Brain Fog: What It Is And What To Do About It

If you’ve got memory problems, can’t think as clearly as you’d like to, and can’t focus, you’ve probably got brain fog. While it’s very frustrating, brain fog isn’t a medical condition itself. Think of brain fog as a symptom of other medical conditions.

What causes brain fog?

There are several reasons why brain fog happens. Here are six possible causes.

Stress. Chronic stress can increase blood pressure, weaken the immune system, and trigger depression. It can also make you feel mentally exhausted. When your brain is exhausted, it becomes harder to think, reason, and focus. Sound familiar? Try calming music, guided imagery or massage to reduce your stress levels.  

Lack of sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that roughly one in three U.S. adults don’t get the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. It’s especially harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep as you age. If you’re not sleeping well, you probably won’t be able to think straight. Aim for 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Hormonal changes. These can trigger brain fog. Levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen increase during pregnancy. This change can affect your short-term memory. Similarly, a drop in estrogen level during menopause can cause forgetfulness, poor concentration, and cloudy thinking.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency. What you’re eating also affects how you tthink. Research shows tht a lack of vitamin B-12 can cause brain fog. Antacids, some meds, and weight loss surgery can contribute to a lack of B12.

Medications. Some medications may have unpleasant side effects like brain fog. If you suspect this, try lowering your dosage or switching to another drug to improve your symptoms.

Medical conditions. These medical conditions can cause brain fog: fibromyalgia, anemia, depression, diabetes, Sjögren syndrome, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, hypothyroidism and dehydration.

Treating brain fog

Brain fog treatment depends on the cause. For example, if you’re anemic, iron supplements may increase your production of red blood cells and reduce your brain fog. If you’re diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid or other medication to reduce inflammation or suppress the immune system. If you lack vitamin B, you can increase your levels by increasing the amounts of salmon, liver and eggs that you eat.

Home remedies to improve brain fog include getting the right amount of sleep, lowering your stress levels, exercise, strengthening your brain power by solving brain puzzles and eating well.