register
Join Dr. Lisa’s new Facebook group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!
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Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!
Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Disclaimer:The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.
We refer to this past episode from October 8, 2020 so often that we decided to re-release it! Is your thyroid the reason you are exhausted, depressed, constipated, forgetful and gaining weight? We discuss signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, how to properly diagnose imbalances, how to eat to support thyroid health and how we approach assessment and treatment as Naturopathic Doctors.
One in eight women will develop thyroid disease at some point in their life and women are 5-8 times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues.
As Dr. Lisa shared previously in Episode 3, she realized that her thyroid wasn’t functioning properly after giving birth to her son. It is common for women to discover thyroid issues in the postpartum period. Proper blood work, addressing stress and taking dessicated thyroid were crucial for Dr. Lisa to feel her best.
Why is your thyroid so important?
Your thyroid gland regulates your temperature, energy production and metabolism. When your thyroid is under functioning, it is called hypothyroidism. High thyroid function is called hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Fatigue and exhaustion
Unexplained weight gain
Increased sensitivity to cold and temperature changes
Dry skin and thinning hair
Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness and stiffness
Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
Depression and anxiety
as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the cause of their depression
Brain fog, poor memory and concentration
Studies of women in their 60s have shown that low thyroid function can cause dementia-like symptoms and treatment can improve cognitive function and have a protective effect on the brain
Increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of the thyroid on heart rate and rhythm
Fertility issues, increased risk of miscarriage and preterm birth
Increased risk of prenatal and postpartum depression
Why do so many women have thyroid issues?
Possible Causes of Your Thyroid Issue Include:
Environmental exposure to different chemicals, xenoestrogens and heavy metals
Certain medications including birth control pill
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Iodine, selenium, vitamin D, zinc, iron, vitamin A
Low calorie diets
High cortisol levels due to chronic stress:
reduces thyroid hormone production
inhibits your conversion of the inactive form of thyroid hormone T4, to the active form T3
Leaky gut (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability) and imbalances in your gut microbiome have both been shown to impact hormone imbalances and fluctuations, like when you are postpartum or in perimenopause
Environmental toxins, chronic stress, nutritional insufficiencies, leaky gut, food intolerances and having chronic inflammation are all factors that can contribute to autoimmune disease
Your immune system is triggered to produce antibodies that can attack your thyroid, which is what is happening when you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
How do you properly test your thyroid function and the underlying causes of thyroid issues?
Full thyroid panel: TSH, free T4 and T3, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies, reverse T3
Vitamin D, iron
Gluten and other food sensitivity
Saliva and urine testing for hormones including cortisol, estrogen, progesterone
Urine testing for heavy metal exposure (eg. cadmium, mercury)
Temperature checks every 3 hours during the day to see if your body is using your thyroid hormones properly
What can you do about an underfunctioning thyroid?
Avoid raw goitrogenic foods – soy and Brassica family veggies like broccoli and cauliflower
Increase your intake of thyroid supporting foods
Seaweed like dulse for iodine, brazil nuts for selenium, pumpkin seeds and oysters for zinc
Reduce toxin exposure
Replace nutrient deficiencies
Consider adrenal and stress support:
Address your throat chakra – speaking your truth, asking for help
Herbal support with ashwagandha, kelp, bladderwrack, Coleus forskohlii
Thyroid hormone replacement with Synthroid or Dessicated thyroid
Take in the morning, on an empty stomach, away from caffeine
Why would you consider dessicated thyroid?
If you’re on monotherapy like Synthroid (T4), you still night suffer from anxiety and depression even if your TSH levels are normal
T4 may not be enough to restore your T3 levels in your blood and target tissues
It contains all four natural thyroid hormones – T4, T3, T2, T1, plus iodine, thyroglobulin
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Toni loves having a healthy and easy recipe like Egg Muffins from Amanda Naturally that the whole family will eat for breakfast or a snack. Check out Episode 5 for more tips for healthy food habits from Amanda.
Dr. Lisa knows that Dessicated Thyroid is an absolute must have for her!
