Brain Fog May Be the Cause of Your Cotton Brain
Is your head always full of cotton wool?
Sometimes you have such a day that it seems as if your head is full of cotton wool: you can’t think normally and feel like you have to walk through a thick fog? Then you might suffer from the brain fog phenomenon.
Do you feel as if your head is full of cotton wool, you can’t get words and sometimes you suddenly lose your orientation? Then it is possible that you suffer from brain fog. This article will explore causes and steps you can take to relive the symptoms.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog is not a medical term. It is used to describe a common set of brain symptoms that many people experience at one time or another, but it’s use has skyrocketed in the last few years as more and more people have become health-conscious and brain fog has become widely accepted as an indicator of brain dysfunction.
When brain fog occurs you can’t read, think straight or make informed decisions. You feel mentally thick and heavy (like syrup), so your brain feels as if it is wrapped in cotton wool. Your brain power has been sapped.
The medical term for brain fog is “cognitive dysfunction”.
What are symptoms of brain fog?
Brain fog symptoms are related to cognition, brain energy, and concentration.
The brain controls your ability to concentrate, maintain clear thoughts, remember things you need to do, reason and solve problems rationally. So brain fog causes memory loss, impaired ability to concentrate or focus on anything for any length of time and difficulty. Additionally, people with brain fog experience issues with problem solving or making decisions logically.
Brain fog is actually a collective name for various symptoms, so seek medical advice and consult your doctor if symptoms persist or become more serious.
As a result of brain fog, sufferers often feel spaced out – unable to concentrate and think clearly. They may also experience drowsiness or fatigue. In severe cases brain fog can make you appear intoxicated.
- You cannot think clearly
- You feel tired, moody and irritable
- You have difficulty with cognitive skills.
- You are frightened, disoriented or anxious
General complaints can also occur:
- Stomach and intestinal complaints
- Sleep problems
- Motivation deficiency
- Low libido
What Causes Brain Fog?
Common contributing factors to brain fog include:
A lack of certain vitamins can cause brain fog. Vitamin deficiencies often occur amongst vegetarians who have low dietary intake of vitamin B1 (thiamine), or vitamin B12.
Lack of sleep
Sleep deprivation can cause brain fog. Depriving your body of as little as two hours can trigger brain fog symptoms. Sleep deprivation can also cause slowed thinking, poor attention span, and constant fatigue. It can also reduce your overall immune system.
Sleep deprivation and brain fog can also be related to sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, stress, depression, anxiety or pain. These disorders also cause fatigue and contribute to cotton brain.
Brain Injury, brain trauma or brain damage cause brain fog. Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by car accidents, falls and sporting injuries (like concussions). Sufferers of brain fog may have suffered a brain concussion due to exposure to repeated impact. Brain concussion can cause brain fog symptoms like memory loss and cognitive impairment.
Changes in your body’s hormones can result in a lack of concentration and brain fog.
During pregnancy, for example, hormone levels change which can cause brain fog. The body releases chemicals to protect and nourish the baby can cause brain fog.
Brain fog is also common during menopause, as hormone levels fluctuate during this period.
In people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), brain fog is often caused by the brain not getting enough oxygen. In fact, any medical condition which impairs oxygen consumption can cause brain fog. This can be temporary until the oxygen levels are restored.
Underactive thyroid gland
An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can cause brain fog, as your brain may be lacking the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function normally.
Med Page Today reports that close to 50% of patients with an underactive thyroid report experiencing brain fog.
Mental Health Problems
Brain fog is also associated with several mental health problems. Depression is one of them. A lack of brain chemicals – serotonin, dopamine or acetylcholine – have all been linked to brain fog symptoms. Depression may stimulate brain fog or it could be the other way around – brain fog leads to depression. In either case, depression should not be taken lightly.
If you constantly feel depressed, anxious, or your mood changes abruptly, seek medical advice. Treatment is readily available for depression and other mental conditions.
Chemotherapy can create memory loss and brain fog. In fact, brain fog is a common side effect of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Sometimes the cancer itself is a contributing factor, let alone the cancer treatment. This may be temporary during the treatment, but consult your doctor to make sure that nothing else is going on that must be treated.
Certain medications can cause brain fog. The drugs that are most often associated with brain fog include: antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications and decongestants.
Some medications have brain fog as a potential side effect. These include antipsychotics (used to control hallucinations and delusions), Benzodiazepines ( used for anxiety disorders such as panic attacks) antidepressants, anti seizure drugs, steroids and heart drugs like beta blockers that slow the heartbeat down
Lack of amino acids
Amino acids are brain fuel, and if you don’t make sure that your brain has a steady supply of amino acids, brain fog can occur. Amino acid supplements are available in capsules, powder form or as food additives
Covid Brain Fog
Many suffers of Covid-19 experience brain fog symptoms, and these can be caused by a variety of factors. Some have experienced cognitive impairment after taking the vaccine. Definitely consult your doctor and discuss your symptoms. The suggestions in this article will help, but seek medical advice to be sure there’s nothing more serious taking place.
