Elderly lady taking Levothyroxine developing memory problems

Worried about my 90 year old dear Mum who has a worsening short term memory. She has been taking Levothyroxine for decades and her results from last September were free T4 20 (12-22) and TSH 1.04 (0.3-4.2). They won't test T3. I have taken her to the doctor on numerous ocassions and she just has memory loss on her notes. They won't do any other tests but Mum won't go again as they make her feel its a waste of time. Mum has believed in vitamins and minerals and has been taking them for the last 30-40 years. She is quite fit for her age and still living on her own at home. She is taking numerous supplements and her B12 level is 723 (197-866) and serum folate 20 (4.6-18.7). Mum is taking one tablet for high blood pressure only. Her liver has improved greatly since coming off statins, cholesterol in the normal range. But she has weak kidneys. I am wondering if a trip to Dr P could improve her thyroid or am I being an overly worried daughter? I want to do all I can as I believe the elderly are just left when it could be something easily rectified. I give Mum 1000mg methylcobalamine sublingual a day plus other separate supplements. I am now doing raw veg and fruit smoothies as she is not eating properly. If Mum gets too bad then she will have to live with me and to be honest, although I love her dearly I do get stressed when I visit and it doesn't help my weak adrenals or thyroid problems, I already look after two children after my husband left me and I had a heart attack. I don't think I could take anymore stress. Any ideas would be appreciated as my brain fog makes it all too much to contemplate or to think clearly.

8 Replies

  • Your mum's serum b12 test results are still a bit low when compared with this extract from the book, "Could it be B12?, and it is likely that the various medications she's been prescribed for high BP, cholestrol etc. have been depleting it:

    "we believe that the 'normal' serum B12 threshold needs to be raised from 200 pg/ml to at least 450 pg/ml because deficiencies begin to appear in the cerebrospinal fluid below 550".

    "For brain and nervous system health and prevention of disease in older adults, serum B12 levels should be maintained near or above 1000 pg/ml."

    My sister has severe B12 deficiency (was wrongly diagnosed with dementia and ME) and we both have Hashimoto's. She is receiving frequent B12 injections for neurological symptoms and we've both tried various B12 supplements, patches, sprays, etc.

    We found supplementing with Jarrows B12 5000 mcg. (dissolved under the tongue and cherry flavoured) very effective for memory, numbness, tingling, glossitis, and energy (good reviews on Amazon). Pure Advantage sublingual spray 500 mcg also worked well too.

    Best wishes and I hope all goes well for you both.

  • Thank you for that advice. I have managed to get Mum off all the meds apart from the blood pressure tablet, just one a day. Its getting her to remember taking them each day. She is currently taking one Solgar 1000mcg B12 subllingual a day, but the 5000mcg would be good as she still only needs to take one. Just because one is old doesn't mean that you sit in a chair and wait. I would hate her to go into a home as I am sure they wouldn't bother with supplements and timings etc. Will give it a go.


  • The NHS just expect elderly people to have memory loss or dementia and don't bother to do anything unless there's points or funding involved - I went through it with my Dad - they just said he had dementia (case closed) when he had PA.

    B12 is probably the most important thing. If kidneys aren't too good, the B12 level might look better than it really is, but it could also mean that she won't excrete any excess. Dr P is a nutritionist so he might be able to help even if it's not thyroid.

    Are her teeth and gums OK? If they hurt it might explain why she doesn't eat properly. Or perhaps she just can't be bothered to cook.

  • Read recently that GOOD levels of VitD are involved in the absorption of B12.....maybe that would help too....

    You are doing a great job by the way - in caring for your Mum :-)

  • ah thanks. Got Mum a sublingual 3000mg spray, just hoping that she remembers each day.


  • Too many elderly insist on using Aluminium or foil or non stick cookware

    The damage Aluminium does to the body and the memory is horrendous

  • Oh Dramioui-I know just what you mean - it's all a vicious circle. I have to ring every day now to remind sis to take the tablets when I realised that her memory problems meant that she'd been forgetting to take them......they had been making such a difference. I can't seem to get through to her how important it is because she doesn't remember.

  • It gets to a point that Mum thinks I am nagging. I do a small bag for pills for each day in the morning but its the extras, the sprays etc that cannot be put in a bag. I wonder what happens if a home has to be found. Do they do the supplements each day or is it the end, and reliance on drugs.

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