Do you have to use another phone to call yours to locate it? Are you addicted to post it notes? Do you walk into a room and wonder why you came in there? Though it may seem funny at first, after a while it can lead to frustration and concern. If these things happen to you on a regular basis you may have signs of brain fog or a failing memory. Some people feel as if they can’t think as clearly as they used to or say that they just don’t feel right. Brain fog or memory loss is a complaint that I see on a regular basis. It might not be the primary reason that someone sees me but more often than not, they have it.
Brain fog left unattended can lead to more significant problems. Studies are showing that brain fog or neuroinflammation can lead to more serious neurodegenerative disorders such as MS, Alzheimer’s and ALS.
Currently there are no tests to diagnose brain fog and is associated with other conditions. People who suffer from it mostly complain of lack of mental clarity, difficulty with numbers (simple math or phone numbers) and mild memory loss.
I usually see these symptoms associated with thyroid conditions, chronic pain, fibromyalgia or other chronic conditions. One of the primary causes for this is inflammation. Inflammation can have devastating effects on the body or one’s overall health. It is not only important to rid the body of the inflammation but also to find the source or sources.
So let’s look at where inflammation can come from. So here is a list in no particular order:
- Adrenal fatigue – The adrenal glands fail to produce key hormones that effectively regulate the body’s stress response. As a result, adrenal fatigue syndrome can cause brain fog symptoms due to the body’s inability to handle stress effectively.
- Insomnia – Sleep is crucial for optimal brain function. This is related with adrenal fatigue. If there is an abnormal cortisol/melatonin circadian rhythm, one’s sleep pattern will be altered. These people either have trouble falling asleep or wake up at night (primarily between 1am-3am) or both.
- Nutritional deficiencies – Nutritional deficiencies can affect brain function, due to a lack of nutrients necessary for optimal brain function. Deficiencies of magnesium, vitamin B-12, and amino acids can cause significant brain impairment such as lack of concentration, short-term memory loss, attention deficit, and spaciness (or lack of focus).
- Candidiasis – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) can cause depression, anxiety, sudden mood swings, lack of concentration, headaches, drowsiness, and/or fatigue.
- Chronic viral/bacterial infections – either clinical or subclinical infections can significantly disrupt thinking and mood. I see plenty of people with subclinical infections.
- Heavy metal toxicity – The most common heavy metals that humans are exposed to are aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. These often accumulate in brain tissue and are difficult to excrete in many cases. Some people—especially those who suffer from chronic conditions—cannot excrete neurotoxic heavy metals efficiently and a build-up occurs, causing brain fog symptoms.
- Reduced blood flow to the brain due to circulatory problems – Lack of blood flow to the brain disrupts brain function. Thick blood can also slow down blood flow to the brain, causing brain dysfunction.
- Blood sugar issues – if someone has abnormal blood sugar levels, either high or low (hypoglycemia or diabetes), either one can cause symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and clouded thinking.
- Food intolerances – Many patients have food intolerances find that their brain function often suffers as a result.
- Leaky gut – When the gut becomes more permeable due to inflammation, larger particles can escape into the bloodstream and may pass the blood brain barrier, causing a wide variety of mental symptoms such as mood disturbance, depression, anxiety, fatigue, lack of concentration and focus, and short-term memory loss.
If someone has brain fog, it is important to find out the cause or causes of it. It is also important to work at removing the inflammation as the causes are addressed.