Noticeable Drop in IQ, Feel Disabled. Reversible?

animalcule

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Oct 22, 2019
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103
Ever since I was 18, I noticed my cognitive abilities begin to fade, little by little. I was never a genius, but I was a straight A student in one of those advanced tracks, and I scored highly on my SATs (not great measures of intelligence, sure, but the point is I wasn't as stupid as I am now). First it was my memory, it just didn't seem as sharp. I began to struggle in college math classes, but I figured, "I'm no math whiz, maybe I've just hit my limit." Then my ability to learn even the basics of new languages, which I used to be pretty good at, completely evaporated - I couldn't get anything to stick in my brain. This was when I was 21. I chalked it up to depression (depressed since childhood) and anxiety (always anxious, but it really took off in college). Years went by, during which time I lived in a state of near-perpetual high-stress due to job insecurity, toxic living environment (possible CPTSD), and frayed ability to establish and maintain social contacts. Learned helplessness took over, and I found communicating with people in person (always a struggle, but at least I had a running dialogue in my head, even if I was too anxious to verbalize it) became nearly impossible. I noticed that I had lost the internal dialogue - nothing there. I started getting migraines, and even now, with no migraine presently, I still feel as though I'm walking around with a brick in my head, preventing me from thinking any thoughts at all. I used to journal and write stories - I can't do that anymore -- no energy, creative impulse, or ability to concentrate. I used to have a larger vocabulary that I could draw from easily - now I struggle to come up with any good words to describe anything. The decline in the quality of my thoughts, vocabulary, and writing ability from when I was a teenager to now is shocking and dismaying.

People I work with think I am stupid. I can see it in their eyes, and in the fact that no one ever gives me any jobs with any responsibility (my last employer gave me paper to shred when I asked for additional assignments). I do have such high anxiety that sometimes, when I asked to do simple things, I come off as spastic or dumb because it appears to take an unusual amount of effort or concentration to do simmple things (things that, when alone, wouldn't take any effort at all). The effect of many years of this has been complete demoralization. Worse: I now have to admit that they are right -- whatever I may have been before, I am not now. I am dumb and dull and usually listless. I zone out whenever people talk because I cannot follow what they are saying. I can't even listen to podcasts anymore because I can't follow the conversation, like I used to. If someone writes me a message more than a few sentences, I often struggle to read and comprehend it.

The mental decline accelerated after I quit the carnivore diet, though this may just be coincidence, as it coincided with another high stress time in my life. I just feel way ... fuzzier than before. The past couple of years I feel like I've sort of lost my mind and my sense of self, hard to describe. I don't feel like myself. I've lost something. And I'm definitely dumber. Basic logic problems are almost impossible for me to solve. Each year the brick in my head seems to grow.

Anyone with a similar experience? Anyone ever come back from this?
 

Indicator

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Jun 14, 2020
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At least the way you wrote this post suggests to me you are not a dimwit. I would first and foremost advice you not to despair, because your past intelligence is always there as a potential that can be brought back. I have personally felt cognitively impaired in the past, it happened when I was doing low carb/carnivore-ish and I was consuming a significant amount of unsaturated fats from pork. I didn't need to become too restrictive about my diet when coming out of carnivore, all I did was eat like any other Italian did, including a decent amount of carbs from starch everyday and my cognition went back to normal. You just need to raise your dopamine and energy and find pleasure in life, and you will be amazed at the progress. Best of luck.
 

animalcule

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Oct 22, 2019
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At least the way you wrote this post suggests to me you are not a dimwit. I would first and foremost advice you not to despair, because your past intelligence is always there as a potential that can be brought back. I have personally felt cognitively impaired in the past, it happened when I was doing low carb/carnivore-ish and I was consuming a significant amount of unsaturated fats from pork. I didn't need to become too restrictive about my diet when coming out of carnivore, all I did was eat like any other Italian did, including a decent amount of carbs from starch everyday and my cognition went back to normal. You just need to raise your dopamine and energy and find pleasure in life, and you will be amazed at the progress. Best of luck.
I've been eating more unsaturated fat than saturated. I'm going to change this. Thank you for your response.
 

superdeuces

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Dec 23, 2020
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I actually feel the exact same way and it seemed to start around the same time I started and ended the carnivore diet.

I wouldn't say mine is as bad as you describe but I definitely feel much slower than before and don't have clear internal thoughts anymore.
 

S-VV

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Jul 23, 2018
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There are two approaches in this situation. One is the peaty, bioenergic, and Im sure you will get a lot of useful suggestions.

But there also seems to be a perpetuating cycle of anxiety and brain fog that could be treated short term with pharma.

For example, a nootropic like piracetam or modafinil (+ a choline source like citicholine or alpha GCP), and an anxiolytic like buspirone, hydroxyzine, afobazole or progesterone.

