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Published on March 18, 2021

What Is Brain Fog: Why It Happens And How To Get Over It

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What Is Brain Fog: Why It Happens And How To Get Over It

There’re several factors that can contribute to brain fog and for the purpose of this article, I will not be discussing one of those factors in particular (mental disorders) as it would become quite a lengthy article. Rather, I will be focusing on the average person in society and the challenges they (or you) may face with regards to brain fog, or simply put, a lack of mental clarity and focus.

Brain fog can come in many forms and often follows certain behaviors or circumstances that we humans find ourselves in such as lack of sleep (or low quality sleep), poor nutrition and hydration, stress, anxiety, and a number of other factors. Let’s dive into some of these in more detail!

Common Causes of Brain Fog

There’re 5 common causes of brain fog:

Lack of Sleep

One of the leading causes in my opinion, this also includes low quality sleep.

During sleep, the brain reorganizes and recharges itself, further it removes toxic waste byproducts which have accumulated throughout the day. This indicates and demonstrates that quality sleep can clear the brain (fog) and help maintain its normal functionality.

Poor Hydration

According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water.[1] This to me is a no-brainer (pun intended), and that one needs to drink water frequently in order to have high mental performance and clarity. The quality of water is also important, and I suggest natural spring water or alkaline water.

Poor Nutrition

The gut is often considered a second brain. Let’s keep this one simple in saying fast food and sugar is typically not going to yield mental clarity.

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Personally, I feel clearest when eating meals consisting of high quality protein such as salmon, steak, chicken, or in the case of a less meaty dish, I’ll load up on beans and leafy greens like spinach.

Lack of Exercise

According to Scientific America, exercise increases heart rate,[2] which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the release of hormones which provide an ideal environment for the growth of brain cells.

Additionally, exercise promotes brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in many important cortical areas of the brain.

Stress and Anxiety

Prolonged anxiety, stress, or panic attacks can cause your brain to release stress hormones on a regular basis. This can increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and depression. Needless to say brain fog follows chronic, and even acute stress or anxiety.

How to Get Over Brain Fog

There’re several approaches I personally use to get rid of brain fog, some being simple tricks or hacks and others being lifestyle adjustments. I’ll briefly touch on a few in the below breakdown. Let’s start by examining the quick hacks and then get into the lifestyle changes.

It’s important to note that supplementation can help with achieving mental clarity. I have created YouTube videos and this article about nootropics. Nootropics are an excellent way to support a lifestyle that already is conducive to mental clarity. I recommend you have a read on my previous article about brain boosters.

One of the simplest ways I have been able to overcome brain fog is by organizing. Creating lists is a great approach to organizing ones thoughts and actions. I feel much more focused after a detailed ‘to do’ listhas been created.

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I go beyond simply listing items but I create a legend of importance of those items using symbols. I use a star to indicate priority, a square box to indicate a secondary task, and a circle for quick tasks in between. Essentially, as I get through my daily or weekly list, I place a check-mark next to the completed items, or further notes if required.

1. Clean Up the Diet

The gut is comprised of 100 million neurons which is the network of nerve cells lining the digestive tract. This vast network is so extensive that it is often referred to as the ‘second brain’. This gut region of the body is technically known as the enteric nervous system, this network of neurons can often be overlooked, however it contains more nerve cells than the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system.

Poor diet can lead to inflammation of the gut, which essentially means ‘second brain fog’. Inflammation is one of the leading causes of illness and disease, and is often associated to poor eating habits as well as lack of hydration. Simply put, clean up your diet and you’ll notice remarkable clarity.

I suggest applying Intermittent Fasting at least 3 days a week and see how you feel.

Some foods to consider that can help boost your brain are fatty fish, frozen blueberries (there is an added benefit of freezing blueberries to increase the anti-oxidant properties, so I suggest giving that a shot), turmeric, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and nuts (such as walnuts). Of course all of these should be taken in moderation.

2. Sleep Better

During sleep, your brain repairs and restores itself, much like the rest of your body and its DNA and cells.

Quality sleep gives an opportunity to reduce DNA damage accumulated in the brain during wakefulness. Much research around sleep and its effects on the brain has found there is a link between sleep, chromosome dynamics, neuronal activity, and DNA damage and repair with direct physiological relevance to the entire organism.[3] Getting to sleep earlier and following a healthy circadian rhythm with quality sleep and REM cycles is of the utmost importance.

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3. Exercise Often

One of the more obvious remedies is regular exercise. There’s more than just brain boosting benefits that come with exercise.

