Ready to get Started?
Request your no obligation 20 minute consultation.
Brain fog is a commonly used phrase that sums up feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, slow thinking, and lack of focus.
You may feel like you just can’t think, which can be frustrating and sometimes worrying.
Brain Fog is not officially recognized as a medical condition, which may be why you feel dismissed by your Doctor.
However, Brain fog is real, and is caused by restricted blood flow to the brain.
This is known as Hypofusion and results in inflammation of brain, which in turn damages brain cells.
Everyone feels a little fuzzy-headed once in a while, but if you suffer symptoms of brain fog on a regular basis, you may need to seek help to get your mental clarity back.
It is important to know, Brain fog is not normal, and does not have to be a normal part of aging.
Persistent Brain Fog should be taken seriously, and is often a symptom of a Medical Condition, including Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibro-myalgia, Metabolic diseases (e.g. Thyroid issues, diabetes) and Dementia.
Brain fog can also be associated with chemotherapy ( Chemo-brain).
Brain fog can result from many lifestyle or environmental factors. Many of which we can address, without medical help.
Click on cause to expand description below
The brain is made up of about 75% water.
Water provides the brain with electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes.
Brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.
Water is also essential for the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Nerve transmission requires one-half of all the brain’s energy.
Dehydration decreases alertness and increases tiredness. FMRI studies have found prolonged states of reduced water intake adversely impacts executive functions such as planning and visuo-spatial processing.
Accordingly, optimal brain function depends on having abundant access to water. It is also important to stay hydrated throughout the day because your brain does not have any way to store water.
The brain needs healthy fats, amino acids and vitamins in order to function optimally. Not eating enough can lead to Nutrient & vitamin deficiencies, which over time can damage the brain and result in poor mental performance.
Not eating enough can also lead to low blood sugar. This is known as Hypoglycemia. The brain uses glucose as its main fuel, if blood-sugar levels are low it simply does not have the energy required to perform well. This can result in confusion and brain fog.
Paradoxically, too much glucose in the blood stream can lead to brain fog because it causes insulin resistance. The brain uses massive amounts of glucose as an energy source, but brain cells have no place to store it.
Therefore, the brain relies on insulin doing its job effectively. In the brain, insulin not only helps with neuron glucose-uptake, but also the regulation of neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is crucial for memory and learning. Low acetylcholine means New memories cannot be formed.
A diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as Brain-derived Neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories. BDNF is low in people with impaired glucose-metabolism. A Vicious circle is then created as BDNF decreases; sugar metabolism worsens.
Uncontrolled glucose in the brain also Interferes with synaptic communication. It cause neurons to misfire and send erroneous messages or block membranes thereby slowing down neural communication. This translates into impaired cognition.
In addition, unrefined sugar increases inflammation in the brain, and increases free radical. Free radicals damage to brain cells by rupturing them.
A word on High Fructose Corn syrup. This an artificially created sugar, is perhaps the most damaging to the brain of any of the sugars. It is poorly metabolized by the body, and leads to many metabolic conditions, including diabetes and dementia.
Taste Enhancers are substances added to foods and beverages.
They stimulate nerve receptors and to trick us into thinking the food tastes good. Examples include monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (NutraSweet ®), hydrolyzed protein, and aspartic acid.
They are known as Excitotoxins because they stimulate or excite neurons causing them to fire rapidly.
Excessive consumption of excitotoxins can lead to the damage or death of the neuron.
This is the reason people often have brain fog after eating processed food. Long term consumption can eventually lead damage of the brain.
Some individuals can have a sensitivity to gluten. For example, people with Celiac disease. They often report symptoms of brain fog.
The link between gluten and brain fog is not clear in terms of its mechanism. One theory is it causes an inflammatory response. It could be that many gluten-based products also contain pesticide residue, known to be toxic to cells. It could be that unrefined white flour acts like sugar producing the insulin effects described earlier. However, many individuals report a reduction in brain fog when they go gluten free.
Other foods can also trigger an inflammatory response, which results in foggy thinking.
For example individuals who have allergies or sensitivities to dairy, or legumes, or fish
Stress is felt when demands/pressures/threats exceed capacity or resources to deal with them.
Experiencing stress is normal, and occasional episodes of stress is not harmful.
In fact, short bursts of stress can actually enhance memory. (cramming for the exam/presentation).
Stress becomes harmful when it is perceived as inescapable and never-ending. This is known as chronic stress.
Chronic stress is damaging to the brain because the cortisol interferes with memory, causing impairment particularly in verbal memory.
This can explain why you sometimes read the same paragraph twice or can’t recall what was said in a meeting.
The flipside of stress. Boredom can cause brain fog because without stimulation the braincells atrophy.
In other words, Boredom and apathy can lead to a shrinkage in the brain, in turn reducing the cognitive capacity of the brain.
Estrogen is part of the brain’s signaling system and contributes to language skills, attention, mood, memory, and other brain processes. Brain fog during menopause may be caused by reduced estrogen.
Decline of estrogen which can contribute to mood swings, depression, dizziness, mental confusion, headaches, and decreased energy.
However, the relationship between menopause and brain fog is complex. could also be due to lack of sleep associated with menopause.
In men reduced Testosterone can also cause brain fog.
It is well documented that illegal substances can cause brain fog.
However, prescription and over the counter medicines can be culprits.
Anti-anxiety medications Benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, Diazepam, Restoril)
Benzodiazepines dampen activity in key parts of the brain, including those involved in the transfer of events from short-term to long-term memory.
Other prescription medication including Anti-anxiety, Anti-seizure, Anti-depressants, Anti-cholinergics (anti-incontinence drugs), narcotic painkillers, Hyper-tension (beta-blockers) are all associated with brain fog problems.
A word on Statins: Cholesterol-lowering drugs: Statins (e.g. lipitor, zocor)
Statins deplete levels of cholesterol levels in the brain. In the brain, cholesterol and other lipids are necessary for the formation of connections between nerve cells. As result may impair memory and other mental processes. One study found ¾ people using statins reported cognitive problems. After stopping statins 90% reported improvement! The FDA now includes cognitive impairments as warning.
Over the counter medications can also be responsible for your brain fog.
The main culprits are Sleeping tablets, some antihistamines, Cold and flu relief and Headache remedies.
Ask your pharmacist about side effects.
Be aware of additional caffeine in some treatments. This may reduce drowsiness as side effect, but the medication can still cause brain fog.
It is no surprise to learn that inadequate sleep can hinder you from thinking clearly and keeping your emotions stable.
Studies show that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on many cognitive processes. Such as Impulsivity and cognitive inflexibility.
*Learn more about sleep here*
Toxins and chemicals in the environment cause damage to the brain by diffusing through the nose and lung membranes into the blood stream and brain.
If the person is low in vitamins or minerals, these chemicals are not detoxified, and damage to the brain occurs. This condition is known Toxic Brain Encephalopathy.
The key culprits are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in a disturbingly high number of everyday products from flame retardant furniture, cleaning products, campfires, exhaust fumes.
EMFS are on the rise, cell phones, digital clocks, wireless screens, computers.
Sadly, there is a price to pay. (EMF) pollution increases inflammatory responses, and reducing the affecting the body’s tissue repair process, including brain tissue.
The long-term use of EMFs is found to reduce focus and concentration.
Request your no obligation 20 minute consultation.
Online confidential help however you choose.
Consultations available as: Chat, email, phone, or video call.