What is Brain Fog? 6 Things We Need To Know About It
Brain fog isn’t an actual medical condition in and of itself. Brain fog refers to a general feeling of decreased mental energy and focus. Brain fog can present in different ways, many of which are subjective and self-reported. It may be characterized by mental fatigue and clouding, forgetfulness, fuzzy thinking, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.
Brain fog is more than an annoyance. It can decrease cognitive performance and hinder the ability to get work done or accomplish goals. Brain for may also serve as a warning sign that something in the body is off balance.
Scientists propose that brain fog may be caused by the release of histamine - the chemical that causes allergic symptoms, inflammation, neurotransmitter imbalance, and impairments in neuronal activity.
Some of the most common factors that contribute to brain fog and fuzzy thinking include:
Chronic stress - causes the body to produce excessive levels of the hormone cortisol. Stress also suppresses our immune system and stimulates our adrenal system, which releases certain hormones, like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. When stress hormones get activated they lead to poor focus, higher levels of mental fatigue, and other symptoms of brain fog.
Many commonly prescribed and over-the-counter medications may reduce our mental clarity. Benzodiazepines (a class of drugs prescribed to treat anxiety), opiate pain medications, and prescription and non-prescription sleep aids may exacerbate brain fog.
This highlights the need to discuss brain fog worries with a medical professional in case it’s part of a more serious health concern.
Many chronic medical conditions may also cause brain fog. For example, Type 2 diabetes not only affects mental focus due to changes in blood glucose levels, but it also may come with emotional challenges like depression. Whether we feel tired all the time, lack focus and mental clarity, or deal with mood changes, a thyroid disorder may be at the root of our symptoms. This butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck is responsible for producing and releasing hormones that control everything from metabolism and heart rate to breathing and menstrual cycles and are frequently linked to brain fog.
Depression, anemia, hypertension, and autoimmune disorders like lupus or multiple sclerosis are other health conditions linked to brain fog.
Although not a medical condition, addiction to nicotine caused by smoking or other tobacco products may also contribute to brain fog, especially during withdrawals.
Poor sleep hygiene, like irregular sleep and wake time, getting less than seven to eight hours of sleep a night, or blue light exposure before bed disrupts our natural circadian rhythm aka our internal body clock which in turn, contributes to brain fog.
Scientists have discovered a tiny network of fluid-filled channels that clear toxins from brain cells. The toxins are created while we’re awake and cleared out while we sleep because that’s the only time this tiny network activates. In other words, unless we sleep, our brains cannot get cleaned. Further, if we don’t sleep long enough, our brains won’t get the deep cleaning they need to perform at their best. Without deep cleaning, we’re at risk for brain fog.
Our body undergoes hormonal changes at certain points in life. Women going through a natural decline in reproductive hormones when a woman reaches their late 40s or early 50s might experience brain fog or related symptoms. The most common age-related brain fog symptoms include trouble focusing, fatigue, and difficulty falling asleep. Besides the hormonal changes associated with menopause, both men and women experience age-related mental changes that can manifest as brain fog. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can be higher in our brain than in our bloodstream. Therefore, a hormonal imbalance can affect our brain chemistry and mental awareness. Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone also contribute to blood flow in the brain which helps protect against loss of memory and even dementia. With several hormones working together to help keep our mind feeling clear, just one hormone being out of balance impacts our ability to have a proper mental function.
Let’s say we’re already eating healthy — not consuming too much sugar, eating healthy fats, and removing vegetable oils and dairy products from our diet. But for some reason, our brain is still feeling fuzzy. In that case, we may want to look into vitamin supplements. Nutritional deficiencies are still quite common — they’re not just a thing of the past! Our brain needs all kinds of essential nutrients and vitamins to work properly, but there are a few deficiencies that are more likely to slow us down.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the underlying causes of brain fog. It’s one of the most common vitamin deficiencies, affecting approximately 40% of adults. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a serious matter and should not be ignored since it can lead to a wide variety of mental and neurological disorders.
Two particularly high-risk groups are - seniors, who often have poor nutrient absorption, and vegetarians/vegans since B12 is found only in animal products.
Digestive disorders and the use of acid-suppressing medications also increase our risk of deficiency. Antacids like Nexium, Protonix, Pepcid, and Zantac have strongly linked to vitamin B12 deficiency since stomach acid is needed to break down and absorb vitamin B12.
The sunshine vitamin is required by our body to improve brain health and prevent brain fog. The deficiency of vitamin D is linked to depression, mood changes, and brain fog.
Vitamin D can lift our mood, eliminate brain fog and depression, improve memory, and increase our problem-solving ability.
Fatty fish, caviar, and eggs all have some vitamin D but only a fraction of what we need on a daily basis. In view of the fact that we wear sunscreen when we are outdoors and are hidden from the sun during the winters, it is easy to see why the majority of people are deficient in vitamin D.
The deficiency of vitamin C is linked to depression, cognitive impairment, and brain fog.
Vitamin C plays an important role in the body. It is needed to maintain the health of skin, cartilage, teeth, bones, blood vessels, and to decrease inflammation. It is known as an antioxidant that helps to protect our cells from damage. Vitamin C helps regulate body temperature and hormone production which in turn, helps to eliminate brain fog.
B complex vitamins help our body make energy from the food we eat, form red blood cells, and play an essential role in certain bodily functions. B vitamins are involved in immune function, brain development, digestive health, and the formation of neurotransmitters.
Multiple studies show that deficiency of B vitamins can lead to symptoms of brain fog such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and poor cognitive function.
Essential in over 600 metabolic functions, magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It is vital to brain functions such as stress response, recovery, and repair. Critical for proper energy production in the body, magnesium is another nutrient that people sometimes neglect to get their fill of. It is only second to iron as the most common nutritional deficiency in developed countries.
Studies have linked sub-optimal magnesium levels with reduced cognitive function and reaction time as well as increased risk of cognitive impairment, poor concentration, and anxiety symptoms.
For this reason, maintaining optimal magnesium levels through supplementation may help reduce susceptibility to stress, improve stress-related cognitive impairment, and brain fog symptoms.
NAD+ is a crucial compound for cellular health, particularly mitochondrial function, which is imperative for metabolism and overall health. As we age, our NAD+ supply becomes depleted. NAD+ supplementation helps combat these effects. Those who have taken NAD+ supplements have experienced sharper memory, deeper concentration, and noticeable added energy, all of which can help reduce feelings of brain fog.
Everyone has an occasional “off” day when their mind isn’t as clear as usual. However, if you’re experiencing significant issues such as daily brain fog, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare professional. It’s critical to get the proper diagnosis and treatment if an underlying medical condition is contributing to brain fog symptoms.
Get enough sleep
Correct nutritional deficiencies with the right supplementation
One quick and efficient way to boost our nutrient levels to fight brain fog is IV micronutrient therapy. Unlike foods or supplements in pill form that must be broken down and absorbed in our digestive tract, IV therapy infuses potent nutrients directly into the bloodstream, where they are immediately carried to cells throughout the body.
We also offer a wide variety of intramuscular (IM) injections that could potentially benefit you in your journey to healthy you.
Learn more about us here, and book an appointment +1-224-372-3747