Health

What is brain fog and why do we get it?

close up of woman with a notebook

Have you been having trouble concentrating lately? Are you also finding you’re forgetting things more often? A quick Google search may lead you to believe you have ‘brain fog’, a popular non-medical term used to describe a variety of symptoms, ranging from slow thinking to poor memory. With reports also suggesting brain fog is a side-effect of long Covid, you might be wondering what else causes it and how to manage it. 

Luckily, I’m here to let you in on what we do know about so-called brain fog. Continue reading to find out the truth about brain fog and how certain vitamins and minerals can help improve your brain function (the answer might surprise you!).

What is brain fog?

 Man thinking with his fingers on his head

To be clear, brain fog is not a medical condition. However, it is a term that is commonly used to describe a variety of symptoms such as poor concentration, feeling confused and forgetfulness, all of which may indicate that you are experiencing mental fatigue.

Everyone experiences brain fog differently. However, you might have it if your mind feels clouded or sluggish, and you’re having trouble making decisions. This lack of mental clarity can be extremely frustrating, especially when you don’t know what is causing it.

So, why do we experience it? It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes this foggy feeling to take over, but lifestyle factors and hormones do play a role. For example, if you’ve been stressed out and haven’t had enough sleep, this may make it difficult for you to focus during the day, affecting your thinking and slowing it down.

Other factors that may trigger brain fog include: depression, changes in your hormone levels (for example, if you’re going through the menopause), certain medications, some nutrient deficiencies and chronic health issues.  

When it comes to brain fog, it’s important to differentiate it from medically recognised neurological conditions, such as dementia. Brain fog does not cause structural damage or alterations to your brain, and you will usually recover. If you are worried that you might be experiencing a more severe condition, speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Also read: Signs you may be dealing with a hormone imbalance

 

How do you fix brain fog?

Woman slicing fruits in her kitchen

Do you believe you have brain fog? The best way to fix it may not be the quickest; you need to figure out what may be causing it and work from there. If stress is the culprit, for example, prioritising your health and wellness by eating a healthy balanced diet and moving your body is a great place to start. Incorporating stress-relieving techniques such as meditation and yoga into your daily routine could also be a good way to keep brain fog at bay.

Looking at the big picture and making sure you’ve covered the fundamentals of your health will help you improve your overall wellness, and hopefully prevent that cloudy feeling from taking over. Again, if the lifestyle changes you make are ineffective, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

 

Can vitamins help you manage brain fog? 

Women holding brain health supplements

Supplements can be useful especially if you are deficient in particular nutrients. Of course, nothing you take will essentially cure brain fog until you know what is causing your symptoms in the first place.

However, there are certain vitamins and minerals which are important. For example B vitamins are essential in helping to support your brain, nervous system and may help with fatigue. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are also important to include in your diet, with research suggesting they help protect your brain, and improve cell communication within it. There’s also some evidence that omega-3s might help combat depression, due to their anti-inflammatory effects but more extensive research is needed.

Another vitamin that’s important for your brain? Vitamin D, aka the sunshine vitamin. As well as supporting your joints and bones – Vitamin D supports your health overall, including your grey matter, which is thought to support memory and learning.

Having low or deficient vitamin D levels may negatively impact your health generally, including, potentially, your bone health and immune system – so make sure you’re getting enough of it year-round and especially during the winter months.

Once you understand what’s causing your brain fog, you can better manage it. However, if you have a fuzzy feeling in your head, it could be your body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong with your overall health. So don’t put it off; speak to your doctor as soon as you have any concerns so that they can rule out anything more serious.

Shop Nature’s Truth supplements to support brain function and memory here. 



Melissa Dadgar

Melissa Dadgar

Pharmacist

Melissa Dadgar is a senior clinical pharmacist who is enthusiastic about medicine and health in general. She is passionate about sharing clear and concise information, and she uses her platform to debunk myths and raise awareness about taboo health topics that we all want to know the answers to.