Brain Fog

By: Dr. Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Dr. Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM; Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH


Adrenal Fatigue can impact your ability to think and give you brain fog The human brain serves as the control center of the neuroendocrine system. Subclinical brain dysfunctions can be extremely serious and cause a number of problems in our lives.  One of the more common issues that people deal with every single day is brain fog. This is a condition where a person cannot think clearly about everyday matters. Though this is a most prevalent condition, it is rarely recognized or discussed by health practitioners. You won’t find brain fog recognized as a bona-fide illness in many medical or psychological writings.

The reason is simple – physicians are not taught of its significance in medical school. This under-education leads to tremendous confusion among the public and professionals alike between various memory loss conditions and their differentiation. Brain fog, because of its rather mild presentation, is ignored as a significant clinical condition.

This article will examine its many patho-physiological causes.

What is Brain Fog? A Clinical Definition

Brain Fog has been described as a feeling of mental confusion where the individual lacks mental clarity.  Its as if there is a loss of focus, and a sensation of “so close and yet so far”.  The term “fog” is used because it feels as if a cloud comes over your thought process that reduces your ability to think clearly.  This may cause an individual to become excessively forgetful, though long term memory remains intact. It can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days or weeks.  Its onset can be gradual or sudden. Usually there is no direct physical trauma to the brain involved. Most people know something is wrong but cannot put their finger on it. Most don’t take it seriously and consider it part of life or the aging process. It is considered more of a nuisance among conventional health practitioners.

Brain fog can persist for a long time, lasting months or years. What makes this condition perplexing is that the fogginess can come and go. It can be related to food, menstrual cycle, body temperature, activity level, sleep cycle irregularity, stress, hydration status, exercise, and many other seemingly insignificant events that only become obvious on careful retrospective examination.

Severe brain fog can lead to inferior work performance among those whose career relies on a high degree of mental acuity.   Severe chronic brain fog can ultimately lead to discouragement and depression.

Diagnosis

To date, there are no specific medical tests to diagnose brain fog.  Brain scans are normal.  Diagnosis is best made by talking to your doctor about your symptoms.  Though symptoms can vary from one person to another, most often sufferers complain of:

  • Lack of mental clarity
  • Mild memory loss
  • Mental confusion
  • Difficulty performing simple tasks like arithmetic or remembering telephone numbers
  • Dizziness

Your doctor may have a hard time getting to the bottom of your complaints and the constellation of symptoms can fit many ailments like dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or mental illness.

Brain Fog and the ElderlyThere is no objective laboratory test to measure brain fog. It is a subjective clinical determination based on careful history and exclusion of medical illness that presents with similar symptoms.  Generally, a sufferer has a normal physical examination, but realizes that they do not function as well as they should mentally, but they don’t understand why. Most physicians would pass it off as an annoyance or “old age” of no significant clinical concern.

Your mind may often seem foggy and your thought processes slow and cumbersome.  Brain fog is not the same as Alzheimer’s or dementia. It is also much different than mental retardation, depression and other mental ailments.   Since the condition comes on very gradual, sufferers are often prone to just deal with it and not look for causes and answers to their condition.

What Causes Brain Fog?

In the majority of cases, brain fog is brought on by nutritional, metabolic, hormonal, and biochemical imbalances that stem from a variety of factors. The neuroendocrine system is the primary conduit of memory function. Dysfunction of this system is the most common cause of brain fog.

What Causes Brain Fog

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Brain Fog

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is very common today. It reflects an imbalance of the body’s neuroendocrine system.  Classic symptoms include fatigue, low libido, hypoglycemia, anxiety, brain fog, constipation, insomnia, heart palpitation, and depression. During AFS, the entire body slows down to conserve energy as a survival mechanism. As the liver slows down, metabolic clearance reduces while laboratory values continue to be normal. Internal accumulation of unwanted metabolites can travel to the brain, causing brain fog. This is very common.

Recovery usually requires a comprehensive program focused on the adrenal glands that includes a nutritional diet, supplements and lifestyle changes. Single focus on removing symptoms of brain fog alone in these settings usually fails and in fact can worsen over time.

While AFS is frequently associated with brain fog, there are many other possible causation factors as well. We will look at these in more detail.

There are many other conditions that can be associated or act as a trigger of brain fog. We shall examine some of these now.

Yeast Infection

Candida albicans overgrowth can produce toxic substances like alcohol and acetaldehyde, which can poison the nervous system. This is often a contributing factor to brain fog.