As your cognitive abilities improve you will better be able to grasp your situation and formulate effective treatments, setting up a counteracting beneficial cycle.
 

gaze

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Jun 13, 2019
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went through a similar feeling throughout college. although my grades were still high.

some things that you can check : TSH (often too high, causes mental issues), vitamin d deficiency, nutritional deficiencies (vitamin b1 and magnesium in particular are very important for brain function and stress resistance)
 

animalcule

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Oct 22, 2019
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103
I actually feel the exact same way and it seemed to start around the same time I started and ended the carnivore diet.

I wouldn't say mine is as bad as you describe but I definitely feel much slower than before and don't have clear internal thoughts anymore.
That diet really messed me up. Majorly regret it. Interesting to know that I'm not the only person who noticed a dip in cognitive function post-carnivore.
 

animalcule

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Oct 22, 2019
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103
went through a similar feeling throughout college. although my grades were still high.

some things that you can check : TSH (often too high, causes mental issues), vitamin d deficiency, nutritional deficiencies (vitamin b1 and magnesium in particular are very important for brain function and stress resistance)
I've been supplementing with 200 mg b1 (allithiamine) for many months, in addition to taking Rosita cod liver oil for the vitamin D. I noticed that things slightly stabilized with the b1, but nothing major. The cod liver oil has improved my sleep. Could still check TSH and add magnesium. Thanks.
 

mrchibbs

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I can say I've gone through similar experiences in my 20s as well.

Gone from being euphoric, creative in my teens to feeling a lot dumber later on.

Chronic stress has a catabolic effect, so there is clearly some loss going on.

But based on what we learn from Ray, it's possible to reverse this and regenerate with good nutrition, higher metabolism, and progesterone/DHEA/pregnenolone etc.
 

animalcule

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Oct 22, 2019
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There are two approaches in this situation. One is the peaty, bioenergic, and Im sure you will get a lot of useful suggestions.

But there also seems to be a perpetuating cycle of anxiety and brain fog that could be treated short term with pharma.

For example, a nootropic like piracetam or modafinil (+ a choline source like citicholine or alpha GCP), and an anxiolytic like buspirone, hydroxyzine, afobazole or progesterone.

As your cognitive abilities improve you will better be able to grasp your situation and formulate effective treatments, setting up a counteracting beneficial cycle.
Sort of nervous to experiment with nootropics, but will keep these in mind if diet change doesn't work. Going back to saturated fats only, see if that helps. Ever since stopping carnivore, I couldn't stomach any beef, so I've stayed away from it and ended up eating lots of chicken/tuna/olive oil. Could be a factor.
 

gaze

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I've been supplementing with 200 mg b1 (allithiamine) for many months, in addition to taking Rosita cod liver oil for the vitamin D. I noticed that things slightly stabilized with the b1, but nothing major. The cod liver oil has improved my sleep. Could still check TSH and add magnesium. Thanks.
Ray is against CLO, just fyi.

Have you tried thiamine HCL ?
 

animalcule

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Oct 22, 2019
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Ray is against CLO, just fyi.

Have you tried thiamine HCL ?
I know he is against CLO, but it has undeniably helped me sleep better, so for now I take it.

I'm taking allithiamine, trying to work up to 500 mg/day. This is on the advice of some dr whose name I cannot remember ... he recommends allithiamine over thiamine HCL, so I'm trying the allithiamine first. I've heard good things about thiamine HCL from someone who mega dosed it, though.
 

gaze

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I know he is against CLO, but it has undeniably helped me sleep better, so for now I take it.

I'm taking allithiamine, trying to work up to 500 mg/day. This is on the advice of some dr whose name I cannot remember ... he recommends allithiamine over thiamine HCL, so I'm trying the allithiamine first. I've heard good things about thiamine HCL from someone who mega dosed it, though.
makes sense.

personally i don't think megadosing is a cure all, with any vitamin, but i've read the success stories, so it may work for you. i think attacking the systemic things like TSH is more important, but if you test your TSH and it's below 1 then trying out different dosages of vitamins may work out.
 

AdR

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Jun 13, 2021
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You could have aluminum toxicity. You could try a good natural silica source. There's one called orgono or something on amazon that has great reviews and is supposedly biovailable. Horsetail extract also has a ton of silica as well. It wouldn't hurt to include some kelp in your diet as well for iodine. Norwegian kelp is supposed to be low in heavy metals. I'm just trying to think of things that could remove some inhibitory substances that could be disturbing normal function.

Outside of that the biggest thing I can think of is your gut. Try the white button mushrooms people are talking about and see if doesn't help you. Basically you chop them and then boil them for 3 hours in as little water as you can use to keep them covered. You can store them and drink the water as well. If it's a gut thing that might help you significantly.
 

