Brain Fog, also known as Mental Fog or Cognitive Fog, can occur in a variety of ways. Mostly, it feels like cotton candy has replaced substantial intellectual neural tissue in your skull. The lights are turned on, but no one is home. It is frequently described as a foggy head. Forgetfulness is a typical problem among senior citizens. As we get older, our bodies go through physiological changes that can produce hiccups in brain functions we’ve always taken for granted. Learning and recalling knowledge takes longer. We are not as swift as we once were. Mental fog can also be caused by a lack of sleep, overworking, and stress. This can be frustrating, but there is hope.
Confusion, forgetfulness, and a loss of attention and mental clarity are symptoms of brain fog. Overwork, lack of sleep, stress, and spending too much time on the computer can all contribute to this. On a cellular scale, brain fog is thought to be produced by excessive levels of inflammation and changes in hormones that control your mood, energy, and focus. Hormone imbalances throw the entire system off. Furthermore, brain fog syndrome can lead to additional diseases such as obesity, irregular menstruation, and diabetes mellitus.
The term “brain fog” refers to a symptom, not a medical condition. It can feel different to various people, and the same term may be used to describe a variety of symptoms. Some qualities are as follows:
- Insomnia, difficulty sleeping
- Tiredness or a lack of energy
- Cognitive function impairment
- Mood changes
- Concentration issues
- Lack of motivation and creativity
- Extreme absences
- Depressingly mild
Most people recover from mental fog. Similar symptoms may occur after various infections, a small head injury, or after menopause. Brain fog is also common in people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or stress.
Some people develop cognitive fog when recuperating from coronavirus (COVID-19). Symptoms can fluctuate and vary over time. Mental fog can affect anyone who has been hospitalized with coronavirus. It is a common component of lengthy COVID.
Brain fog can be caused by a vitamin shortage, a sleep disorder, bacterial overgrowth from excessive sugar consumption, sadness, or even a thyroid condition. Other typical causes of mental fog include excessive and frequent eating, inactivity, insufficient sleep, chronic stress, and a poor nutrition.
COVID-19 can promote brain inflammation, which can impair neurons’ capacity to connect with one another, resulting in brain fog. The stress, anxiety, isolation, and threat of the coronavirus pandemic, on the other hand, might produce mental fog indirectly since it is tiring for your brain.
Changes in hormones and mental confusion
Hormonal transitions happen all the time, whether it’s during pregnancy, postpartum, menopause, or simply unanticipated changes in your surroundings and lifestyle. And these periods can leave your brain feeling hazy and confused—one study discovered that 60% of women have problems concentrating throughout menopause. In certain circumstances, changes in mood or sleeping patterns may be to blame for your foggy head, but it might also be due to shifting hormone levels as your body attempts to restore equilibrium.
Poor sleep hygiene, such as inconsistent sleep and waking times, sleeping fewer than seven to eight hours each night, or exposing yourself to blue light before bed, interrupts your natural circadian rhythm, often known as your internal body clock. This adds to brain fog in several ways. When blue light is exposed close to bedtime, it reduces the hormone melatonin, which is required for deep REM sleep. To consolidate and integrate memories from the day, both REM and non-REM sleep are required. Because your body and brain detoxify the most between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., being active during this time disturbs the body’s normal detoxification process and can promote to fogginess.
An untimely wake time that does not correspond to the end of a sleep cycle can also impair cognitive performance and lead you to feel fatigued and foggy during the day. Sleep Cycle uses your movement throughout the night to measure what stage of sleep you’re in and sets an alarm to go off at the end of your sleep cycle, guaranteeing you don’t wake up in the middle of the night, as a traditional alarm clock does. It’s important to note that pushing the snooze button after your alarm goes off will not help you feel more rested, but instead increase your chances of falling asleep only to be interrupted again.
Food sensitivities and dietary deficits
Vitamin B12 aids in the development of red blood cells and the overall health of your nervous system. That is why a B12 shortage will undoubtedly reduce your energy levels and cause you to feel tired. Brain fog can also be caused by a vitamin D deficiency, as low vitamin D levels are linked to reduced cognitive function. Unidentified dietary intolerances can also add to the foggy head sensation you’re feeling. Gluten intolerance, for example, can cause cognitive impairment via inflammatory pathways. Advanced blood work that examines your nutrient levels, as well as an elimination diet or food allergy or sensitivity testing, can help discover whether any of these factors are contributing to your brain fog.
