Are You Suffering From Brain Fog? |

Are You Suffering From Brain Fog?

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Difficult to pin down due to its wide-reaching symptoms, brain fog can manifest as a mixture of fatigue, poor memory, confusion and lack of concentration, with some sufferers saying they feel like they’re trapped in a bubble or just can’t think straight. Whilst we all have the odd moment of forgetfulness, this is more than just a side effect of leading a busy life, not getting enough sleep or feeling generally overwhelmed. SL contributor, nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner, Jodie Brandman, is keen to address the root of the problem. Here are some of the reasons you may be experiencing brain fog, and how to overcome it….

Candida Overgrowth

Candida is a type of yeast that naturally lives in our digestive tract, however, when the gut gets out of balance (a common consequence of a diet high in gluten and sugary foods), this yeast can overgrow trigger a condition called ‘leaky gut’. Leaky gut syndrome means food particles can pass through the intestines into the blood stream, creating low- grade inflammation, leading to brain fog. Additionally, if there are pathogens such as bacteria or parasites in the gut, these can produce toxins and aldehyde, which acts like alcohol in the brain and gives the general feeling of a hangover and accompanying brain fog. Other symptoms that coincide with this are bloating, gas, indigestion, IBS, urinary tract infections, fungal nails and thrush. If any of these are present, you may want to consider a stool test to see what’s happening in the digestive tract. Ensure that you come off all processed and refined foods in the meantime so as not to feed any possible pathogens.

Adrenal Fatigue

When we’re overworked, the stress hormone cortisol increases, either over producing or eventually ceasing to work. The adrenal glands (which produce hormones) are affected by cortisol dysregulation, and when this happens, can cause fatigue and a lack of focus. Practice meditation to reduce your stress levels, and include healthy fat and protein at each meal to help your body repair. B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin C all get used up when the body is under stress so up your leafy greens and consider a supplement to help buffer the effects.

Thyroid Issues

The adrenals are closely linked to the thyroid, so when burnout occurs, the thyroid can suffer too and become slightly under active. When the thyroid gland doesn’t want to play ball, it leads to issues with concentration and memory as well as weight issues and digestive complaints. Try upping your intake of zinc, iodine and selenium, which can be found in pumpkin seeds, seafood, sea vegetables, and brazil nuts. Eliminating gluten has also been found to be highly beneficial, as there is often a link between gluten sensitivity and thyroid malfunction.

Low Nutritional Status

Iron, Vitamin D, B12, folate and omega-3 are vital nutrients for brain health and help to keep you alert and focused. A depletion in any of these can be common in vegans, those who have digestive issues, or those of us who rarely see the sun, so if this sounds like you, it’s a good idea to get your levels tested. Including some meat, oily fish and leafy greens in your diet – and getting as much sunshine as the British weather allows – is a natural way to boost these nutrients.

On a Similar Note

Heavy Metals & Toxins

There’s plenty in modern life that contributes to a high toxic load – working near busy roads, eating non-organic foods, the products we use – which can hamper bodily functions, create inflammation and lead to fatigue or difficulty concentrating. Upping your fruits and vegetables can help neutralise any damage caused by toxins, and using herbs to support the liver (try dandelion and milk thistle) can help excrete these from the body. If you’re feeling really run down and have signs of toxicity you may find a mineral analysis useful.

Food Intolerances or Allergies

Whether it’s hay fever or a mild reaction to certain foods, to combat allergies, your body produces histamine, and without effective enzymes to break it down, it can circulate and lead to a foggy brain. Take supplements like Toxaprevent to pull out histamine, DAO to break it down, or quercetin to reduce inflammation, as well as removing histamine-rich foods such as fermented foods and cured meats.

Viral Infections

Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) is one of those nasty infections that hangs around in the body pretty much forever, and pops up at a time of stress or low immunity, resulting in brain fog. De-activating the virus by using natural antimicrobial herbs such as olive leaf extract and keeping your immune system in check with vitamin C can massively reduce the effects.

Hormone Imbalances

A deficiency of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, together with an imbalance in insulin, can all create brain fog. Boost your hormone levels by reducing your sugar intake and keeping stress levels in check. You may want to also carry out a comprehensive hormone panel to assess which hormones are playing up, so you can then target them more specifically – see an expert if this is the case.


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