Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and had a difficult time hearing and understanding their words?
Ever walked into a room and forgotten why you were there?
Do you have trouble focusing, remembering tasks or making it through reading an article to the end?
You just might be suffering from brain fog.
Several decades ago the term brain fog was almost unheard of, but now it’s very common. I used the term to describe how I felt much of the time…
Brain fog is a serious problem. It can affect your relationships, due to difficulty connecting. It can impact your ability to perform well at work. You might have to settle for a job that’s way under your potential and capacity because you can’t focus.
It can interfere with your ability to create your own business. Many people I have talked to have great ideas for businesses that would benefit them financially and emotionally, and also benefit the world — can’t follow through because they’re not thinking clearly enough.
Brain fog can be huge cost to your system
- Mentally because you can’t think clearly and make sound decisions at work and at home
- Financially because it gets in the way of your ability to perform to your full potential
- Emotionally because it impacts your ability to be fully present with loved ones and thus it costs you by decreasing your joy.
It’s well worth it to find out everything you can about how to get your brain fog lifted, so you can be fully present and live your life with passion and purpose.
What Causes Brain Fog?
There are a number of things that can contribute.
When you’re stressed, your body operates from your sympathetic nervous system, and the hormone cortisol is high. Cortisol is secreted by your adrenal glands when you’re in a situation where your life is threatened. And if you’re like most people, you probably tend to be in a stressed state more often than not.
For example, cortisol is triggered when you listen to the news and hear about an earthquake, or the radiation spill in Japan, or negative changes in the stock market, crime in your neighborhood and other similar themes. Then there’s dealing with the day to day of getting to work on time, dealing with traffic, taking your kids to appointments, or whatever – and it all builds up.
feels like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. One of cortisol’s functions is to actually turn off the high centers of your brain called the wizard brain (the prefrontal cortex).
Cortisol turns off the high centers of your brain so you don’t waste a lot of brain power thinking about physics problems, solving the problems of the world or financial issues, and you can focus all your attention on the back part of your brain, the lizard brain – the survival and reptilian brain that helps get you out of trouble.
The problem is, you’re not really in physical danger on a regular basis. You’re in a kind of make believe danger – fear you’ve created in your mind, and worry about things that have not happened yet. The cortisol levels are up all the time now. And that affects your brain in a tremendously negative way.
These get into your brain and irritate the myelin sheaths around your nerves, impede the production of neurotransmitters, and impair the connections and synapses. They affect your brain and the ability of the synapses to connect as rapidly as you need to do when you’re required to think.
How do toxins get into your nervous system?
Some of them come from your gut! Your gut is supposed to protect you from absorbing toxins, but this mechanism often fails because so much of the food supply is processed. Plus, many of the fats consumed have been altered, which results in damage to the cells that line your digestive tract, resulting in increased intestinal permeability, or what’s commonly known as leaky gut. Toxins leaking into the bloodstream can cause brain fog, so much so that many people tell me that after a meal, their brain went “out to lunch.
External toxins are the environmental toxins in our air, water and products we use. The cleaning supplies that you might be using, air pollution, beauty products, and so forth, are adding a toxic load to your already overloaded system.
Neurotransmitters in Your Brain
The neurotransmitters are the chemicals that fire at connections called synapses between the nerves. There are inhibitory neurotransmitters which calm and slow things down, and there are excitatory neurotransmitters which cause you to get excited, gleeful, or blissful.. The neurotransmitters require lots of B vitamins as catalysts in order to turn amino acids into neurotransmitters.
B- Vitamins Deficiency
Our food supply is very sadly lacking in B vitamins. They’ve been processed out of many foods, and if you’re not eating a very high percentage of your diet as fresh whole foods, you’re not getting enough B vitamins. On top of that, elevated stress levels also deplete your B vitamins. So even if you are doing a good job of eating whole foods but you’re also under stress, you’re still depleting those B vitamins. And, as stated above, when you can’t make enough neurotransmitters, your brain basically goes out to lunch.
