What is Brain Fog? Causes and Natural Remedies
Brain fog is not a health problem or medical condition on its own but it is a collection of a group of symptoms that affects cognitive abilities and other functions of the brain. It is also known as mental fatigue or brain fatigue.
It is characterized by forgetfulness, confusion, inability to focus or concentrate, foggy thinking, decreased alertness, lack of mental clarity and decreased mental functions. It is common but it is abnormal; it can be prevented and there are effective natural remedies for it.
When this happens to you, your brain is trying to send you an important signal that an imbalance has to be corrected; there are two main causes of brain fog; bad lifestyle and side effects of medication drugs or an underlying medical condition.
Causes of Brain Fog
Insomnia and Sleep disorders
Lack of quality sleep can cause brain fog; sleep helps the brain function well, it even boosts both short-term and long-term memory. During sleep, the cerebral fluids clear the brain of debris and processes short-term memory into long-term memory.
We lose brain cells daily but they are restored at night during deep sleep; an adult needs 8 hours of high-quality uninterrupted sleep. Just losing a night of sleep can affect your coordination, memory, concentration, judgment, mood, and ability to handle stress and think critically.
It weakens mental performance; getting quality sleep every night is an effective way to prevent and reverse brain fog.
Unhealthy foods can cause brain fog either by causing nutritional deficiencies or by releasing toxic by-products in the body. There are many unhealthy foods that cause this and taking them regularly can cause brain fog.
Refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates increase the levels of glucose in the blood for a short time before coming down. This affects the functions of the brain because glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain.
When there is an excess of glucose, then too little amount of glucose; the brain experiences a short supply of fuel after experiencing an abundance of fuel, this leads to confusion, inability to think clearly, brain fog, fatigue, mood swings, irritability and impaired judgment.
High concentrations of sugar in the body also lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other brain diseases; it also leads to diabetes and other sugar problems.
A low-fat diet also causes brain fog; the brain is made up of mostly fat and though glucose is the main source of energy for the brain, it still needs to burn fats. Doctors call fats the “super fuel” for the brain; when the body is lacking in fats, the brain begins to digest itself for raw materials (fats) which it needs to produce essential chemicals.
A low-fat diet is bad for the brain; take lots of healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts, coconut oil, wild caught salmons, eggs, organic poultry and grass-fed meats. Vegetable oils and heavily processed oils are bad for the body and should be avoided; they cause inflammation and affect the health of the brain.
Stress increases the risk of every major disease; it has a huge negative impact on the brain, it makes the brain susceptible to dangerous conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Chronic stress is associated with a lot of health problems like brain fog, depression, memory loss, insomnia, difficulty concentration and making decisions.
Chronic stress also increases the levels of cortisol; excess of this hormone in the body aids the activities of free radicals, the damage the brain cells and cell membranes, this leads to loss of their functions or death.
The brain is made up of 75% water and a little reduction in the levels of water can cause a great disturbance in the health and functions of the brain. A 2% decrease in the levels of water can impair cognitive functions; it affects attention span, memory and ability to think clearly and make decisions.
1 hour, 30 minutes of sweating can shrink the brain like a year of aging does; severe dehydration on the brain can cause symptoms of dementia and other brain problems.
Sedentary lifestyles or physical inactivity causes lots of health problems like obesity and brain fog. In fact, sitting down for long period of time regularly is regarded as the “new smoking”. Too much sitting is not healthy for the brain and the entire body.
Physical activities and exercises release endorphins in the body and it increases the flow of blood to the brain and also improves the concentration of oxygen in the brain. It stimulates the formation of new brain cells and burns off the stress hormone cortisol.
Physical exercises are vital ways to keep the brain healthy; walking for at least one hour daily will help clear your mind and improve brain functions as it is one of the best brain exercises for clearing the mind.
If your work demands you sitting down for long hours; a way to prevent the negative impact of sitting down for too long is to stand up frequently and give yourself few minutes break.
