Has this ever happened to you?
You know you have mountains of work to do, but you simply cannot focus on your tasks. Or, you’re in the middle of a conversation and you find it difficult to put your thoughts into sentences.
Don’t worry. Feeling a little confused or dazed doesn’t mean you’re experiencing early signs of dementia. It could also be a result of our fast-paced lives, too.
Lots of work, the continuous exposure to stress, the lack of quality sleep, and a poor work-life balance are just some of the problems that may trigger brain fogginess.
Even though it doesn’t seem so drastic, if not treated adequately, brain fog can hurt the overall quality of your life on multiple levels. This is something we’ve already discussed in one of our previous articles. Just imagine what would happen if you forgot to send a crucial file to one of your major clients, turn the oven off, prepare a lunch box for your kid, or wish your best friend a happy birthday.
In other words, you shouldn’t ignore those symptoms.
That’s why we’ve created this list of powerful brain supplements that will keep you from getting lost in the thickness of brain fog.
What are the symptoms of brain fog?
Brain fog is not a disease and it shouldn’t be treated like one. It consists of numerous symptoms your brain uses to tell you that something is wrong with either your metabolism or everyday habits. This is exactly why researchers define it as: “an interaction of physiological, cognitive, and perceptual factors.”
When not addressed properly, any of those symptoms can intensify, triggering or worsening other mental conditions.
Here is a list of the most common symptoms that are used to define brain fog:
- problems putting your thoughts into logical sentences
- a chaotic train of thought
- a drop in mental clarity and brain fatigue
- difficulty retrieving memories
- impaired decision-making, attention span and rationalization
- a decline in learning processes, critical thinking skills, fogginess and forgetfulness
- the lack of concentration and trouble focusing on complex tasks
- a decline in work performance and productivity
- difficulty sleeping through the night
- increased anxiety, depression, hopelessness, mental confusion, or lethargy levels
- continuous headaches
- poor social skills
The major causes of brain fog
As you can imagine, mental fogginess is a result of a wide range of factors, from poor habits to numerous health issues.
Anyhow, if you have experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should first identify their sources.
Here are the most common brain fog causes you need to be familiar with.
1. The lack of quality sleep
Studies point out that 50 million Americans experience more than 80 different sleep disorders, while up to 30 million have notable sleep problems. Australian statistics prove the same. According to the 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults Executive Summary, inadequate sleep affects over 33-45% of adults.
Sleep is vital to the way your brain functions. While we’re sleeping, everything we learn gets consolidated so we can remember it. Most importantly, sleep deprivation disrupts the communication between the brain and its cells, as well as the creation of new cells.
This is why adults should sleep between 7 and 9 hours, while children and teenagers usually need to sleep even longer.
Losing just one night of sleep affects your memory, morale, critical thinking, and responsiveness. Researchers even claim that poor sleep can impact your mental performance as much as being legally drunk.
2. Chronic stress
How many times have you heard someone saying: “I work better under pressure.” Being stressed has become synonymous with being productive. Unfortunately, this is not always so.
Stress increases anxiety, depression brain fog, insomnia and memory loss. It impacts your decision making and reduces your capabilities of focusing on cognitively challenging tasks. It prevents the onset of new brain cells and releases too much cortisol (stress hormone), damaging brain cell membranes.
Mediation or mind-body relaxation can help you reduce the stress levels. And should you notice that brain fog keeps intensifying, then see what some other causes of your mental fogginess could be.
3. The lack of physical activity
Working out boosts the levels of endorphin and supplies your brain with the optimal levels of glucose and oxygen. Most importantly, it minimizes cortisol and improves the creation of new brain cells. In other words, physical activity has an integral role in improving your brain functions.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to work out strenuously. Any form of physical activity, from running and walking, to standing while working not only boosts your cognitive abilities, but also improves your overall health.