In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss how brain fog can be impacted by: stress, nutrient deficiencies, lack of sleep, hormone changes with perimenopause and more. For your brain, it’s definitely a case of use it or lose it! Listen in to discover the causes of brain fog and what to do about it using mindfulness, meditation, nutrition, supplements, herbs and exercise, dark chocolate and caffeine (in moderation!). If you constantly forget where you put your keys or what your were going to say or do; then this episode is for you!
What is Brain Fog?
Cloudy mental thinking
Difficulty with focus or memory
Difficulty with memory
Difficulty to memorize new information
It is never normal to have brain fog at any age!
3 Things Every Brain Needs:
Fuel – Glucose or Ketones
Symptoms of Poor Circulation and Blood Flow to Your Brain:
Low brain endurance, poor focus and concentration
Must exercise or drink coffee to improve brain function
Cold hands and feet, especially if you must wear socks at night
Cold tip of nose
Brain fog can be a symptom of neuroinflammation, in addition to :
Can result in elevated cortisol stress hormone and adrenal gland dysregulation, for more info see Episode 24
Estrogen impacts serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine receptors in women
Low estrogen increases brain inflammation and degeneration
Thyroid hormones impact all neurotransmitter receptors – for more info see Episode 42
Fatigue and inadequate sleep – for more info see Episode 73
Glymphatic system supports brain repair during sleep
Blood Sugar Imbalances – for more info see Episode 45
Elevated blood sugar can promote inflammation and damage to your brain cells
Leaky gut and microbiome imbalance – for more info see Episode 8
Food sensitivities and allergies, including gluten
Medication side effects including antihistamines, medications for blood pressure, anxiety and sleep, painkillers, and some antibiotics
Excess alcohol intake
Chronic environmental toxic exposure – for more info see Episode 65
solvents (eg. exhaust, pollution, fragrances)
heavy metals like lead and mercury
Physical trauma including concussion
Essential fatty acids – omega 3
B vitamins, especially low B12 and folate can cause elevated homocysteine
Protein for neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes
Flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity
Infections, including Candida overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and Lyme
Other conditions like migraines, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia
How does the keto diet impact your brain health?
Ketone bodies are made by your liver from fatty acids in your diet or body fat. These ketones are released into your bloodstream, taken up by your brain and other organs, shuttled into the “energy factory” mitochondria and used up as fuel.
Beta-hydroxybutrate (a major ketone) may be an even more efficient fuel than glucose for your brain, providing more energy per unit oxygen used. A ketogenic diet can also increase the number of mitochondria in your brain cells to produce more energy.
Lab Tests to Consider to Determine the Root Cause of Your Brain Fog:
Blood work such as blood sugar tests, thyroid panel, homocysteine, MMA for vitamin B12 status
Comprehensive Stool Analysis or SIBO breath test
DUTCH for hormones, melatonin, oxidative stress
Urine and blood heavy metal testing
Natural Support to Consider for Improving Your Brain Fog:
Exercise and movement breaks
Walk around the block
Jumping jacks in bathroom
Be mindful and avoid multi-tasking
Calming activities like meditation, deep breathing
Nose breathing; breath of fire – support nitrous oxide, blood flow and circulation
Enjoy caffeine in moderation – green tea is ideal for l-theanine plus antioxidant catechins
Stay hydrated with plenty of filtered water
Reduce sugar, processed foods
Enjoy more fatty fish, nuts, seeds, more vegetables especially beets, beet juice beet root
Spices: rosemary, sage, oregano, curcumin, garlic
Nutrient and herbal supplements:
Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom
Mitochondrial support like CoQ10, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl L carnitine
Bulletproof coffee with medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil
Essential oils like citrus (orange, grapefruit, lemon), lavender, rose
Acupuncture to support blood flow, stress reduction
Bodywork like physiotherapy, osteopathy
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Lisa loves her 80% dark chocolate after lunch for an antioxidant boost and her mid-morning decaf coffee with collagen, MCT oil and some sea salt
Dr. Toni is a big fan of Martin’s crispy apple chips from Costco for a healthy snack at the end of a meal or on its own.