A recent large study done in the Netherlands found that rates of mental fatigue and brain fog in adults over the age of 25 have increased by 24% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But just what is mental fatigue and what causes it? In this post, we'll delve into the answers to these questions. Then we'll explore some of the best supplements for brain fog, so that you can take steps to address brain fog syndrome.
What is Brain Fog and What Does Brain Fog Feel Like?
Sometimes called mental fatigue, brain fog is the casual term for a set of symptoms that negatively affect your ability to think clearly. Most people experience brain fog at some point in their lives, and when it happens for a brief period and only occasionally, it may not be cause for concern. However, persistent brain fog can impact your performance at work and school, interfere with relationships, and complicate daily living tasks.
Each person may experience mental fatigue differently, but here are some of the primary symptoms of brain fog to look for:
Mild Cognitive Dysfunction
During an episode of brain fog, you may find it difficult to complete mental tasks that are ordinarily simple for you. For example, you may struggle to add numbers together in your head or you overlook typos in documents that you would normally catch.
Confusion can be one of the most alarming mental fatigue symptoms. You may find yourself struggling to understand complicated concepts or become confused when attempting to multitask. Confusion caused by memory fog may also make it harder for you to stay organized.
Often, brain fog causes memory issues. You may forget deadlines at work or find yourself missing important appointments. Misplacing objects, struggling to recall information you once knew and having difficulty putting names to faces can also be signs of mental fatigue-related forgetfulness.
Lack of Focus and Mental Clarity
If you're experiencing brain fog, you may feel as if your thoughts are jumbled or muddled. You may struggle to pay attention, even during tasks that you usually enjoy, or find it challenging to tune out distractions at work.
What Causes Brain Fog?
In some cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint one specific cause of brain fog. Often, the problem arises due to an array of factors. The following are some of the most common causes of brain fog that may be at play:
Physiological Changes from Aging
As we age, our brains undergo many changes. It’s overall size decreases, and tissues within the brain begin to break down or atrophy. As a result, the number of neurons in the brain, available to relay impulses that power thinking, decreases.
During periods of chronic stress, levels of hormones like cortisol become abnormally elevated, impacting many parts of the body. In the brain, chronic stress can trigger inflammation and negatively impact signaling between neurons. There is even evidence to suggest that sustained stress can rewire the brain, increasing activity in the primitive areas of the mind while reducing activity in the parts responsible for higher cognition.
Overworking can cause stress that negatively impacts the brain. In addition, too much work has emotional impacts that often lead to mental burnout and make it more difficult for people to think clearly and focus on the job.
Lack of Sleep
Brain fog is a key symptom of a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality. When you fail to get 7 to 9 hours of quality rest daily, you're more likely to develop mental fatigue.
Not getting enough daily fluids can make it difficult for the mind to function properly. Dehydration and associated brain fog can also occur if you experience diarrhea and vomiting due to an illness, medical condition, or profuse sweating due to hot temperatures and/or physical exertion.
Brain fog and mental fatigue are common hormonal imbalance symptoms. Women often experience brain fog due to hormonal changes that take place during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Medical conditions that lead to hormonal irregularities like thyroid disease can also trigger brain fog. If you are aware that you have such a condition, speaking to your medical provider about how to remedy the hormonal imbalance can often help.
A variety of medical conditions can cause brain fog. Many people with anxiety and depression experience mental fatigue - the problem is also associated with multiple sclerosis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome and other conditions. Some medications can also trigger brain fog.
Low levels of vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients can also lead to brain fog.
How to Get Rid of Brain Fog
Treatment for brain fog often requires a multi-faceted approach. If an underlying medical condition is responsible for the issue, treatment may begin with addressing the underlying condition. For brain fog not associated with health problems, the following are some potential solutions:
* Lifestyle changes: Taking steps to limit stress by modifying your lifestyle can often help ease mental fatigue.
* Prioritize sleep: As previously mentioned, consistently getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night can support brain health.
* Balanced and nutritious diet: Eating food high in polyphenols and omega 3 foods can be effective. Some examples include nuts, blueberries, leafy greens, avocados, and fatty fish.
* Regular exercise: The benefits of regular exercise go beyond strengthening the heart and lungs, easing stress, and supporting mental clarity.
* Moderate caffeine and alcohol intake: Both caffeine and alcohol can worsen brain fog, so enjoy them in moderation.
Vitamins for Memory and Brain Fog
Supplements for brain fog can help address dietary deficiencies and promote improved cognition. If you're looking for a supplement for brain fog, the following are some options to consider:
What are polyphenols?: Polyphenols are plant compounds that function as antioxidants, breaking down reactive compounds that drive the aging process. Polyphenol benefits include addressing inflammation and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
Common polyphenol foods: Grapes, blueberries, cherries, blackberries, and spinach.
What are carotenoids?: Another type of antioxidant found in plants, carotenoids give plants and algae their orange, yellow and red colors. Due to potential carotenoid benefits, medical providers often recommend them for promoting eye health.
Foods with carotenoids: Yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables such as pumpkins, carrots, squash, and tomatoes.
What are omega 3s?: Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats that include EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). These nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to lower the likelihood of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Foods with omega 3s: Edamame, walnuts, ground flaxseed, and fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and herring.
Some other vitamins and supplements that may help ease brain fog include:
* Vitamin C: An antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables that fights the effects of oxidative stress on cells in the brain and the body.
* Vitamin D: An essential vitamin produced in response to sunlight and found in some fermented foods. Studies show that a lack of vitamin D can cause brain fog.
* L-theanine: An amino acid derived from green and black tea that may help protect the body from stress and has been shown to improve attention and shorten reaction time.
* Ginseng: A supplement derived from the root of the ginseng plant that may offer stress protective benefits and promote increased memory and cognition.
Benefit from the Best Nootropics for Brain Fog
As you can see, there are many supplements for memory and brain fog, but that doesn't mean that you need to take multiple vitamins per day to address mental fog's causes and symptoms. Body Kitchen Exeed Mind simplifies supplementation with a blend of some of the best supplements for memory and brain fog. Each serving delivers:
* Memophenol: A blend of whole grape and blueberry flavonoids that are optimized to cross the blood-brain barrier and provide a dose of protective polyphenols.
* Innovatea: Non-GMO caffeine derived from sustainably grown tea leaves that have undergone a fermentation process.
* Cocoa bean: A polyphenol-rich extract that has been used since ancient times to combat physical and mental fatigue.
* Lutemax 20/20 Lutein: A patented blend of carotenoids derived from marigolds.
Together, these ingredients may help ease symptoms of mental fog and support five key factors of cognition:
* Visual acuity
With Body Kitchen Exeed Mind, you can benefit from some of the best vitamins for brain fog with just two veggie capsules per day. Learn more about our supplements today and talk to your healthcare provider about whether you would benefit from nootropics for brain fog.