In this post, we discuss the common concern of brain fog, including what it is and how to prevent it.
For some, brain fog might feel like a thick cloud hanging over their heads. For others, it might feel more like fatigue, sluggishness, and hangover-like symptoms with increased difficulty making decisions, concentrating, focusing, and remembering details.
Many people attempt to combat these symptoms by consuming caffeinated beverages like coffee and energy drinks. While this can provide temporary relief, the underlying cause often remains masked and is therefore not properly addressed.
When we use the term “brain fog,” it may seem like a casual description, but it is actually a complex set of symptoms associated with various diseases and conditions.
There are many contributors to brain fog, including:
- Sleep deprivation
- Hormone imbalance
- Gut issues
- Food sensitives/allergies
- And more
What is Brain Fog?
Technically, brain fog is not deemed a medical condition, though it can significantly interfere with one’s ability to perform daily activities.
Brain fog is categorized by cognitive symptoms including:
- Trouble focusing/concentrating
- Severe fatigue throughout the day
- Inability to sleep
- Frequent headaches
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Short-term memory loss
- An overall feeling like the brain is not working optimally
What Causes Brain Fog?
Brain fog shows up in many ways, but the root cause is simple: inflammation.
In the brain, inflammation can hinder energy production and the ability of neurons to efficiently communicate with each other. This means the neurons will start to fire more slowly, resulting in a slower processing of information. This makes it harder to think and focus.
Inflammation can further increase in the brain when microglial cells (the brain’s immune cells – a.k.a. the clean-up crew) are not able to clean up the “gunk” efficiently, since there is a greater number of non-functioning or dead neurons on top of other debris to be removed.
This also puts you at a greater risk for depression and anxiety because it renders you unable to process emotions effectively.
To reduce brain fog, it is important for us to recognize that it is a by-product of inflammation. You can then start to make positive changes and attempt to reduce some symptoms or remove the fog all together.
Inflammation itself has a lot of potential causes. We will discuss a few of these points in detail below, but here is a brief list:
• Lack of sleep
• Excess sugar intake
• Nutrient deficiencies
How to Combat the Inflammation Behind Brain Fog?
Not getting enough and good-quality sleep can have a major effect on your ability to function the following day.
When our bodies achieve a deep restorative sleep, the microglial cells in the brain (mentioned above) function most optimally. If they are not given the time and ability to perform their important functions of cleaning out toxins that accumulate during the day, it can leave a build-up. This can lead to trouble focusing in the days to follow.
Improve your sleep hygiene:
- Room temperature: The body sleeps best when the temperature is lower at night compared to during the day.
- Blue light: Blue light is the light reflected by our electronic devices and is shown to reduce melatonin secretion (our sleep hormone) by twice as much as regular light. Use blue light blocking glasses during the day and avoid screen time at least 30-60 mins before going to bed.
- Reset Circadian Rhythm: Avoid caffeine (especially after 2 pm) and avoid naps during the day.
Gut Brain Axis
There is a major connection between the brain and gut known as the Gut-Brain-Axis and has been the topic of many recent research projects. Often what is happening in the gut reflects what is happening in the brain, and vice versa.
Over 75% of the immune system and over 70% of serotonin is produced in our gut. There are billions and billions of bacteria (microflora/microbiome) in our gut, which needs to be robust to digest and absorb nutrients that help reduce inflammation.
The greater diversity of these bacteria which will result in the ability to control inflammation and produce feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
Improve Gut-Brain Axis Health
Eat anti-inflammatory foods. Try:
- Green veggies
- Dark chocolate
Increase the diversity of food you introduce to your microbiome to ensure you absorb nutrients (fibre, pro/prebiotics) since nutrient deficiencies can also lead to brain fog. Try:
- Whole grains
- Green veggies
Stimulating the Vagus nerve. The Vagus nerve allows for the communication between the brain to the gut and has implications in heart health, brain health, digestion and more. When stimulated, inflammation in the gut and brain is decreased.
Some ways to stimulate the Vagus nerve include:
- Meditation exercises
- Turmeric: Has anti-inflammatory properties and is readily available. Its active component, curcumin, is utilized as a natural solution to many health conditions.
- Chamomile: Has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Also prepares the body for sleeping by increasing calmness and relaxation. Many utilize chamomile in tea form as a warm and tasty beverage before bed!
- Boswellia: One of the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs available, boswellia is used for on brain health and overall body inflammation. Fun fact: Our proprietary boswellia extract, K-Vie™, is the key ingredient in all our products, including Strowell Brain Health!
Strowell Brain Health is the perfect natural supplement for individuals looking to improve brain and neuronal health for everyday use. This product improves:
- Brain and vision health
- Cognitive function
- Mental fatigue
Learn more about Strowell to see if it is right for you!