Battling brain fog?
Happy Spring! I want to chat about something I have been seeing in practice a lot over the past three years – brain fog. This was a common side effect from the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, but some people suffer from it more than others, so is it viral load or lifestyle factors?
The most common non-viral causes of brain fog are poor sleep, low blood sugar, hormonal shifts (specifically menopause), low functioning thyroid, dysbiosis (improper gut microbiome), inflammation and dehydration. The compounded factor of COVID-19 can exacerbate these causes and really worsen symptoms.
My first advice is to look into any underlying conditions mentioned above. Following that, here are my tips for helping brain fog:
1. Water – Hydration is key to a properly functioning body, but especially the brain. There are certain medical theories that correlate Alzheimer’s to dehydration. The brain specifically is made up of over 70 per cent water, so the need for water is paramount. I suggest a minimum of two litres of water per day.
2. Cut alcohol – This is a tricky one for most, but even one drink at night affects sleep quality and alertness the next day. The foggy effects of alcohol on the brain are not only during consumption but affect motor function and cognition over time as well. Cutting alcohol to one drink per week (or zero) will positively impact brain fog.
3. Food sensitivities – When people have food sensitivities the common symptoms are GI disturbances and brain fog. If your body is sensitive to something and can’t digest it, sluggishness and brain fog are common side effects. Your sensitivity to foods can be determined by a blood test, requisitioned by an ND, and avoidance of those foods is recommended until reintroduction is safe.
4. Good probiotic – Leaky gut is common and once molecules seep from the GI tract into the blood, the body shows symptoms of being unwell and brain fog is commonly seen. A strong human strain probiotic can replenish the gut microbiome which will decrease a permeable gut. My recommendation is the HMF strain by Seroyal.
5. Brain supportive herbs – There are fabulous herbs out there to sharpen acuity. My favourites are Bacopa, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Ginkgo Biloba and Rohodiola. All can be taken individually or in various combination supplements.
I hope this helps and is supportive to clear the cobwebs!
Kate Hunter is a naturopathic doctor and owner of The Creemore Apothecary.