As we age, it has become commonplace to accept that our cognitive function declines, and our memory isn’t as sharp as it once was.
A few forgotten words here and there can leave us laughing about the toll we pay for getting older, but memory loss and decline in cognitive ability shouldn’t always be accepted as normal at all. In fact, they might be recognized as alarms.
With the uptake in statin use, Alzheimer’s-like symptoms have increased in younger age groups. That can be one reason for cognitive decline. But what isn’t often realized is the effects of chronic stress over time lead to brain damage, which may be incorrectly explained away as brain “fog.”
Should Brain Fog Set Off Our Health Alarms?
Well…yes and no.
I think we can agree, there is no shortage of stress in our lives. We’re seeing the term “brain fog” being used more widely and these symptoms are affecting more of us than ever before.
There is no debate that brain fog, memory loss, and cognitive decline can make simple everyday tasks more challenging. From a naturopathic point of view, these symptoms are the alarm that says, “There is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.”
The Debilitating Effects of Brain Fog
Brain fog is one of the most common, frustrating, and scariest symptoms that accompanies Adrenal Fatigue. To call it simply “brain fog” greatly diminishes the debilitating effects that the cognitive dysfunction creates in your life.
The symptom that we refer to as “brain fog” actually incorporates numerous cognitive deficits. These include poor working memory, learning, and recall. It also causes short-term memory loss, decreased executive function, and disorganized thinking.
If you suffer from brain fog, you might also notice a lack of focus, poor attention, low mood, and an inability to multitask.
What Causes Brain Fog
1) It is well documented that stress hormones create oxidative stress in the body, including the brain. You can think of oxidative stress as the body having little “free radicals,” like pinballs in a pinball machine. The free radicals are in the blood, going everywhere in the body. They bounce around and damage any structure they hit: cells, tissue, nerves, brain tissue, mitochondria, etc.
2) There is significant neurotransmitter change that occurs with excess stress hormone, as well, which leads to brain fog symptoms.
3) Neural pattern changes also occur, and the body becomes focused on survival rather than memory.
4) Lower blood volume and blood pressure issues mean there’s simply less blood to get to the brain. It’s as if the elevator can’t make it to the top floor!
5) Last, there is a decrease in energy supply overall. Since the brain requires about 25% of your daily energy allowance, there’s not enough fuel to go around.
How to Reverse Brain Fog
Nootropics (basically brain food) have been touted as the solution for reversing brain fog. I have experimented diligently with using nootropics in conjunction with my healing programs. I have found them to be unsuccessful and inconsistent as a long term solution in my patient population.
My patients effectively heal by targeting the stress response system as a whole. Every treatment plan looks a little different, depending on the patient’s specific needs; but my treatment aids in minimizing added stress on the adrenals, rewiring the limbic system, and balancing out hormones.
My trilateral approach halts brain damage and brings the body back to homeostasis to restore cognitive function. The sooner we turn your symptom alarm off, the less damage will occur as a whole.