Food allergies cause brain fog by releasing by-products or causing unnecessary reactions in the body; wheat and wheat products that contain gluten are common culprits of brain fog. Studies have linked gluten with dementia, brain problems, and celiac disease; they break down into harmful by-products that bind to morphine receptors.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat that makes dough stretchy; it also has other proteins that have negative effects in this body; it causes and worsens brain problems like autism, ADHD, and schizophrenia. The wheat we eat these days is far different from that consumed in the early history of man.
Exposure to toxins
We are surrounded by harmful chemicals and toxins; they are present in our foods, skin care products, in our water, in the air, and in the environment generally like toxic fumes from cars and generators.
Air pollution causes cognitive disabilities; they cause memory loss, brain fog, and fatigue. Outdoor pollution is difficult to control but you can control the one in your home. Use natural products in place of synthetic and chemical products.
For those who are used to caffeine/coffee; withdrawing from it can cause brain fog. Coffee is addictive and it helps one to stay alert and it increases focus; brain fog is one of the withdrawal symptoms of caffeine or coffee.
Other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are fatigue, irritability, headaches, mental fogginess, jittery, vomiting, nausea, and flu-like symptoms.
Underlying health problems
Health conditions can cause brain fog and other cognitive problems; this can only be diagnosed by a doctor and if the root cause is addressed, the brain fog heals, or else it persists despite all means of treatments.
Cancer and cancer treatment can cause brain fog and this type is known as “chemo brain” or “chemo fog”. “Fibro fog” is brain fog that is caused by chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. People with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) experience “lupus fog” while hypothyroid and hyperthyroid problems gives brain fog.
Other health problems that can cause brain fog are menopause, ADHA, substance abuse and withdrawal, adrenal fatigue, allergies, brain injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, candida albicans, nutritional deficiencies, chronic pain, neurotransmitter imbalance, depression, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, toxicity from heavy metals, Lyme disease, hepatitis C, irritable bowel syndrome, abnormal levels of hormones, and hyperglycemia.
Food additives are bad for the brain; the worst of them are mono-sodium glutamate and artificial sweeteners. Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is a neurotoxin; it is used in the manufacture of most processed foods, like instant noodles, canned soups, and salty snacks. A safe formula to use is the saltier the food; the higher the concentration of MSG in it.
Most food companies don’t put this harmful ingredient on food labels; it is also contained in “spices” “seasonings” and “natural flavors”. It is also found in veggie burgers; when you see “hydrolyzed protein” on a food label, it is possible that food contains MSG.
This neurotoxin causes brain fog, mood swings, headaches, depression, dizziness, anxiety and other brain problems.
Artificial sweeteners are another dangerous class of food additives; aspartame is one of them, it is made from three dangerous chemicals that are bad for the brain, they are methanol, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine. They damage the brain; they lead to the development of brain tumors and seizures.
Side effects of medication drugs
Some prescription and non-prescription drugs can cause brain fog as side effects; sleeping pills and cholesterol-lowering drugs cause memory loss, brain fog, and other mental problems.
Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine; this compound is essential for learning and memory, these drugs cause brain fog, concentration problems, and forgetfulness.
You might be eating healthy foods but if you are deficient in a vital mineral or vitamin; you will have fuzzy thinking and brain fog. The brain needs lots of essential nutrients to function properly, but a deficiency in any of these can cause brain fog and other brain problems.
A deficiency in vitamin B12 leads to constant brain fog and depression and this is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies on the planet; if immediate treatment and supplementation are not carried out, it can lead to neurological problems and mental disorders.
Take lots of nuts, fruits, organic poultry and dark green vegetables; they are rich sources of vitamin B12. Avoid the regular and indiscriminate use of antacids; they cause vitamin B12 deficiency by making it difficult to be absorbed from foods.
Brain fog can also be caused by a deficiency in vitamin D; vitamin D helps to boost mood, it banishes brain fog, it improves memory, relieves depression, and increase the ability to solve problems and think critically.
Sunlight, organic poultry, and eggs are rich sources of vitamin D.
The brain has rich content of omega-3 fatty acids which it uses for memory, brain functions, and overall brain health; a deficiency in these essential fatty acids can cause brain fog.
