6 Ways To Beat Brain Fog
6 Ways To Beat Brain Fog

6 Ways To Beat Brain Fog

Most of us have moments, or even days, when it feels like our brain is a bit of a mess. Whether this is down to age, modern life or something else, there are some ways to feel more on top of things – here’s what a couple of experts recommend…
By Georgia Day

What is brain fog?

For most of us, brain fog manifests as feelings of forgetfulness, fatigue and an inability to focus on the task at hand. Although it’s not usually sinister and simply the result of an accumulation of lifestyle factors, it’s important to rule out any potential medical conditions. “It’s important to know that this is not a medical condition, but a symptom that the body can express, giving us a clue something bigger could be going on,” says Hannah Alderson, registered nutritionist and hormone specialist. “Hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and coeliac disease are just a few.”

Check your hormones

The myriad hormonal changes women go through can explain many conditions and brain fog is no exception. Low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can drive symptoms of fuzziness and fatigue, which can be a typical expression of PCOS, according to Hannah. “There’s a drop of sex hormones during the perimenopause and menopause, and these dropping levels can also interplay with your brain function, driving a feeling of brain fog and sense that you can’t think clearly.”

Look at your blood sugar balance 

Just as our muscles need glucose for energy, our brains need glucose for fuel. When blood sugar is low, it can lead to memory problems and make it harder to concentrate. “When the body doesn’t receive enough glucose for energy, brain cells can’t function properly,” adds Hannah. “It can also be a tell-tale sign of nutrient deficiencies.”

Supplement your nutrient intake

You might have heard about the benefits of magnesium for soothing sore muscles and supporting symptoms of stress and sleep, but magnesium is also responsible for maintaining brain health by balancing nerve signal transmission and preserving the integrity of the blood–brain barrier which supplies brain tissues with nutrients.

When it comes to other essential brain vitamins, B12 is high on the list. “Every time that you have a thought, B12 is one of the cofactors that needs to be present as it helps maintain your nerves’ myelin sheath,” explains Hannah. “Inadequate B12 has been shown to present as weakness, fatigue and issues with memory.” If you’re a vegan, taking a good quality B12 supplement is essential as dietary B12 is only found in animal sources.

Omega-3 fatty acids are nutritional powerhouses for many reasons but they’re a good resource if you find yourself constantly feeling fuzzy. As well as reducing inflammation, omega-3s naturally boost serotonin levels and contribute to proper cognitive function by increasing learning, memory and blood flow in the brain.

Finally, if you’re a fan of green tea, there’s good news as it boasts the highest amount of the amino acid L-theanine. “It’s a fabulous compound which is a potent promoter of alertness, memory and reaction time,” agrees Hannah. “All while also giving you a little dose of calm too. Three cups of green tea a day is ideal or using green tea matcha powder in your morning smoothie could give your cognitive health a lovely boost at breakfast.”

It’s important to know that BRAIN FOG IS NOT A MEDICAL CONDITION, but a Symptom That The Body Can Express, giving us a clue something bigger could be going on.

Mega mushrooms

Adaptogens – plants that naturally help your body respond to stress, anxiety and fatigue, and promote better overall wellbeing – are a great option if you’re experiencing brain fog. “Adaptogens modulate stress hormone production and regulate the HPA axis, which is crucial for maintaining homeostasis,” explains mycologist David Wrench, who works with adaptogenic mushroom wellbeing brand Mycologic. “By doing so, they alleviate the impact of chronic stress, a common contributor to brain fog. Studies suggest that adaptogens, including lion’s mane mushroom and ashwagandha, may exert neuroprotective effects by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.”

Slow down… and brush!

Daily morning meditation can be a highly effective way to set the tone for a clear-headed day ahead as regular practice ignites your frontal lobes, a part of the brain involved in motor function, problem solving, memory and language. Once you’ve done your morning meditation, next up is brushing your teeth… and your tongue. One recent study suggested that stimulating your tongue can increase blood flow to the brain. It’s a long held viewpoint in Ayurvedic medicine that the tongue has strong links to various inner organs, and that tongue scraping can indirectly help balance the body and increase energy flow.

Take the plunge

While advocates of cold-water therapy would have you believe there’s not much a freezing dip won’t cure, there is some scientific evidence to show that cold-water immersion can help cognitive function. “One study used a 20°C five-minute, whole-body bath,” says Hannah. “Findings showed that participants felt more active, alert, attentive, proud and inspired, and less distressed and nervous after having a cold-water bath. The changes in positive emotions were associated with the coupling between brain areas involved in attention control, emotion and self-regulation.” If time or preference doesn’t allow for a full body dip, take comfort in the fact that even dunking your wrists in a basin of cold water can help beat off the afternoon office slump. By stimulating your sympathetic nervous system, the shock of the cold causes your heart rate to increase, adrenaline to pump and you to become more alert.

Read More From Georgia Day

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