Exercising often can enlarge the areas of the brain associated with memory, task management, coordination, planning and inhibition (the anterior cingulate cortex and the supplementary motor area).[4]

What does that mean in simple terms? Less brain fog! Exercises impact in terms of enlargement means that the developed parts of the brain function faster and more efficiently. Additionally when you exercise, oxygen flow to these areas of the brain is very beneficial.

4. Reduce Anxiety with Meditation

Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression by returning one to a more harmoneous state.

Mindfulness meditation is a wonderful practice that you can adopt whereby you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.

Other meditation practices I suggest investigating are movement meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation, and loving-kindness meditation. Personally, I have been practising meditation while in a float-tank (sensory deprivation tank), which allows me to clear the mind totally without any detraction from the senses.

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Maintaining Mental Clarity

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining mental clarity. I suggest creating a routine or habit of practising good nutrition (with Intermittent Fasting incorporated), sleeping well, and getting regular exercise. If you need help on how to build a routine, check out this article: What Is a Routine? 9 Ways to Define a Routine That Works

After a routine has been established, you can start to experiment with nootropic supplements – and I suggest afterwards because until you have set your optimal routine, there’s no need to start supplementing for those added benefits.

Mental clarity won’t come over-night, so be prepared to commit to yourself and your own personal growth going forward!

Conclusion

Keeping the mind clear and functioning optimally is not as challenging as it may seem, and in fact as the fog dissipates, the new norm becomes mental clarity.

When the mind is clear, it can best guide and direct your daily life in the direction the is conducive to your highest potential.

I wish you all the best on your journey of mental clarity and encourage you to reach out with updates and progress! You can contact me across the various social media channels and tag me in your posts.

Featured photo credit: Sage Friedman via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Adam Evans

BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in many fields including health and fitness, science, philosophy, metaphysics, religion.

7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery How to Break a Fast When You’re Intermittent Fasting 11 Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha (Backed By Science) Intermittent Fasting Diet for Beginners (The Complete Guide)

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Published on December 15, 2021

What Supplements Should I Take Daily To Stay Healthy?

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What Supplements Should I Take Daily To Stay Healthy?

Having quality nutrition every day is key to staying healthy and fit. Many people wonder if taking supplements is needed to supply their needs. The answer to this question lies in a lot of factors. Here’s the thing: there is no black and white approach when it comes to taking supplements, but if you’ve been wondering whether you need supplements or not, I will help clarify some of your concerns.

Sometimes, having too many options of supplements on the market can be overwhelming. If you’re still asking yourself what supplements to take, then keep reading.

What Supplements Should I Take?

When you reach for that bottle of vitamins or fish oil, for example, you wonder if any of these will work and if they are safe. Well, the main thing you should be asking yourself is if you need them in the first place. And the truth is, there are tons of supplements for different needs.

Our body requires all the necessary nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fat, and fiber every day. The best source for these nutrients is real food. Nothing beats having a balanced lifestyle that includes quality whole foods. But the reality is that most people are not meeting the minimum requirements of certain nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals.

Even with fiber, people struggle to eat enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, for instance. That’s why you can see many symptoms like digestive issues and lack of energy.

Supplements come into the picture to help your body meet all the necessary nutrients. They also help avoid any deficiency. Supplements can even strengthen your body and enhance your metabolism. There are many benefits of taking supplements. The answer to whether you’ll need to take them depends on many other things.

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Should I Invest in Supplements?

Before I suggest a list of the types of supplements you should take, this is what you should bear in mind. Supplements are just an aid to a healthy eating lifestyle. In other words, you should always aim to eat healthier, vary your plate, and have enough whole foods in your diet. That is crucial to ensure that you are meeting at least the minimum nutrient requirements.

You shouldn’t invest in supplements to get your main nutrition. Always focus on quality foods before you supplement your diet. Now, supplements can reinforce what you’re lacking in your eating lifestyle. Because of that, I love to always have some sort of multivitamin complex.

In general, if you have a proper eating lifestyle, it’s not mandatory to invest in supplements. However, there are specific cases, for example, pregnant women, in which we recommend taking supplements. Always make sure that you check with your doctor or nutritionist before taking any form of supplement.

Why Do I Need Supplements? Which Ones Are Important?

Below are the most common reasons why you may need to take supplements and which ones you should try.

1. Restricting Eating Lifestyles

As a nutritionist, I rarely recommend anyone going through a restrictive diet. In fact, I discourage it altogether. The best thing is that you embrace a balanced eating lifestyle since this is the way to ensure you stay at a healthy weight and have a good metabolism. That’s the reason why I don’t like removing entire food groups from people’s diets.

