We baby boomers CAN stay mentally sharp
and keep our brains healthy as we grow older.

Here's how to do it.

Stop Brain Fog: Know the Causes, Symptoms and Solutions

woman sitting with head in handEveryone feels a little fuzzy-headed once in a while, but if you suffer from brain fog frequently, you certainly would like to know what is causing it, and what you can do to get your mental clarity back.

First, we’ll cover brain fog symptoms, causes, and the worst culprits you should avoid. Then we’ll discuss what steps you can take to remedy this malady.

What Is Brain Fog?

Brain fog is not a medically recognized term, but it is a commonly used phrase that sums up feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of focus and mental clarity.

Basically you feel like you just can’t think, and it can be very frustrating and even downright frightening.

Brain fog tends to come and go, and it’s not really the same thing as memory loss,  but that can certainly be one of the symptoms.

Brain Fog Causes

You can temporarily suffer with brain fog from lack of sleep, low blood sugar, seasonal allergies, food allergies, constipation, dehydration, or electrolyte imbalance following heavy exercise. Brain fog is a common symptom of menopause.

The most common allergens that can contribute to your lack of focus include soy, dairy, and any food that contains gluten, especially wheat.

Sometimes a mental fog can be a symptom of a more serious condition such as mercury poisoning, hormonal imbalance, depression, fibromyalgia, or Lyme disease.

Brain fog can also be caused by medications. Click here for list of medications that are known culprits. Chemotherapy, for example, has a well-known side effect referred to as “chemo fog” or “chemo brain”. Substance abuse of any kind can lead to being mentally unclear.

Losing mental clarity is often considered a “normal” side effect of aging, but that doesn’t mean it is an inevitable consequence of growing older.

Food Allergies and Other Diet Culprits

One major culprit of brain fog is food allergies. If you suspect you are allergic to any foods, keep a log of what you eat and how you feel afterward.

You might be surprised to see clear patterns develop rather quickly. Cut out any questionable food for at least a week and notice if you start thinking more clearly.

Removing suspected allergic foods is a good place to start. But there are many other items you want to minimize or eliminate from your diet.

There is no place for chemical sweeteners or the flavor enhancer MSG in your diet if you have brain fog. You should also minimize sugar and simple carbohydrates which will cause swings in blood sugar that will make you feel like you can’t think.

Feed Your Head

You need to nourish your brain with the oxygen, glucose, and nutrients it needs to function optimally.

Exercise

woman jumping ropeOne of the first steps you should take is to get plenty of exercise.

Physical exercise increases endorphins and delivers more glucose and oxygen to the brain. Recent research shows that physical exercise may be one of the most important things you can do for your brain health, if not the most important thing you can do!

Exercising your brain by learning something new or engaging in creative pastimes can also help lift the fog. Mental exercise actually changes the structure of your brain by creating more neurons. 

Brain-Healthy Diet

Don’t short your brain! Too many people worry more about weight reduction than brain health and cut out one or more of the major food groups.

Your brain needs all three macronutrient groups:  proteins for neurotransmitter production, complex carbohydrates for steady brain glucose levels, and good fats to meet your brain’s essential fatty acid needs.

Get off the roller coaster of using caffeine, sugar, and alcohol to alter your states of mind to get through your day.

Brain Supplements

You may feel you are already doing what you can — you eat well, exercise, and enjoy a good mental challenge, but still feel like you aren’t mentally operating at your best. The next step would be to consider taking nutrients that are proven beneficial for brain function.

Brain supplements you should consider include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids — found in high concentrations in the brain, crucial to memory and overall brain health and function, and widely lacking in our diet.
  • Vitamin D and B12 — both vitamins are essential to brain health and deficiencies are common.
  • Antioxidant formula — prevents free radical damage to which brain cells are particularly susceptible.
  • A high-quality multivitamin — fill in nutritional gaps and act as nutritional insurance when you don’t eat as well as you should

Quack Alert

duck signIn researching brain fog treatments, I came across more crazy ideas on treating this condition than just about any other topic I’ve ever researched! I consider myself very open-minded about alternative healing, but these set off my quack-o-meter!

