Do you have difficulty concentrating before eating a meal? Do you experience fatigue after meals? Do you feel as if you’re not getting enough rest or sleep? Do you have noticeable variations in mental speed? If so, you may have brain fog.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a health issue that can occur due to a variety of factors. You may struggle to focus on everyday tasks, conversations, or even on the words you’re currently reading. You may also have difficulty making choices where minimal decisions can be overwhelming, you may need coffee to concentrate or snacks to stay awake and even alcohol at night to temporarily relieve the brain fog. In severe instances, you may also have headaches, vision problems, and nausea.
What Causes Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a symptom rather than a single health issue. It can occur due to nutrient deficiency, bacterial overgrowth from consuming too much sugar, sleep disorder, depression, or even due to thyroid problems. Other common causes of brain fog can ultimately include eating too much and too often, lack of exercise or physical activity, not getting enough rest or sleep, chronic stress, and a poor diet. Below, we will discuss several of the most common causes of brain fog and brain health issues.
Hormonal changes, frequently caused when our body is producing too much or too little of a specific hormone, is a well-known cause of brain fog. Hormone imbalances due to thyroid health issues are associated with brain fog. This is especially true with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid as well as causes inflammation and affects the production of enough thyroid hormones. Low thyroid hormone production or hypothyroidism can cause decreased cognitive function and low blood sugar or glucose levels that can ultimately lead to brain fog.
Lack of Rest or Sleep
Poor sleeping hygiene, such as an irregular sleep and wake time, getting less than seven to eight hours of sleep a night, or blue light exposure before bed, can interrupt our natural circadian rhythm or our internal body clock. This can cause brain fog in a variety of ways. In the instance of blue light exposure close to bedtime, the blue wavelengths can decrease the production of the hormone melatonin, which is essential for deep REM sleep. Both REM and non-REM sleep is necessary for optimal brain function. From 10 pm to 2 am, our body and brain detoxify the most, therefore, staying in an active state throughout this time period can ultimately interrupt our body and brain’s natural detoxification process, which can also cause brain fog.
Nutritional Deficiencies and Food Sensitivities
Vitamin B12 contributes to the production of red blood cells as well as the maintenance of the central nervous system. A vitamin B12 deficiency can affect your energy levels and cause an overall feeling of fatigue. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause brain fog as decreased vitamin D levels are associated with impaired cognitive function. An unidentified food sensitivity can also contribute to brain fog. By way of instance, gluten sensitivities can ultimately lead to cognitive dysfunction through inflammatory pathways. Advanced blood work that analyzes nutrient levels, as well as an elimination diet or a food allergy/sensitivity test, can help determine if any of these could be contributing to your brain fog.
How to Naturally Improve Brain Fog
Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can help improve brain fog. Not only can it help you lose weight, calorie restriction and going long periods of time between meals can also help promote brain health and reduce the risk of neurological diseases. Start by trying to extend the time between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day. Ideally, intermittent fasting requires you go 12 hours between eating the last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day. This promotes a process called ketogenesis, which can stimulate brain regeneration. Intermittent fasting should ultimately be practiced after following the guidance of a healthcare professional, such as a health coach, who understands intermittent fasting.
Participate in Exercise or Physical Activity
Neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and even moderate cognitive dysfunction, are more common in sedentary populations. Increased activity levels have been associated with sharper mental acuity, better memory, and positive mood changes. Exercise and physical activity cause the release of substances known as cytokines as well as chemicals known as endorphins. These substances and chemicals ultimately improve brain health and function. Try to engage in exercise or physical activity every day. Walking, running, or even dancing can help improve brain fog and boost your mood.
Rest More and Sleep Better
The most common mistake people make, whether it involves dealing with school, work, or whatever looming project deadline, is that they try to maximize their time by staying up late and/or getting up early. However, this generally backfires because cognitive abilities decrease with sleep deprivation. Rest and sleep at least seven hours a night, preferably eight or even nine if possible. Your efficiency will increase while the time it takes to create quality work will likely decrease.
Stress can cause a variety of symptoms, including brain fog. To reduce stress, you also need to learn how to flex your parasympathetic nervous system, which is engaged during rest and relaxation as well as helps to calm your body and your mind. You can help reduce stress by incorporating more meditation and yoga into your daily workout routine.
Feed your Brain
The human brain is made up of a lot of fat and protein. Too much sugar and frozen as well as fried or processed foods are not ideally nourishing for our brain. You can follow a plant-based Paleo diet, consisting mostly of vegetables, protein, and good fats. Also, make sure to get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, for their anti-inflammatory powers, lots of antioxidants and coenzyme Q10, essential for energy, and boost your body’s energy and regeneration with essential vitamins and minerals.
Brain fog can make people feel as if they’re not able to focus or concentrate accordingly and it’s often accompanied by fatigue and other well-known symptoms. While brain fog is a symptoms rather than a single health issue, it can have a variety of causes, from hormonal changes to lack of rest and sleep to nutritional deficiencies or food sensitivities. Fortunately, there are several steps to help naturally improve brain fog symptoms and promote overall brain health and wellness. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
Neurotransmitter Assessment FormNeurotransmitter Assessment Form AE260 (1)
The following Neurotransmitter Assessment Form can be filled out and presented to Dr. Alex Jimenez. Symptoms listed on this form are not intended to be utilized as a diagnosis of any type of disease, condition, or any other type of health issue.
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Do you have difficulty concentrating? Do you experience fatigue after meals? Do you feel as if you’re not getting enough rest or sleep? Do you have noticeable variations in mental speed? As previously mentioned above, you may have brain fog. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topic Discussion: Chronic Pain
Sudden pain is a natural response of the nervous system which helps to demonstrate possible injury. By way of instance, pain signals travel from an injured region through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain. Pain is generally less severe as the injury heals, however, chronic pain is different than the average type of pain. With chronic pain, the human body will continue sending pain signals to the brain, regardless if the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last for several weeks to even several years. Chronic pain can tremendously affect a patient’s mobility and it can reduce flexibility, strength, and endurance.
Neural Zoomer Plus for Neurological Disease
Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate neurological diseases. The Neural ZoomerTM Plus is an array of neurological autoantibodies which offers specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus is designed to assess an individual’s reactivity to 48 neurological antigens with connections to a variety of neurologically related diseases. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus aims to reduce neurological conditions by empowering patients and physicians with a vital resource for early risk detection and an enhanced focus on personalized primary prevention.
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