4. The exposure to toxins
Reports show that indoor air pollution can be about 10 times worse than the outdoor one. When combined, the sea of untested cleaning chemicals, air fresheners, pet dander, pollen, cigarette smoke, mould and mildew get trapped inside every home. This highly toxic chemical stew can cause a wide array of diseases, and brain fog is just one of them. There is even the evidence that polluted air can cause Alzheimer’s.
Luckily, this is something you can control.
- Start using natural cleaning products.
- Reduce the use of air fresheners.
- Don’t smoke inside.
- Use air filters in your bedroom to minimize the exposure to toxins.
5. Unhealthy diet
Have you ever experienced brain fog after eating certain foods? An unhealthy diet can cause mood swings, memory problems and the lack of mental clarity.
We live in a fast-paced world, forgetting how important eating healthy is. Fast food and lots of sugars have already become key elements of our nutrition, while foods rich with vitamins are slowly dropping on our list of priorities.
Here are a few ingredients that may be behind your brain fog problems.
- Refined carbohydrates like sugar put your brain on a roller coaster ride. When you eat a chocolate bar, your blood sugar level first skyrockets and then drops fast. And, as glucose is its main source of energy, its low levels can trigger a wide range of problems, from constantly tired brain and mood swings to mental confusion.
- Low-fat nutrients. Human brain is nearly 60% fat. Fat is an essential fatty acid that powers the brain and determines its ability to work well. When brain lacks the optimal level of dietary fat, it will start digesting itself to get the nutrients it needs.
- Allergy–causing nutrients like dairy, eggs, peanuts, corn, wheat, soy, or tree nuts can be a source of brain fog, too. So, if you react adversely to any of these foods, remove them from your diet for a few weeks and see how you feel.
- Food additives are found in almost all processed foods. Probably the most common one is monosodium glutamate, added to salty snacks and canned soups. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose also consist of numerous potentially brain-damaging chemicals that may cause headaches, migraines, anxiety, dizziness and depression.
- This piece of advice is kind of common sense and yet, studies show that 75% of U.S. citizens are chronically dehydrated. Since your brain is 73% water, it will suffer. Dehydration shrinks your attention span and hurts your cognitive skills, causing memory issues that resemble the symptoms of dementia.
6. Nutritional deficiencies
Sometimes, you will need to boost your meals with the right brain supplements. Nutritional deficiency is the cause of numerous health problems and it may affect mental clarity in numerous ways. For example, vitamin B12 deficiency causes poor memory and a constant state of brain fogginess, leading to a wide spectrum of different psychological and neurological issues. Vitamin D deficiency, on the other hand, may affect your mood and memory.
7. Health problems
Apart from those lifestyle-related causes we mentioned above, brain fog can also be a side effect of numerous underlying diseases you need to identify and treat on time.
For example, chemo fog appears as a result of chemotherapy. In this case, brain fog is linked to the combination of this aggressive disease, chemo treatments, hormonal imbalance and stress. There are also brain fog thyroid disorders caused by hypothyroid or hyperthyroid conditions.
Here is a brief list of some additional health conditions that may cause brain fog:
- Brain injuries
- Chronic pain
- Candida albicans
- Hepatitis C
- Hormonal imbalances
- Seasonal allergies
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lyme disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Treating Brain Fog with Brain Health Supplements
If you think there is one magic pill you can take and get rid of brain fog for good, you’re wrong.
It simply doesn’t work that way.
You first need to identify brain fog symptoms and see what is causing them. Based on what you find out, you need to choose those brain fog supplements and vitamins that will really work for you. It doesn’t matter if they are in a form of powder, a liquid extract, or a capsule, cognitive enhancers have a wide spectrum of uses.
For example, gluten brain fog cannot be treated in the same way as those memory and cognitive problems caused by unhealthy nutrition or the lack of sleep. Each of these causes can be cured successfully, but with a different group of brain fog vitamins.
To help you make the right choice, we’ve made this list of best supplements for brain fog.
Curcumin is an active ingredient of turmeric. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is one of nature’s most significant remedies for preventing and curing brain inflammation. Research shows that this ingredient prevents cognitive decline in healthy adults and treats depression and anxiety. It also reduces the risk of diabetes, which is also one of the major causes of brain fog.
