Have you ever experienced mental sluggishness, as though doing any cognitive job required a lot of extra mental energy? Have you ever had trouble recalling the information you already know, struggled to focus, or seen your mental concentration shifting from one thing to another? The condition is known as “brain fog”, and you may be having the condition if you feel less clear-headed than usual and cannot identify the likely cause. In this case, poor metabolic health may be a contributing factor.
If you are metabolically healthy, you avoid being a victim of severe medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart diseases, kidney diseases, liver diseases, etc. Therefore, you must take the initiative to improve your metabolic health. One of the best methods is to use the HealthifyPro 2.0 package provided by India’s leading digital health platform, HealthifyMe. It is a comprehensive approach that studies your markers through a metabolic panel test. Eighty-plus parameters determine your metabolic health. Once you know how healthy you are metabolically, you systematically improve your metabolic health by monitoring your blood glucose levels with the inclusion of the right food and lifestyle changes. A CGM device and consultation with coaches help you alter and make necessary lifestyle changes that improve your metabolic health.
Brain Fog: An Overview
Many claim they have difficulty focusing or concentrating, recalling words, or talking and paying attention in meetings. Brain fog is the inability to remember things, helplessness when trying to recall information, difficulty picking up new concepts, and ultimately feeling as if your brain is failing you.
Brain fog symptoms can result from nervousness, depression, concerns about a specific situation, disorders or other issues. It can be difficult for some people to function while suffering from brain fog. Lifestyle choices, emotional health, and physiological functions can all impact these.
A continuous supply of glucose and oxygen to neurons and astrocytes is essential for brain metabolism. Glucose gets partially converted to lactate in astrocytes, then released into the extracellular space and taken up by neurons. Pyruvate, formed from glucose and lactate, is used oxidatively in neurons. Glucose is essential for the daily function of your brain and has long-term effects on cognitive health. Thus, brain fog is the result of poor metabolic health. Therefore, continuous glucose monitoring through a device like BIOS helps you improve how your brain functions.
Excessive glucose production impairs memory, concentration abilities, word recall and brain functions. Adopting a balanced diet and including foods for stable blood sugar levels eases brain fog by improving the flexibility of the metabolism. In addition, discussing the symptoms and issues with a health expert from the team of HealthifyMe will assist in determining the reason for such signs. They will also provide you with suitable remedies to help improve your condition.
The HealthifyMe Note
Brain fog is the uncomfortable feeling of being zoned out. It can make it challenging for some to focus on tasks, remember things, or pay attention. Some health conditions and issues may cause persistent and chronic brain fog. Poor metabolic health is directly associated with brain fog.
Symptoms of Brain Fog
Brain fog is a symptom, not a medical condition. As a result, no particular brain fog test or diagnosis exists. The reactions and experiences may differ in every individual. Listed below are the symptoms of brain fog.
- Feeling puzzled
- Requiring more time to execute simple activities and think more slowly than normal
- Being prone to distraction
- Having issues structuring your thoughts or your actions
- Forgetfulness, including losing track of daily responsibilities or ideas,
- Trouble finding the right words
- Sleep issues, insomnia
- Lack of strength or fatigue
- Impaired mental capacity
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of inspiration and motivation
- Depression without cause
Contributing Causes of Brain Fog
According to a study, poor sleep might affect how well your brain functions. Sleep is essential for both short-term and long-term brain function. The cerebral fluid that rushes during sleep “power washes” your brain, cleaning it of impurities. Your memory, concentration, coordination, mood, judgement, and capacity to handle stress the next day can all get negatively impacted by poor sleep. Therefore, sleeping for 8 to 9 hours every night is essential.
Glucose is the chief source of energy. It is required for proper brain function by the body. Although refined carbohydrates like sugar and high fructose corn syrup are used as fuel by your brain, they are not a suitable energy source. It tends to boost glucose levels initially in the brain, followed by a significant drop. Such a condition causes mental haze, mood fluctuations, irritation, fatigue, mental disorientation, and poor judgement.
Fats are an excellent source of fuel. Our brain is comprised of 70% fat. The brain uses fat to produce the raw materials required to make vital brain chemicals. Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain functioning else the brain practically consumes itself when there is a lack of good fat in the diet.
The brain needs a variety of nutrients and vitamins to function correctly. A lack of specific micronutrients can reduce brain function and cause brain fog.
Lack of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is crucial for DNA synthesis, red blood cell production and the functioning of the central nervous system. Also, this vitamin plays a vital role in proper brain function. A lack can lead to poor memory or thinking capacity leading to brain fog. In addition, studies suggest vitamin B12 supplementation reduces anxiety, depressive symptoms, and fatigue.
Iron deficiency is usually linked to oxidative stress and neurodegenerative illnesses. It is also frequently characterised by brain fog and poor cognitive performance. One of the early signs of iron insufficiency is brain fog. Sufficient intake of iron is necessary to curb the adverse effects of brain fog.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are no secret. It aids in reducing inflammation, promotes heart health, and boosts mental health. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and decrease the risk of brain fog. For example, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a crucial role in improved brain functioning.
According to studies, prolonged stress can impair the immune system, raise blood pressure, and cause melancholy, anxiety, poor judgement, insomnia, memory loss, and brain fog. In addition, when you are stressed, the hormone cortisol gets released. However, too much stress hormone can harm brain cell membranes by producing too many free radicals, which are oxygen molecules that are not bound to any other molecules. Damage to the membranes of brain cells results in their death and loss of function.