Though stress may appear to be a common and relatively harmless term, prolonged stress can have a negative impact on your body. When you are in a stressful circumstance, your body engages the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), sometimes known as the fight-or-flight response. This response causes the production of epinephrine, commonly known as adrenaline, and norepinephrine, diverting energy away from your body’s normal processes and towards the stressor. This can make it difficult to think properly, focus, and potentially fatigue your brain. When your brain feels cloudy, learning to lessen your stress over time through therapies such as meditation, exercise, or dietary modifications may help.
Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs are known to cause brain fog as a side effect. Though hazy thinking when taking medication may appear natural and expected, it is not. Before going to medication, we believe in lifestyle modifications that address your underlying difficulties. However, if medication is required, your doctor can assist you in determining whether your drug is hurting your brain health and work with you to find the best solution—whether that is changing medications or lowering your dosage.
Anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression have been found to impair cognitive function, impacting executive function, attention, and memory. According to research, this could be due to a loss of energy and motivation caused by mental health disorders, or to physiological impacts on the brain that make it harder to function effectively. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, speak with your doctor about treatment options.
A thyroid problem may be at the root of your symptoms if you are constantly exhausted, lack attention and mental clarity, or experience mood swings. This butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck is in charge of producing and releasing hormones that regulate everything from metabolism and heart rate to breathing and menstrual cycles, and are usually associated with brain fog.
This is especially true in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune immunological disease in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, preventing it from making enough thyroid hormones and causing inflammation. However, whether your thyroid gland produces too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism), this could be causing your mental fog. Weight loss or gain, exhaustion, muscle weakness, and digestive difficulties are some of the other signs of a thyroid condition.
If you suspect a thyroid problem, consult your doctor about a thyroid test. Many doctors will examine your TSH levels, but there are additional thyroid markers that can provide a more complete picture of what’s going on. To measure your thyroid function, doctors frequently analyze Free T4, Total T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, anti-TPO antibodies, and anti-thyroglobulin.
Exposure to heavy metals
Heavy metals can be found in our food, beauty products, and even dental fillings. Heavy metal exposure is most commonly caused by arsenic, mercury, aluminum, lead, thallium, and cesium. While small levels of these metals may not be hazardous, heavy metal buildup from continuous exposure can induce immunological malfunction, hormone imbalance, weariness, cognitive fog, and high blood pressure. Testing heavy metal levels in your blood is a fantastic way to verify your body is toxin-free, and routinely integrating detox techniques like heart-rate increasing physical activity or weekly sauna sessions is a terrific place to start to keep your levels under control and symptoms at bay.
Brain Fog Treatments
Many therapies for mental fog entail lifestyle adjustments and symptom control on a daily basis. Because brain fog affects people differently, what works for one person may not work for another. You can experiment with various combinations until you find one that works for you. Here are some things that others have found useful.
How to Reduce
If you have blood cancer, you may not want to exercise. Short walks, on the other hand, can help with brain fog and the mental tiredness that comes with it. Being outside in nature can be mentally stimulating, and exercise has been found to increase cognitive function.
This just means pausing and focusing on the present moment. There are no specific skills required, and we have several instructional films for you to attempt. Meditation relaxes the mind and reduces tension. It enhances focus and concentration and is beneficial to general brain health.
Sleep and Rest
Fatigue and brain fog are inextricably linked. Getting enough sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene might be beneficial. Taking short rest intervals throughout the day can help reduce energy and cognitive decline. It is preferable to incorporate rest periods into your routine so that you can employ rest as a preventative approach rather than waiting until exhaustion and brain fog become unbearable before stopping and resting.
Stress is known to exacerbate brain fog and exhaustion. Treatment for blood cancer can be an emotionally difficult time, and it’s natural to feel stressed. Accepting that mental fog is usually a transitory side effect of treatment and being compassionate and patient with yourself as you go through it might help you cope with mental fog. We offer further advice for dealing with stress and the emotional effects of blood cancer.