An individual may feel like they are confused mentally, although they have consumed no alcohol.  Symptoms can drastically worsen from eating too many carbohydrates, processed sugars, starches and fats.  Starchy foods and sugars feed yeast organisms, causing them to grow and invade other parts of the body.  In extreme cases, the yeast infection can reach your brain.

During yeast die-off, individuals may experience brain fog and this is brought on by a dietary change, fasting, antibiotic therapy, or a dramatic lifestyle change. Any change in metabolism can cause yeast to die, releasing various toxins that can overwhelm the body. This condition is usually temporary, but you may experience brain fog during this time.

Hypoglycemia and Brain Fog

Hypoglycemia and Brain FogHypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, has been associated with brain fog.  The glucose level in your brain can become very low, resulting in your brain starving for fuel.  Our brain uses a large portion of the calories we consume orally.  Your muscles have the ability to store fuel, but your brain does not. This means it must have a continual supply. Maintaining a normal blood sugar level in the brain is one of the key survival mechanisms of the body.  When the brain’s fuel supply varies, all organ system functions are affected.

Symptoms of low blood sugar often occur 2-3  hours after eating and include:

  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Forgetfulness

Laboratory tests of blood sugar will be low classically, but very few people fall into this category. Instead, most people will show normal blood sugar levels while symptoms of hypoglycemia are present. This type of hypoglycemia is called reactive hypoglycemia. It is classically seen in those with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.

You can get temporary relief by eating a candy bar or something sweet. The danger of eating sweets each time your blood sugar feels low is that it perpetuates candida albicans and worsen adrenal fatigue if the underlying issue is not properly addressed.

Putting the body on a roller-coaster ride of fuel input to prop up energy supply usually triggers brain fog and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome over time.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as Nutrasweet have been shown to cause a number of conditions including brain fog. They can also cause depression, panic attacks, dizziness, fatigue and many other ailments. This substance can be found in thousands of products we all use every day. It is sometimes hidden in products like toothpaste, vitamins, medications, and breath mints. It can also be labeled as aspartame, Equal, Canderel, Spoonful, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, or neotame.

Food Chemicals

For those who are constitutionally sensitive, additives to foods, beverages, and other products can cause problems. These are known as excito-toxins. These substances can be added to drinking water, foods and common products we all use each day. One of the more common is MSG (monosodium glutamate). It is responsible for the Chinese Food Syndrome where people develop symptoms of anxiety, dizziness, or brain fog after eating foods from a Chinese restaurant that are universally laced with MSG.

There are a number of foods that often cause mild allergic reactions and may lead to brain fog.  Not everyone will react to these foods but some people do show low tolerance to foods like spelt, wheat, soy and cow’s milk and other dairy products.  If you believe you may be suffering with brain fog, then try eliminating them from your diet.  More and more individuals are discovering that they are sensitive to gluten-containing foods like oats, rye, barley, wheat, corn, and spelt.

Medications

Some Medications Can Cause Brain FogToday, you’ll find a number of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that have ingredients that can cause brain fog or mental confusion.  Those with sensitive systems should learn to read the labels and know what they are really taking. Even things like blood pressure medicine or heart medications or drugs for infections and glaucoma can contain irritating substances.

Often, people take several of these drugs at the same time.  It’s difficult to predict how a combination of drugs may effect a person, but it’s never recommended to use alcohol or recreational drugs when taking a heart or blood pressure medication.

All types of birth control pills, including the patch and IUD may cause brain fog for some individuals.

Nutrient Deficiencies

The human brain requires a number of nutrients in order to perform at optimum efficiency. These include proteins, high-quality fats and starches. Our brains also need minerals and vitamins. Some of the more important are zinc, magnesium, calcium, selenium, chromium, thiamine, iodine, L-taurine, choline, L-glutamine, B6, and B12.  Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D are also important for good brain health.

B-vitamin deficiencies can result in irritability, confusion, and lethargy. It is a mimic of Alzheimer’s Disease. Correcting this is very simple and inexpensive.

Infections

Viral infections affect the brain by excreting toxins into the bloodstream. This results in the depletion of certain nutrients essential to the brain.  Viral titer may be normal, but a sensitive person can be affected. Such stealth viruses that can directly or indirectly affect the brain include Hepatitis C, Herpes, human papillomavirus, Epstein-Barr, and cytomegalovirus, among others. Infected teeth or gums can also release toxins. Lyme disease as well as H. Pylori infections also frequently trigger brain fog. Not to be forgotten is a chronic low-grade infection that may arise from poorly done dental root canal work.

