If you suffer from brain fog, you need to set yourself a new challenge, because beating brain fog requires you to stimulate your brain. You need to exercise your brain by learning new skills and increasing your knowledge. But, how can that possibly help an ailing brain?
Well, I am not a psychologist or a neurologist but, I like every other human being possess a brain. And I intend to use it.
I have multiple sclerosis and one of the many multiple sclerosis symptoms is brain fog. This is a dreadful disability, causing a lack of clear thinking, difficulty concentrating and learning problems.
Beating Brain Fog
If you have brain fog, you will find learning new skills difficult. But, you must persevere. The brain is an incredible organ which responds well to stimulus. So, if you exercise your brain you will improve the brain fog problem.
What Causes Brain Fog
The condition known as “brain fog” is not, in and of itself, a disease or illness, Rather, brain fog is a symptom of another illness or disease. The brain fog may be a symptom of:
- multiple sclerosis
In addition to underlying medical conditions, brain fog can occur because of the following triggers:
- Stress can cause many elements of poor health. Prolonged stress increases blood-pressure and weakens the immune system. It may result in mental fatigue. An exhausted brain cannot concentrate well, cannot solve simple problems and cannot recall basic facts.
- Poor Sleep can produce a lack of mental acuity because sleep is vital for your brain to transfer short-term memory to long-term memory.
- Hormonal change can trigger brain fog. Changes in progesterone and estrogen levels during pregnancy can inhibit memory and cause short-term cognitive dysfunction.
- Diet plays a major role in general well-being. Vitamin B-12 plays a major role in healthy brain function and vitamin B-12 deficiency can bring brain fog about.
The brain is the largest and most complex organ in the human body. It consists of over 100 billion nerves that communicate via trillions of conncections or synapses.
The brain is divided into a number of lobes of which the main areas are:
- Frontal lobes are responsible for problem solving, judgement and motor function
- Parietal lobes manage sensation, handwriting and proprioception.
- Temporal lobes are involved with memory and hearing.
- Occipital lobes contain the visual processing system.
Albert Einstein said that the true potential of human intelligence relied on its ability to change. It is unlikely that Mr Einstein was talking neurologically because medical knowledge of brain function was not too advanced during his lifetime.
The word neuroplasticity combines the words neuron and plastic and defines the brain’s ability to change. In reality, the brain is constantly changing and adapting to meet the demands of life.
Shortly after birth, the brain has its maximum number of connections. The infant brain has, at this stage, the potential to grow and develop into the most marvellous processing machine. As we grow, many of these neural connections are lost because they have not been used.
As we continue to grow and learn to think and speak, we continue to lose redundant connections but, we establish new connections to cope with our new knowledge and skills.
It is this ability to establish new neral connections that will allow us to overcome brain fog.
Because if we can learn some new skills, we will create more new neuarl connections. This will allow our brain to utilize what is known as our neural reserve.
Therefore, the most valuable thing we can do tp preserve our cofnitive abilities is to learn a new skill. You could learn to play chess, cook cordon bleu meals or speak a new language. The most important thing is to learn a NEW skill. Something you have never done before. This will force your brain to build new neural connections.
Learn a New Language
Furthermore, I can vouch for the benefits of learning a new skill. As part of my beating brain fog efforts, I have started learning to speak Spanish. I have been doing a language lesson every day, for the last two years. My brain fog has receded noticably even though my linguistic abilities have only improved slowly.
I tried to take my language learning skills to the next level by attending an evening class at one of our local High Schools.
Our teacher (nuestra maestra) was a lovely Mexican lady who spoke only Spanish in the classes.
Adapting to a New Environment
Life throws up changes all of the time. As I write this post, it is Hogmanay 2020 and I am listening to the evening news updating us on the current corona virus pandemic.
I would like to say that it was the lockdown that ended my language study but, this would be an untruth. It was the onset of winter and the dark nights that stopped me attending the evening classes.
However, my language study continues because beating brain fog is still a priority. I am still home-studying and still learning. And every day my brain fog is still receding to the point where \i am almost unaware of it most days.
Anxiety Brain Fog
It is very well known that stress is a very significant aggravator of MS. So, if you have multiple sclerosis you must avoid all stressful situations.
If your brain is a computer, ongoing anxiety and stress are those programs that run in the background and use up tons of memory and make everything else run slowly.HEALTHLINE
Stress and anxiety are very similar problems and often have the same causes.
