Email to a friend
By Lawrence Wilson M.D.
Brain fog includes symptoms of forgetfulness, spaciness, feelings of confusion and inability to focus and think clearly. Many people have been this way for most of their life and think this is normal. Brain fog can be due to hypoglycemia, candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue, food reactions, nutrient deficiencies, mineral toxicity, liver, kidney or bowel toxicity, poor oxygenation, structural misalignments, medications, genetics and other causes. Let us examine the causes.
Hypoglycemia can cause starvation of the brain for fuel. The brain uses about one-third of all our calories. Unlike the muscles, the brain does not store any fuel. Therefore, it must have a continuous supply. If for any reason the supply varies, it is like someone varying the voltage on a delicate computer or other piece of equipment.
Common symptoms are confusion, irritability and forgetfulness and blackouts. One patient called me during a hypoglycemic episode. She couldn?t remember her own name. Symptoms usually occur several hours after a meal, and may come on suddenly. Eating something that contains sugar usually relieves the symptoms in about 10 minutes.
Many people, including school-age children and many adults experience huge blood sugar swings all day long! Their breakfast of sweetened cereal, donuts or juice drives up their blood sugar. This is followed by a drop at mid-morning that is relieved by a sweet snack, more juice, soda pop or a cup of coffee. This rockets the sugar up again, followed by a fall around noon.
Lunch may include soda pop, sweetened ketchup, mustard, sweet salad dressing, sweetened rolls, chocolate milk or other sugared food. The sugar rises again, then falls rapidly at mid-afternoon. It is time for another pick-up, or maybe time for happy hour, since alcohol will lift the blood sugar again for a short time. And we wonder why many students have difficulty learning, and why thousands can?t think clearly?
Brain fog symptoms due to candidiasis are often due to the production of alcohol and acetaldehyde by the candida organism. It causes a person to behave as if slightly inebriated, although one consumes no alcohol. Acetaldehyde is also toxic to the brain. At times, the candida organisms can themselves invade the brain.
Fruit, juices, sugar or other sweets feed the yeast organisms and in susceptible people can bring on symptoms rapidly. Carbohydrates break down to sugar in the intestines. Excessive carbohydrate in the diet can also cause symptoms, usually of a more chronic nature.
Occasionally, brain fog may be caused by yeast die-off. This may occur due to a dietary change or health program, or just a shift in metabolism. As the yeast die, they may release various toxins that induce temporary symptoms of brain fog.
Fatigue from any cause can cause mental confusion and other symptoms of brain fog. Causes include infections, illnesses, nutritional imbalances, toxins and other fatigue syndromes. The brain requires a lot of energy. Impaired energy production for any reason profoundly affects brain function.
Infections not only drain the body?s energy. They produce endo and exotoxins that may cause brain fog. Chronic illnesses such as cancer or diabetes may directly affect brain function and impair normal metabolism causing fatigue.
Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of fatigue. Toxins from insect bites, impaired digestion, exposure to chemicals and many other sources affect energy production and cause fatigue.
Allergic reactions to food or beverages may directly affect energy production, leading to fatigue and brain fog. Still other food reactions cause histamine release within the nervous system. These are sometimes called ?brain allergies?. Nervous system allergies can be severe, inducing irritability, confusion and even psychotic behavior.
Very commonly, food reactions irritate the intestine, causing leaky gut syndrome and the absorption of excessive toxins into the bloodstream. The most common allergic foods are wheat and cow?s milk dairy. Anyone with brain fog ought to eliminate these foods from the diet, as this will often help speed recovery. Gluten-containing foods - rye, oats, and barley - also cause reactions in susceptible individuals that may affect the brain.
Some food or water-borne substances are directly toxic to the brain. These include pesticide residues, heavy metals, bacterial toxins and fungal toxins, fluoride, chlorine and other substances added to drinking water, and other water contaminants. Any of these may contribute to brain fog.
The brain requires many nutrients, including all the vitamins and two dozen or more minerals. A range of amino acids are required for the brain, as are essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other nutrients. Among the most important nutrients are calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, L-glutamine, L-taurine, choline, thiamine, B6, B12 and other B-complex vitamins. B-vitamin deficiency is known to cause confusion, irritability, stupor and death.
The author recalls a 7-year old patient who had recurrent ear infections. The ear infections cleared up on a nutrition program. During a follow-up visit, her mother mentioned the girl?s school grades also went from Cs to As. This is not an unusual story. Though part of the reason may have been better school attendance, improved brain function is often a side effect of nutritional correction.
Electrolyte imbalance, as occurs after excessive physical exertion or sweating, often causes symptoms of brain fog. This may be due to lowered blood pressure with impaired circulation to the brain, metabolic waste products in the blood or impaired cellular energy production.
