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Brain Fog: How to think straight when you can't think straight

Suffering from brain fog or lack of concentration is common. But that doesn't mean it needs to be chronic.

Over time persistent brain fog can negatively impact social, family, school and work life. In most cases, a natural and integrative approach to health and wellness works to improve concentration and minimize brain fog.

What is brain fog?

While brain fog has yet to be fully recognized as an official medical condition, it is a common and persistent problem experienced by many. Brain fog is described as a clouding of the consciousness or a mental dampening.

It is a persistent inability to think clearly and affects people of all ages. This mental fatigue may develop over time or may arise quite suddenly following a life event, such as a heart attack or highly stressful time period.

Brain fog can be best described as:

  • Lack of focus

  • Lack of ability to concentrate

  • Poor memory recall

  • Reduced mental acuity

  • Inability to perform basic mental tasks

  • Lack of clarity

  • Forgetfulness

Factors that influence brain fog are interrelated.

This is the "pyramid" that I teach in the

When one factor is present it is likely to stem from, and also contribute to, other factors.

For example: stress can lead to poor eating habits which can lead to iron deficiency which leads to brain fog.

Or: fluctuating progesterone in perimenopause can lead to sleep disruption which leads to brain fog.

Ultimately, the brain does not get the nutrients required. This damages the brain cells and neurons, resulting in reduced mental functioning.

Other factors may include:

  • Poor circulation

  • Antioxidant activity

  • Lack of sleep

  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Food sensitivities

  • Biochemical imbalances

  • Neurological diseases

  • Stress

  • Hormone imbalance during perimenopause-to-menopause (& beyond)

  • Diabetes

  • Toxic metals

  • Digestion

There are many nutritional remedies that can help to regain mental stamina. Here are six:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – In particular, fish oil supplements help in cognitive impairment by slowing brain shrinkage and even increasing brain volume. They also decrease inflammation, which can be a leading cause of brain fog.

Magnesium Bisglycinate Increasing magnesium intake works to alleviate brain fog by balancing copper, which in abundance contributes to feelings of fogginess. It is also important for proper nerve functioning and for neutralizing stomach acid, both of which play a role in brain fog.

Iron – Iron transfers oxygen within the blood, regulates metabolism, and is needed to synthesize brain chemicals. It is a significant factor in cognitive performance, especially among women, who also happen to suffer more from iron deficiency.

Vitamin B12 – Arguably, B12 is one of the most important vitamins when it comes to alleviating brain fog. It protects the brain and nervous system, promotes a healthy immune system, regulates sleep, produces energy, and slows cognitive decline. B12 on its own, or as part of a B-Complex vitamin supplement, can improve concentration and mental clarity.

Spirulina – This “super food” is a microalgae and complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids). When taken as a supplement it has been shown to be highly effective in treating brain fog by boosting energy, cleaning blood, protecting the immune system and working as a natural detoxifier.

Maintaining optimum brain function involves taking a comprehensive an integrative approach to health. Balancing good health practices with natural supplements can help to alleviate brain fog, but be sure to speak with a physician, pharmacist or nutritional expert before starting on a supplement plan.

Additional considerations:

  • Understand the role of stress in brain fog: here is a great article featuring Dr. Bal Pawa

  • Learn everything you need to know about progesterone fluctuations in perimenopause & more in this class (the one that made the most informed health group on...and off...the internet!)


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