How To Get Rid Of Brain Fog – 6 Simple Tips

You walked down a street and met with a friend, who you try to remember, have seen somewhere. You scratch your head and try even harder but don’t recognize them. They ask you what you’re doing there but you have no rhyme or reason. The situation is termed brain fog. Before jumping into explaining how to get rid of brain fog.1

1. Brain Fog

Brain fog is not a disease in itself but a sense that you’re dealing with some underlying disease or a fallout of an illness you’ve been dealing with recently., let’s have a look at the red flags of brain fog.

2. Signs of Brain Fog

  • Your comprehension gets decreased.
  • Flawed short and long-term memory.
  • Inability to multitask.
  • Difficulty concentrating.

The cause behind brain fog can be tricky to trace because of its wide-ranging symptoms which can be the signs of other ailments too.

What is Brain Fog | Explained in 2 min

3. Causes of Brain Fog

3.1. Sleep

Sleep undoubtedly affects the way your brain works beyond saving you from tons of physical diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Research suggests that seven to eight hours of sleep is the norm for adults to function at their best. The absence of this can even lead to medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease as age increases.

A study (the world’s largest study organized in June 2017 involving over 10000 people) was performed to know the effects of sleep deprivation 2and oversleeping on people’s cognitive abilities. Results claimed that half of the participants who slept more or less than what’s considered an ideal amount of sleep suffered cognitive problems in some areas.

These results were the same for people of all ages.

Signs of brain fog like decision-making and communication skills were affected by too little or too much sleep but short-term memory was unchanged. The study also reported that just one night of enough sleep can improve mental function.

3.2. Hormonal Changes

Decreased estrogen levels during the perimenopause period3 or at the time of menopause can cause various changes in women’s bodies. That leads to a fair share of whole new issues.

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Photo by Julien L on Unsplash

Estrogen hormone contributes a lot to the well-being of women including bones, muscles, and even cognitive function besides assisting in reproduction. The period around menopause amounts to lower levels of estrogen which impacts the quality of cognitive functions 4as well as other areas like sleep.

In the U.S., two of three Alzheimer’s patients are women which mainly results from decreasing estrogen during menopause. Thus, hormonal changes during menopause result in mood fluctuations, hot flashes, memory, and concentration issues (signs of brain fog), and depressive episodes.

3.3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves the use of one or more chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer by killing the cancer cells5. Patients can be treated by chemotherapy or with a combination of various therapies such as immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

As per Cancer Research UK, chemotherapy may result in cognitive dysfunction in cancer patients which means problems with recollection and concentration, i.e., brain fog. The term chemo brain or chemo fog is also used by people for the dysfunction at the mind’s level after the therapy, but it’s not been exactly stated by research. That leads to the point that chemo brain may or may not be the cause of brain fog.

These changes may be temporary or prolonged. Anyone can get the symptoms of brain fog at any stage of cancer treatment. Other cancer treatments, stress, and cancer itself may also be causing it. More research is needed in this case.

3.4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Triggers, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis6, CFS can make you feel utterly tired and sick and can range from mild to severe symptoms. This makes the completion of daily activities tiring, impacting the whole system of the body.

Chronic fatigue syndrome can cause you to have difficulty in remembering certain things and attention issues and the condition PEM (post-exertional malaise) that follows it can even worsen the symptoms. Apart from PEM, cognitive damage is one of its most important symptoms.

CFS or ME is a lasting condition with women being more susceptible to it. Myalgic encephalomyelitis affects about a million Americans but 90 percent of the cases remain undiagnosed because its symptoms can be mislabeled.

3.5. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

MS causes the immune system to attack the myelin (protection to nerve fibers) that generates the scars which are called sclerosis. MS – an abrupt and chronic condition damaging the central nervous system – can risk the ability of the brain and body to work normally to a great extent.

The majority of MS patients may suffer cognitive damage namely confusion, reduced attention span, and poor memory, and concentration. Tiredness may also accompany MS which can mess with efficient brain function, thus chances of brain fog.

3.6. Nutrient Deficiency

10 Warning Signs Your Body Is Deficient in Nutrients

Research indicates that deficiency of nutrients can lead to depression and anxiety and aggravate other mental disorders. Vitamin D helps you set your mood and improves mental clarity and other brain functions as this vitamin works for the nervous system as well. Deficiency of vitamin B12 and 6, iron along with vitamin D often paves the way for cognitive decline, weakness, mood issues, and fewer red blood cells.

3.7. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia | Signs & Symptoms, Associated Conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influencing around 4 million Americans, fibromyalgia is a sensitivity to pain and its presence throughout the body. This pain can result in tiredness and other mental conditions like anxiety, headaches, and memory problems (popularly known as fibro fog).

Fibromyalgia can affect the quality of life. It may also increase the risk of depression and other arthritis conditions like osteoarthritis7 and systemic lupus erythematosus8.

3.8. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) - signs and symptoms, pathophysiology, investigations, treatment

Majorly affecting women more than men in the United States, this condition involves a misjudged attack on the body’s healthy cells by its own immune system. However, people can become prone to it at any age.

Lupus particularly impacts joints and causes inflammation in the body other than causing headaches, memory, and vision issues.

3.9. Certain Medications

Prescription medicines such as antianxiety drugs (Benzodiazepines9), antihistamines10 (First-generation), and antidepressant drugs (Tricyclic antidepressants) are prescribed to treat conditions like anxiety disorders, dizziness & cold, and depression respectively can result in memory loss, as per this post.

