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What is Brain Fog?

Written by Ally Streelman

NowRx Pharmacy

Brain fog can be a frustrating feeling of loss of mental clarity and inability to focus. You may have experienced brain fog and not known there was a name for this feeling.

But what is brain fog exactly, what causes it, and most importantly, how can you get rid of it and get back to feeling your best?

We’ll answer these questions below.  

Brain Fog 

Brain fog is a common side effect of many underlying conditions. In and of itself, however, brain fog isn’t a syndrome. But for anyone who has experienced it persistently or at all, it can certainly feel like a sickness that’s tough to shake.

Brain fog is a mental “fogginess” and all that comes with that—lack of clarity, focus, and ability to make decisions or remember things.  

You’ve probably experienced this before, maybe when you’ve had the flu, a headache, or a poor night’s sleep. Any of these could lead to brain fog, but there are other causes as well. 

What Causes Brain Fog?

Brain fog is caused by a number of things, including both lifestyle factors and medical conditions. In terms of medical conditions, brain fog can result from infectious diseases, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), chemotherapy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, diabetes, and neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, among others

While it can be the result of disease, brain fog is often due to a combination of causes. For example, fatigue is one of the most common triggers associated with brain fog. But fatigue could be a result of a lack of sleep, stress, depression, Covid-19 and other viral infections, or any combination of these things. 

Other causes of brain fog include hormonal changes such as pregnancy (think “pregnancy brain”), perimenopause, and hypothyroidism, nutritional deficiencies, imbalanced blood sugar, and certain medications.  

Brain fog symptoms

People who experience brain fog often describe the symptoms as feeling forgetful or cloudy and having difficulty focusing, thinking, and communicating. Other symptoms could include mental fatigue and trouble multitasking.

These symptoms can undoubtedly negatively impact how someone functions and feels about themselves. For these reasons, it’s important to pinpoint the cause or causes of one’s brain fog and address them head-on. 

COVID Brain Fog

What’s called “COVID brain fog” is a neuropsychiatric symptom of the COVID-19 virus. Similar to brain fog not caused by COVID infection, the symptoms are described as diminished focus and mental clarity, forgetfulness, mental fatigue, difficulty making decisions, and multi-tasking. 

As discussed above, brain fog is often the result of multiple conditions. In a study of COVID-19 patients who experienced brain fog, the feeling was associated with fatigue, sleep disorders, depression, and anxiety.

How long does brain fog last? 

Brain fog can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months. It all depends on the individual cause of brain fog. For instance, COVID brain fog can persist months after infection. Many who have experienced the lasting impact of brain fog and other COVID-19 symptoms call this “Long-COVID.”

Months of brain fog can be particularly debilitating, affecting one’s work, social life, and confidence. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Keep scrolling to learn how to get rid of brain fog and soon feel more like yourself.  

How to get rid of brain fog

If you’re experiencing brain fog, first ask yourself, “why do I have brain fog?” Did you start taking a new medication, or have you altered your diet or supplement routine? Do you feel sick or stressed? Are you getting enough sleep?

There may be multiple reasons why you’re feeling foggy and by identifying one or a few of the culprits you can get rid of brain fog fast.

Here are a few general tips that can help.

Get more sleep

Sleep offers our brains and bodies a chance to recover, which is critical for those experiencing brain fog or mental fatigue. By simply getting more and better quality sleep, you can help reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and thus, reduce brain fog.

Exercise

Exercise is a remedy for all sorts of symptoms and conditions, including brain fog. Not only can exercise improve sleep quality, but it can also regulate blood sugar levels and improve cognitive function. Aim for 30 minutes a day, but start slow, if necessary, and work up to this amount.  

Supplement your diet

Nutritional deficiencies, particularly a deficiency in vitamin B-12, can lead to brain fog. Thankfully, it’s easy to incorporate vitamin B-12 supplements into your routine. 

There are other supplements for brain fog to consider as well. Magnesium, for instance, may help reduce some of the causes of brain fog. It has anti-depressive effects and could also help reduce anxiety. Additionally, taking turmeric may help prevent many diseases that lead to brain fog. 

Before altering your diet or adding supplements, talk to your doctor.

Boost your mood

Practicing positivity can also help clear brain fog. And there are several ways to do so! Whether exercising, journaling, meditating, or engaging in social activities, find what boosts your mood and practice it daily. 

Diagnose brain fog with your doctor

If you aren’t sure why you have brain fog or can’t seem to get rid of brain fog, talk to your healthcare provider. Discuss not only brain fog but any other symptoms you’re experiencing as well. Your physician can then help pinpoint the underlying cause and suggest ways to reduce brain fog.

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