Mercury

Most fresh fish worldwide has some level of mercury. Pregnant women and children are usually advised to be cautious about the amount they consume. Those living near coastal regions are particularly vulnerable. Those who consume a diet that includes fish more than twice per week, may over time, build up a toxic level of mercury in their bodies. The EPA recommends that women, children and the elderly or those with health concerns avoid eating swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel because they traditionally contain higher levels of mercury.

The EPA does recommend limiting your consumption of these fishes to two meals per week. They also advise checking local authorities about the mercury levels in fish caught in area lakes and ponds before eating any freshly caught fish.

Another common source of overlooked mercury is dental fillings. A biological dentist is needed for proper removal in these cases if the body is ready. Overzealous removal of mercury fillings can trigger brain fog as mercury released from the oral cavity travels to the central nervous system.

Mercury is a neurotoxin. Excessive build up can lead to numerous neurological symptoms including memory loss, tingling, and brain fog, among others. Fortunately, mercury levels in the body can easily be tested by blood test.

Copper

Copper Overload can cause Brain FogThose with excessive levels of copper in their bloodstream may experience mood swings, confusion, or feelings of disorientation. Their thought process may be muddled or race in many directions. Women may notice that the condition worsens just before and during their menstrual period. This time of the month is usually marked by higher cellular activity which increases the blood level of copper.

Regular use of birth control pills or patches can worsen this problem. A copper imbalance can affect other areas as well, including your thyroid. Copper imbalances are normally difficult to diagnose. A doctor can administer special blood and urine tests to tell if you have high levels of copper.

Hair tissue mineral analysis can reveal high copper levels as well. If you’ve been experiencing consistent migraine headaches for years with no explainable cause, this can indicate high levels of copper.

Although not absolute, indicators that can infer the presence of high copper toxicity include high calcium, potassium, mercury, and zinc levels in the blood or hair tissue.

Copper imbalance can occur for many reasons. Some of these include vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diets, weak adrenal glands, stress, zinc deficiency, using birth control pills, fatigue, or copper intrauterine devices. Some areas also experience copper contamination in drinking water or food due to pollution.

Most vegetarian diets are low in zinc and high in copper. These diets are often low in other essential nutrients that are important for proper brain function. These include carnitine, taurine, B12, essential fatty acids, and others. Those who suspect they may have brain fog should avoid a vegetarian diet and see if brain fog resolves. Be sure to eat at least one portion of meat each day.

Other Toxic Metals

Brain fog can also be brought on by toxicity with other metals, such as aluminum, lead, cadmium or others. Aluminum is found in antacids, antiperspirants, soda-cans, and many cosmetics.

Common recommended metal detoxification modalities can include chelation, cleanses, enemas, flushes, saunas, hot soaks, massages, and others. Medications including EDTA and DMPS are used. IV Chelation is the most common and recognized way to reduce heavy metal in the body. Not everyone can tolerate or do well with such chelation. It can cause a retoxification reaction among those who are weak or sensitive, such as those in advanced stages of Adrenal Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Petrochemicals (Petroleum Distillates)

Even without overload of heavy metals such as mercury, most people are exposed to some level of toxic petroleum distillates, also known as petrochemicals.  They occur everywhere from the interior of your auto, such as the plastic dashboard and seat cushions to common plastic items found around the home such as shampoo and plastic bottles.  Other less obvious items include products used on your lawn, inks, paints, and even insecticides used in growing our fruits and vegetables. Most city water supplies have various levels of toxic chemicals and these are usually monitored by your city water treatment facility.  In larger cities, even the air is polluted as well.

Brain Fog and PetrochemicalsMany manufacturing plants also utilize processes that include chemicals and other harmful substances, in their manufacturing procedure. These can include cleaners and lubricants.

Over a number of years, these chemicals can build up in your body’s blood stream and major organs and become a dangerous issue. This is especially true when a person doesn’t eat right, get enough exercise or uses nicotine products. These things weaken your body and make it difficult for your internal bodily functions to operate correctly. The bottom line is that your body stops filtering the harmful substances out on a regular basis and then a build-up begins internally. Because most metabolites are fat derived, they tend to be lipophilic. They like to stay in the brain which is also lipophilic because like compounds attract each other. Excessive lipophilic compounds in the brain, not cleared out of the circulation system, is a major contributing factor to brain fog.

