Beating Brain Fog

Brain fog isn’t just something that affects the elderly. More and more young people are now experiencing cognition and memory issues and report feeling like they’re living in a ‘fog’.



Brain fog can be caused by a number of issues, but there are a few of the main culprits which are unfortunately only too common in our society.


LOW IRON OR B12 CAUSES BRAIN FOG


When you’re feeling like a mindless zombie, the first thing people think of is iron and anaemia. Iron definitely needs to be taken into account and testing your levels is never a bad idea! However, a lot of people don’t realise that you can actually get B12 deficiency anaemia as well. It’s called “pernicious anaemia” and can slowly creep up on us.

Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet can sometimes find it hard to get adequate amounts of B12 in their diet and therefore can suffer from fatigue, shortness of breath and palpitations, among other symptoms.

Studies have shown that a lot of plant sources of B12 contain an inactive form of the vitamin referred to as pseudo vitamin B12. Certain types of seaweeds and mushrooms contain the active form of B12 as well as split cell chlorella and are vegetarian and vegan-friendly.


If you consume a vegan or vegetarian diet, it is a good idea to have your iron and B12 levels checked for good measure. Supplementation may be necessary.



THYROID ISSUES


The thyroid is probably the second thing to cop the blame when someone is suffering from fatigue and brain fog. It’s like the saying “If Mumma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.


I find this fits perfectly with the thyroid because if the thyroid isn’t functioning properly, the rest of the body seems to suffer in different ways – especially your hormones. When your hormones are out of balance, brain fog usually ensues, among other things.


Go to your naturopath or GP and get a full thyroid panel tested to see if anything sinister is going on. Once you have an answer as to what exactly is going on, the thyroid is much easier to treat.



SLEEP DEPRIVATION


Sleep or lack thereof, plays a major role in overall health, especially our mental health and abilities. Whether it be you’ve pulled a few too many all-nighters or you consistently get 2 or 3 hours less sleep than you should, sleep deprivation of any kind can affect your cognition and memory.


Ensure you’re getting a solid 8 hours a night and practice good sleep hygiene by going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day, resisting the urge to check your phone while laying in bed before you sleep and switching off any stimulation such as the TV and radio half an hour before bed.



MEDICATIONS THAT CAUSE BRAIN FOG


Some medications including statins, some antibiotics, pain killers, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and cough medications can dull the senses and have a negative effect on our memory and cognition.


If you suspect that your medications are making your mind foggy, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about reducing your dose or substituting the medication for a more suitable variety.


WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?


Brain fog isn’t as simple as the above 4 things, there can be a number of other factors involved such as leading a sedentary lifestyle, not stimulating your brain often enough, or even an overload of stress.


Focus on the health and wellbeing of your entire body through regular exercise, using your brain to solve puzzles, lowering your stress through meditation, yoga or eliminating stressful situations or people from your life.


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