A common cause of brain fog is copper imbalance. Copper induces the production of the biogenic amines, epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. Copper also affects thyroid gland activity and female hormone levels. Excessive copper or biounavailable copper often result in spaciness, mood swings, racing thoughts which can cause confusion, and excessive emotions.
Causes of copper imbalance include weak adrenal glands, zinc deficiency, stress, fatigue, birth control pills, copper intra-uterine devices or copper contamination of water supplies or food. The week before the menstrual period the copper level rises, contributing to monthly episodes of brain fog in some menstruating women.
Vegetarian diets are high in copper and low in zinc, a mineral that balances copper. These diets are also often low in other nutrients essential for the brain, like taurine, carnitine, essential fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, B-complex vitamins and others.
High tissue levels of calcium and magnesium frequently cause diminished awareness, mental fatigue and brain fog. The condition is sometimes called a ?calcium shell?, as the person is literally slightly numb. Elevated tissue calcium raises the voltage at which nerve cells fire, leading to mental heaviness and numbness that is common in the population. Magnesium is required for some 500 vital enzymes. Elevated tissue levels are often biounavailable or unusable by the body.
Excessive levels of other trace elements such as iron, manganese and chromium may also affect brain activity and give rise to symptoms of brain fog.
All the toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, nickel, beryllium and others are neurotoxic. Brain fog may accompany any heavy metal toxicity.
LIVER, KIDNEY OR BOWEL TOXICITY
Toxicity of sluggishness of the important eliminative organs will cause symptoms of brain fog. If these organs do not do their job properly, many toxic chemicals such as ammonia remain circulating in the blood. The brain is one of the first organs affected by toxins, as it requires a lot of blood and its functions are delicate and intricate.
Sluggish eliminative organs are common today, thanks to the enormous amount of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. Liver diseases such as hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis and others may also impair the function of the liver.
Weak digestion, intestinal infections, stress, poor eating habits or an improper diet often cause food to putrefy or ferment in the intestines. Some of the food-related toxins produced are absorbed into the bloodstream. These can easily overwhelm the normal detoxification ability of the liver and kidneys. Constipation makes the problem one hundred times worse.
Drinking inadequate water or worse, drinking soda pop, excessive coffee and other irritating beverages can damage or overwhelm the kidneys and impair their ability to remove poisons from the blood.
Finally, the liver, bowel and kidneys are affected by emotions. Liver problems may be associated with anger, intestinal problems with perfectionism and holding on, while kidney problems are associated with fear.
Be wary of cleansing programs such as fasts to correct liver and kidney toxicity. These may give temporary relief, but do not address basic causes such as food allergies, toxic chemicals in the diet or environment and nutrient deficiencies. Fasting can easily cause one to become even more nutrient deficient. I highly recommend the low-temperature sauna at least once a week for 30 minutes unless you have very high blood pressure, very low blood pressure, in which case shorter time is better. Daily skin brushing when you shower is another basic detoxification method helpful for everyone. Acupuncture, acupressure, energy balancing and other natural therapies may also be helpful to reduce the body?s toxic burden.
Another common cause of brain fog is reduced oxygen to the brain. This may be due to clogged arteries, but it is often due to shallow breathing or holding one?s breath. This is far more common than imagined. If it is severe enough, one may pass out. If it is mild, it can cause spaciness, confusion and impairment of cognition.
Many people under stress forget to breathe deeply and regularly. Fear or anxiety often causes holding of the breath. Sometimes a physical disease such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema impairs respiration.
Misalignment of the spine, or any impingement on the cranial, cervical or other nerves may cause symptoms of brain fog. The cause may be a trauma to the head or to another part of the body. However, sleeping in the wrong position, lifting incorrectly or just normal daily activities can contribute to a nerve impingement that affects the brain. Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, physical therapy and craniosacral therapy can be most helpful to address structural misalignments and head trauma.
A long list of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause mental confusion, irritability and other brain fog symptoms. The list includes drugs for allergies, pain, high blood pressure, heart arrythmias, glaucoma, infections, depression, anxiety, inflammation and other disorders. Many people are taking two to five of these drugs at once. Combinations of drugs may be toxic in ways that no one can anticipate. Combining medication with alcohol or recreational drugs may also produce unusual symptoms. Studies show that an important factor in mental impairment, particularly in the elderly, are the toxic effects of medications, especially combinations of drugs. Often this is misdiagnosed as Alzheimer?s disease or another type of dementia.
If you must take medication, check the side effects and know that there may be side effects that are not listed on the labeling information.
Brain fog is occasionally caused by an illness like a brain tumor, epilepsy, meningitis or encephalitis. Electrical interference from computer screens or televisions can cause brain disturbance in sensitive people. Vision problems may affect mental clarity and cognition.