Bowel Toxicity

Improperly digested foods can ferment or rot in the intestines.  This, in turn, generates a number of powerful toxins.  These substances will slowly poison your liver and other major organs critical in the detoxification process. They can also travel to the brain and cause a diminished capacity to think clearly.

Food ingested into the body needs to be processed and excreted out on a timely basis. This transit time is under 8 hours, but can take up to 20 hours or more if one is constipated. Once it goes past 20 hours, the foods in your intestinal system will start to rot releasing toxic substances into your bloodstream.  When this process of assimilation and metabolization is slowed due to Adrenal Fatigue, toxic metabolites tend to built up internally.

Alarming signs of this include consistent constipation or slow bowel transit time. Enemas may be needed in severe cases to help bowel movement. The condition of slow bowel passage can be alleviated by using a good fiber product, enhancement of liver function, drink lots of water, and alkalization of the body. The diet should also be altered to include foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar and fat. Magnesium can be helpful as well.

Gluten Intolerance

Foods that contain gluten can cause unusual reactions in the brains of those with gluten sensitivities. Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, rye and barley. Any type of food allergy can disrupt the sensitive balance of hormones and chemicals in our brains. The results can range from depression to schizophrenia.

Those sensitive to gluten may suffer from malabsorption and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which leads to low levels of essential nutrients in the body. In these cases, your body attacks the gluten as if it were an invader, and this will damage finger-like projections known as villi. These villi absorb nutrients as your food passes through the small intestine.

Vitamins for Brain FogOur brains require wholesome foods and water along with a variety of nutrients to be completely healthy.  Some of the required vitamins and minerals include calcium, B12 and B6, zinc, selenium, iodine, and vitamin D.

These nutrients can be found in a wide range of foods, but they may not be digested properly if you are gluten sensitive. This makes it important to find out if you are gluten-sensitive and eliminate these foods from your diet. You will quickly notice an improvement in your mood, learning skills, digestion, and other areas.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Sensitivity

Everyone is different and some people are more susceptible to electrical and electromagnetic fields. Though they can be quite harmless to some, they may adversely affect others. They can disrupt sleep patterns and cause a decline in your overall performance at work or school. This type of brain fog can have its source from sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods or excessive use of cell phones. Those who live near cell phone towers, electric plants, or radio towers can also be affected. These objects emit invisible rays of sound and energy that can cause certain sensitive people to feel upset or distressed.

It’s a good idea to turn off all televisions, computers, radios and other electrical devices well before and while sleeping.  If possible keep electronic devices at least 10 feet away from your brain while sleeping.  Unplug all electronic devices when not in use.

Psychogenic Causes

In some cases, brain fog can be caused by mental and emotional conflict or serious trauma.  For instance, if you’ve been in an severe family conflict or accident where you or someone you love were injured, then you might continue to experience a condition similar to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for some months afterwards.

You feel disconnected, like you can’t think clearly about ordinary things. In cases like this, the individual uses brain fog as a way to deny reality. This can occur when your life isn’t going well.  Perhaps you are going through a divorce or bankruptcy and your stress level is very high each day. Our bodies and brains find ways to deal with these adverse situations.

If the situation doesn’t improve, it may warrant speaking to a licensed therapist or psychologist.  Sometimes we all need help to get through particularly harsh circumstances.

Other Causes of Brain Fog

Misalignment of the spine can cause headaches and backaches. These can be hereditary or caused by trauma such as an accident.  When the cranial or cervical nerves are pinched or out of alignment, this may not only cause pain, but it can also contribute to brain fog. Cranial-sacral therapy and chiropractic manipulation may be helpful in these cases.

Tumors and Brain FogReduced oxygen to the brain is another culprit and this can be due to simply not taking good deep breaths and filling your lungs with fresh air each day. Too many of us sit in stuffy offices and never get outside to take deep breaths and enjoy the sunshine. Reduced oxygen can also be caused by clogged arteries or low blood pressure.  Certain diseases such as chronic bronchitis, COPD, asthma, or emphysema will impair breathing. Always make sure your upper airways are in good condition as the nasal passage is connected and part of the overall respiratory system.

