What is Brain Fog?The term “brain fog” is used to describe a collection of cognitive conditions, including memory problems, a lack of mental clarity, and an inability to focus. Sometimes described as mental fatigue or brain fatigue, brain fog itself is not a medical condition, but a symptom of another condition.
Researchers define brain fog as “a constellation of symptoms that include reduced cognition, inability to concentrate and multitask, as well as loss of short- and long-term memory.”
While everyone has moments of mental confusion, when they become more severe and frequent, they can become debilitating and make even simple daily tasks challenging.
Certain medical conditions that are associated with fatigue, inflammation, and blood sugar imbalances — such as hypothyroidism — often present with symptoms of brain fog. Other medical conditions that commonly result in brain fog symptoms include fibromyalgia, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
Lifestyle factors that can result in brain fog include sleep deprivation, stress, diet, dehydration, and medication use. Changes in hormones can also be a direct contributor to brain fog.
In my experience with working with chronic disease patients, I have learned that brain fog is a common symptom for many people. There are four related factors that are the main drivers of brain fog for people: insufficient thyroid hormone, inflammation, blood sugar imbalances, and gut permeability.
Insufficient Thyroid HormoneResearch has shown that thyroid gland dysfunction (marked by changes in thyroid hormone concentration) can adversely impact cognitive functions, which helps to explain why so many people with chronic diseases are affected by symptoms of brain fog.
Thyroid hormones (including T3 and T4) impact nearly every aspect of the brain, including neurogenesis (the production of neurons). A decrease in thyroid hormone will naturally impact brain function.
The standard of care for insufficient thyroid hormone is to utilize a synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication. Unfortunately, simply adding a synthetic thyroid medication to the mix will not result in full recovery for most chronic disease patients. While this medication can be helpful for many people and their symptoms, it does not address the underlying root causes of the condition and may also mask the underlying inflammation that can perpetuate the immune system imbalance and lead to other chronic conditions.
Therefore, many people continue to struggle with thyroid symptoms, including brain fog, even after they’ve started taking medication.
InflammationChronic disease states lead to inflammation and damage of the cells that produce hormones.
The body then becomes stuck in a chronic state of immune system overload, adrenal hormone abnormalities, gut dysbiosis, impaired digestion, impaired detoxification, and thyroid hormone release abnormalities.
All those conditions fuel inflammation, which not only impacts your thyroid, but also your brain. This cycle is self-sustaining and will continue to cause more symptoms… until an external factor intervenes and breaks the cycle.
Once inflammation kicks in, it can run rampant, creating oxidative stress (an overload of free radicals — unstable atoms that harm your body and brain). When chronic inflammation is present, oxidative stress is present much of the time, too.
Oxidative stress results from an imbalance in damaging free radicals and the body’s antioxidant defenses. Along with contributing to numerous health conditions, including cancer and dementia, oxidative stress can manifest in more acute situations, like brain fog, when your brain lacks the antioxidant defense.
Inflammation and oxidative stress impact your brain in numerous ways beyond brain fog. For instance, inflammation triggers your brain to convert the amino acid tryptophan into anxiety-provoking chemicals rather than serotonin and melatonin. When you’re not making enough of these neurotransmitters, your mood and your sleep suffer.
Blood Sugar ImbalancesA third factor linking brain fog to chronic disease is blood sugar imbalances, which are common in those with chronic health conditions. When we consume large amounts of sugar — often in the form of high carbohydrate foods such as desserts, grains, and starchy vegetables — the pancreas has to release larger amounts of the hormone insulin to bring the levels of sugar in the blood back down to a normal level. These surges in insulin can cause blood sugar to drop too low, and lead to lowered levels of glucose (a simple sugar the body uses for fuel) in the brain. This reduces cognitive function by essentially “starving” the brain of its source of energy.
Additionally, chronically high levels of insulin cause systemic and brain inflammation, leading to brain tissue damage and poor mental function.
