7 Possible Causes of Brain Fog

The term might feel obscure to anyone who’s never experienced it before, but those of us who have suffered from brain fog understand the intense impact it can have on a person. Getting through it can be frustrating enough, but when the cause is unclear, we might find ourselves desperate for answers as days grind on and on and we find ourselves unable to function.

Pinpointing the source is important because it’s the first step in finding options for relief. No one should have to live life in a haze that's a strange combination of mentally exhausted and completely drained at once. Check out these possible causes of brain fog to see if there’s a solution that can help.

Pinpointing the Source of Brain Fog

Because brain fog is often vague and nonspecific to doctors, finding the cause isn’t always straightforward. We may need to consider several avenues before the right one becomes clear. Here are a few directions to look:

  1. Anxiety can affect us in physical ways, including obstructing our ability to concentrate. 
  2. Changes in hormones can dull memory and mental acuity. Hypothyroidism and menopause are common culprits. These changes may also impact mood.
  3. Poor sleep quality can take the wind out of anyone’s sails. Healthline explains that sleep deprivation affects our brain cells’ ability to communicate with one another, slowing down our mental processing time.
  4. Unhealthy diets can affect our brain functioning, as can eating foods or additives to which we’re sensitive. Common offenders may include peanuts, dairy products, MSG and aspartame. People with Celiac disease often notice brain fog after consuming gluten.
  5. Autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and similar inflammatory conditions often affect mental functioning. Additionally, diabetes can affect the brain via unhealthy fluctuations in blood sugar.
  6. Fibromyalgia causes this condition so often that sufferers have their own term: “fibro fog.”
  7. Certain infections, such as Lyme disease, COVID-19 and select viruses, can seriously impair mental functioning.

Finding Solutions

Relief begins with gaining a better handle on the causes behind our brain fog — though in some cases, there may be more than one. Consider the different possibilities that might apply and the ways to combat each. For example, find strategies to tackle stress more effectively and improve sleep habits. See a doctor to rule out medical causes, including nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.

According to Harvard Health, we can improve our mental acuity by engaging in activities that keep our minds busy. Reading, doing crossword puzzles and getting involved in creative efforts all work the brain in ways that exercise our functioning. They may not turn us all into geniuses, but they might help to lift at least some of the fog, especially if we’re actively addressing other underlying causes. Other ideas that have helped some include time in nature, daily exercise, and looking for vitamin deficiencies.

Brain fog can be a disruptive force, but there may be ways to reduce its effects. Options might vary depending on the cause, but they’re out there, so don’t give up if the right approach doesn’t come immediately. There are people who have overcome this debilitating challenge. Just don't give up.

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6/20/2022 4:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
Wellness Exists to Empower Health Conscious Consumers. Wellness.com helps people live healthier, happier and more successful lives by connecting them with the best health, wellness and lifestyle information and resources on the web.
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