There are a few other illnesses and ailments that can, in rare cases, cause brain fog. These include but are not limited to brain tumors, meningitis, epilepsy, or encephalitis.  Some vision problems may be a contributing factor, along with dyslexia and autism.  The mental confusion that goes along with dyslexia, autism and ADD often result in brain fog.  Fortunately, these are quite rare.

Electrolyte imbalances due to excessive sweating during exercise or physical labor will sometimes cause temporary brain fog. When the sodium level in the body is low, thinking is affected.  It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated especially during the summer months with salt replenishment as needed.

Correcting Brain Fog

Because brain fog is a sign of underlying dysfunction, the most important correction step must start with a physician who is alert to all the possible symptoms and pays close attention to your history.

Laboratory tests are generally not very helpful and can in fact be confusing to interpret. Marginal abnormalities are common. Proper clinical correlation is an absolute must. Otherwise it is easy to get carried away trying to treat the laboratory numbers rather than the person. Remember always that not every single laboratory abnormality needs to be corrected, and aggressive correctional protocol can generate unwanted side effects, which can make the overall condition worse. Those who are in advanced stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome are particularly vulnerable due to the prevalence of paradoxical reactions that can surface.

Aggressive detoxification therapies commonly deployed for brain fog include enemas, cleanses, flushes, infrared sauna, acupuncture, reflexology, deep tissue massage, nutritional supplementation , herbs, chelation, and intensive chiropractic therapy. Fasting is also very popular. These can be considered for those in good health and constitutionally strong when properly conducted under supervision. Those who are weak or sensitive can get worse with any of these programs quickly. Self-navigation with these short term approaches is not recommended. A longer term comprehensive program done professionally is usually needed for permanent results.

Patience is required to fix brain fog in a setting of advanced adrenal fatigueIn a setting of advanced adrenal fatigue, short term approaches to fix the brain fog often will backfire unless the adrenals are well healed. Proper timing is key. Those in advanced stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome will do much better by focusing on the root cause first and making sure that a nutritional reserve is built prior to attempting any detoxification procedure to avoid trigger adrenal crashes. This is a much safer and more effective long term strategy.

We do see many cases of brain fog that spontaneously resolve once adrenal dysfunction is repaired properly and naturally without the use of stimulants. Patience is required. Most are pleasantly surprised on how fast the body can respond if the proper adrenal recovery program is instituted.

 
© Copyright 2012 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Questions

Brain fog may be a result of a long term build up of toxins. Firstly, look at your diet to eliminate things that can cause more harm such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol. Your lifestyle (stress, continuous late night activities, lack of sleep, etc.) may also affect your AFS.

Brain fog

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73 Comments

  • Frank says:

    Always suffering from brain fog, this helps me understand why I have this suffering problem. I am grateful to have this knowledge now .

  • Lolita says:

    Is brain fog an ongoing and recurring symptom that I should expect to encounter in just living?

  • Carl says:

    Can brain fog issues be misdiagnosed as ADD?

  • Ed says:

    What if you have candida AND heavy metal overload? Which do you start with treating to try to get rid of brain fog or which is easier on your body?

  • Carl says:

    Dear Dr. Lam,

    my adrenal fatigue episode started back in early january, my symptoms that time were non-stop anxiety,panic attacks, heart palpitations, nausea,stomach acid, stressed 24/7, insomnia lost 5lbs. got desperate and went to see a heartless sleep specialist who prescribed me “ambien” I took 8. then stopped cold turkey. it was not until last week of january until I managed to resolve it.

    ever since resolving it ive been managing to sleep for at least 5 hrs.. until february came, in some stupid way I triggered the stressor again which continued the anxiety/anxiousness again. not so long after that I’ve been chugging prune juice for my constipation. it became diarrhea and I took Loperamide then went out with a buddy to drink beer. only to go home and sleep 2 hours after I woke up had intense cramping, was using all my muscles to defecate I remember my brain was throbbing so bad so ever since that night my insomnia returned and I’ve been constipated ever since. this month was also the time where I experienced Acute pain of the upper back & lower back after waking up from a 2 hour sleep. coupled with a panic attack. I couldnt move the muscles from there even if I wanted to It was like there was a big hard hump on it. is that fibromyalgia? please correct me if im wrong would really be a relief. I think this time is also where I started to develop brain fog which wasnt permanent yet it changed from crowning your head feeling to being painful like a migraine. Also this month is where I started to really notice losing weight again and MUSCLE my god my muscles were getting devoured. I was in a catabolic state. and my tummy was getting bigger, I didnt know how to stop it. when I found out it was cortisol it was too late.

