Memory & Brain Fog
Very often, women notice that they constantly feel fatigued, distracted, moody, or just plainly “off” when they enter the age of menopause. Many of these women say their partners complain that they have become forgetful or are not present or focused at times. It’s such a disconcerting feeling for those who’ve been sharp and witty in the past. So if you’re experiencing some kind of a ‘brain fog’, this warrants some attention so that you can regain your attentiveness, composure, and vitality.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog is a broad term used to describe dysfunctions in learning, memory and focus that usually result in brief episodes of disorientation, confusion, and disappointment. While it isn’t a medical condition itself, brain fog can be a symptom of other ailments or medical issues. This cognitive dysfunction usually involves memory problems or lack of mental clarity and is a common source of anxiety for older individuals.
What are the symptoms of brain fog?
Suffering from brain fog is basically the opposite of feeling level-headed, calm, optimistic and motivated. Brain fog can easily rob you of inspiration and happiness while increasing the likelihood of anxiety and depression. It’s likely that brain fog is rooted in a lifestyle that promotes inflammation and hormonal imbalance. In most cases, brain fog is also exacerbated by stress.
Common brain fog symptoms include:
- low energy or fatigue
- forgetfulness and trouble concentrating or remembering information
- headaches, anxiety, cloudiness, confusion and difficulty in communicating effectively
- low motivation, feeling hopeless or mildly depressed
- trouble sleeping through the night or insomnia
Brain health depends on many factors such as a steady stream of vitamins and minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids and glucose from complex carbohydrates. It also requires sufficient water intake as well as adequate rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, our current fast-paced lifestyles are not helping the situation at all.
Why do we experience brain fog?
There are a few common and reversible reasons why people experience memory problems or brain fog. These include:
- nutrient deficiencies
- sugar overload (bacterial overgrowth in the gut)
- lack of sleep
- high amounts of stress
- depleted energy levels
- inflammatory diets
- sedentary lifestyle
- hormonal imbalances
- no time out or lack of rest breaks
- overstretched routines (work, exercise, socialising, demands and expectations)
Can hormonal imbalance cause brain fog?
On a cellular level, brain fog is believed to be caused by high levels of inflammation and changes to the three primary hormones that determine your mood, energy and focus – dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. Often called the body’s primary ‘stress hormone’, cortisol helps keep you awake and alert while dopamine and serotonin help keep you joyful, motivated and calm.
The brain and the entire body rely on a complex symphony of hormones that work to keep one another in check. So when levels of one hormone either fall too low or climb too high, the whole system can be thrown off. Examples of such are when serotonin drops due to very low carb intake or when cortisol increases due to stressful moments like worrying over money matters. Rebalancing your production of these chemicals helps put you back on track for better brain function.
What can you do to address memory problems and brain fog?
If you’re getting adequate sleep but are still struggling with brain fog symptoms such as prolonged fatigue and low motivation, it’s a good idea to check on the quality of your diet. Nutrient deficiencies, coupled with sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and caffeine overload, can majorly impact brain function. While these stimulants initially make us feel alert, inspired and energised, they will further tax the body and create a deficit in our health.
Poor mental capacity is a symptom of insufficient resources for the brain to function smoothly. Underpinning your happy hormone production in the brain is the quality of your diet and the health of the gut, liver, digestive and excretory systems. Besides making lifestyle changes, you need to address dietary insufficiencies, toxic load, bacterial overgrowth, inflammation and hormone imbalance to ensure a clean surge of nutrients, energy and oxygen is delivered to the brain.