Brain fog impacts your ability to think and focus. Memory may dull, concentration is poor, and a person may lack mental clarity. Brain fog can interfere with the ability to function at work or school. Diagnosing the cause of brain fog can be sometimes very challenging because there are many reasons why a person could be experiencing brain fog, including medications, health conditions, and lifestyle choices. Here we look into some natural remedies for brain fog.
Causes and Remedies for Brain Fog
There are many different causes of brain fog including not getting enough sleep, a medical condition, an unhealthy gut, a medication, stress, hormonal changes, and diet. Let’s take a look at each of these causes and some remedies.
Your diet affects all aspects of your health, including brain health. One of the vitamins needed for a healthy brain is vitamin B12. Those suffering from celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and HIV along with the elderly, pregnant women, and alcoholics are at an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Food allergies and food intolerances can also cause brain fog. There are numerous trigger foods that could be causing symptoms, including dairy products, gluten, aspartame, MSG, peanuts, and a host of other foods. Keeping a food and symptom journal can help determine trigger foods and once removed them from the diet can lead to an improvement in your symptoms.
It is recommended to consume a diet filled with nutritious foods to ensure the brain is getting the nutrients needed for optimal health. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like fatty fish, vitamin B12 rich foods like red meat, and probiotics founds in sauerkraut and yogurt improve brain health. Furthermore, taking a vitamin and mineral supplement daily can improve mental clarity.
Hormonal fluctuations can trigger brain fog. Estrogen loss during perimenopause clouds thinking, affects concentration, and causes forgetfulness. Along with estrogen loss, menopause causes sleep disturbances and mood swings which can impact concentration, focus, and memory. Hormone levels can also change during pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone levels increase, which can lead to memory issues and short-term cognitive impairment. In addition, most pregnant women are more focused on their baby and preparing for its arrival, which can result in foggy thinking.
Lack of Sleep
Not getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night, can interfere with brain function and result in cloudy thinking and concentration difficulties. Poor sleep hygiene like blue light exposure, irregular sleep patterns, not getting a full night’s sleep, and interrupted sleep can cause brain fog. While sleeping, the body makes cellular repairs and consolidates memories. In addition, the brain and body detoxify. Without a full night’s sleep, it is common for a person to experience brain fog.
Practicing good sleep hygiene that includes going to bed at the same time each night, turning off all electronics an hour before bedtime, lowering the bedroom temperature by a couple of degrees, and limiting caffeine consumption can ensure a full night’s sleep and in turn help lift brain fog.
Medical problems that are associated with changes in your glucose levels, energy levels, or inflammation can cause brain fog, problems with cognitive thinking patterns, and forgetfulness. Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, arthritis, lupus, etc.), dehydration, depression, diabetes, hypothyroidism, migraines, and Sjogren syndrome are health conditions that can lead to brain fog.
If you are experiencing brain fog, it is advisable to talk with your integrative specialist and evaluate if you have an undiagnosed medical condition. If your doctor determines that you have systemic inflammation, depleted energy levels, or an undiagnosed medical issue, there are many treatment options that can help to counteract the effects of a medical problem on your thinking and memory.
Certain medications can impact your thought processes and cause brain fog. Brain fog can be a known side effect of a medication, or can be caused by too large of a dose. In addition, cancer treatments can cause a type of brain fog often referred to as chemo brain.
If you are experiencing brain fog from medications, talk with your doctor to see if lowering your dose or switching to another medication can help improve your brain fog. If your brain fog is caused by cancer treatments, try increasing the amount of water you drink to help detoxify and rehydrate the body.
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on physical and mental health. When you are stressed, your HPA axis activates, increasing the stress hormones in the body. When this occurs, your body prepares for flight or fight. The fight or flight response increases heart rate, respiration, and prepares the body for action. In the beginning, our focus will increase; however, when stress levels continue for long periods of time, a person begins to experience mental fatigue, which can lead to brain fog.
Stress relief techniques can help decrease the effects of stress on the body. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation are designed to help eliminate stress and its effects on our body, mind, and spirit.
Improve Brain Health and Rejuvenate Your Life
Brain fog can be frustrating, overwhelming, and a little bit scary. You can improve brain health by adjusting diet and lifestyle choices, practicing stress relief techniques, balancing your hormones, getting a full night’s sleep, and exercising daily. Our functional medicine doctors work with you to create personalize treatment plans to rejuvenate your overall health including brain health.