    I managed to completely resolve the stress issue completely only this early march.. I thought everything would eventually go back to normal afterwards but no. I also found out about adrenal fatigue at the same time after resolving it. not so long after that I saw somewhere that you should enjoy yourself aka be happy and it will help the adrenals recover. by the way I was already sleeping a solid 6-6.5 hours. since feb 22. so one night my friends and I went for a drink march 3 if im not mistaken. I woke up with a solid headache dont know if its bran fog or the effects of hangover that day I had sex and I ejaculated twice. with only a 10-15 min break between the two. later that night I COULDNT SLEEP AGAIN. what could be the cause? the alchohol earlier or my testosterone levels too low because of ejaculating twice. I have abstained up until now from ejaculating, alchohol, caffeine. only nicotine stands

    the symptoms I have as of now are:
    brain fog
    insomnia
    chronic constipation
    mild depression
    the belly from going into a catabolic state.
    the back pain went away when I went and got a massage.

    Dr Lam. If its not too much to ask aside from answering all my questions above may I know what stage I am on the adrenal fatigue?? and how long would be my estimated recovery period? I am only 24 years old and my endocrinologist doesnt want to believe me he/she keeps on insisting im fine when I know Im not. my lab tests all look normal,

    also is there any way I can speak to you in person I’m willing to travel across countries.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Your situation reflects a lot of dysregulation within. The good news is that young people do recover faster, but they, like you, tend to relapse as well. Call my office and we will see if we can help you.

      Dr.Lam

  • Patty says:

    My 17 yo son is experiencing brain fog on almost a daily basis that begins in the morning and clears by the late afternoon. He feels better when he is actively playing a sport, weight lifting etc. He takes a whole food cultured Multivitamin, Omega 3 and recently added BCAA supplements. He eats a healthy diet and drinks a ton of spring water and is otherwise very healthy. Can you please recommend something we can do/try and what direction to start with?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Brain fog represents a deeper dysfunction and your focus should be on the root cause. Labs are not good. A detailed history is best.

      Dr.Lam

      • Patty says:

        We are trying to get to the root cause but don’t know what direction to go in and focus on. Could you recommend the next step or important things to first rule out in an otherwise healthy 17 year old?
        Thank you for your help!

        • Dr.Lam says:

          See your doctor first to make sure all is well. If nothing is found wrong, then you have to start looking outside the box. Labs are not helpful and you can be going on a wild goose hunt without some directions. A detailed history is best. You can call my office for more help.

          Dr.Lam

  • Rhonda R. says:

    I have this.. it is extremely debilitating and not many understand it.. thank you so much for all of this free information I have so much to try and I hope that one of these suggestions will help me get my life back.

  • Rosa Hitchcock says:

    My brain fog is accompanied by debilitating fatigue and lack of motivation. I am suffering from years long, chronic inertia and am losing hope.

  • Janice says:

    How would one be able to know the difference between brain fog and dementia?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Brain fog comes and go. Early stages of dementia may be similar but it progresses to be more constant. That is one. A complete history is the key as only one piece of data cannot make proper assessment.

      Dr Lam

  • Bonita says:

    My brain fog comes in severe debilitating episodes … usually occur late morning if they happen
    I cannot think of what to say and cannot remember what was just said, I have forgotten where I was while driving once. Once it happens, I feel exhausted and fuzzy the rest of the day. What can i do?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Brain fog is often a symptom of underlying problems.
      Click Reactive Metabolite Response for more information.

      Dr Lam

    • terry says:

      that is exactly me except for the thinking of what to say! had it today at work,(this episode is in its fourth or so, day) and was embarrassed by a supervisor in front of a customer. it causes me to get very depressed. i have told doctors about it for years, to no avail.

  • Paula says:

    Thank you for all the information. My son has been suffering from brain fog on and off as a symptom of his post concussion syndrome. He has been feeling great and had 4 beers this weekend. He went to work where he sits in front of a computer for hours and when he transitions from the screen to talking to someone he felt his thoughts were unclear and in a fog. With your article as a guideline I will try to help him help himself. He’s feeling discouraged. Do you have any particular experiences relating to patients with concussions and brain fog?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Brain fog can be due to a variety of reasons. We are dealing here specially with regards to AFS. Brain fog can also happen to people with brain injury.