Here are some of the weirdest brain fog treatments (along with my completely unprofessional responses):

  • Drinking borax and water. (Borax is considered “non-acutely toxic”. Well, as long as it’s not acutely toxic …) :roll:
  • Inhaling hydrogen peroxide. (Ouch. Just thinking about this hurts my nose.)
  • Swishing olive oil in your mouth for 15 minutes. (I bet that’s a long 15 minutes.)

When to See Your Doctor

Finding the exact culprits causing your foggy thinking can be challenging, especially since there can be several factors that are simultaneously contributing to it. If lifestyle changes haven’t helped, a trip to the doctor might be in order.

  • If you have a known medical condition, or suspect you might have one, you need to rule out that your brain fog is a symptom of a serious medical condition. 
  • If you are on any prescription medications, discuss whether your brain fog could be a side effect of them. Cholesterol-lowering drugs are notorious for causing mental confusion, and these drugs’ labels are now required to list memory loss as a known side effect. Taking more than one medication increases the chance of negative side effects greatly.
  • If you suspect you have food allergies but haven’t been able to pinpoint them on your own, talk to your doctor about getting tested for food allergies. Sometimes removing one offending food item can make all the difference.

SOURCE:
It’s Not Dementia, It’s Your Heart Medication: Cholesterol Drugs and Memory at ScientificAmerican.com

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We baby boomers CAN stay mentally sharp
and keep our brains healthy as we grow older.

Here's how to do it.

8 Responses to “Stop Brain Fog: Know the Causes, Symptoms and Solutions”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Sophia says:

    So I’m a sophomore and I started to feel that my brain has started feeling fuzzy in the end of eighth grade. I was on this diet where I only ate salad and eventually stopped eating for days at times. I barely drank water. One day, I was about to take a shower in the morning when all of a sudden my eyes starting going all black and my head was spinning and I felt like I was going to go blind. I started screaming and my aunt quickly fed me cereal. Then over the summer I started to feel faint again. My eyes became like they did before and my stomach hurt and my head kept spinning but I never went to the doctor in the end. My parents started to make me eat but while all this was going on I was taking a summer course, Geometry. Every day I would go to class and come home and study geometry every day and night. I had to pass the class with an 85 or higher and I was doing so badly. I get so many D’s and C’s that I didn’t know what to do. I was in all advanced classes in middle school and used to getting not only A’s but A+ as well. So I was under so much stress. Then I started high school. Freshman year I started to feel like my brain was kind of fuzzy and I couldn’t really understand things. I felt like it had something to do with the fact that I was wearing contacts every day because my eyes were also kind of hazy. Then I started sophomore year. In the beginning I wasn’t so out of it but now it’s like I can’t think straight my brain is always fuzzy. Whenever my teachers give lectures I try so hard to concentrate but I can’t. I only see their mouth moving and their words don’t register in my brain. Whenever I try and focus my brain wanders off and starts to imagine different realities for me. A reality where I’m smart and perfect and I don’t know how to stop these imaginations. I have been getting such bad grades and my parents are so upset. I feel so dumb and feel like I’m floating. Sometimes I think I’m dead and sometimes I think that I just woke from a coma and I’m living life again. When I look in the mirror I can’t register myself it’s as if my body and my brain are two different things. I don’t remember anything I always forget everything. Just yesterday I forgot my friend’s names. I keep trying to tell my parents but they don’t listen. They tell me that it’s because I don’t work hard and up to my potential. And I used to believe them. But now, I know for certain something is wrong with me. I can’t understand words or concepts and always forget everything and that really sucks when I take tests. I just don’t know what to do and I know that it is somehow linked to this disease. Please give me advice!

