Whether you are working hard, juggling a family or trying to further your education, it takes a lot of energy to stay on top of everything! Not only do you need physical energy to keep up, but also, you need mental energy as well. You need to be on your A-game every day so you can multitask, make decisions, and use all of your gifts to the maximum capacity.
However, do you feel like your brain fog is affecting your daily life? I want to help you find the cause of your decreased mental clarity so you can make efficient and effective decisions that serve you well in the workplace, at home or just in daily life.
Lack of Sleep
Medication side effects
Many people are busy from the moment they wake up, to the moment they close their eyes at night. Do you have a daily coffee (or two) loaded with cream and sugar to make it through the day? Do you order that slice of pizza because it’s an easy and quick choice? While picking a fast and easy meal can make your life simpler in that moment, those “good in a pinch” foods you are choosing may actually be hindering your productivity in the long run. Having a balanced diet is vital for good health and mental clarity. If your meals are filled with empty calories, you’re probably not getting the optimal (possibly not even minimum) nutrients needed for your brain to process information and think clearly. Clean energy from our food gets transferred to our neurons, which allows our brain and cognitive function to work correctly.
Here are some main nutrients that could be causing your brain fog if they are too low:
B Vitamins: B Vitamins can have positive effects on memory performance, including speed of processing, recall and recognition, and verbal ability. If these levels are lower than normal, your memory could be less than optimal.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: Our brain loves healthy fats with omega-3 essential fatty acids. When you avoid fats and/or turn to the “low-fat” diet options, your brain will not function optimally.
Iron: Low iron levels, especially in reproductive age, can impact brain function. Increasing your iron levels can help normalize your cognitive function, which helps with mental clarity.
Vitamin D: These levels have been shown to be positively correlated with cognitive function and mood enhancement. Making sure your vitamin D levels are optimal is critical in keeping your mind sharp, especially as you age.
Flavonoids: Overtime, not consuming enough flavonoids, can impair cognitive function. Those with higher intakes showed a less cognitive decline over a 10 year period.
Many people don’t connect that their brain fog is a consequence of the particular foods they consume. Your body may respond to food sensitivities in different ways, including skin issues, stomach issues, inflammation, or brain fog. The most common foods that people are sensitive to are wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, and nuts. While you can try the elimination diet to figure out which foods don’t agree with your body, you can also get tested with a functional medicine provider.
Having a busy schedule can be mentally taxing. Your mind may be on overdrive all the time, making it hard to sleep. When your body is sleep-deprived, it can’t perform daily tasks to your highest level. This is because sleep deprivation can impair attention and working memory, as well as long-term memory and decision-making. Obviously, these abilities are essential for everyday life, especially if you are a high-performer or maximizer.
Your gut health can have a significant influence on your mental clarity. Your gut and brain are connected through the Gut-Brain Axis. When the bacteria in your gut is more harmful than beneficial, it can trigger a variety of neurological symptoms. This gut-brain axis, involving the vagus nerve, can affect pathways for learning and memory processes. Read my blog, “Optimizing Your Health Through the Gut-Brain Connection,” for more about this topic.
Certain toxins like mold, lead, mercury, heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins, and air pollution can have a negative impact on your brain functioning, mental clarity, and intelligence. These toxins can be hidden in your daily lives without you even knowing. Environmental toxins can be found in your home, cleaning products, beauty products, clothes, and furniture.
It’s no surprise that our modern lifestyle can be stressful! However, if you don’t know how to respond to high levels of stress, you will get burned out… quickly. Now we don’t want that, do we? Not only will you get burned out, but chronic stress can also cause inflammation and increase cortisol, leading to adrenal overdrive. It can also cause oxidative stress that damages brain cells. These consequences of stress can cause even more serious health issues that can have damaging effects on your brain structure and function in the short and/or long term.
There are numerous other underlying health conditions that could cause brain fog, as well. If you suffer from any of the following, getting to the root cause of those health concerns should be the main focus to gain mental clarity.
Get Your Gut Microbiome Tested
Prioritize Your Sleep: Check out my previous blog Healthy Sleep Habits for more tips.
Focus on Getting an Abundance of Nutrient-Rich Foods: Include healthy fats like avocado, seeds, and nuts to your meals. Load up on the greens, fruits, and vegetables to help support your gut health and encourage beneficial bacteria to grow.
Go Toxin-Free: Choose non-toxic beauty products and cleaners like Branch Basics. Also, be sure to rid your homes of toxins by checking for mold, dusting regularly, and investing in an air and water filter. I recommend the Molekule Air Filter and the Aquasana Water Filter.
Practice Stress Management: Stress is inevitable, especially this day in age! I highly recommend scheduling in stress-relieving activities multiple times a week, even if it’s for just 20 minutes. These can include meditation, journaling, prayer, yoga, breathing techniques, exercising, spending time in nature, or spending time with friends/ family that bring you joy.
Check Your Nutrient Levels: Since you could have a number of possible nutrient deficiencies causing your brain fog, the best step is to get your levels tested. This way you know what foods to increase or remove from your diet, as well as specific vitamins/supplements to take.
Incorporate Supplementation: While vitamins can help if you have any type of nutrient deficiency, other supplements can help improve your mental clarity. Some of my favorites that help with stress are: adaptogenic herbs (like TDW Stress Be Gone), b vitamins, and magnesium.
Getting in touch with a functional medicine provider can be the best decision you make to help achieve mental clarity along with optimizing your health. These providers get to the root cause of health issues rather than covering it up with medications. Functional medicine providers can perform lab tests that look at hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies, gut microbiome, and toxic exposures, just to name a few.
If you need access to a stool test, a gut health expert, and personalized protocols, the Get Your Gut Right program might be the right fit for you. This is a comprehensive health reset program that also focuses on nutrition, detox pathways, the nervous system, clean environment, and more. Click HERE to learn more.
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