      Dr Lam

  • Nina says:

    There had been no more detailed information on all the facets of brain fog and the possible to a uses than yours. You are to be commended.

  • Pang says:

    I find myself having the brain fog often. I work in a call center, so I’m in front of my computer all day. Can this cause me to have brain fog all by itself?

  • Estiban Jesus Gonzales says:

    How can I reduce stress induced brain fog? Whenever I feel I have a task that is beyond my limit, I tend to start getting sleepy and absent minded. I feel better once the task is complete.

  • Bethanne says:

    This article has inspired me to really be mindful of what I’m eating. Thank you!

  • Barney says:

    Is there another option besides detoxifying that assists in the correcting of brain fog?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      The body naturally detoxifies slowly on its own. Supplements that enhance liver function may help, but also may backfire.

      Dr Lam

  • Michelle says:

    I have detoxed, cleared my liver, and am eating healthy, but am still having trouble with focus and concentration. What could still be causing the brain fog I’m experiencing?

  • Ben says:

    Dr Lam,

    Dr khazzarian seems to think that stress/inflammation foods is actually the main cause of brain fog. Other articles say blood sugar can be a cause or a great contributor.

    But what are you supposed to do if your in a situation to where your having anxiety/depression/tension/fog from stressful events and struggling to have an appetite to get consistent calories (let alone) to worry about restricting (grains, gluten, dairy, non organic foods)

    Some go through such stress patches with anxiety that they lose weight. Is it better just to “eat” in a situation like that, or do you have a general recommendation.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Stress and inflammation is certainly part of the big picture. As far as the diet is concern, there are certain foods better than others. My cookbook will give you many good recipe Click Book – Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Cookbook – Recipes to Reclaim Your Energy for more information. and will be a good start.

      Dr Lam

      • Ben says:

        Thank you that is very helpful.

        You also noted something interesting about like-PTSD and bringing on a fog. How can one ‘bring on’ a fog?

        Many people often say that after periods of emotional distress or lots of anxiety that life may seem unreal i.e: like a dream, feeling high, along with the foggy symptoms.

        Do you think In those cases it’s more of gluten playing a role being that it has an opiod like effect in the brain.
        Or do you think it’s more sleep related?

        • Dr.Lam says:

          Brain fog is rather deciphered by a detailed history.
          Click Brain Fog for more information.

          Dr Lam

          • Ben says:

            Very well. Thanks. The one that’s is tricky and can be difficult to deal with/within itself though is stress/traumas and AF. One can not always avoid it even the real hard stuff sometimes. It can blindside you.

            So are there simple things one can do to counter act it or make one more resilient or keep them calmer, and or make one stronger.

            Most people can’t always change thier environments either. (Raising babies/screaming keeping you up, neighborhood, loud neighbors, family issues, and so on)

  • Isabel says:

    Is there anything that can be done concurrently with fasting to help clear the brain fog?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Make sure you are well hydrated. If you have AFS, fasting can trigger adrenal crashes if your body is weak so you do need to be careful

      Dr Lam

      • Henna says:

        I read the article on crashes/setbacks. one thing that kept stumbling me is how can most people realistically live in the real world being that careful.

        I can understand watching large amounts of stimulants such as coffee herbs, etc. because they often tend to make the majority sluggish for a few hours afterwards. but at some point I wonder if being too gun shy is worse than Just being proactive and not worrying about crashes too. At some point when does common sense come into play.

        You say to be careful. But after reading your article, it seems to be careful or having to worry about not being able to function normally. After doing the tiniest of things that normally make people feel better and life worth living. Unless someone is for instance down with a flu or has something truly obvious going on – I can’t imagine thinking twice about taking a walk, doing breathing exercises “just right” etc. your body should tell you when it’s too much and not push yourself too hard.

  • RS says:

    One week ago I began a new, lower dose birth control to see if the lower hormone levels compared to my previous brand would help fix my anxiety and panic attacks before I begin an anti-anxiety prescription. Since beginning the new birth control, I have terrible head fog. I cannot focus, am dizzy, and it’s preventing me from doing every day things such as drive, exercise, or go to class (I’m a college student). I called my OBGYN to ask if I could stop taking the birth control, and they told me that the hormone balance would be thrown off even more, and that I must finish the pack. I have three weeks of the pack left, and need help on how to control the brain fog until then. I do know that my anxiety disorder creates head fog as well, never nearly this bad though. Even if it is playing a role in making it worse, I know the birth control is the major problem with my fogginess.