Xref

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Apr 9, 2020
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I actually learn faster with coffee, thyroid, thiamine and LLLT to my DLPFC
Before my exam I try nicotine gums that help me concentrate.....

A long time ago it was also found that the DLPFC (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) dopamine concentration can affect working memory in an inverted U shape, so from time to time I try my luck with L-Dopa + EGCG
 

Blaze

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Apr 25, 2020
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That diet really messed me up. Majorly regret it. Interesting to know that I'm not the only person who noticed a dip in cognitive function post-carnivore.
Most of my mistakes that lead to lower mental function and less than optimal physical health were caused by following different diets. Carnivore, vegan, vegetarian etc..... These poorly affected everything including hormonal balance, seratonin excess and endotoxin/disbiosis and much more.
Very common , if not the most common theme from posters on this forum, took a while for me to resolve things using a proper diet, and very minimal use of supplements, and the damage was certainly not reversed overnight. Learning took time and putting that science I learned into action is what helped. Made a lot of mistakes along the way. Thank God for Ray Peat and many others. It's been a real blessing to receive all the free knowledge.
 
Last edited:

Atman

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Dec 10, 2016
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I also experienced an episode like this during my life and in the end it was mainly related to what I was doing most of the day. This might sound strange, especially in contrast to everything which is mentioned on this forum most of the time, but I would give it a consideration. What I mean is related to the basic biological principle that the energy flow through a given tissue maintains and even further delevops its structure (use it or you lose it).
So the question would be: Are you actually using the functions which you think have atrophied? What are the main daily activities? Are you mindlessly watching youtube for many hours per day? Are you challenging yourself mentally in an active/productive manner? Does your job involve mindless, repetitive activities?
Of course you should also care about a solid diet, but when the above applies to you, the solution might not be hidden in some rare nutrional deficiency or a magic supplement, even though this might be the easy, enticing way out. You would also not recommend supplements to a man who spends 80% of his waking hours in bed and complains about his declined athleticism.
 

mostlylurking

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Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
682
Ever since I was 18, I noticed my cognitive abilities begin to fade, little by little. I was never a genius, but I was a straight A student in one of those advanced tracks, and I scored highly on my SATs (not great measures of intelligence, sure, but the point is I wasn't as stupid as I am now). First it was my memory, it just didn't seem as sharp. I began to struggle in college math classes, but I figured, "I'm no math whiz, maybe I've just hit my limit." Then my ability to learn even the basics of new languages, which I used to be pretty good at, completely evaporated - I couldn't get anything to stick in my brain. This was when I was 21. I chalked it up to depression (depressed since childhood) and anxiety (always anxious, but it really took off in college). Years went by, during which time I lived in a state of near-perpetual high-stress due to job insecurity, toxic living environment (possible CPTSD), and frayed ability to establish and maintain social contacts. Learned helplessness took over, and I found communicating with people in person (always a struggle, but at least I had a running dialogue in my head, even if I was too anxious to verbalize it) became nearly impossible. I noticed that I had lost the internal dialogue - nothing there. I started getting migraines, and even now, with no migraine presently, I still feel as though I'm walking around with a brick in my head, preventing me from thinking any thoughts at all. I used to journal and write stories - I can't do that anymore -- no energy, creative impulse, or ability to concentrate. I used to have a larger vocabulary that I could draw from easily - now I struggle to come up with any good words to describe anything. The decline in the quality of my thoughts, vocabulary, and writing ability from when I was a teenager to now is shocking and dismaying.

People I work with think I am stupid. I can see it in their eyes, and in the fact that no one ever gives me any jobs with any responsibility (my last employer gave me paper to shred when I asked for additional assignments). I do have such high anxiety that sometimes, when I asked to do simple things, I come off as spastic or dumb because it appears to take an unusual amount of effort or concentration to do simmple things (things that, when alone, wouldn't take any effort at all). The effect of many years of this has been complete demoralization. Worse: I now have to admit that they are right -- whatever I may have been before, I am not now. I am dumb and dull and usually listless. I zone out whenever people talk because I cannot follow what they are saying. I can't even listen to podcasts anymore because I can't follow the conversation, like I used to. If someone writes me a message more than a few sentences, I often struggle to read and comprehend it.

The mental decline accelerated after I quit the carnivore diet, though this may just be coincidence, as it coincided with another high stress time in my life. I just feel way ... fuzzier than before. The past couple of years I feel like I've sort of lost my mind and my sense of self, hard to describe. I don't feel like myself. I've lost something. And I'm definitely dumber. Basic logic problems are almost impossible for me to solve. Each year the brick in my head seems to grow.