But, brain fog does not, normally, lead to anxiety. It is quite the reverse. Anxiety can often trigger a bout of brain fog.
Brain Fog Treatments
Remember that brain fog is not a medical condition, it is a symptom of other conditions. So, you will not find any pharmaceutical treatment in your local chemist.
Activities that are not work can do a lot to ease your anxiety. Reading an interesting novel or watching television can be relaxing. Cooking can be a very beneficial activity both to relax your mind and to feed your body.
Because getting the right nutrition is important and when you are feeling anxious you may not be sufficiently motivated to prepare a healthy meal.
This can lead to a catch-22 situation. Because anxiety can lead to digestive problems and a deficiency of essential nutrients can cause anxiety.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
At first glance, you may think that rheumatoid arthritis has got nothing to do with multiple sclerosis. But, both multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are inflammatory conditions and both are thought to be autoimmune diseases
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is better known as a joint inflammation problem. But, many people with RA also complain of having brain fog. Periods of forgetfulness, lack of clear perception and difficulty with concentrating.
RA and Mental Clarity
In a 2012 study, it was found that many people with RA have trouble with memory and thinking ability.
Difficulty with thinking rationally can affect all aspects of daily life. It is thought that the inflammation associated with RA can trigger the brain to release chemicals that cause tiredness and the inability to concentrate.
People with rheumatoid arthritis are often prescribed corticosteroid drugs, which have been shown to affect thinking ability.
Overcoming Brain Fog
It is possible that TNF inhibitors can help reduce brain fog. Drugs like etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira) are TNF inhibitors. Because these drugs block inflammation, they may help to limit the brain fog of both MS and RA.
A head full of Cotton Candy
As analogies go, that pretty much hits the mark. The other, the lights are on but, there is nobody home is the one that I feel best describes my brain fog.
Brain fog is a serious mental health problem. It makes you forgetful, you lose your train of thought midway through a sentence but, these are annoyances, unlike the serious brain damage they might indicate.
Cotton Candy is an analogy, not a dietary recommendation. A sugar rush your brain could do without and catastrophic for your teeth.
The Importance of Brain Health
Why is brain health important? You may become more aware of the importance of mental health when you consider your brain in the appropriate context. The brain is the largest organ in the human body. But, the brain is much more than just an organ. Your brain is you!
It is more useful to regard your brain as your soul. Everything about you. Your mannerisms, your mode of speech and your character. Everything that makes you unique comes from your brain.
Yes, your whole body is a remarkable, biological machine that has one reason for being there, to support your brain. Beating brain fog will need a good support system.
You have lungs to extract oxygen from the air to power your mitochondria and your brain. Your complex digestive system extracts nutrients from food, to feed your mitochondria and your brain. You have a heart to pump blood, to carry the oxygen and the nutrients to your mitochondria and the brain.
Your body is the support system for your brain.
Without a fully functioning brain, you cease to exist.
5 Steps to Improve Mental Health
- Intermittent Fasting can improve neurological health and decrease the risk of neurodegenerative disease.
- Increased Exercise has a clear association with sharper mental acuity and improved mood. And id very good for beating brain fog.
- Get more good sleep because staying awake for longer does not improve your efficiency. Cognitive abilities decrease abruptly with sleep deprivation.
- Balance your exercise with rest as exercise stimulates your sympathetic nervous system. This engages your innate “fight or flight” reaction. This builds stress because your body is reacting to potential danger. However, relaxing will use your parasympathetic nervous system which eases the sense of danger.
- Feed your brain with good food. A palaeolithic diet is a good balance of vegetable starch and omega-3 fatty acids. Most fast-foods are NOT good brain food.
A roundup of Brain Fog Causes
Eating too much sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrate is a poor diet lacking vital nutrients that will have a negative impact on your brain function. You must eat well if you are serious about beating brain fog.
If the hormones cortisol, serotonin, and dopamine are out of balance your whole body is thrown off track. Consult a functional medicine doctor to re-establish a more harmonious balance.
Inflammation is the root cause of many modern health problems. Inflammatory molecules stimulate microglia activation, which is commonly found in brains of those with psychiatric diseases.
A magnesium supplement will help keep your internal body clock running smoothly. This will ensure proper hormone production throughout the day.
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