Ask Leyla: What might be causing my memory loss?


| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

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Q: I have trouble remembering words. What could be causing this? I’ve heard coconut can help with memory – would coconut butter work for me? If so, what is the amount I should take every day?

Ask Leyla: What might be causing my memory loss?A: Memory loss can have many causes. How old are you? Have you checked in with your doctor or neurologist for a full workup? This is the first order of business. At the very least, you may be deficient in B12 or have poor circulation. 

Have you recently started taking medication? Some medications can cause memory loss. Are you taking a cholesterol lowering medication? Statins are notorious for creating or exacerbating memory deficits because we need cholesterol for proper brain function. 

An underactive thyroid can also trigger forgetfulness. Get it checked out. 

High blood sugar associated with prediabetes and diabetes can damage blood vessels in the brain, leading to memory problems, confusion and irritability. 

Are your cortisol levels high? This is a stress hormone and too much of it can shrink the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory. 

Do you drink alcohol? You may have a thiamin deficiency (vitamin B1) which can impact your speech and word formation. And no, you don’t have to consume a lot of alcohol to have a thiamin deficiency. A poor diet alone will do it. A severe thiamin deficiency can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a disorder characterized by chronic poor memory, confusion, agitation and hostility. 

Maybe your homocysteine is high. High homocysteine is an independent risk factor for dementia, as well as stroke and bone fracture. 

As you can see, a full workup with your doctor is critical to reveal the cause of your trouble. Only a proper medical assessment can help determine an appropriate treatment plan for you. 

Coconut oil helps to convert metabolism to lipolysis/ketosis. Ketones, a by-product of fat metabolism is the brain’s preferred fuel source. It’s a helpful treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Typically, anywhere from 4 to 12 Tbsp is the daily dose (spread throughout the day). Embarking on a ketogenic diet under supervision from a qualified nutritionist is immensely helpful if you suffer from these conditions. 

To read more about the benefits of coconut oil and memory, go to

To your health! 

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As you may know, I’ve been doing a weekly “Q&A with Leyla” podcast feature with Dr. Hoffman. Now you can get my perspective and expertise every Friday on my own episode of the Intelligent Medicine Podcast. If you missed last week’s, you can listen here. To be sure you don’t miss out on any of my important insights and information, subscribe today!


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