Brain fog... is it just a normal part of ageing?
What is brain fog?
The term 'brain fog' is used to describe feelings of confusion, lack of mental clarity, forgetfulness, fuzzy thinking, lack of focus and concentration and poor memory.
Whilst it is common to hear people complain of many, if not all of the above listed symptoms...it is not normal and shouldn't be dismissed simply as a part of ageing.
Causes of brain fog?
There are many causes, some of which may be nutritional, metabolic, hormonal and biochemical imbalances. It is important to remember however that not all neurological issues are caused by a neurotransmitter deficiency, and as such simply supplementing with something like 5-HTP may not always work...this is a very simplistic approach to a very complex problem.
Inflammation and infection may also be contributing factors. Inflammation from previous physical or mental trauma or injury and yeast or viral infections have been shown to have a direct impact on our brain health. Gluten intolerance or other food sensitivities along with other environmental triggers such as artificial sweeteners, food chemicals, medications, toxic metals, electromagnetic fields (EMF's) and petrochemicals may also be factors to explore.
Our brain is intrinsically linked to our gut via the gut-brain axis. This is a two way street where the gut and brain can communicate back and forth. When this axis is not functioning correctly and there are imbalances this can directly affect not only our ability to properly digest nutrients but also our cognitive function.
Decreased oxygen to the brain can contribute to symptoms of brain fog, and whilst the reasons for this are many and varied, simply not breathing correctly can impact the amount of oxygen getting to your brain...this is of vital importance for all of us to remember especially in this fast paced world in which we live where we are constantly being bombarded by pressures and expectations that may leave us 'forgetting to breathe.' Sounds silly but it happens!
How to improve symptoms of brain fog?
Brain fog is a symptom of an underlying dysfunction and should not be ignored. The most important first step to correcting brain fog is to see a practitioner who is willing to pay close attention to your symptoms, take a thorough case history and utilise specific laboratory testing where appropriate.
Depending on the findings, your naturopathic practitioner will work with you, giving you guidance on specific lifestyle and dietary recommendations, appropriate nutritional supplementation and antioxidant support along with herbal medicines tailored specifically to your needs. It is imperative to address the underlying causes of your brain fog symptoms in order to get you back on the path to mental clarity, improved focus and vitality and enhanced overall cognitive performance.
For today, your homework to start on right away is remembering to breathe!!