Have you ever had your windshield suddenly fog up? It is terrifying when you can’t tell exactly where you are on the road. It doesn’t matter how good you are at driving, an imbalance in the temperature inside versus outside can cause an accident. Your defroster has to be working in order for you to get safely where you are going. In the same way, brain fog can be terrifying.
Although not a medically recognized term, “brain fog” is commonly used phrase to sum up forgetfulness, confusion, lack of focus, and decreased mental clarity. Although common, brain fog is not normal. Feeling unfocused and foggy is one of your body’s “check engine” lights; it’s your brain sending an important signal that something is out of balance.
Generally, brain fog falls into one of three varieties:
- Lifestyle Components
- Medications causing Nutritional Deficiencies
- Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
When your brain feels like it is not working optimally, think about what foods you have just eaten. Sugar and refined carbohydrates can send your blood sugar soaring and causing a roller coaster-like experience for your brain. Low brain glucose can make you feel irritable, tired, confused and can impair your judgement. Our brains are mostly made of fat and they need high-quality fats to stay healthy. Dr. David Perlmutter, world-renowned Neurologist and author of Grain Brain, believes that there is nothing worse for our brains than a low-fat diet. Food additives like MSG are known neurotoxins and are found in most processed foods and many restaurant foods. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame cause many health problems and are the source of complaints to the Food and Drug Administration. Dehydration is a huge culprit – read my May 3, 2016, post for more info on your body’s cooling system.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is estimated to affect 40 percent of adults in the United States and is a common cause of brain fog. Left unchecked, this deficiency can lead to serious mental problems. Vegetarians are at risk for deficiency because B12 is only found in animal products. Senior adults are also at high risk because of naturally decreasing stomach acid with increasing age. Antacids like Nexium and Prilosec can put users of all ages at risk because they decrease stomach acid and stomach acid is required to break down and absorb Vitamin B12. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that your brain requires. This amazing chemical improves memory, clears brain fog, lifts mood, and increases problem-solving ability. If you feel tired but wired, consider Magnesium. Magnesium Threonate is the best form for brain fog because it has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Undiagnosed medical conditions can include things like type 2 diabetes, thyroid disorders, lyme disease, hormonal imbalances, and yeast overgrowth, just to name a few. Cholesterol-lowering medications, also known as “statins”, are notorious for causing memory loss. Several over-the-counter allergy and acid reflux medications can also contribute to brain fog.
This really is only the “short list” but is certainly a place to START SOMEWHERE. Brain fog can be terrifying. Being aware of your body’s “check engine” lights and proactive about finding solutions is a great way to LIVE YOUNGER. Small changes can yield big results to minimizing or eliminating brain fog. You can do it. I will help you.