What your feet say about your brain when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

By November 20, 2013 hypothyroid No Comments

Although they’re located at the farthest distance from your brain, the health of your feet can give you clues about the health of your brain, mainly whether your brain is receiving enough oxygen. This is important when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, which can impact blood flow. When circulation to the feet is poor, creating a variety of symptoms discussed below, this is a red flag circulation to the brain is compromised as well. Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean your brain is getting enough oxygen.

If your brain is not getting enough oxygen it won’t function well. You may notice brain fog, declining memory, that you tire more easily, and that it is harder to learn new things. Depression is another common symptom. Poor brain oxygen is a serious matter because it accelerates degeneration of your brain—vascular dementia from lack of blood flow to the brain is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s. It’s important to manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism so that your feet—and your brain—receive enough oxygen.

Feet symptoms that could point to problems in your brain when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Cold toes and feet. If your feet and toes are colder than your ankles or calves, this means circulation is poor to your feet, and hence to your brain. It’s hard to measure your own skin temperature so have someone else compare the temperature of your calves and ankles with that of your feet and toes. If the feet and toes are colder than your ankles and calves this means your circulation to the furthermost regions of your body is compromised. Cold fingers and a cold nose are common too. Cold feet are very common with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and a sign to manage your autoimmune condition.

Chronic fungal growth in toenails

Do you have chronic fungal nail infections, or chronic athlete’s foot? When circulation is poor the blood is not able to carry oxygen, immune cells, and nutrients to the feet to keep them healthy. As a result, infections can take root and be difficult to impossible to banish while circulation is poor. General nail health will also be poor. This is a sign circulation in your brain is also compromised.

White nail beds; poor capillary refill time

The nail beds of your toes should be a healthy pink color. If they are pale or white this is another symptom of poor circulation. Also, when you press down on a nail bed it turns white, but the pink color should return instantly. If it takes a few seconds for the color to return, this means blood flow to the nails is poor, as is blood flow to the brain.

Foot cramps

Sometimes people with poor circulation get foot cramps that seem impossible to relieve. This is because there is not enough blood and oxygen flowing to the muscles in the feet. They may also get cramps in their hands. Again, these are signs blood flow to the brain may be poor.

How to restore blood flow to your feet and your brain when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Although we know Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism can cause poor blood flow, it’s also important to rule out other health conditions that can cause poor blood flow to your feet, such as hypothyroidism, anemia, a heart condition, diabetes, or low blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. If either number is 10 or more points below that it means blood is not getting pushed into these more distant capillaries of the feet and brain. People with low blood pressure typically also have low blood sugar (reactive hypoglycemia) and adrenal fatigue, a condition in which their stress response system is worn out.

It’s important to stabilize blood sugar by avoiding sugars and processed carbohydrates and not skipping meals. Exercise is great for increasing circulation, especially short bursts of high-intensity exercise. Also, a variety of nutritional compounds can support blood flow to your feet and your brain. Ask my office for advice and check out the book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

Dr. Joni Labbe

About Dr. Joni Labbe

Dr. Joni Labbe is a board-certified clinical nutritionist specializing in science-based nutrition with a focus on women's health issues. She has successfully helped pre-menopausal and menopausal women regain and maintain their health since 1995. Dr. Labbe is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Thyroid & Menopause Madness and It’s Not Just Menopause: It’s Your Thyroid. She is also a professional speaker, radio personality, fitness expert, and former host of “Healthier Way With Dr. Labbe.” Dr. Labbe is one of the country’s leading authorities on thyroid disorders, including Hashimoto’s disease. Dr. Labbe has also authored numerous articles and blogs on health, nutrition, and thyroid health, as seen in Naturally Savvy, Thyroid Nation, and Fox News. She is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionalist, Doctor of Chiropractic, and has post graduate training in Functional Neurology, Functional Endocrinology, Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis, and earned a Diplomate and Fellow in Nutrition from the American Association of Integrative Medicine.

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