Rest is vital during periods of mental fog, but stretching your brain to operate in new ways or learn new things can assist with brain fog in the long run. Brain workouts, new hobbies, and learning new skills are all beneficial to your brain, and progressively increasing these activities can help you withstand higher levels of cognition.
Continue to do activities that make you happy: doing things we enjoy calms our brain and makes us feel energized, all of which can help reduce the influence of mental fog.
Food and Drink tips
Maintain a nutritious diet
Nutritional deficits can exacerbate brain fog, so eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, particularly leafy greens, can help prevent this.
Drink plenty of water
Mild dehydration can impair cognitive performance. Water is required for every cells in your body, including your brain, to function properly. Drink the recommended 6 to 8 cups of liquids per day.
Stay away from alcohol
Because alcohol dehydrates your body, it exacerbates brain fog.
How to Manage
Make your life as simple as possible by using a planner, diary, or app to keep everything you need to remember in one spot. You can also use this to keep track of jobs that need to be completed as well as appointments and treatments.
Your brain fog may fluctuate throughout the day and be better or worse when performing particular things. Perform the most difficult activities while you have the most energy. Take breaks between work or divide major jobs into smaller ones. Managing brain fog is a marathon, not a sprint, and it takes time to learn to pace yourself. Pay attention to your body and work out when it needs to rest and when it is ready to move. Different activities need different cognitive skills, so switching between tasks can help you maximize the function and energy you do have.
Establish a routine
This will assist because it eliminates a lot of seemingly minor decisions that mount up and consume energy every day. Having a consistent schedule means you know what you’re going to do and when, without having to think and plan too much each day or week.
It’s possible that you’re unable to complete some chores right now. However, jobs can often be made more doable by performing them in a different manner. For example, sending audio notes rather than typing, or purchasing ready-made meal kits rather than cooking from scratch.
When you need it, ask for it
Family and friends can assist you with difficult jobs to help you save energy.
Be kind with yourself
Brain fog may indicate that you are not as sharp as you once were. It’s acceptable if you’re grieving about it and finding it difficult to accept the way your brain is currently functioning. It’s acceptable to get frustrated, and it’s okay to feel down from time to time.
Healthy Brain Supplements
- DHA, an Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid found in fish oil, helps to improve the brain, neurological system, and retinal visual system.
- Ginkgo biloba extract improves blood circulation to the brain and other regions of the body while also providing adequate blood flow to the brain. It also contains flavonoids, which aid in the prevention of brain and blood vessel deterioration.
- GABA-containing gamma oryzanol helps regulate neurotransmitters in the brain by acting as a brake on excitatory neurotransmitters, delivering a relaxing effect.
- The amino acid L-theanine raises serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels in the brain, which improves relaxation and reduces stress.
- Phosphatidylserine, which is a key element of the brain’s cell membrane and so helps to prevent the degradation of brain nerve cells, reduces stress and brain fatigue.
- Choline Bitartrate and Inositol are B vitamins that are found in cell membranes, brain membranes, muscles, and nerve cells. They are also precursors to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning, which aids in the prevention of memory loss.
- Vitamin B complex stimulates brain and neurological system functioning while also assisting the digestive system in metabolizing and absorbing food, allowing the brain to completely benefit from the nutrients the body obtains.
When to See a Doctor
Occasional brain fog is common, especially when there is a definite explanation, such as exhaustion, a cold, or family stress.
People should visit a doctor if they have any of the following symptoms:
- Brain fog frequently impairs a person’s ability to execute daily duties.
- A person is having difficulties with daily functioning. For example, people frequently fail to pay bills or get lost.
- A person’s memory appears to be deteriorating over time.
- Self-care interventions had no effect on mental fog.
- Much of the time, a person suffers from brain fog.
- Anxiety is really strong and does not improve with home treatment.
The sense of being spaced out is known as brain fog. It can make it difficult to concentrate on jobs, remember details, or pay attention to what’s going on around you. It might also make you feel strange and out of place.
Many people, for example, may experience periodic bouts of brain fog if they haven’t slept well or if they have allergies and have taken antihistamine medicine. However, certain medical problems can produce permanent brain fog.
Consult a healthcare provider about your symptoms; they may be able to diagnose what’s causing the brain fog and recommend a treatment plan accordingly.
Originally posted 2022-10-26 20:13:00.