Brain fog can show up in many different ways. Mostly it feels like your head is caught in a dense fog, where you feel hazy and struggle to think clearly. You may feel like you are struggling to concentrate on work tasks, conversations or even making simple decisions. This may result in feeling like you need more coffee to focus, more snacks to stay awake or even more alcohol at night for a temporary relief of that heavy feeling. In severe cases, it can even affect your vision, cause headaches and nausea.
Brain health is not only critical to mental capacity, but it is also essential for our emotional wellbeing. Sometimes, relieving brain fog is a matter of correcting a nutritional deficiency, switching medications, or improving the quality of your sleep.
Here are some of the most common causes for Brain Fog:
Hormonal Imbalance – A common cause of brain fog is when your body is producing too much or too little of a specific hormone. Thyroid hormone imbalances are frequently linked to brain fog. Low thyroid hormone can lead to decreased cognitive function and a blood sugar imbalance that contributes to low levels of glucose that lead to brain fog.
Lack of Sleep – Poor sleep quality can also interfere with how well your brain functions. Aim for 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Stress or Depression – Chronic stress can increase blood pressure, weaken the immune system, and trigger depression. It can also cause mental fatigue. When your brain is exhausted, it becomes harder to think, reason, and focus. Try to manage stress by knowing your limitations and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine
Vitamin Deficiencies – Vitamin B12 contributes to the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of your central nervous system. This is why a deficiency in B12 is sure to impair your energy levels and contribute to an overall feeling of fatigue. A vitamin D deficiency can also be behind brain fog as decreased vitamin D levels are associated with impaired cognitive function.
Food sensitivities – Gluten intolerance can lead to cognitive dysfunction via inflammatory pathways. Advanced blood work that looks at your nutrient levels as well as an elimination diet or food allergy or sensitivity testing can determine if any of these could be contributing to your brain fog. A high sugar consumption can also lead to brain fog.
Dehydration – Water is essential for supplying the brain with nutrients and removing toxins. The brain is approximately 75% water. The exchange of toxins and nutrients are more efficient when the brain is hydrated. This ensures mental alertness and improved concentration.
Some other ways in which you might be able to relieve brain fog is:
- Strengthening your brain power (try volunteering or solving brain puzzles)
- Finding activities that you enjoy.
- Increase your intake of protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats
- Drink plenty of water