How to Get Rid of Brain Fog
Are you feeling like your brain is stuck in a fog? Are you struggling to remember things or stay focused on your daily tasks?
In today’s fast-paced world, many of us encounter the frustrating phenomenon known as “brain fog”. While not a proper medical diagnosis, it’s a term used for symptoms that affect your ability to think clearly and process information well.
Interestingly, the root cause of brain fog isn’t necessarily in the brain. For most people, it actually starts in the gut.
The good news is, you can actually take simple, practical steps to clear brain fog so you can boost your energy levels, regain productivity, and have the kind of mental clarity you want!
So let’s explore this key question: What is brain fog—and how exactly do you get rid of it?
Symptoms of Brain Fog
Brain fog is a state of mental cloudiness that hampers our ability to concentrate, remember, and think clearly.
It can manifest in various ways, and specific signs may vary from person to person.
However, some common indicators of brain fog include:
- Difficulty concentrating: Trouble focusing on tasks, staying engaged, or experiencing a short attention span
- Memory problems: Difficulty recalling information, forgetfulness, or experiencing lapses in short-term or long-term memory
- Mental fatigue: Feeling mentally exhausted, even after minimal cognitive effort, and finding it challenging to sustain mental energy levels throughout the day
- Slowed cognitive processing: Taking longer to process information, experiencing a delay in understanding or responding to stimuli, or feeling mentally sluggish
- Lack of clarity: Feeling mentally clouded, confused, or having a general sense of haziness or “fogginess” in your thoughts
- Decreased productivity: Finding it difficult to accomplish tasks efficiently or struggling to generate ideas and problem-solve effectively
- Disrupted sleep patterns: Experiencing difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling unrefreshed, which can contribute to cognitive impairment and brain fog
- Mood swings: Feeling irritable, anxious, or experiencing mood fluctuations without an apparent cause (or perhaps you attribute it to lack of sleep!)
- Decreased mental flexibility: Finding it challenging to switch between tasks or adapt to new situations, which can impact problem-solving abilities
- Lack of motivation: Experiencing reduced drive, enthusiasm, or interest in activities that were once enjoyable, potentially leading to decreased productivity and engagement
Who Experiences Brain Fog?
If you experience brain fog, you’re definitely not alone.
This is a widespread problem happening to more people than you know. You see, humans tend to keep quiet about this when it’s happening, because there’s a lot of shame and frustration associated with it.
So chances are, your friends are experiencing it too, but they’re not talking about it!
There’s actually been an uptick in brain fog related to long COVID—and many studies are being conducted about this right now.
Brain Fog and the Microbiome
While several factors contribute to brain fog, recent scientific studies about the gut-brain axis demonstrate the relationship between the gut microbiome and cognitive function.
The gut microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms, including “good” and “bad” bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes. These microorganisms play a crucial role in digestion, immune function, and nutrient absorption.
And now, research is showing that the gut directly impacts brain function as well.
An imbalanced microbiome may trigger inflammation, oxidative stress, and the release of harmful metabolites, leading to the manifestation of brain fog symptoms.
Additionally, imbalances in the microbiome can affect the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play vital roles in mood regulation and cognitive performance.
Plus, when you experience dysbiosis (bacterial imbalances and function within the gut) your toxic load increases, which makes it harder for every single system inside your body to function.
In fact, brain fog is a common symptom of “leaky brain”—which can happen when the lining of your digestive tract becomes porous, allowing toxins to enter your bloodstream and spread throughout the body, including to the brain!
This means one of the best ways to overcome brain fog is to heal your gut—which helps you heal your mitochondria, the tiny organisms responsible for producing energy in your cells.
How to Get Rid of Brain Fog
The good news is you don’t need to accept brain fog as your fate, even as you get older. You can regain mental clarity through simple yet effective strategies before you find yourself with a more serious medical condition.
As you work toward healing your gut, several positive changes may occur, leading to improved overall health and well-being.
For example, many people experience:
- Enhanced mental clarity
- Fewer digestive issues
- Enhanced immune function
- Improved mental well-being
- Increased energy levels
- Clearer skin
- Healthy weight release
- Better moods and productivity
Healing the gut is a gradual process and results may vary from person to person, but because the microbiome acts as the engine and “the second brain” of the body, taking steps to eliminate toxins and restore your digestive health is a great first step if you’re experiencing brain fog.
Before you begin any sort of detox protocol, the first thing to do is to open your internal drainage pathways. If you don’t, all the effort you’re making to clear out the toxins impacting your microbiome (and therefore your brain) will simply continue to swirl around inside you.
Once you open those pathways for toxins to leave, you can use these 10 fun and easy strategies to kick that brain fog to the curb:
- Prioritize Restful Sleep
I know, I know, you’re busy and there just isn’t enough time in the day. But one of the most vital steps you can take toward mental clarity is ensuring enough sleep. Lack of sleep impairs cognitive function, focus, and contributes to brain fog.
Establish a soothing bedtime routine, detach from electronic devices, and create a peaceful sleep environment to nurture restful sleep. Aim for a consistent seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- Energize Your Mind with Exercise
I can see you rolling your eyes right now. You’re thinking, “I hate exercising!” But did you know that even 10 minutes of high-impact exercise a day not only benefits your physical health but also invigorates your mind and promotes mental clarity?