Natural sources are nuts and seeds, wild caught oily fish, olive oil, and coconut oil.
Natural Remedies for Brain Fog
A good way to prevent or reverse brain fog is to avoid the causes which are listed above; in addition to that, here a few things that can also help to relieve this condition.
This helps to clear out accumulated wastes and toxins from the body; when we allow toxins accumulate in the body, it can lead to brain fatigue and other health complications. This helps to detoxify the bowel or relieve candida infections which have been linked with mental fatigue.
Get adequate and quality sleep
Quality and adequate sleep prevent brain fog and mental decline; it helps the brain to function optimally, an adult should get least eight hours of sleep every night, it boosts alertness, clear thinking, memory and cognitive functions.
This vitamin which is also a hormone is present in every cell of the body; a deficiency causes depression, impaired memory, Alzheimer’s, brain fatigue, and suicidal behavior. Get lots of sunlight and eat eggs and organic poultry.
Exercises or physical activities boost a healthy brain; it increases the supply of blood to the brain and increases the production of neurotransmitters which regulate mood and boosts cognitive functions.
It also increases alertness and keeps brain fog at bay. 30 minutes of mild exercise daily will benefit your brain greatly.
This herb is highly respected in Chinese medicine; it helps the body resist stress and it is used to increase mental performance and physical stamina.
It increases the activities of neurotransmitters, especially the major ones like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin; this herb also fights against brain fog, depression, fatigue, and anxiety.
This herb boosts memory retention and clears brain fog; it is the most popular herb used to treat brain fog, it increases the flow of blood to the brain, it boosts mental accuracy and speed, it enhances cognition, focus, and attention.
This herb is known as “natural Adderall”; Adderall is an ADHD medication, Bacopa has been used for centuries in Ayurveda medicine to boosts memory and treat brain problems. It helps to balance the levels of neurotransmitters.
Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric is one of the best natural fighters against inflammation and brain fog; it can cross the blood-brain barrier and treat brain problems. It boosts memory and attention span in aged individuals.
It boosts cognitive functions; help treat dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain problems. It increases the flow of blood to the brain; it boosts moods, and it has a positive effect on the stem cells of the brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The brain is made up mostly of fats; omega-3 fatty acids have to be the main fat in the cell membrane, this will maintain and protect the fluid connections between neurons that promote easy communications across synapses.
They enhance the growth of microvessels and new neurons; this boosts cognitive functions and brain health. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are nuts and seeds, avocado oil, olive oil, and wild-caught oily fish.
Magnesium L-threonate is the best form of magnesium for fighting brain fog; it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and boost over six thousand biological functions.
Do not take magnesium sulfate; it causes brain fog.
Rosemary essential oil
Inhaling this essential oil helps to clear fogginess, improve memory and increase concentration and attention span. This should only be inhaled because it is not safe for ingestion.
It has high levels of terpene which enters the bloodstream and hugely impact the brain due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. It has immediate results and it can inhibit the enzymes that break down acetylcholine in the brain.
It has no side effects but pregnant women should avoid this essential oil; it increases blood flow that can cause contractions.
This powerful herb eliminates brain fog, it increases focus, memory and clear thinking; as a strong adaptogenic herb, it enhances mood and fights weaknesses. It also increases the levels of serotonin which have a great effect on mood and reasoning skills.
Acetyl -L- Carnitine
This amino acid helps to transfer fatty acids to the mitochondria where they are converted into energy. It also stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain and keeps the brain healthy.
This herb is generally employed to protect the brain from neurotoxins, damage from free radicals and inflammation.
This oil is regarded as the perfect fuel for the brain; it boosts the health of the brain cells and improves its functions. Take at least two tablespoons of coconut oil daily to improve the activities of the brain and clear brain fog or brain fatigue.
Higher levels of vitamin B12 in the body prevent the brain from shrinking in aged people; it boosts mental clarity, increases energy and boosts mood.
This powerful drink eliminates all toxins from the body; this will help to improve the health of the brain and boosts its functions. It hydrates the brain and the body; it improves over-all mental functions and clear brain fog.