7 Common Causes of Brain Fog
By Sarah Axtell, ND • July 12, 2018
Do you have difficult focusing? Struggle with poor mental clarity? Worried about your memory or recall? You are likely dealing with brain fog. Brain fog is a sign that something is out of balance. Here are common causes of this all-too-common condition.
1. Blood sugar imbalance– Blood sugar surges are a common cause of brain fog. Elevated blood sugar can lead to a depletion of serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This depletion of neurotransmitters leads to stress on the nervous system causing neurodegeneration and depression. Balance blood sugar with protein and fat at every meal and snack. Pair fruit, for example, with nuts or nut butter (ie. apple and almond butter). Add chicken or fish and avocado to salads. Add protein powder to smoothies. Snack on hard-boiled eggs. Aim for approximately 80 grams protein per day.
2. Hormone imbalance- Estrogen dominance/low progesterone is the most common hormone imbalance that can lead to “fuzzy-thinking.” The best way to assess your sex hormones is through a saliva test.
3. Lyme disease- This tick-borne condition can lead to brain fog in a chronic state. If you feel confused, suffer from chronic fatigue and joint pain, and you live in an endemic area (Wisconsin!), get tested for Lyme.
4. Adrenal Dysfunction- Both mental fatigue and physical exhaustion are hallmarks of adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can be assessed through a saliva test.
5. Nutritional Deficiencies- The most common nutritional deficiencies that can lead to brain fog are B12, zinc, iron and vitamin D. Nutritional deficiencies can be due to an inadequate diet and /or poor absorption due to celiac disease, SIBO, parasites, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s/Colitis).
6. Hypothyroidism- Weight loss resistance, brain fog, cold intolerance, fatigue, hair loss, depression/anxiety and joint pain are hallmark symptoms of hypothyroidism. This condition is all too common and often missed as many doctors just check the screening lab, TSH. But to truly rule out hypothyroidism, further markers need to be assessed in addition to TSH, such as Free T3, Free T4 and Thyroid Antibodies.
7. Gluten- Neurological manifestations most often present in the absence of any report of gastrointestinal symptoms with gluten sensitivity. Many people with celiac disease report cognitive impairment that can encompass disorientation, problems with staying focused and paying attention, and lapses in short-term memory. Commonly the fog lifts with a gluten-free diet.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.