However, I also understand diverse eating lifestyles. For example, there is a vast majority of people that are actively changing to a vegan lifestyle. If you’re a raw vegan or strictly plant-based, you may need to supplement certain vitamins. Because animal foods like dairy, certain meats, and poultry have essential vitamins and minerals like B12, iron, and folic acid, then you may have less intake of these in plant-based foods. There is much debate in this area related to plant-based diets, but basically, experts recommend taking supplements.

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As I said about restrictive diets, eliminating entire food groups can cause you to suffer certain problems like lack of energy, constipation, less muscle, and lower brain function.[1] Before you try any type of diet out there, make sure you have a better relationship with food and check with a health professional. Overall, a good multivitamin complex should be good enough to supply all your needs. Go for the ones that provide vitamin B complex and minerals like iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

2. Reinforcing Nutrient Intake

It’s true that eating the right foods is essential for your body. Apart from that, certain processed foods, like dairy, cereals, and others are fortified with certain vitamins and minerals. Take advantage of these types of healthy foods as well.

If you feel like you could lack a certain nutrient, then taking multivitamins is a good option. Not only because it will help you meet your goals, but it will also ensure that your body has more energy and better performance. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with taking a supplement to reinforce your healthy eating lifestyle. Apart from multivitamins, you could also take fiber supplements in case you struggle with digestive issues or you feel like you’re not eating enough plant-based foods.

3. Special Conditions

There are certain cases or stages in life when you may need to take supplements. For instance, pregnant women require higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, like iron and folic acid.[2] Elderly people should also consume some supplements since their body absorbs less nutrients compared to younger people.[3] That’s why certain protein drinks, multivitamins, and omega-3 are prescribed to this age group. Also, people who have certain chronic health problems or underwent surgery may need supplements.

Women going through menopause are also often required to take supplements.[4] If you belong to this age group, you may need to talk to your doctor about supplements to balance off your hormone levels. Remember that not all supplements are made equally, and some ingredients may have side effects. This is especially true if you’re on prescriptions. Always check first.

4. Fitness Goals

Who doesn’t want to boost their fitness results? People that train at the gym often ask if they need to have protein supplements. It all goes down to the basics: eat healthily and put that as a priority. However, you can also take supplements based on your goals.

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Whether you want to burn some fat, build muscle, or are an athlete, supplements can reinforce and speed up your results. But here’s the thing: you should always do it the right way and not rely only on supplements for fitness results. Everything goes hand in hand, and it’s a matter of balance and moderation.

Now, here are some supplements you can take to improve your muscle performance, growth, and fat burn:[5]

  • Whey protein
  • L-glutamine
  • Branch chain amino acids
  • Multi-vitamin complex and fish oil
  • MCT oil

These supplements, coupled with a good diet, help provide steady muscle development, shed fat, and keep a healthy metabolism for better results. You have to be active to see their benefits, though. This will ensure your body is using up the nutrients effectively and not stored as fat.

There are some other great supplements made to boost energy levels and increase muscle efficiency. Here are some examples:[6]

  • Guaraná
  • Gingko biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Creatine
  • Citrulline

These are natural energy boosters. Caffeine also does a good job when it comes to improving your energy levels. These supplements should be a compliment to a healthy diet, or if you struggle with low energy performance when working out.

Speaking of energy, sometimes, simple lifestyle habits like sleeping better can make a huge difference in how you feel. So, make sure you are also working on these other areas of your life and not relying exclusively on supplements.

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5. Beauty and Self-Care

You can also find supplements for personal care. Some help to enhance your skin health, others are for hair and nails growth.

For example, collagen and multivitamins are commonly used for beauty and skincare. Because collagen is our skin’s main protein, we need to ensure our body has enough to stay glowing and healthy. Collagen also has powerful effects on skin beauty and anti-aging. You can easily add this protein to your drinks and foods to enhance your own skin’s collagen.[7]

If you didn’t know, adding collagen to your regimen after you’re 25 can help slow down the effects of aging. At that age, our skin produces less collagen, and we lose skin elasticity. Therefore, it’s a nice addition to your supplements and skincare routine.

Final Thoughts

You should always aim to have a healthy eating regimen before thinking about what supplements you need. Second, assess what are your lifestyle and health goals. Also, determine if your health and/or fitness condition requires you to add supplements.

Remember that your objective is to get enough protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. If your diet lacks any of these, look for an assessment on how to get these nutrients.

More Tips on Taking Supplements

Featured photo credit: Mika Baumeister via unsplash.com

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Reference

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