What is brain fog? And Why We Experience It?
Many of us may experience difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and struggling to multitask at some point in lives. When this happens repeatedly it could be a warning sign of ‘Brain Fog’. It sounds harmless, but it’s not normal.
What is brain fog?‘Brain fog’ is not an actual medical term, but rather describes a list of symptoms affecting your daily brain function. It’s like your brain has a thin layer of fog surrounding it, leading to lack of attention, slow information processing and forgetfulness. In addition, mental fatigue and a negative impact on mood are common symptoms.
Brain fog can occur at any age, children, adults, or in the elderly. The good news is that it is reversible, but on the other hand, it can recur frequently, or remain so long if the causes are not corrected. Without appropriate treatment, this condition may affect your activities of daily life, social life, work, study and even quality of sleep.
Common Causes of Brain Fog
- Poor Sleep
- Lack of Exercise
- Chronic Diseases
- Psychiatric Conditions (E.g. Depression)
- Hormonal Imbalance
Recent studies have shown growing evidence of the important link between brain health and gut health. Gut health is influenced by gut microbiota (gut bacteria balance) and overall wellness is affected by toxic heavy metal exposure. These heavy metals can accumulate in different areas of the body after exposure due to pollution or contaminated food or water including the gut and brain.
Lifestyle modification remains the main key for keeping your brain healthy, which is likely to prevent or reverse brain fog. This includes regular exercise, good sleep, drink enough water, stress management and a healthy diet is pivotal for brain health.
How to Reduce Brain Fog
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, if there are causative factors other than just improper lifestyle, such as hormonal imbalance, gut bacteria imbalance, or excessive heavy metals, brain fog may not fully recover unless you find and reverse these underlying causes.
In this modern medical era, there are many treatment options to reverse most causative factors of brain fog. In conclusion, brain fog is a common condition that can occur at any age and to anybody. The causes can be environmental, lifestyle, or due to internal imbalances/exposure (e.g. hormones, gut microbiota, heavy metals).
Finding the causes is the key. Life style modification, together with scientific intervention to reverse all mental and physical causative factors can successfully treat brain fog, increasing your quality of life.
Ketchai Suavansri, M.D., Cognitive and behavioral neurologist