Ever walk into a room with so much gusto and then forget why you went in there in the first place? How about forgetting what you were doing in the middle of an otherwise routine task or conversation? Then you’ve experienced brain fog!
Being clouded by a mental fog is not out of the ordinary for adults. However, chronic brain fog can be a sign of something much worse going on. So, you shouldn’t let brain fog symptoms go unchecked.
Let’s discuss the causes of brain fog so that we can find ways to clear the cloud naturally.
What is Brain Fog?
Before you go about fixing an issue, you should have a good understanding of what it is in the first place. Brain fog isn’t a recognized medical condition. It’s a general description of a variety of symptoms that may impede your cognitive performance.
So, what is brain fog? Just as it sounds! It’s a mental fog that follows your brain around throughout the day like dirt follows Pigpen in Peanuts.
Those who experience brain fog might feel sluggish and tired or feel like they’re walking around in a daze. They become absent-minded, easily distracted, and might develop poor listening skills. Unfortunately, chronic brain fog can start to impact your mental state, personal relationships, and career goals.
Essentially, brain fog is that indescribable feeling of being “off your game.” With Covid-19 disrupting our daily routines and forcing us to convert our homes into offices, “being off your game” is normal!
However, long-term brain fog can be a sign of other underlying conditions. Let’s discuss the symptoms of brain fog so that you can find ways to lift the mental fog naturally.
What Are Brain Fog Symptoms?
Recognizing brain fog symptoms is essential for beating this condition. That’s because brain fog isn’t a disease. It’s a set of symptoms that have manifested and may ultimately have a negative impact on your social, physical, and mental health.
Common brain fog symptoms include:
- Attacks of anxiety and bouts of depression
- Depleted energy levels (such as chronic fatigue syndrome)
- Being easily distracted
- Getting confused more easily
- Frequent headaches
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of motivation
- Memory loss
- Sleepless nights
- Inability to follow directions
Brain fog affects us all uniquely.
At my worst, I had all of these brain fog symptoms. However, you may only experience one or two of these brain fog symptoms.
Even one symptom of brain fog should be addressed. Experiencing a mental fog might be a sign or symptom of a more serious medical condition. Let’s talk about the causes of brain fog. These might be the real issues that we need to address.
What Are the Causes of Brain Fog?
As there are many brain fog symptoms, the causes of brain fog also cover a lot of ground. However, addressing these causes can stop a more serious condition from developing.
Brain fog is far easier to manage than a life-threatening condition. So, it’s imperative to address the causes of brain fog when you realize them before they get out of hand.
Water is the mineral of life. It creates ions that are responsible for many chemical reactions that make things happen. Insufficient water intake can easily cause a mental drought. After all, it makes up 75% of our brain mass!
One study showed that 36 hours of dehydration could cause a decrease in self-esteem and higher error rates. Once the subjects were rehydrated, there was a noted improvement in reading speeds and short-term memory.
Of course, if you don’t sleep at night, you will be in a mental fog the next day. Your body requires sleep. Deep rest is a recharge and rejuvenation mechanism that gives the mind time to recover and build new connections.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a national measure of sleep report that suggested one in every three US adults doesn’t get a healthy amount of sleep. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the brains of that 35% of Americans are performing below their functional capacity.
A lack of sleep can also cause stress levels to accelerate, which will only add to brain fog anxiety. One study measured cortisol levels of people with sleep issues compared to those who get adequate rest. Results found, “cortisol levels were significantly higher in insomniacs compared to normal sleepers.”
This conclusion shows how a cause of brain fog can develop into another issue. Insomnia might be causing your daytime mental fog. However, chronic insomnia can develop into more serious mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
There is a lot of overlapping between sleep problems and hormonal imbalances. That’s because hormones (particularly melatonin) regulate our sleep cycle.
For the most part, three key hormones control your mood, energy levels, and focus. Brain fog negatively affects all three of those functions.
The hormones responsible for these critical functions are:
- Dopamine – Responsible for joy and motivation
- Serotonin – The ability to remain calm and focused
- Cortisol – Response to stress; determines whether you “fight or flight” a situation
In order for the body to function correctly, these three hormones need to keep one another in check. When you are under an intense amount of stress, cortisol levels skyrocket.
If stress becomes chronic, so does cortisol production. Stress begins to outweigh the joy and calm, and all this can lead to more frequent battles with brain fog.
I’ve been using my diet to fight anxiety. I learned that these dietary changes also impacted my brain fog positively.
A 2015 study found that following the Western Diet results in a smaller hippocampus. This part of the brain is vital for memory and learning new concepts. Without adequate nutrition, brain fog anxiety is imminent.
A consistent diet of processed foods delivers far fewer nutrients needed for clearer cognitive function. Not to mention, these unhealthy fats and preservatives can cause inflammation in the brain that may destroy healthy cells. Even more reason to adjust your diet and add more nutrient-dense wholesome foods.
Inflammation is at the root of nearly all health conditions, even ones that don’t have specific medical diagnoses, like brain fog. This immune response is essential for eliminating germs and invaders from our bodies.
However, there are so many things in our everyday lives that are triggering these inflammatory responses. This never-ending cycle of immune responses evolves into chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation will destroy healthy cells.
An analysis of the correlation between inflammation and brain fog concluded, “Brain expression of proinflammatory genes was increased in the brains of deceased patients with neuropsychiatric diseases.”
Neuropsychiatric diseases include depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome — all of which cite brain fog as a symptom. In particular, this study found that inflammatory molecules such as histamine and adipocytokines stimulated microglia activation, resulting in focal brain inflammation.