  • LJ says:

    Hello,
    I have been experiencing a number of cognitive issues over the last couple of years. My symptoms include: long term and short term memory loss, impaired concentration, slow processing speed and visual disturbances. My doctor has disregarded all symptoms as being attributable to chronic fatigue; however, I am beginning to doubt her conjecture.

  • Alexandra says:

    What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

  • Ella says:

    I’ve had heavy brain fog for the last week now. It feels like my brain cavity has been stuffed with a pillow. I feel slight dizziness too.

    This is a serious condition. It disrupts almost every aspect of daily life. I suspect gluten might be the issue for myself, as I’ve been avoiding gluten but have eaten a lot of oats lately. I hope it goes away on its own.

  • antinazi says:

    I have severe brain fog, I have difficulty reading and I feel like a zombie all day just staring at my room and computer, sometimes I get lost where I am, like in the middle of walking I get lost.

  • Jose serrano says:

    Need help feel like I’m going crazy, after the death of my girlfriends mom I started having issues,mental fogginess,sick feel,took test thought it was pressure free from that,another test for vertigo clear,MRI normal ,sleep test do suffer severe sleep apnea, however still out of nowhere the fogginess comes and goes I’m giving doctors a ton of money to still not know what’s going on with me, what step should I take to figure this out, causing a form of depression went from being normal no medical issues to every week different test to still not know what’s going on with my health please any suggestions

  • Zac says:

    I take benadryl for my allergies, but lately my mind has been very hard to focus. Is this a sign my adrenals are becoming weak?

  • Gustavo Melend says:

    I’m glad I took the time to read this article. This is the most information I have found online . Thanks.

  • Larry Sloak says:

    I had no idea that all these things can cause brain fog. This information is the most defined that I have found on the internet. Thank you for taking the time and collecting this info.

  • Maria Espino says:

    Thank u for this article I actually took my time to read this good information I been dealing with braing fog for a good while years and I would most definately get into the aricciputre culture because I feel that’s the most healthiest way to release all my toxins that remain in my gluctose bloodstream from all the artificial sweetens. And poor diet I would like to subrcrise with you guys to keep up.

  • Stephanie says:

    Great information! i have been suffering from brain fog for what feels like a lifetime. It feels awesome to know that it is something real and there is a solution for it. Thank you for the information!

  • rashida jeeva says:

    Please email me the breathing pattern which would help with stress and brain fog.

  • Erin B says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for all this information. I have been suffering from severe brain fog a couple days each month for the last couple years. I take a couple different medications, am 3 years clean off drugs and alcohol, have an IUD Im suspicious of, need more exercise, water, and better nutrition, etc. I feel like any one of those reasons could be me. I am so glad I am not alone in this. Nothing is more frustrating than feelinh disconnected and not knowing why. It starts one day out of nowhere and usually goes away just as fast a few days later. Plan to pay much closer attention and work to make some changes. Thank you again for this!!!

  • R. Hart says:

    Thank you Dr. Lam for putting all of this information together for all of us out there to read and make sense of this very difficult situation. This is very thorough info and I very much appreciate all of the content covered.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      You are welcome. Unfortunately conventional medicine is quite far behind in terms of understand this matter. I am glad you are getting knowledgable.

      Dr Lam

  • Hermes Provadacof says:

    Excellent article. I just wish there weren’t so many factoring components to brain fog. Pleasure to actually see you in the videos, by the way. Thanks

  • Erin says:

    Is there a way to tell if my brain fog is caused by EMF?

    • Newsletter says:

      The fastest way is to move away from TV monitors, cell phones, and unplug your electrical applicance and see. There are professionals who can come out and do a study but that does not really tell you how your body reacts. Sleep in a totally dark room and have all electrical appliances include night lights unplugged. Its very important to be unplugged.

      Dr Lam.

  • Aryana says:

    I have had trouble with my memory ever since I can remember! How do I know what is causing the issue? How do I know where to start?

    • Newsletter says:

      Brain fog can be reduce first with eating a clean diet and stay away from wheat,diary, corn, and gluten. Try this first. Drinking more water helps. there is no laboratory test for brain fog. it all comes down to history and elimination of other causes. Work on the liver often helps. My article called Liver Congestion will be a good read.

      Dr Lam

  • Robert says:

    Thank you for taking the time and creating this information, it is very appreciated.