When someone mentions brain fog before you have ever experienced it you just shake your head and wonder what they are talking about. Once it hits you, you never wonder again!!! It real, and its real frustrating. It can make holding a real discussion very hard because you can’t come up with the words you want. It also can make you feel really dumb…. Not because you lack intelligence, but because you can’t say what you mean. Brain fog can be a problem for many people. Not just those with lupus. People receiving chemo call it chemo brain, mom’s- to -be call it baby brain, and those with fibromyalgia call it fibro fog. And many other chronic illness just call it brain fog or “The Fog.” That being said there is a LARGE amount of people who have this issue. So you are never alone.
What is brain fog you may be asking. Well it is said that a person with brain fog may have any or all of the following symptoms: confusion, forgetfulness, lack of focus and mental clarity. Brain fog is NOT a medically recognized term, but is generally used to sum up the symptoms mentioned above. When you are feeling those symptoms some think that is an indicator that there is an imbalance in your life somewhere that needs to be corrected. So lets look at causes and kinds of brain fog!
Cause 1–You are probably eating the wrong foods.
- Eating refined carbs like sugar often send your blood glucose soaring and then drops it. This is problem because your brain uses blood glucose as its main source of food. Low blood glucose leads to Brain Fog, mood swings, irritability, tiredness, mental confusion and impaired judgement.
- Too much aspartame can also be a problem as it contains three brain damaging chemicals.
- Too much MSG can also cause brain fog, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, anxiety and depression
- Wheat- mayo clinic found that celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten, goes hand in hand with dementia.
- Dehydrations- It only takes a 2% loss of fluid to affect your attention, memory and other cognitive skills.
- Caffeine withdrawal- Once you have cut out your caffeine you can experience withdrawal symptoms. You could feel brain fog, headache, fatigue. and even flu-like symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
Cause 2– Nutritional Deficiencies– Your brain needs all the essential nutrient’s in order for it to run smoothly, when they are lacking one of them, you may feel an increased brain fog. There are multiple nutritional deficiencies, I will only cover a couple of the biggest.
- Vitamin B12- If your memory is poor or you feel like you are living in a constant state of brain fog, its possible that you may be low in Vitamin B12. This deficiency alone affects up to 40% of all adults. Two populations that are at risk are the Elderly because they generally have poor absorptions. And those who follow a vegetarian diet due to the fact that B12 is only found in meat products.
- Vitamin D- This mineral can be in charge of lifting your mood, banishing brain fog and depression, improve a persons memory, and increase problem solving ability. Over 1 billion people worldwide are low in Vit D. Sun exposure is the best source of Vitamin D. That being said those with Lupus or others can not be out in the sun for long periods are at a high risk for his deficiency.
Cause 3- Lack of sleep– It is estimated that around 40 MILLION Americans suffer from 70 different sleep disorders. Sleep is critical for your brain to work in the way it is supposed to. It is during sleep that you consolidate memories so you can remember what you learned the previous day. So if you aren’t sleeping you can see why this is a problem. Just one night of not sleeping or getting poor sleep can affect your memory, concentration, coordination, mood, judgement and the ability to handle stress in the coming hours.
Cause 4- Stress – Stress puts you at greater risk for every major disease you hope to never get. Included diseases of the brain like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Prolonged stress leads to anxiety, depression, poor decision making, insomnia, and memory loss.
Cause 5 – Inactivity- When you are involved in physical exercise your body releases endorphins and gets more glucose and oxygen to your brain. And will burn off stress. Recent studies have shown that physical exercise could be one of the most important things you can do for the health and function of your brain. You don’t need to participate in strenuous activity to help give your brain that small boost of energy during the day.
Cause 6 – Underlying Health Conditions – For many people, an underlying health condition is the root cause of their memory and cognitive issues. These issues were mentioned in the opening of this blog. Other conditions/diseases that list brain fog as a symptom :
- Adrenal Fatigue
- brain injuries
- candida albicans
- chronic pain
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Hep C
- Hormonal imbalances
- Lyme’s disease
- seasonal allergies
- substance abuse or withdrawal
Four ways to reduce your Brain Fog- In order to decrease brain fog, it will be crucial to control your total inflammation. Your whole body will benefit from a lower level of inflammation, but you may find that you have boosted your energy, clarity and motivation.
1.Sleep and Stress- Getting enough sleep and night and sticking to a consistent bedtime will help to increase your total sleep. Also find ways to manage mental and emotional stressors, like conscious breathing or exercise. Lack of sleep, poor quality of sleep and stress can get in the way of your body’s abilities to ward off inflammation and brain fog.
2. Blood Sugar – If you are one of those people that skip meals or like to binge on sugar, you really need to change your eating habits. Skipped meals AND lots of sugar can cause spikes in your blood glucose, which in turn leads to pro-inflammatory stress hormones. Those same spikes in blood sugar can interfere with the signals your body’s hormones send and receive. (These can be things like adrenal fatigue, estrogen dominance, hot flashes during menopause, and disorders like PCOS.) And brain fog is often on the list symptoms for these disorders.
3. Low Grade Infection – Binging on sugar will also feed on any small infection in the body. A low grade infection slowly drains the body of energy by constantly tapping into the stress response. You can help to prevent or control these types of infections by eating fermented foods, drinking probiotic drinks, and consider going sugar and gluten-free.
4. Environmental Toxins- Any environmental pollutant or chemicals can place unnecessary stress on the body and the regulatory system. You can take supplments like milk thistle, wasabi, sarsaparilla, and artichoke leaf to help detoxify your body.
I hope that you have gained useful information about the causes of brain fog and how to eliminate some of the causes of the brain fog. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me.