Anyone with a similar experience? Anyone ever come back from this?
Are you male or female? Your description fits my own experience very well when I was in my late teens-60's. I'm female. My problem was estrogen dominance with PUFA on top (exacerbates high estrogen), hypothyroidism (caused by high estrogen), and a probable thiamine deficiency (possible genetic inclination to need more thiamine). Everybody has estrogen and even males experience estrogen dominance due to environmental estrogens. Estrogen made me really stupid.

All of your symptoms could be caused by estrogen dominance, PUFA, thiamine deficiency (or thiamine blockage), and possible hypothyroidism. Ray Peat writes about estrogen a lot. I got tremendous improvement from supplementing with progesterone and pregnenolone, natural desiccated thyroid (via an endocrinologist), niacinamide, thiamine, magnesium glycinate, and a good b-complex. I take thiamine hcl because TTFD gave me a horrible headache.

Suggested reading: Programmable Search Engine

also this one: Intelligence and metabolism
also this one: Serotonin, depression, and aggression - The problem of brain energy.

Thiamine lowers inflammation and serotonin. Inflammation begets estrogen. Serotonin is very very bad.
suggested reading: Programmable Search Engine

All of these things are interrelated because they all lower your body's energy level (oxidative metabolism).

one last article: Thiamine and Thyroid: 3 Hidden Thyroid Benefits You Don’t Want to Miss I'm posting this one for the information in the article. I have no experience with their products.

Here's a helpful Ray Peat oriented search engine: PeatSearch: a Ray Peat-specific search engine - Toxinless (use the cell on the left).
Here's one that searches Ray Peat oriented radio shows: https://www.bioenergetic.life/

I hope you find this helpful.
 

StephanF

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Joined
Jul 8, 2014
Messages
310
Location
Reno
Quite a while ago (~8 years) I noticed that my mental clarity was getting impaired. I took a supplement from Advanced Bionutritionals (Advanced Detox Formula), I don't think they still offer that one but I attached a picture of the ingredients. I also took Prevagen (read the testimonials on swansonvitamins.com) for a short time and Ceraplex and Procera (Procera Protect (Ceraplex)). I did this for maybe two months and I really noticed a difference! I did this only once and still feel fine.

Often mercury can be the culprit, on another blog here the mercury detox was discussed, one has to be careful with liberating mercury, it needs to be quickly encapsulated and then eliminated. EDTA can be dangerous, I posted on that previously. Selenium binds mercury so that it is no longer bio-available.

My mother had severe mental decline back in 2010, she took Prevagen, then either Ceraplex or Procera, and coconut oil. Her caretaker noticed the difference! Sadly, she died after receiving a blood transfusion in 2013 that caused two strokes, caused by a weakened Zeta Potential of the blood. Read about my posts on the Zeta Potential and Zeta Aid (zetaaid.com). I think that Zeta Aid is also protective for the brain, since it keeps the blood flowing through the small capillaries. I take it every day, since it prevents heart disease (and possibly strokes). Dr. T.C. McDaniel, who developed it, thinks that it prevents Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. He lived to almost 102 years.
 

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marcar72

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Tucson, AZ
Anyone with a similar experience? Anyone ever come back from this?

I can relate to your symptoms pretty well. I've been through a lot of stress over the last few years, some of it self inflicted. What has seemed to help me immensely over the last few months has been messing around with B vitamins.

I started taking some high dose inositol powder a few months ago and it greatly reduced my seemingly constant anxiety that I had more or less grown accustomed to over the last few years. Then I switched my B complex from Jarrow B Right to Pure Encapsulations B Complex Plus and noticed a great improvement in my energy level. I'm pretty sure that was due to thiamin going from 25mg thiamin mononitrate (Jarrow B Right) to 100mg thiamin HCL (Pure Encapsulations B Complex Plus). So I added a Country Life Benfotiamine supplement to get some extra thiamin in the short term.

Lastly I've upped my B6 supplementation with a mix of pyridoxine HCL and P-5-P. I had also been taking a zinc supplement for a few months again and the most current assessment of my situation aligns with the concepts of "pyroluria".

I had my genome tested with 23 and Me about 3 years ago and had the raw data ran through Strategene. I have MTHFR (b9) and MTRR (b12) polymorphisms so I was initially focused on those for awhile. Easy to just take coenzymated forms of them in a B Complex.

Here recently though after upping my B6 supplementation did I notice just how important B6 is in pretty much all the pathways that the Strategene report provided. From lowering homocysteine levels to being a cofactor in neurotransmitter synthesis. Also involved as a cofactor in producing histamine from histidine.

So back to my overall assessment of my situation is an inclination to think that there really is something to the orthomolecular disease of "pyroluria". :2cents:
 
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