Blood sugar Imbalances
Your brain runs on either glucose or ketones. For most people, it runs primarily on glucose In order for the rest of your cells to get the glucose, it has to go from your digestive tract, through your bloodstream, end enter into your cells, where your mitochondria convert it to ATP, the energy currency of your cells. .
Insulin is required for your brain cells to pick up the sugar needed to fuel your brain. Part of the brain can absorb glucose on its own, but several parts, including the pre-frontal cortex (wizard brain), hippocampus (memory), hypothalamus (regulatory center) and cerebellum (balance) all need insulin.
If you’re overproducing insulin because you’re eating too many processed foods or too many very sweet fruits (like dried fruits, fruit juices, sugars, crackers, cookies, cakes, pies, etc.), you secrete too much insulin, and this sudden influx of insulin can rapidly decrease your blood sugar. Over time, you can develop insulin resistance and/or pancreatic burnout, leaving you with high blood sugar, but low intracellular sugar, and thus brain fog.
When your blood sugar gets too low your brain doesn’t get enough fuel and that contributes to brain fog.
Over time, as you develop insulin resistance, the parts of the brain that rely on insulin will not get enough glucose for proper function, and you’ll feel foggy!
The other things that can aggravate the brain and contribute to brain fog are the inflammatory chemicals that are produced by belly fat and by insulin.
7 Simple Solutions to Clear Brain Fog
The solutions to brain fog, while seemingly simple, may take some time, practice and focus to implement, but the results are nothing short of miraculous.
1. Learn to de-stress One stress relieving practice I do myself is a simple but extremely effective process that I learned from the Institute of HeartMath. I’ve done some trainings with them; I’m a certified practitioner and I’m certified to teach their methods. Join one of our programs and get a bonus program I created called Transforming Stress, based on an awesome book of the same name from the Institute of Heartmath. This technique works astoundingly well and is scientifically proven to reduce stress…fast.
Other stress reduction techniques are meditation, tapping, yoga, and Brain Time (link ot the special with our affilaite link)
2. Let go of worrying. Turn off the news and not stop paying so much attention to every natural disaster that happens throughout the world. Turn off social media if it’s too negative and tragic. Or if you are listening to the news, balance it with also reading very uplifting types of materials and focusing your attention on really good things that are happening in the world. Change your lifestyle to include more positivity.
3. Reduce toxins and your toxic load. Clean up your diet, get rid of all refined, processed foods like white flour, sugar, and chemically-laden pre-packaged foods. Eat more fresh, whole foods instead.
4. Snack healthfully. If you’re really addicted to crunch, learn to make dehydrated crackers from vegetables and high omega-3 seeds. It’s much easier than you might think.
5. Keep your blood sugar balanced. Start by ditching sugar. Beyond the obvious white sugar, also drop the agave, honey, and maple syrup, which really wreak havoc on your blood sugar balance. Also, lesson your intake of high sugar fruits like dates and bananas. When you need to sweeten, opt for low glycemic alternatives like stevia or luo han.
Download my checklist of foods that reverse insulin resistance and decrease belly fat, brain fog and fatigue.
6. Get off gluten! If you want to do one thing; get off gluten. I have many articles on this site and others that explain why gluten is such a key contributor to brain fog, belly fat, and overall burnout in general. Try it for a few weeks, and you will be shocked at how differently you will feel. (For about 75 percent of the people I’ve worked with, just getting off gluten clears up their brains dramatically within seven days!).
7. Chew your food. Before each meal, take some time to breathe deeply, really appreciate your meal, and chew it. That will enhance your digestion so you don’t get so many of these toxins filtering through into your bloodstream.
Use these tips and you will be well on your way to lifting the foggy veil over your brain that’s keeping you from enjoying your life to the fullest!
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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Disclosure: Sometimes (but not always), when I share resources in my programs, newsletter, and on my website, I'm using an affiliate link, which means I do make money if you buy. My credibility is extremely important to me; therefore, I only endorse the products, services, and people I believe in. DrRitamarie.com is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.
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