Intestinal PermeabilityMany times, symptoms of chronic disease, including brain fog, originate in your gut. That makes sense when you realize that every autoimmune condition is associated with intestinal permeability.
More commonly called leaky gut, intestinal permeability occurs when the tight junctions within your gut that normally keep food particles confined, become loose. Food particles and toxins can escape the intestines and enter the bloodstream, creating an inflammatory reaction as these foreign invaders put your immune system into overdrive.
When your gut is inflamed, most likely your brain is, too.
Many factors contribute to leaky gut; however, one of the most common causes is food sensitivities. The most common food sensitivities we see in people with Hashimoto’s are gluten and dairy, though a person can become sensitive to any food. Grains, soy and sugar are also major culprits.
What’s interesting is that gluten intolerance seems to affect systems and tissues predominantly outside of the gastrointestinal tract, and there is an emerging body of evidence that links gluten sensitivity to neurological and behavioral changes.
I have seen dramatic symptom improvement and remission repeatedly in people with Hashimoto’s, who have eliminated triggers like gluten and healed their intestinal permeability.
Additionally, intestinal permeability can contribute to or exacerbate other gut conditions, including overgrowth of the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans. Yeast overgrowth is very common with Hashimoto’s and contributes to many symptoms, including brain fog.
Many of the potential causes of brain fog can, themselves, be caused by poor gut health, including stress, sleep quality, blood sugar imbalances, gluten intolerance, and insufficient thyroid hormone levels.
Addressing gut health and getting to the root cause of brain fog is often the best way to restore mental clarity.
The Gut and Brain Health ConnectionThere is such a strong connection between the brain and the gut, that some people refer to the gut as our “second brain.” We call this connection the brain-gut axis. And, just like your gut maintains a protective barrier that prevents unwanted substances from crossing through, your brain has a blood-brain barrier.
In fact, leaky gut goes together with leaky brain. These same particles that are not intended to slip through the gut, can make their way through the blood brain barrier. To compensate, your microglia (the brain’s “cleanup crew” cells) hop into action.
As immune-supporting cells, microglia work to defend your central nervous system (CNS) by scavenging things like damaged cells, but also foreign invaders that slip through the blood-brain barrier.
Microglia are extremely sensitive to potential CNS threats, and they wage an all-out assault at whatever they deem a potential problem. You want these cells to be alert, but calm, until a real threat occurs with your brain.
Typically, thyroid hormones step in and help keep those microglia calm. When you have low amounts of these thyroid hormones, however, they can’t always keep microglia in check, creating or exacerbating brain inflammation. The inflammatory response that is inherent with chronic disease also contributes to this brain inflammation.
In other words, your brain suffers a double whammy: you don’t have enough thyroid hormones to keep those overzealous microglia in check, plus you have the inflammation present with chronic disease, which spills over into other organs, including your brain.
Tomorrow we will Find out what we can do to Address the Underlying Cause of Brain Fog!!
I love this time of year… the holidays are an amazing opportunity to slow down and relax with family, as well as reflect on the past and future. Plus, the new year is always a great time to start fresh!
Over the past few years, my readers, clients, colleagues, team members and family have helped me evolve in so many ways as a human being, healer, friend, leader, boss, wife, daughter, sister, and mother!
I have had quite an awakened year as a student of healing, experiencing and learning how to heal new conditions in myself as well as those close to me…
I also wrapped up quite a few new solutions I had been working on over the past few years and was focused on providing new helpful tools and resources for my readers!
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to turn my life’s passion for helping people recover their health, into a movement that has created positive change all around the world!
Now, January is when I begin to think about resolutions and goals for the new year.
I hope that you’re taking some time this season to think about all the ways you’d like to grow into the best and truest version of yourself in the new year.
Here are a few of my goals and resolutions!
My Goals and Resolutions for 2020:
Reflect on the last year and decade, and celebrate everything you’ve done, how much you’ve grown, and this beautiful thing called life. Also notice your challenges, how you overcame them, what you learned, and what you’re still learning.
