Is your brain foggy? Do you feel like you’re floating in the clouds, unable to focus on the task at hand? Unfortunately, it’s a common problem. There are many possible causes to which you can attribute brain fog, but one of the most frequently overlooked is the immune system. The body’s immune system is responsible for warding off germs and bacteria, preventing them from making you sick. When you do get sick, your immune system builds up its resources to ward off the illness as quickly as possible.
Still, most people don’t think about their immune system when they feel as though their thinking is fuzzy. If you get tired, sickness often comes to mind since it’s a common symptom of cold and flu viruses as well as many other chronic and acute illnesses like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Gluten Has Been Linked to Brain Fog
Even gluten, a substance found in many foods – particularly wheat – has been linked to brain fog. People with celiac disease (gluten allergy) or gluten sensitivity often have digestive problems as a result, but brain fog is another common symptom. Likewise, brain fog is associated with auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Brain fog in the most severe cases can have devastating effects on a person’s daily functioning. You may feel tired immediately or soon after getting out of bed. You may struggle to complete tasks at work or school, or have trouble concentrating on a discussion or presentation. For this reason, it’s not surprising that gluten sensitivity in children is commonly mistaken for attention problems like attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The good news in these cases is that the symptoms usually disappear completely when gluten is completely removed from the diet.
Symptoms of Brain Fog
If you experience the following symptoms, you might be facing a case of brain fog:
- · Forgetfulness
- · Wandering mind
- · Difficulty completing tasks from start to finish
- · Writer’s block
- · Short-term memory problems
- · Trouble finding the right words
- · Getting lost on a route you’ve traveled many times
- · Feeling confused or disoriented without explanation
- · Loss of creativity
- · Difficulty performing math problems and sequences
- · Problems with multitasking
Underlying Causes of Brain Fog
Sometimes, people suffering from brain fog due to an underlying condition don’t even realize it’s happening because that’s the way it’s always been. But when an underlying cause is identified on evaluation of other symptoms and treated, the cloud lifts and suddenly they realize they could have been thinking much more clearly all along. Brain fog can be extremely debilitating – some people even say brain fog has more detrimental effects on their daily functioning than chronic pain or fatigue.
Other causes of brain fog include depression and stress, metal toxicity, dehydration, and what is probably the most frequently overlooked cause: Nutrient deficiency. Nutrients can be obtained either from the foods you eat or through supplements. In some cases, the body makes nutrients with the help of outside sources. Vitamin D, for instance, is made by the body when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight (hence why light therapy is often helpful for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder or SAD).
There’s Help for Brain Fog
If you’re pretty sure you’re suffering from brain fog, getting a checkup from your physician is a good idea to rule out any more serious underlying conditions. But it’s also a good idea to supplement your diet with nutrient-rich foods, such as those containing Omega-3 fatty acids said to boost brain function. Examples include fish, canola oil and walnut oil. Eggs contain a valuable nutrient called Choline, and fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at its best. Foods containing healthy carbohydrates are also beneficial for brain function.
Sometimes, the human body has problems maintaining the right levels of different nutrients even when the person eats the right foods. In these cases, supplements can sometimes help. Supplements that can help with brain function include B Vitamins, Choline, SAM-e, Theanine, 5-HTP, Carnitine, Rhodiola and even St. John’s Wort, which has gained some recognition among consumers in recent years for its possible beneficial effects for reducing the symptoms of depression.
If you’re frustrated by your lack of attentiveness, inability to concentrate, or a loss in creativity, the solution to your brain fog could be a simple one. Try giving your body more of the valuable nutrients it needs to function at its finest, and get your brain back to peak performance.