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Brain Fog and Its Symptoms, Causes, and Solutions

Brain fog - The Dearing Clinic


Brain fog is a brain disorder that manifests as symptoms that impact your cognitive function, including your memory and ability to focus and pay attention. Brain fog and other cognitive dysfunctions are linked to poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, and more.


Have you ever had a day where you felt a little “foggy,” like things weren’t clicking as quickly or as well as they usually do? If so, you’ve experienced brain fog and know first-hand how frustrating it can be.


Brain fog is an incredibly common brain disorder that many people experience at some point in their lives. And that's because brain fog causes a variety of concerns, including mental confusion, poor concentration, and a loss of mental clarity. 


In short, brain fog is a frustrating and debilitating condition that makes it difficult to perform your daily tasks or even just think clearly. But what really causes it, what specific symptoms should you look for, and what are the best ways to clear brain fog so you can return to your normal and optimal way of life?


Keep reading to learn exactly what brain fog is, how it affects you, and the one thing you must prioritize to kick brain fog to the curb for good.


What Is Brain Fog?

Brain fog, also sometimes referred to as cognitive dysfunction, is a brain disorder consisting of symptoms that impact your cognitive function, including your memory and ability to focus and pay attention. 


It can make you feel like you are in a “fog” or “haze,” which makes it difficult to think clearly and perform tasks that require any real mental effort. Brain fog can affect people of all ages and is triggered by different factors.


Ultimately, while brain fog comes with an array of symptoms, it’s actually a symptom of an underlying issue, which we’ll discuss in more detail. But first, let’s take a look at common brain fog symptoms because understanding what to look for is the first step in finding effective ways to overcome it.


Brain Fog Symptoms

While brain fog presents differently from person to person, here are some common brain fog symptoms to look for:

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Memory problems

  • Mental fatigue 

  • Lack of energy

  • Confusion and forgetfulness

  • Trouble finding words or expressing thoughts

  • Slowed thinking and/or processing speed


If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it may be a sign that you are dealing with brain fog and need to take action to resolve it. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step towards finding the right solutions to overcome this condition.


What Causes Brain Fog?

Brain fog can be triggered by a number of different factors, including sleep deprivation, stress, hormonal changes, certain medications, trauma, or chronic pain. That said, brain fog is ultimately caused from a lack of activation and connection between the frontal lobes of your brain and your body awareness. 


This disconnect, or asynchronization, occurs in your brain when there’s a disconnection or imbalance in the connection and leads to cognitive dysfunction and brain fog. 


As we reviewed above, the connection between your brain and body can be disrupted by various factors. But by understanding how this connection works and how it can be disrupted, you can find ways to reestablish and restore the connection and help to alleviate your brain fog and its frustrating symptoms.


Specifically, when the oscillation of your brain’s waves are out of sync, this has a profound and direct impact on your cognitive function that’s at the root of the brain fog. In fact, research has shown that synchronized brain wave activity is imperative for cognitive processes such as attention, memory, and executive function. 


Any disruption in the synchronization of your neural oscillations are associated with numerous cognitive impairments and neurological conditions. For example, altered gamma and theta wave activities have been linked to cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. (Theta waves are associated with working memory and navigation, while gamma waves have been linked to attention and memory consolidation.)


In fact, research has identified the importance of theta and gamma oscillations in memory and learning. And disruptions in these oscillatory patterns can lead to difficulties in cognitive processing and mental clarity, which are both core components of brain fog. 


Certain events or lifestyle factors can trigger the asynchronization that spurs brain fog and its many symptoms. These include lack of sleep, poor diet, stress and/or anxiety, hormonal imbalances, and certain medical conditions, including COVID-19 (known as COVID brain fog).


How to Get Rid of Brain Fog

If you are experiencing brain fog, there are several things you can do to help resync your brain and body and clear the fog. 


In addition to working with a functional neurologist to identify and treat the source of your brain and body getting out of rhythm, you can prioritize the following lifestyle factors to get rid of brain fog.


1. Get enough sleep. 

Prioritize quality sleep and establish a consistent sleep routine. Here’s why: Experiencing sleep deprivation has been shown to increase your theta wave activity during your waking hours, which is known to reduce alertness and impair your overall cognitive function.


2. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. 

Fuel your body and brain with nutritious anti-inflammatory foods, including fruits, vegetables, ancient grains, and lean proteins to help prevent brain fog. Research has shown that consuming a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can enhance your gamma oscillations, which are essential for functional perception, attention, and memory encoding.


3. Consume supplements known to support brain health. 

Some of the top supplements known to support cognitive function and relieve brain fog include:

  • Ginkgo biloba, which is believed to improve cognitive function and memory.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil supplements and known for their brain-boosting properties.

  • Vitamin B12, which is involved in brain function and energy production.

  • Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb known to help reduce stress and improve focus.


4. Engage in regular exercise. 

Physical activity boosts blood flow to your brain and promotes mental clarity and focus. Yoga, strength training, and being active in nature by hiking, gardening, or walking are all known to promote gamma waves while helping to reduce stress, improve mood, and help alleviate brain fog.


5. Practice stress management techniques. 

Find effective ways to manage stress, such as practicing meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy. By reducing your stress, you’re able to promote more balanced oscillations and help manage your brain fog.


Seeking Professional Help: When to Consult a Doctor About Brain Fog

If your brain fog persists or significantly interferes with your daily life, it may be time to consult a healthcare professional, and seeking a functional neurologist is recommended, as they are experts in assessing any disruption in the connection between your brain and body.


Here at The Dearing Clinic, we’ll evaluate your symptoms and then use our expertise to help you understand exactly how to strengthen the connection between your brain and body. Contact us to learn more about what to expect when treating brain fog.


From measuring your brainwave balance and oscillations to mapping out a personal brain fog treatment plan to help you eliminate your brain fog and return to your normal cognitive state, we’ll provide you with the long-term solutions you need to resolve and prevent future episodes of brain fog so that you can achieve the lasting relief you deserve.


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