Conditions like dyslexia and autism syndromes may cause confusion, though they may also be the result of causes listed above. For example, many autistic children improve when the factors above are addressed. Emotional conditions such as neuroses, paranoia or mental fixations may cause brain fog.
Brain fog affects thousands of people and contributes to school failures, crime, delinquency, economic losses, accidents and ruined relationships.
I recommend that anyone with brain fog begin by improving their diet and lifestyle. Eliminate the junk food, excessive sugar and chemicalized foods. Eliminate wheat, dairy and other foods that may be cause reactions. Drink at least 6 glasses of filtered or bottled water every day, rather than soda pop. Be sure to get enough rest and sleep, and breathe deeply. Detoxification methods like enemas, colonic irrigation and dry sauna baths can be very helpful.
Go to a competent chiropractor or osteopath to rule out structural causes. Experiment with a diet low in sugars and starches, and perhaps try an anti-candida regimen if you suspect this cause. If symptoms continue, consider a hair mineral test that will identify nutrient deficiencies, toxic metals, and other imbalances such as an unbalanced oxidation rate or chronic fatigue. Some people need to meditate, do therapy or other techniques to help control unwanted thoughts and emotions. Other natural therapies may also be helpful.
In a few cases, more extensive testing for allergies, illnesses and brain diseases may be necessary. Many people start with a CAT scan or an MRI. However, this is not where I would begin. Brain fog due to diet, lifestyle, toxicity, medication, spinal misalignments and blood sugar imbalance will not show up on these expensive tests. In my experience, most cases of brain fog will clear up quickly when approached this way.
Dr. Lawrence Wilson
P.O. Box 54
Prescott, AZ 86302-0054
Visit http://www.drlwilson.com/ for books, and audio tapes from Dr. Wilson.
3 Day Recharge Ignite Your Mind, Body And Spirit!
The life Dynamix 3 Day Recharge System helps your body to quickly restore its health and vitality.
A Bio Feedback Adventure Game For Enhanced Brain Function
30883 times read
| Related news
- Keeping Your Nervous System Healthy
by Dr_Wilson posted on Nov 23,2005
- Beating the Common Cold Naturally
by StewartH posted on Nov 15,2005
- How The Sun Is Absolutely Crucial To Your Health
by Dr_Randy posted on Nov 07,2005
- Basic Health Imbalances
by Dr_Wilson posted on Oct 10,2005
- Can Breast Cancer be Prevented?
by SusunW posted on Oct 04,2005
- Organic Agriculture
by Dr_Wilson posted on Oct 03,2005
- 7 Steps To Having More Energy
by MelanieM posted on Sep 20,2005
- How to Increase Your Energy Naturally
by AdamS posted on Sep 13,2005
- Ten Powerful Keys to Healing Yourself
by Wayne posted on Sep 11,2005
- Chronic Candida Albicans Infection
by Dr_Wilson posted on Sep 08,2005
- Why Modern Medicine is a Great Threat to Health
by Dr_Randy posted on Sep 05,2005
- All Natural Pain Relief Options
by LifeDynamix posted on Aug 30,2005
- How To Prevent Hypoglycemia
by Dr_Mericle posted on Aug 21,2005
- Water Fluoridation
by Dr_Wilson posted on Aug 20,2005
- X-Rays ? What You Don't See & Feel Can Hurt You
by Dr_Randy posted on Aug 19,2005
by Dr_Wilson posted on Aug 05,2005
- Fourteen Simple Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer
by Dr_Mericle posted on Aug 03,2005
- Finding That Elusive Cause
by Dr. Joel Brame posted on Jul 19,2005
- The Process Of Getting Well
by Dr_Wilson posted on Jul 17,2005
- Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Old Medicine, New Synergies
by Howard posted on Jul 11,2005
- Top 3 Back Pain Risk Factors
by Richard posted on Jul 03,2005
- Changing Your Habits
by Dr_Wilson posted on Jun 23,2005
- The Insidiousness of Breast Cancer and its Current Treatment
by Stephen posted on Jun 20,2005
- Aspartame -More Dangerous Than High Fructose Corn Syrup
by Dr_Mericle posted on Jun 17,2005
- The Dangers Of Toxic Metals
by Dr_Wilson posted on May 10,2005
- Energy Healing
by Dr_Wilson posted on May 02,2005
by Dr_Wilson posted on Apr 21,2005
- Healing Vs. Symptom Removal
by Dr_Wilson posted on Apr 08,2005