Create a vision for your life that supports your values and your potential. Really do the work to dive deep and excavate what YOU want - how you want to feel, the world you want to be part of, etc.
Plan it out. Our goals don’t accidentally come into reality - we have to put one foot in front of the other and co-create reality with the Universe.
Anything in particular I can cover? Please let me know.
Sayer Ji, Founder
Sometimes called the 'sunshine vitamin' because it is found in high levels in citrus fruits, vitamin C has a uniquely regenerative role in hormone health and cancer prevention that has been overlooked for over twenty years!
Truly groundbreaking research on the regenerative potential of vitamin C therapy for hormone health as well as cancer prevention was performed over twenty years ago, and yet still today it has received little to no attention.
Published in 1993 in the journal Radiation Physics and Chemistry and titled, "Photo-induced regeneration of hormones by electron transfer processes: Potential biological and medical consequences," Austrian researchers explored the role that vitamin C plays in preventing the degradation of steroid hormones into toxic and cancer-promoting metabolites known as "hormone transients." Their stated goal was "to investigate if hormone transients resulting by e.g. electron emission can be regenerated."
The molecular structure of progesterone, estrone (a form of estrogen) and testosterone is such that when exposed to differing biological and/or environmental conditions, e.g. UV light, pH, temperature, they lose electrons, becoming toxic and often carcinogenic metabolites that represent a burden on the body's eliminative capabilities. Vitamin C is a well-known electron donor, which is to say a substance that donates electrons to another compound (i.e. a 'reducing agent'). Vitamin C's ability to donate electrons can have an antioxidant effect as far as neutralizing free radicals, or as is the case with transient hormone metabolites, a structurally regenerative one.
The study's design and results were summarized as follows:
"Investigations were performed using progesterone (PRG), testosterone (TES) and estrone (E1) as representatives of hormones. By irradiation with monochromatic UV light (λ=254 nm) in a media of 40% water and 60% ethanol, the degradation as well as the regeneration of the hormones was studied with each hormone individually and in the mixture with VitC as a function of the absorbed UV dose, using HPLC. Calculated from the obtained initial yields, the determined regeneration of PRG amounted to 52.7%, for TES to 58.6% and for E1 to 90.9%."
Remarkably, vitamin C was capable of almost complete regeneration of estrone and quite significant regeneration of both progesterone (52.7%) and testosterone (58.6%).
These experimental results have profound implications if they prove to carry over to human physiology. For instance, vitamin C may offer an alternative (or at least adjuvant and/or 'drug sparing' effect) to hormone replacement therapy, which suffers from the problem of 'feeding the deficiency,' i.e. negative feedback loops operative within our endocrine system can result in the down-regulation of endogenous steroid hormone production when exogenous forms are supplied.
The researchers noted that this was (at the time) the first scientific evidence proving:
"[H]ormone transients originating by the electron emission process can be successfully regenerated by the transfer of electrons from a potent electron donor, such as vitamin C (VitC)."
While a preliminary study, the researchers identified two possible implications of their research to human medicine:
For additional related research you can read two previous on vitamin C's role in cancer treatment in intravenous form and vitamin C rich foods like pomegranate as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
© [Article Date] GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here //www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
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From quick stress-survival strategies to mood-brightening foods, here's your cheat sheet to holiday cheer.
1. Elevate your mood with sunlight –
It stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which impacts millions of Americans every year, says Judith Orloff, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles.
To ease SAD symptoms, spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days, or ask your doc about phototherapy (a treatment using a box that emits full-spectrum light providing 10,000 lux of luminosity).
2. Healthy Fats for the Brain -
Fat is back, and with good reason. Healthy fats like those found in nuts and fish are crucial for brain health and may play a role in fighting depression.
In a large review of studies, people eating the most fish had a 17% lower risk of depression than those eating the least fish. Another review found that omega-3 fish oil supplements boosted the effects of medication in people with depression, compared with taking a placebo.
“Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood and monounsaturated fats from nuts, avocados, and olive oil appear to be particularly important and beneficial to our mental and brain health,” Jacka says. . Our products, OmegAvail Synergy and XanthOmega Krill Oil.
3. Take a whiff of Citrus and add in Vitamin C-
Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket.
For the perfect quick defense against drama. In a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, German researchers attempted to stress out 120 people by asking them to give a speech and then answer difficult math problems. Researchers found that those participants who had been given high doses of vitamin C before the stress-fest had lower blood pressure levels and concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol.
Stellar C and C+Biofizz
Stellar C and C+Biofizz are rich in vitamin C (from a mixture of ascorbic acid and acerola fruit) and plant bioflavonoids (hesperidin, rutin, quercetin and mixed citrus bioflavonoids), known for their immunoprotective properties. In addition to supporting healthy immune function, these nutrients have been used historically for applications such as maintaining healthy veins, capillaries, skin, hair and nails by supporting normal collagen production and repair.
We talk too little about vitamin C’s role in healing the gut and maintaining structural integrity. Vitamin C is also a key antioxidant. Liposomal vitamin C is the best, for almost complete absorption. Only 1000 mg. daily is needed for a maintenance dose. The dosage is 1 teaspoon daily.
4. Steel Cut Oatmeal
A perky disposition depends on unrefined carbohydrates. Serotonin, your brain's primary mood-boosting neurotransmitter, comes from the amino acid tryptophan, which needs carbohydrates to reach the brain, according to Judith Wurtman, PhD, former MIT research scientist and co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet. Problem is, as cute as Christmas cookies are, their refined carbs spur an overproduction of insulin that's not only linked to sugar crashes but spikes in stress hormones as well. Reach for warm unrefined oatmeal instead. You can even add extra protein like our PurePea, Pure Paleo, or Pure PaleoMeal, to ward off cravings. It contains the healthy carbohydrates and fiber needed to boost your serotonin levels for a full three hours.
5. Walk away from Worries
"The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep," says nutrition-and-wellness expert Ann Kulze, MD. Aim for a brisk, half-hour walk every day. Research has found that workouts can boost your mood for up to 12 hours.
6. Sleep Better with 5-HTP
This plant extract is thought to increase serotonin, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep. Dr. Orloff recommends 150 milligrams daily. If you take antidepressant medications, talk to your doc before trying it. Our products, 5-HTP Synergy and 5-HTP Supreme
7. While studies suggest a link between low levels of vitamin D and depression, what’s unclear is whether it is a cause of depressive symptoms or a consequence of being depressed, says the Vitamin D Council. Some scientists suspect that vitamin D may play a role in converting tryptophan into the mood-elevating hormone serotonin.
Sadly, the new World Journal of Psychiatry report notes, Americans aren't eating as much of these fish—or any fish in general—as they should. "Average annual seafood intake for Americans is 14.6 pounds," the authors note, "and the USDA estimates that 80 to 90% of the population fails to meet the recommendation of two servings of seafood per week."
Good levels are 50-75 ng/ml - body weight dosing for Vitamin D is 35 IU per pound body weight. Our products, Vitamin D Synergy, Vitamin D Supreme, Vitamin D Complex, Liposomal D, and Vitamin D Ultra.
8. Savor a Spicy Meal - Hot foods trigger the release of endorphins—the natural chemicals that trigger feelings of euphoria and well-being, Dr. Kulze says.
9. As it turns out, there’s a link between digestive and brain health. Scientists call it the “gut-brain axis.” Important brain chemicals, including the mood-boosting hormone serotonin, are produced in the gut. So, the theory goes, without a sufficient supply of healthy gut bacteria, your mood can suffer. Prebiotics provide food for probiotics and in so doing improve the overall ecosystem of the gut and immune system, also reducing inflammation. Prebiotics are a source of insoluble fiber. Our products, PrebioMed XOS, Probiotic Synergy, Probiotic Supreme DF, Probiospore and Probiomed.
All products are available at theeherbdoc.ehealthpro.com use promo code Healthy15Always for additional savings. Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday.