Feeling foggy? Maybe a bit out of it, like you can’t remember why you walked into a room? Brain fog might be the culprit. Moon Juice Founder Amanda Chantal Bacon sat down with Uma Naidoo, MD, nutritional psychiatrist and author of This is Your Brain on Food, to get her take on brain fog.
“People have this sort of languishing feeling,” Dr. Naidoo says. “You're not focusing well. You're having low energy and fatigue. You’re foggy. Your mood is not great. It’s like you're not getting back to being yourself.”
If this all sounds familiar, read on to better understand what might be causing your brain fog symptoms, as well as the best vitamins and supplements for brain fog to help you get your mental focus back.
What Causes Brain Fog?
Brain fog is still a bit mysterious, but we’re starting to better understand the causes of brain fog.
It’s suspected that brain fog occurs due to inflammation in the brain, causing a decline in cognitive performance with symptoms like a lack of mental focus, inhibited memory recall, inability to multitask, and poor concentration. Hormonal imbalances, inadequate diet, digestive imbalances, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, chronic stress, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle concerns may cause brain fog. It could also be triggered by underlying health conditions like celiac disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid issues, and certain autoimmune disorders.
Best Supplements for Brain Fog
When addressing mental fog, you’ll want to seek out vitamins, minerals, and other substances that help to support cognitive function and lessen feelings of stress. Dr. Naidoo suggests supplements and vitamins, and also getting these essential nutrients from foods to help with brain fog. This can help to support brain health, improve mental clarity, and diminish the symptoms of brain fog.
Here are her top recommendations for supplements for brain fog:
“Green tea is rich in two antioxidants, which are L-Theanine and EGCG,” Dr. Naidoo says. Studies show that taking L-Theanine for brain fog improves reaction time and memory recall. “What I like about green tea is that it can give you a bit of an uplift, without the buzz of a cup of coffee or an espresso, so I think green tea is another great solution to kind of create that level of alertness that you want to feel.”
Magnesium is another popular natural remedy for brain fog. Taking Magnesium for brain fog helps to supplement your body’s natural supply, because many people are lacking in this essential mineral. Low Magnesium levels lead to increased feelings of stress and diminished cognitive function; in turn, studies show that supplementing with Magnesium is essential for healthy brain function and can improve feelings of low mood, as well as many of the other brain fog symptoms.
“Luteolin is an antioxidant that has been shown to help brain fog,” Dr. Naidoo says. Studies show benefits of taking Luteolin for brain fog, as it helps to reduce inflammation in the brain and improve cognitive performance as a result. While you can supplement with Luteolin, Dr. Naidoo also recommends incorporating Luteolin-rich foods into your diet. “It's in things like juniper berries, fresh peppermint, sage, thyme, hot and sweet peppers, celery, and parsley,” she explains.
Phosphatidylserine, an endogenous phospholipid found naturally in the brain, is imperative for healthy cognitive function. Studies show that Phosphatidylserine from supplement sources crosses the blood-brain barrier and supports both long-term and short-term memory formation and retention. You can also find Phosphatidylserine from certain food sources, Dr. Naidoo says. “I go to food sources like white beans, pastured eggs, and grass-fed dairy.”
Citicoline is a substance found naturally in the brain that aids in synthesizing neurotransmitters. Studies show that taking a citicoline brain supplement may have neuroprotective effects and help to protect against cognitive decline, maintaining your mental performance. Dr. Naidoo recommends supplementing with citicoline or getting it from food sources, such as grass-fed beef (specifically beef liver) and egg yolks.
The treatment for brain fog is still new (and the condition itself is, as the name implies, a bit foggy) but with the right supplements and diet, you can improve your symptoms. “Remember it's a marathon, not a sprint,” Dr. Naidoo says. “Including these vitamins and minerals in your diet will hopefully help with fatigue and brain fog.”
Dr. Naidoo is also optimistic about the research surrounding brain fog, which allows us to better understand and treat the condition. “I feel we'll be able to find more solutions over time.”
If you’re looking for a cognitive supplement to boost your mental performance, consider adding Brain Dust to your daily routine. This natural focus supplement is packed with Organic Lion’s Mane, Maca Root, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and a number of other adaptogens to help with mental clarity, alertness, and mental stamina.
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