- Why Use Hair Analysis To Design Nutritional Programs
by Dr_Wilson posted on Apr 03,2005
- Sleep And Rest For Health
by Dr_Wilson posted on Mar 28,2005
- Trust The Wisdom Of Flow
by Dr_Orloff posted on Mar 18,2005
- Biological Dentistry
by Dr_Wilson posted on Mar 16,2005
- Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders
by Dr_Wilson posted on Feb 22,2005
- Adrenal Burnout Syndrome
by Dr_Wilson posted on Feb 08,2005
- Preventing And Treating Infections Naturally
by Dr_Wilson posted on Jan 11,2005
- FDA Approves New Vision Procedure
by Dr_Kondrot posted on Sep 24,2004
- Reducing Your Need For Reading Glasses
by Dr_Kondrot posted on Aug 27,2004
- A D H D & Homeopathy
by Neepa posted on Jul 24,2004
- How To Increase Your Energy Level
by Dr_Wilson posted on Jul 14,2004
- Food Habits A Hidden Cause Of Addiction
by Lawrence Wilson M.D. posted on Jan 09,2006
- Adrenal Fatigue
by Valerie Balandra ARNP, BC posted on Feb 20,2006
- How To Get A Good Night's Sleep Naturally
by Dr. Rita Louise posted on Mar 05,2006
- Essential Nutrients for Congestive Heart Failure
by Don Ford, M.D. posted on Mar 08,2006
- Aromatherapy for Adrenal Support - Using Essential Oils to Help Adrernal Fatigue
by Misty Rae Cech, ND posted on Mar 14,2006
- Sunlight for Your Life
by Dr. Jamie Fettig posted on Mar 15,2006
- 6 Steps to Manage Cancer Pain
by Toni Bernay, Saar Porrath posted on Mar 29,2006
- Pain and Gender
by Ann Berger, MSN, MD posted on Apr 05,2006
- The Simplest Asthma Solution
by Drs. Ralph & Lahni DeAmicis posted on Jun 24,2006
- Lifestyle Changes For Coping With Diabetes
by Michael Singer posted on Jun 25,2006
- Seaweed extract blocks HPV cervical cancer virus, scientists discover
by NewsTarget posted on Jul 15,2006
- Autism rates surge, say UK researchers
by NewsTarget posted on Jul 15,2006
- Body Has Antibiotic to Fight Urinary Tract Infection
by NewsTarget posted on Jul 15,2006
- Healing Through Qigong - The Art Of Breathing
by Eric Cho posted on Aug 05,2006
- Ways To Improve Your Eyesight
by Sharon Hopkins posted on Aug 24,2006
- Basics of Blood Pressure
by Michael Russell posted on Sep 20,2006
- Tips To Get Relief From Chronic Back Pain
by Javier Fuller posted on Oct 05,2006
- 12 Tips to Protect Your Body after Breast Cancer Surgery
by Patricia Wagner posted on Oct 06,2006
- Cancer Care: Integrating the Best of Western and Eastern Healing Wisdom
by Chris Teo, Ph.D. posted on Oct 11,2006
- How Smoking Increases The Risk Of Lung Cancer
by Gray Rollins posted on Oct 18,2006
- Chronic Fatigue -- The Facts You Should Know
by Heather Colman posted on Oct 27,2006
- Tips For Boosting Your Immune System
by Sarah Thomas posted on Oct 30,2006
- Fibromyalgia - A Commonly Misunderstood Diagnosis
by Jonathan Fay, M.D. posted on Nov 06,2006
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome And Colon Cleansing
by Susan Wilson posted on Nov 07,2006
- The Journey Through Cancer and The Seven Levels of Healing®
by Jeremy R. Geffen, MD, FACP posted on Nov 13,2006
- Helichrysum Essential Oil - A Magic Bullet For Treating Sports Injuries?
by Misty Rae Cech, ND posted on Nov 22,2006
- Macular Degeneration - Protect Your Vision
by John Mericle M.D. posted on Dec 06,2006
- A Guide To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia
by Lee Dobbins posted on Jan 02,2007
- Checking For Skin Cancer
by Jonathon Hardcastle posted on Jan 09,2007
- Checking Blood Pressure
by David Williams posted on Jan 16,2007
- Boost Your Energy Using Color
by Candace Czarny, ASID, CFM, LEE posted on Feb 10,2007
- Melatonin, Sleep Enhancement, and ADHD
by Anthony Kane, MD posted on Feb 19,2007
- Ten Tips For A Safe Hospital Stay
by Dr. Laura Nathanson posted on Mar 16,2007
- Physical Treatments for Back Pain
by Anne Clarke posted on May 27,2007
- The Healing Power Of Music
by John McIntosh posted on Jun 28,2007
- Natural Pain Killers - Myth Or Reality?
by Steve Wagner posted on Aug 17,2007
- Meta-Physician On Call: Why Do We Feel Sick All the Time
by Steven E. Hodes, M.D. posted on Nov 13,2007
- In This Political Season, Health Care Reform is a Business Issue
by John Hammergren posted on Mar 20,2008
- Cherries For Your Pain
by Daniel Monroe posted on Jul 05,2009
Did you find this article helpful?
(total 203 votes)