    • Deane Alban says:

      Hi Sophia, First of all, you need to eat. You can’t nourish your brain living on salad. Low blood sugar can lead to many of the symptoms you describe. And simply being dehydrated can affect your brain greatly so drink plenty of water. If you had a pet you loved you wouldn’t withhold food and water so don’t do it to yourself! Sit your parents down and tell them you need to get an appointment with a doctor. You say they won’t listen – then talk to your school guidance counselor, nurse, or trusted teacher. Can you set up a doctor’s appointment on your own if you can’t find an adult to help you? Your symptoms could be caused by anxiety or an underlying health condition, but you need to know for sure. You sound very anxious – have you tried meditating? Go to our Free Stuff page and you’ll find some free MP3 meditations you can download. Use these at least once a day (or any time you’re feeling particularly stressed out). Meditation can’t hurt and can only help.

      To summarize – eat, drink water, get a doctor’s appointment, and practice relaxing.

  2. Suresh Nambiar says:

    Hi,

    It gave a lot of happiness and relief. Meanwhile I would to know what should I do in future? I have symptom of Brain fog..Unfortunately I started to take the cholostrol lowering medicine.Because I have a block in my nerve which goes to brain. To avoid further block I should continue the tablet.
    Can you please guide me how can I escape from the desease of Brain fog…

    Many thanks for your support.
    thanks & Best regards,
    Suresh

    • Deane Alban says:

      Hi Suresh, Cholesterol lowering drugs are known for causing memory loss and brain fog. If you feel that this is the root cause of your problem, talk to your doctor. See if he can change or reduce your medication. Meanwhile you need to be extra vigilent about doing everything else you can to keep your brain fit and healthy. You can read about our story with mental decline and sign up for our daily emails here.

  3. kathleen bantigue says:

    Well,I’m in the state of changing my lifestyle. Thats the best thing I can do with my condition right now.In the past I’ve always stay up late surfing the internet and have develop an addiction in computer. But I have overcome that :) . The fact that I’m not a physically fit person maybe the cause of my problem. Also,I always skip my breakfast. I’m in a lot of stress now because of my transition in college. I realized that I lack those basic skills I needed in college.It just frustrates me.I can score high in a test but when it’s come to the real thing I’m bad at it. I consider my self as slow because it’s really hard for me to think fast. In order to get good grades, I study harder.

    Actually,I’m not living away from home but I have gone through a lot in my senior years because of family problems.By the way,thanks for responding I thought no one could understand what I’m going through right now. :)

    • Deane Alban says:

      Hi Kathleen, Many young adults have bad lifestyle habits (myself included when I was in college!) You are a step ahead. You are smart enough to recognize which habits are affecting you, which is the first step in changing them. You’ve mentioned a few changes you know you should make – exercise (walking is one of the best!), eating breakfast, minimizing late night surfing, etc. But change is hard!
      Many people find that starting with small boring goals, “baby steps”, increases their chance for success. There will be many days you won’t walk at all if 5 miles is your goal. But if you make walking around the block your goal, you can certainly accomplish that! I think you’ll like the tips for making change easy here. There’s one easy tip Jerry Seinfeld used to get to the top that is amazingly simple but it really works!

  4. kathleen bantigue says:

    good day, ma’am deane. I am writing to you because I have read your article about brain fog. I’m pretty sure that I’m experiencing this right now.I’m bothered because i’m only 16 years old and currently a college freshmen.This is my problem since my senior high school days.All I wanted is to cure this. Its really hard for me right now cause its interfering with my daily life and even my studies.Hope you could give me some advice. Also, Thanks cause your article will be a good help for me.

    • Deane Alban says:

      Hi Kathleen, Starting college is a very exciting time but it can also be very stressful! Please stop by our “Free Stuff” page where you can download free MP3 meditation files to try out. Meditation is one of the best habits you can start to reduce stress now and going forward.
      I don’t know if you are living away from home, but are you eating differently? If you are eating new foods you may be allergic. If you are eating more “junk food”, that could be the problem, too.
      Also are you staying up late studying and not getting enough sleep? That’s another likely culprit. You can find more info on how to get to sleep here.
      I hope these give you a few places to start.
      I wish you the best in school. Please get back and let me know how you are doing. – Deane

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