Exercise boosts endorphin production while increasing blood flow to the brain and its supply of glucose and oxygen. Additionally, it promotes the growth of new brain cells and burns off cortisol, the stress hormone. Therefore, there may be a significant increase in brain fog symptoms when an individual does not engage in adequate physical activity.
Hormonal changes can also bring on brain fog. Progesterone and oestrogen concentrations rise throughout pregnancy. Short-term cognitive impairment and memory loss are possible effects of this alteration. According to research, a decline in oestrogen levels during menopause may also cause memory loss, lack of focus, and foggy thinking.
Research suggests that one side effect of specific drugs may be brain fog. If your symptoms are present for a prolonged period of time, consult your medical practitioner and try reducing your dosage or switching to a different medication. Following cancer therapy, a person may also notice brain fog symptoms. Chemo brain refers to chemotherapy’s cognitive, memory, and attentional abnormalities.
One can face mental exhaustion from inflammatory, fatigue-related, or blood glucose-related illnesses. According to a study, chronic fatigue syndrome, which gets characterised by long-term, persistent exhaustion, can create brain fog as one of its symptoms. Other disorders that may result in brain fog include:
- Alzheimer’s condition
- Autoimmune conditions include multiple sclerosis, lupus, and arthritis
- Viral illnesses, such as covid-19
Age is a significant factor in the development of brain fog. Individuals gradually slow down in physical activities as they age and suffer from various medical issues. Age is an essential factor that reduces muscle mass and impairs metabolism. People may experience brain fog symptoms due to improper metabolism related to old age.
Metabolic Health and Brain Fog: The Connection
Brain fog can also be due to poor metabolic health. The daily function of your brain depends heavily on glucose, which also has long-term impacts on your cognitive health. Also, your brain needs glucose to function correctly. The brain uses about 20% of the body’s glucose to fuel its high-energy functions, which include thinking and controlling every bodily function.
The glucose transporter built into the blood-brain barrier, which regulates the flow of nutrients into and out of the brain, allows it to continuously take in glucose even when blood glucose levels are low. Food consumption is the brain’s primary energy source because it cannot generate or store energy like other organs like the liver or muscles. Therefore, a lack of adequate food intake leads to brain fog. Although blood glucose is necessary for proper brain function, having too much of it might be harmful.
Research has shown that brain cells’ capacity to absorb glucose gets diminished in the presence of laboratory-induced hyperglycemia. High blood glucose levels cause glucose transporters’ efficiency to decline, which reduces absorption. Such a situation can have acute and long-term impacts, such as decreased brain energy generation, which causes brain fog, and an increase in oxidative stress, which can cause cell damage or cell death and eventually lead to cognitive impairment.
Glucose can impact crucial structural components of the brain. For example, when it’s affected by too much sugar, it may experience mental disorientation, poor emotional regulation, and brain fog. Another potential factor is inflammation. It can damage blood arteries to essential organs and cause a toxic effect on the brain by clumping proteins. As a result, you will have reduced blood flow to the brain which may destroy nerve cells, raise the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and cause brain fog.
Guide to Avoid Brain Fog
- Eat and Drink Well
Eating nutrient-dense foods with suitable amounts of good carbohydrates and fats is essential. A quick brain boost from treats like sweets and chips is possible and will work in a situation where access to better foods is unavailable, but eating a balanced diet will improve your daily performance. Antioxidant-rich foods, such as blueberries, oranges, and almonds, assist the body in reducing oxidative stress, which can benefit the brain and the body. Fish is another nourishing food for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids, abundant in fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, etc., can decrease rates of cognitive decline. It’s also critical to drink a sufficient amount of water. A study revealed that dehydration might also impact mood and memory which is why staying hydrated throughout the day is of utmost importance..
- Engage in Physical Activities
Physical activity increases protein expression in the brain, improving cognitive performance and lowering anxiety and sadness levels. Exercise helps with chronic weariness and pain. It can also help with emotional control following a stressful incident by serving as a distraction from negative thoughts. Every individual should engage in some form of exercise for 30 minutes per day. Physical activity has a powerful impact on metabolism.
- Make Sleep a Priority
Put sleep first with these easy lifestyle adjustments:
- Please turn off your electronics at least an hour before bedtime because, according to a study, they are causes of a higher prevalence of insomnia and shorter sleep duration.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine, two stimulants that might disrupt your sleep as well as alcohol and narcotics .
- Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Sleep for 7-8 hours daily.
- Try taking a relaxing bath or a shower before going to bed.
- Avoid any exercise before bed.
The HealthifyMe Note
There is no specific medical treatment for brain fog because it is a symptom rather than a medical diagnosis. However, managing the causes such, anxiety, or illness might be beneficial. Some other possible treatments include:
- Medications such as antidepressants, stimulants, or anti-anxiety medications
- Psychotherapy to discuss anxiety and learn coping mechanisms
- Time management techniques include extended test-taking time, exercise, and deep breathing.
- Meditation techniques that you can perform at work or school to assist a person stay focused.
A general term for emotions of cloudy thinking, mental disorientation, and lack of attention is “brain fog.” Lifestyle elements including improper food intake, stress, or a lack of sleep and exercise can contribute to brain fog. Other times, it results from a prescription side effect or an underlying medical issue. Although challenging, there is hope for relief. Be proactive in controlling your health and medications and establishing a healthy lifestyle for your brain to avoid conditions like brain fog.