What is the name of that thing again?
It is on the tip of my tongue!
What was I saying?
I spaced out for a second.
These are a few phrases you might find yourself uttering more frequently if you suffer from brain fog.
What is Brain Fog Exactly?
Brain fog is not a medical or scientific term. It’s a term used for specific symptoms that can affect cognitive abilities. The symptoms are usually linked to an underlying condition or an enervating lifestyle habit. While there is no one contributing factor, it is important to understand which symptoms might be affecting you.
What are Common Brain Fog Symptoms?
Difficulty concentrating, feeling “out of it”, taking a longer than usual time to complete routine tasks, fatigue, forgetfulness, and being easily distracted are common symptoms. In more severe cases, you may experience headaches, nausea, and problems with your vision.
What are Common Causes of Brain Fog?
-acute and chronic disease
-lack of movement
-overload of toxins
Brain Fog and Anxiety
While not all-inclusive, the list above can serve as a jumping-off point to understanding how these conditions affect our cognitive functioning. Brain fog and anxiety go hand-in-hand. The prefrontal cortex of our brain is responsible for our executive functions, including planning, decision making, and problem-solving. While there are specific behavior changes we can make to give ourselves the best shot at waking up with a “fully charged” mind, we also only have so much brain power allotted for each day. If we spend our energy ruminating and worrying, we siphon our precious reserves that are needed to carry out other more important functions such as decision-making. Anxiety is an energy vampire – it is not interested in what other plans you had for yourself that day. Powered mostly by fear, an anxious mind can quickly drain our batteries.
Brain Fog and Hormones
Brain fog can occur when progesterone and estrogen levels temporarily increase during your menstrual cycle, causing a short-term drop in memory and mental function (where did I put my keys?). Similarly, in menopausal women, a drop in estrogen can also cause brain fog. In addition to hormonal fluctuations causing mental cloudiness, many hormones can impact your ability to function mentally.
Cortisol is usually the chief hormone that can interfere with memory, as well as serotonin and dopamine. When these hormones aren’t in balance and working in harmony, you can become depressed and anxious.
Brain Fog and Autoimmune Diseases
People with certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis, are at a higher risk of suffering from brain fog. When the body attacks healthy cells as it does in someone with an autoimmune disease, it does so by triggering an inflammatory response. Higher levels of inflammation in the body have been linked to lower levels of cognitive functions, which means higher levels of brain fog. This constant attack of the body on itself can leave one feeling mentally fatigued. While resting the body and getting quality sleep may be beneficial to a feeling of overall rest, getting mental rest can be somewhat more elusive.
Brain Fog and Migraines
Most people are familiar with common symptoms of migraines, such as sensitivity to light, head pain, and dizziness. However, brain fog often is a co-occurring symptom that can last for a couple of days after the migraine has subsided. In this case, it might seem like a safer option for the brain to go “offline” during a migraine to avoid the constant pain. This makes it difficult to complete routine tasks and may even cross the line into unsafe behavior, like driving a car. Seeing as a sense of direction, alertness, and short-term memory is imperative when getting behind the wheel, it’s important to know how brain fog affects you personally. Once you understand it, you can be prepared, take the necessary steps to combat it, and plan ahead to make safe choices.
What are Ways to End Brain Fog?
How do we go about getting rid of brain fog?
Going back to basics is a great start! Let’s take a look at two superstars we can turn to when learning how to deal with brain fog:
2. Nutrition and Supplements
Adequate sleep is what helps us ensure we start each day with a full tank of brainpower. Unplugging from electronics well before you lay down helps the brain begin to unwind for a full night of sleep. Eliminating blue light sources and swapping for soft yellow or orange lights in the evening sends a signal to the brain that it’s almost time to power down. Making sure you get a full 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep is best.
Nutrition and Supplements
A brain fog diet, or foods that eliminate sources of inflammation, is another good place to start. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats help to minimize inflammation, leading to increased anxiety and increased brain fog. A diet high in processed foods leaves us feeling lethargic, which means we need more coffee and sugar to make it through the day; then, when it’s time to sleep, the battle of the body vs. the brain begins. Our bodies are ready for sleep, and our brains are still wired. Eliminating or cutting down on artificial sweeteners, gluten, and alcohol is a step in the right direction. Instead, reach for the leafy greens, naturally sweet foods like fruit, and healthy fats like nut butters.
Dr. Lana-Approved Supplements To Beat Your Brain Fog
Rhodiola Rosea, a Siberian plant also known as Golden Root, has been traditionally used for hundreds of years to help lessen mental and physical stress and promote endurance.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that belongs to the pepper family. It has an extensive, 4,000-year history of traditional use and is one of the most revered and widely used Ayurvedic herbs. Withanolides are key constituents of this herb and play an essential role in ashwagandha’s overall ability to promote physical and mental health.
5-Hydroxytryptophan and L-Tyrosine are key precursors for synthesizing several neurotransmitters responsible for a healthy emotional outlook, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are involved in the regulation of endocrine and brain activity in addition to sleep/wake cycles. Research suggests that l-tyrosine may also promote cognitive function and memory under stressful conditions.
To purchase these supplements (by Pure Encapsulations) and to explore others, visit Dr. Lana’s dispensary.