Those with brain fog tend to feel easily distracted. That’s because we are distracted! With social media, texting apps, and FaceTime, we are more connected than ever.
Now, many of us are living a life of shelter in place. So, we rely on the internet more than ever. Instead of focusing on work, relationships, or wellness goals, we’re incessantly refreshing our feeds.
Thinking about world events or pop culture gossip can cloud your priorities. You end up daydreaming about new notifications or the latest Twitter trends rather than the task-at-hand.
How to Beat Brain Fog Anxiety
You might have noticed a bit of pattern here. There are many brain fog symptoms and causes of brain fog. Just as those are unique to you, so will be your treatment options. Here are some ways I defeated brain fog based on the symptoms of brain fog that I experienced.
Eat Healthier Foods
Food is the easiest way to biohack your brain fog. Eat plenty of foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are optimal brain fuel as they help repair brain tissue and keep parts of the brain from atrophying.
You also want to consume plenty of antioxidants. They will fight off free radicals that can destroy cells in the brain. Consuming a wide variety of fruits and veggies can improve communication throughout the central nervous system, so you remain focused throughout the day.
There are many vitamins that are essential for the health and development of the brain. Missing any of these vitamins for brain fog prevention can cause cases of mental haziness to increase.
Some of the best vitamins for brain fog include:
- Vitamin D - protects neurons and reduces inflammation
- B-Vitamin Complex - causes chemical reactions in the brain
- Omega-3 Fatty acids - repairs damage caused by too many omega-6s
Vitamin D and some B-Vitamins aren’t available in food sources. Supplementation will become necessary.
In some cases, you might only be low on one or two particular vitamins. Therefore, buying individual vitamins for brain fog can become expensive. Unless you get tested by a physician for confirmation, you might want to look into all-natural supplement blends.
All-natural supplements are a cost-effective way of placating to our various mental needs. I recommend supplements over vitamins for brain fog because these blends have botanicals that cover many of the symptoms of brain fog. Here are some of the best all-natural supplements for mental fog issues.
Focusene for Focus
Lack of focus is one of the most common brain fog symptoms. We’re already pulled in so many directions. Now, we must navigate working, relationships, and raising a family all from home. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and procrastinate under these conditions.
Tranquility Labs’ Focusene is enriched with botanicals that have been scientifically shown to help with symptoms of brain fog. It contains dandelions, which are rich in pigment molecules known as luteolin.
Research shows that luteolin stops Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE-4) from consuming Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in the brain. Our body uses cAMP as electricity to facilitate communication in the brain.
Focusene further helps cAMP production by introducing Acetyl-L-Carnitine and forskolin to the system. These ingredients stop acetylcholinesterase from using up active cAMP while increasing levels of cAMP, respectively.
Sleep-Fast for Sleep
Working from home can disrupt our sleep schedules, as we can find ourselves waking up to check emails in the middle of the night. Tranquility Labs’ Sleep-Fast provides your body with the melatonin necessary to help normalize your sleep cycles, so you don’t get the urge for middle-of-the-night scrolling.
Sleep-Fast is a non-habit forming spray. Since you absorb the melatonin orally, it acts quicker than most over-the-counter sleep-aids. Plus, it doesn’t come with the addictive and unpleasant side effects!
Turmeric with Curcumin for Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can destroy healthy brain cells, leaving the body open to free radicals that might cause a life-threatening illness. Curcumin from turmeric is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.
Tranquility Labs’ Turmeric with Curcumin is enriched with BioPerine. This black pepper molecule improves the absorption of turmeric by 2,000%! Together, they will help protect your neurons from being destroyed by inflammation.
Brain Exercises and Meditation
An active mind is less likely to become clouded with fog. A study led by neuroscientist George Burns suggests that reading a novel has significant effects on neurotransmission, even if it’s just a few chapters. If you’re this far in this post, you’ve already proven dedication to bettering your mind.
Reading isn’t your thing? Try some logic puzzles, word searches, or jigsaw puzzles. Anything that stimulates the mind will open up new brain pathways. In turn, you’ll feel naturally energized and focused.
Supplement these brain exercises with meditation. It’s like stretching after a workout! Controlled mindfulness is, in essence, the clearing of mental fog and all of its distractions.
The goal of meditation is to be present and fully aware. It might take a bit of time to get the hang of it, but the benefits for your mental clarity will be astounding.
There’s a reason why many people go running for clarity. Physical activity helps reel in a racing mind and gives your thinking brain a break.
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of Harvard Health Letter, links active lifestyles to the growth of parts of the brain that influence intelligence and the release of natural chemicals to improve brain function.
A few simple fitness hacks in your routine could make a huge difference over time. Easy ways to start could include riding your bike to work, taking the stairs, exercising during media advertisements, or simply parking your car further from a store’s entrance.
Fight Brain Fog and Live Your Best Life
The first symptoms of brain fog might be laughable. You giggle at your forgetfulness and chalk it up to being busy. However, long-term symptoms of brain fog can mean a larger issue is brewing.
If you experience mental fog often, address each symptom individually. If changing your diet, getting more rest, taking supplements, and consuming the right vitamins for brain fog don’t help, please contact a physician.
Don’t compromise your brain health. You only have one. Be proactive with your body, and take care of the causes of brain fog as they persist.
- Mental fog isn’t a medical condition but a variety of symptoms.
- Brain fog symptoms include anxiety, forgetfulness, and poor cognitive performance.
- Symptoms are dependent on the causes of brain fog.
- Dietary changes, exercise, and vitamins for brain fog can improve quality of life.