Brain Fog and Your Teeth
Brain fog can lead to depression, stress, and anxiety. Cortisol flows through your system when you’re depressed or anxious. This lower your body’s overall immune system and ability to fight tooth infections and gum disease. It’s important to make sure you address any underlying causes of brain fog.
How do you get rid of brain fog?
Fortunately brain fog symptoms can be cleared up by following a brain healthy diet, taking brain supplements, getting plenty of rest and exercise, and addressing underlying brain issues.
Eat brain healthy foods
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish oils
- Green Veggies, Legumes, Soy Beans, Chickpeas & Lentils
There are many brain healthy diets out there that are meant to improve brain function. These diets are similar, but each appears to have an emphasis on different foods or nutrients, so it’s best to find a brain healthy diet that works for you and follow it. Be sure to talk about brain enhancing diets with your doctor or nutritionist first. Because brain fog is not a medical condition, no brain health diet including one’s brain fog diet is guaranteed to work for everyone.
Add Brain Health Supplements to Your Diet
This will help boost your brain’s natural anti-oxidants and boost your immune system. There are many brain health supplements out there, but none of them work for everyone. The key is to try different brain supplements until you find one or two brain supplements that give you temporary relief from brain fog symptoms and help boost your memory.
Eating foods with high levels of brain antioxidant vitamins C (citrus fruits) & E (nuts & seeds) will help remove brain toxins that can contribute to brain fog.
TIP: Make a brain healthy smoothie by adding your brain health supplement of choice, frozen blueberries, bananas and milk. Blend on high until smooth and enjoy!
Overall stress and anxiety reduction can help brain fog, as stress and anxiety tend to exacerbate the condition.
When under stress, your body produces brain fog symptoms, and that’s because the brain needs extra blood sugar or glucose to deal with the stress. Constant anxiety can produce the same effect.
The brain is involved in everything that you do , and brain fog may not be as simple as low brain fuel. Your brain runs through a series of complex chemical and electrical processes all day long to keep you going. Any impediment to these processes can result in brain fog and memory problems. Anxiety and stress impede these processes.
To reduce anxiety, try listening to soothing music or meditating.
Get Enough Sleep
It goes without saying, that getting enough sleep is critical in reducing brain fog. Lack of sleep is never a good thing. During sleep, brain chemicals are being produced, brain cells are rejuvenating and brain toxins are being flushed out of the brain. Your overall cognitive function is being refreshed.
Get enough sleep and brain fog symptoms will be lessened.
Sleep also affects your anxiety level. When you’re brain foggy, you’re more likely to be anxious and irritable. Both of these brain fog symptoms are often connected with sleep deprivation.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol interferes with brain function, and caffeine can deplete your body of B vitamins needed for healthy brain functioning. Both substances also dehydrate you, which only adds to brain fog.
Drink Enough Water
Dehydration can easily cause brain fog. Drinking enough clean water should help you stay well hydrated and brain-fog free.
Aerobic exercise (such as cardio or dancing) releases endorphins, which are brain chemicals that make your brain feel good. Combined with the fact that exercise is brain fuel, exercise can help brain fog symptoms. Exercise also increases brain circulation and blood flow, which are critical to brain health and brain function.
Exercising also helps reduce stress and anxiety by providing an outlet to burn off steam. Exercise is a feel good activity, and you not only feel better physically, but you also enhance your mental state because you’re taking steps to improve your overall health.
Engage in Activities that are Cognitively Stimulating
Brain exercise or brain games that challenge your brain to think fast and concentrate on multiple tasks at once, will stimulate brain tissue and bring much needed brain oxygen to your brain cells. Doing puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku’s and other brain healthy activities are great ways to improve memory function and keep your mental state fit.
Does brain fog go away on its own?
In some cases brain fog symptoms can be relieved by sleeping well, limiting brain stimulation and rest. These brain fog cures are not a long-term brain health solution because sleep, relaxation and time alone don’t address the cause of brain fog symptoms.
If your brain fog is the result of brain injury, this may be irreversible. It’s best in this case to find a predictable daily routine and follow it. This will help eliminate feeling disoriented. Planning is key to enhance your overall mental state and improve cognitive function. Seek a treatment plan with your doctor.
Fortunately, in many cases brain fog is temporary and brain fog symptoms can be relieved for a period of time by eating brain healthy foods, taking brain supplements or following a brain friendly diet. How long brain fog will last depends on what caused it in the first place.
If symptoms continue, it is always advisable to seek medical advice and consult your doctor for a treatment plan.
Brain fog is a complex condition, and a single or simple diagnosis is not always possible. The condition can be caused by many factors, and fog treatment can consist of several things. In some cases, if you are repeatedly subjected to stress, anxiety, or constant fatigue, you may need to change your environment or lifestyle.
Lifestyle changes such as exercising more and eating a healthy diet with less processed sugary foods can help. Eat healthy carbohydrates, and eat enough protein and fats. In addition, make sure you get enough exercise and sleep. Also, take care of your mental health and seek treatment if needed.