The occurrence of brain fog is a common health concern among thousands of people. Unfortunately, brain fog is one of those loosely defined unknown ailments that is not recognized as a medical or psychological condition. The symptoms associated with brain fog, however, are very real and can be alarming for those who suffer from them. If you’ve been having problems with concentration, memory and clarity, you may be experiencing this aggravating ailment.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog is defined as a feeling of being somewhat disconnected or spaced out, mentally confused and lacking clarity, focus and concentration. Other symptoms may include a decrease in short-term memory, reduced attention span and the onset of forgetfulness. The condition can present itself slowly over a short period of time or progress very quickly.
Individuals who suffer from brain fog will describe the feeling of being zoned out, detached, and “stuck inside their head.” Some sufferers also report that they feel a tingling on top of their head, a sensation of cotton balls being in their head, and an impairment in their vision.
Brain fog triggers and causes
Although it is difficult to prove the causes of brain fog, there are many theories as to its origins. According to various articles written on the condition, stress and lack of sleep are often to blame.
As we all know, restful sleep is essential for keeping the brain functioning at optimal capacity. A prolonged disruption in the normal sleeping cycle can result in moodiness, depression and a decrease in the brain’s functioning. For this reason, brain fog is also associated with other less defined illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which disrupt an individual’s normal healthy sleep patterns.
Brain fog has also been linked to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis due in part to the effects of these diseases on the body and the body’s inability to get rid of toxins.
The causes of brain fog, however, are not limited to autoimmune disorders. Symptoms may be the result of hypoglycemia and other fluctuations in blood sugar levels, food sensitivities, and deficiencies in vitamin B-12, magnesium, amino acids and copper. Other possible causes include chronic viral infections, metal toxicity, and side effects from medications used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders and nausea.
Ailments affecting the digestive system such as chronic constipation, diarrhea, irritable or inflammatory disease, can cause a build up of toxins and trigger brain fog. Pregnant women, new moms, and menopausal females may suffer from brain fog due to changes in hormones. Individuals who battle the overabundance of yeast or Candida in their system can experience brain fog. The condition can also be caused by chemical overload due to indoor fumes arising from building materials or furniture.
9 Tips to clear your head
1. See your doctor first. There are many proactive measures one can take to reduce the effects of brain fog, but before embarking on your own health regime, schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any undetected abnormalities. Blood tests can confirm whether your brain fog is caused from a mineral imbalance, food sensitivities or allergies.
2. Be patient and keep researching. It may be difficult to determine the cause behind brain fog because the triggers can vary widely from person to person. Be patient, keep a positive attitude, and continue to ferret out the possible triggers.
3. Follow a healthy lifestyle. As with so many other conditions, oftentimes the key to recovery is taking care of yourself. Be sure to follow a healthy diet, get a daily dose of moderate exercise and prioritize sound sleep.
4. Clean up your diet. If you are a regular consumer of artificial sweeteners or foods that contain MSG, eliminate them from your diet. Although fish and seafood contain many contain healthy nutrients, they can also contain mercury which may trigger brain fog if eaten in large quantities over a long period of time.
5. Get rid of the chemicals. You may need to give your cleaning products an overhaul. Consider eco-friendly products over products made with harsh ingredients. If you suspect the building materials or furniture in your house are the problem, talk to a building professional about the types of finishes and chemicals that are lurking in your house.
6. Elimate the allergens. People who are sensitive to dairy and grain products or other food allergens may find relief by limiting or eliminating these foods from their diet. Consult with a food allergy specialist to determine if you have food allergies and the best way to ensure you still get your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.
7. Consider supplements. Some recommended supplements that can help reduce brain fog include coenzyme Q-10, vitamins B6 and B12, calcium, and antioxidants such as vitamin C. Your best option is foods containing these nutrients; however, supplements can ensure you are getting enough.
8. Eat more healthy fats. If your brain fog is caused by elevated cholesterol levels, consuming foods that contain monounsaturated fatty acids like almonds, avocados and olives, can help reduce the build-up in your arteries and improve blood flow to the brain. Consult with your doctor for other cholesterol lowering tips.
9. Keep a journal. If you have experienced repeated episodes of brain fog, consider keeping a daily diary of your activities, sleep patterns, emotional responses, foods that you have consumed, and any other factors that may play a part in triggering the condition. Sometimes, the process of elimination can lead to the best remedy and outcome.
More on brain health
- Brain boosting foods for kids
- 60 Days to a better brain
- How to stay energized and boost your mental alertness