Known under a wide range of names, such as golden root or Arctic root, this plant is actually one of the most powerful supplements for brain fog. According to a recent study, it has adaptogenic characteristics, meaning that it is able to minimize fatigue and exhaustion in highly stressful situations. Rhodiola rosea plays an important role in boosting cognition, improving subjective well-being and curing depression. It also has a minor impact on reducing stress levels and enhancing processing accuracy.
Vitamin B12, also called Cobalamin, is one of the most important substances in neurology. Its deficit can result in mental fogginess, fatigue, and even depression. Also, those who take It regularly will not only improve their mental clarity, but also experience less brain shrinkage as they get older.
Bacopa monnieri is one of the most famous nootropic supplements, used in traditional medicine to improve cognition. Optimizing neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin, this supplement impacts the delayed word recall and minimizes forgetting new information. It also has a minor effect on the reduction of anxiety, depression and acute forgetting.
Phosphatidylserine is the derivative compound of amino acid, found in large amounts in our brains. Its main purpose is to boost our cognitive functions. Even though our body creates it on its own, it can also be found in a form of supplements for brain fog and fatigue. For now, researches shows that this substance can improve working memory, cognition, attention, processing speed and accuracy, as well as reduce fatigue, stress and forgetfulness.
Alpha- glycerophosphocholine, or simply Alpha-GPC is a choline-based supplement, used for memory enhancement. Known for boosting dopamine, serotonin and GABA, this substance is extremely important for improving memory retention, as well as the overall brain function and mental clarity.
Huperzine- A is a compound extracted from the plants that belong to the Huperziceae family. Similar to Alpha GPC, it is famous for increasing acetylcholine, a learning neurotransmitter, present in the brain. This is why it is considered one of the best nootropics for treating lethargy, tiredness and depression, and is even in the preliminary trials for use in treating Alzheimer’s.
How many times have you heard yourself saying: “I’m so tired. I’m going to need another cup of coffee.” Well, it’s not that surprising, given that caffeine’s stimulatory characteristics. The reason why it is considered a cognitive enhancer is the fact that it boosts alertness and wakefulness. It also has a minor effect on blood flow, oxygen uptake and subjective well-being, thus preventing brain fog from emerging. Still, if you believe that the exposure to stress is what causes your brain fog, then it is best to avoid caffeine, as it is can boost anxiety levels.
Acetyl-l-carnitine is an amino acid and is among top nootropics. It is defined as one of the most effective brain boosters, minimizing chronic fatigue and improving mental clarity and focus. It reduces depression, improves cognition, optimizes blood flow and improves sleep cycle. All of which are potential causes of brain fog.
If you had to name just one nootropic you’ve heard of, it would probably be Ginkgo.
Ginkgo biloba is definitely among the most popular brain supplements out there, with an incredibly wide array of uses. Although it doesn’t have a significant impact on preventing memory-related problems, it can be effective in treating cognitive decline, especially in those patients that are already experiencing brain fog or early signs of dementia.
Getting Rid of Brain Fog for Good
It’s important to understand that brain fog is not a disease. It is a shared name for all symptoms used to indicate a certain lifestyle-related, or health problems. Precisely because of this, it is paramount that you don’t ignore its early signs.
If you’ve noticed any of the above mentioned symptoms, it’s time you changed your lifestyle.
- Get some quality sleep.
- Avoid stressful situations and try to relax.
- Prepare healthy, perfectly balanced meals.
- Take the right vitamins & supplements for brain fog.
- Make sure you’re active throughout the day.
- Remove all toxic chemicals from your home and start using organic ones.
If this doesn’t help, this is a clear indicator that fogginess may be caused by a more serious health condition. A simple blood analysis will help your doctor identify the major causes of your memory-related problems and prescribe you the best nootropic.
Above all, stay calm. Even the most powerful brain pill cannot cure mental fogginess overnight. Still, when combined with healthy habits, it will bring incredible results in the long-run.