3.9.1. Other Causes of Brain Fog Are As Follows

  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Chronic stress
  • Thyroid disorders
  • And Mild Cognitive Dysfunction

4. Brain Fog Treatment

Brain fog is linked with impairment of your brain power, thus taking care of your brain health pays off. You’ll be needing the following measures

BRAIN FOG AND HOW TO TREAT IT AT HOME

4.1. Work Out Everything In Advance

During brain fog, your brain finds it hard to remember things and even struggles with concentrating on important tasks. So, it’s best to keep things simple.

You can do so by charting out your whole day’s activities in a diary and performing accordingly so that you don’t have to keep remembering things. Also, ensure that you have breaks throughout the day for enough rest and other activities you enjoy.

4.2. Buy Into The Idea That Sleep Is Mandatory

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

One of the reasons behind the majority of illnesses comes out to be the poor sleep routine. In need of achieving more, you tend to optimize your day with more tasks where sleep mostly takes a back seat.

Sleep isn’t an idle state but prepares your mind and body for another day of stressful events and is vital for a life free of diseases.

A large cross-sectional study involving 6 non-Western countries collected information on the relationship between sleep and cognition among older people of age 50 and above. The results showed that the higher or lower the sleep duration is, the poorer thinking gets. So, having steady hours of sleep is essential.

Managing your sleeping habits before they take a toll on your life can prove to be a wise decision.

4.3. Go For A Healthy Diet

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Switching to a Mediterranean diet (a diet followed by people living by the Mediterranean seaside) can be easy on your digestive system and brain. It helps in weight loss and keeping diabetes and heart disease away. It includes veggies, fruits, olive oil, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fish.

Intermittent fasting is also feasible for a better brain state as it promotes the autophagy process. In this process, the brain removes unnecessary cells which otherwise can be the reasons for various mental issues. Fasting also stimulates mood and even advances your memory and reduces the chances of brain fog.

4.4. Vow To Be in Shape

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Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash

The upsides of exercise are beyond comparison. To re-emphasize, this is what regular physical activity has to offer to avoid brain fog-

  • Releases uplifting chemicals like dopamine, endorphins, and endocannabinoids11.
  • Nourishes the brain with oxygen.
  • Alleviates mood.
  • De-stresses you.
  • Improves your mental performance.

4.5. Unite With Nature

Research has proven time and again that nature works as a stress buster and grooms your mind to work optimally. A research experiment among some students showed this effect when half of the students were asked to perform a certain task amidst the natural view of greenery and the rest were restricted to a confined space while performing.

The students who had a natural view performed better and made fewer errors than their competitors. So, nature has a way to strengthen your concentration and brain function.

4.6. Try Something Raw to Alleviate Brain Fog

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Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash

The use of adaptogens is a healthy alternative to deal with your mental decline. Adaptogens are plant-based materials that work against stressors and ease off cognitive dysfunction. The following three can prove to be magic for your cognitive function –

  • Rhodiola Rosea aids in leveling up your brain’s abilities and assists in studying.
  • Holy Basil helps you reduce stress and protects the brain.
  • L-theanine helps you concentrate and boosts mental health.

5. Conclusion

Attention deficit, failing memory, and fuzzy thinking all check with brain fog which, in turn, turns out to be a symptom of a medical condition. Treatment is possible through therapies and medications but visiting a physician is important to go to the root cause of the disease.

FAQ

1. When should I seek medical attention for brain fog?

If brain fog is persistent, severe, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Additionally, if brain fog interferes with your daily functioning, work, or relationships, a healthcare professional can help identify any underlying medical or psychological issues that may need treatment.

Brain fog is generally not related to dementia. Dementia is a progressive neurological condition that involves a decline in cognitive function over time, and it is typically associated with aging. Brain fog, on the other hand, is more temporary and often related to lifestyle factors or specific health issues.

3. Are there any lifestyle changes that can help prevent brain fog?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can contribute to preventing brain fog. Adopting habits such as getting enough sleep, managing stress, staying hydrated, eating a nutritious diet, and engaging in regular physical activity can support cognitive function and overall well-being.

Read more

  1. Fog, What Is Brain. “How to Get Rid of Brain Fog Migraine and Achieve Mental Clarity.” ↩︎
  2. Killgore, William DS. “Effects of sleep deprivation on cognition.” Progress in brain research 185 (2010): 105-129. ↩︎
  3. Santoro, Nanette. “Perimenopause: from research to practice.” Journal of women’s health 25.4 (2016): 332-339. ↩︎
  4. Stavitsky, Karina, et al. “The impact of sleep quality on cognitive functioning in Parkinson’s disease.” Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 18.1 (2012): 108-117. ↩︎
  5. Klein, Shoshana, Frank McCormick, and Alexander Levitzki. “Killing time for cancer cells.” Nature Reviews Cancer 5.7 (2005): 573-580. ↩︎
  6. Carruthers, Bruce M., et al. “Myalgic encephalomyelitis: international consensus criteria.” Journal of internal medicine 270.4 (2011): 327-338. ↩︎
  7. Buckwalter, Joseph A., Charles Saltzman, and Thomas Brown. “The impact of osteoarthritis: implications for research.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (1976-2007) 427 (2004): S6-S15. ↩︎
  8. Mok, C. C., and C. S. Lau. “Pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus.” Journal of clinical pathology 56.7 (2003): 481. ↩︎
  9. Lader, Malcolm. “Benzodiazepines revisited—will we ever learn?.” Addiction 106.12 (2011): 2086-2109. ↩︎
  10. Kay, Gary G. “The effects of antihistamines on cognition and performance.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 105.6 (2000): S622-S627. ↩︎
  11. Mechoulam, Raphael, Ester Fride, and Vincenzo Di Marzo. “Endocannabinoids.” European journal of pharmacology 359.1 (1998): 1-18. ↩︎

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