Find an activity you actually enjoy (and no, you don’t have to be a 5 a.m. crossfitter to see results). Activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cardio yoga will skyrocket your energy levels, increase blood flow to the brain, and stimulate endorphin release and cognitive function.
- Nourish Your Mind and Body
A healthy, well-balanced diet plays a vital role in maintaining mental clarity. Certain nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are important for your brain’s health. So skip the pre-made convenience food, and grab some fatty fish, berries, and leafy greens instead.
Opt for wholesome, nutrient-dense foods packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Be sure to emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats—and don’t forget to hydrate yourself adequately throughout the day. Even mild dehydration can contribute to brain fog and cognitive decline.
- Master Stress Management
Let’s be honest, we all have stress in our lives. But did you know that chronic stress shrinks your brain function and can even cause mental health issues?
Because chronic stress adversely affects mental clarity, finding effective stress management techniques is crucial.
Practicing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, pursuing hobbies, or spending time in nature are all ways to alleviate brain fog-inducing stress.
Another key way to increase your mental well-being is to prioritize self-care. Create a routine that brings you peace and restores you—body, mind, and soul.
Literally put your self-care time into your calendar and treat it as sacred—as important as you would a client meeting or doctor appointment.
- Stay Socially Connected
You know that song “Lean on Me”? Well, sometimes in our lives, we really need somebody to lean on. And not just for fun times, but because our health and well-being depend on it.
Did you know people who connect with a community of other people actually live longer? Social interaction is proven to have positive effects on brain function, so stay connected with friends and family or maybe join a new club or organization.
And P.S. the boost of oxytocin you get from being around other people will not only help you stay energized, but it can even help increase your metabolism, fortify your immune system, and stimulate weight release.
- Embrace Mindfulness
Mindfulness means different things for different people. But one thing is for sure: mindful behaviors have been shown to improve brain function and reduce stress.
Maybe you prefer to read scripture before you start your day. Or journal what you’re grateful for before you go to bed. Maybe it’s meditation or breathing exercises. Choose whatever works for you.
By integrating short breaks into your day, you make space to revitalize your brain.
- Stimulate Your Brain
Just as physical activity strengthens the body, mental exercise is essential for maintaining cognitive function. Neurological studies show that engaging in mentally stimulating activities like puzzles or learning a new skill can help improve brain function and prevent cognitive decline.
So bust out that Sudoku book gathering dust in the corner, learn how to play an instrument, start studying a foreign language, take a dance class, or sign up for that cooking class. It’ll help sweep out that brain fog—and add more fun to your life!
- Don’t Forget Your Supplements
While implementing lifestyle changes is essential for combating the underlying cause of brain fog, sometimes a little extra support is needed. Supplements play a beneficial role in enhancing mental clarity and reducing brain fog.
Adding fish oil, reishi mushrooms, ashwagandha, or ginkgo biloba to your daily regimen may have benefits for brain function and provide the nutrients and compounds needed to support cognitive function, improve focus, and eliminate brain fog.
Note: Before incorporating any supplements into your routine, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider.
- Bag the Booze (and wine)
Depending on your genetics, liver function, and current toxic load, alcohol can have serious negative effects on brain function and overall health, including sleep disorders.
You already know that alcohol is dehydrating and causes inflammation, but did you know it also creates neurotransmitter issues? Alcohol affects the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate. GABA slows down brain activity, while glutamate increases brain activity, so when you consume alcohol, you increase the effects of GABA and inhibit glutamate. This combination leads to a general slowing down of brain function, which can contribute to brain fog and a sense of cognitive impairment.
Weaning yourself off that nightly glass of wine may seem impossible, but there are plenty of options out there for non-alcoholic beverages—and some even include good-for-you probiotics on their list of ingredients.
If you’re a regular drinker, your body may have an adverse reaction at first, but it will subside over time. It could take up to three months to see a difference in your energy levels.
- Seek Professional Support
If you’re experiencing significant cognitive decline, low energy levels, or other health conditions, don’t hesitate to seek help from a practitioner who specializes in helping you find the underlying cause of your symptoms.
Working with a functional medicine practitioner offers you the fastest, most permanent solution to more energy, better brain power, and clarity of thought.
Not only do we work with you to understand what you’re experiencing and achieve your health goals, we have a few tricks up our sleeve that your general practitioner likely doesn’t.
For example, gut testing.
The way this works is, a microbiome testing kit gets delivered to you in the mail. You return a stool sample, and within one to two weeks, you receive a very detailed report of exactly what’s happening inside your digestive tract.
From which parasites you’re carrying, to the exact levels of “good” and “bad” bacteria inside you, to how well your immune system is functioning, a gut test is one of our best tools to know what’s happening to you, so we can create a highly targeted, custom gut healing protocol for you and your unique make-up.
If brain fog is holding you back—there is a solution. And I’ll help you create a custom plan of action just for you.
Stop DIYing your health—let’s work together to clear that brain fog once and for all!
Take Good Care,