What is Brain Fog?

Lupus brain fog is a common complaint.

Do you struggle with constant fatigue, difficulty focusing, poor memory, moody, and feel a bit “lost”?  This is what we refer to as “Brain Fog”. 

Brain fog is much more common today because our world is so distracted, from constant smart device alerts, social media check-ins, streaming tv shows, all competing for our attention that most of us walk around like zombies.  

This all affects our neurotransmitters.

To add to this, our food supply is highly toxic with fast foods, processed foods, factory-farmed meats and fish, and all the demands for our time do not help brain health.

Lupus-Autoimmune and Brain Fog

Lupus or autoimmune conditions and Brain Fog go hand in hand.  Following are the reasons why:

  1. We are highly stressed from living with such an unpredictable disease.
  2. We tend to be sedentary because it hurts to move or we simply don’t have the energy to move.
  3. Our bodies are burdened with toxins from all those medications that we take completing with the nutrients as well as disrupting our gut lining.
  4. We don’t “feel” good so we tend to make poor choices on the foods that we eat.
  5. We have leaky gut which also makes us susceptible to perpetual flares from the toxins above.
  6. Sleep deprivation due to hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and from pain.

See how we are predisposed to having a foggy brain?

It’s important to know that our brain relies on good quality vitamins, minerals, protein, essential fatty acids, oxygen, and glucose to perform at its best.

We also need to rest and get sleep because that’s when our bodies focus on regenerating and repairing. 

The good news is that we can improve brain fog and feel as clear and focused as before Lupus.  How?  It all starts with repairing the root cause, our leaky gut, and our habits such as our diet, stress management, sleep, and physical exercise.

Symptoms of Brain Fog

Feelings of brain fog are essentially the opposite of feeling calm, focused, optimistic, motivated, and joyful.  When you have brain fog, it will suck the motivation, inspiration, happiness, and replace with anxiety, frustration, anger, and depression.

The first thing to remember is that brain fog is something that we perpetuate with our lifestyle choices which trigger our inflammation and hormonal imbalances.  This is good because it’s also something that we can control.

With our autoimmune condition, our doctors will typically dismiss our inability to think straight as another Lupus symptom.  This is because Lupus is an inflammatory condition that can affect every system in our bodies, including the Central Nervous System.

Following are the brain fog symptoms:

  1. Low energy or severe fatigue.
  2. Depression and Anxiety.
  3. Difficulty focusing.
  4. Forgetfulness
  5. Low motivation, feeling helpless
  6. Headaches/Migraines
  7. Confusion
  8. Sleep disturbance

Cause of Brain Fog

The cause is our Lupus affecting our Central Nervous System.  To me, it’s a question of what came first, chicken or the egg?

If you’re like most, you have other autoimmune conditions and have had symptoms for years prior to the diagnosis. 

From my research and years of reviewing the cause, its likely that our stress progressively caused a degradation in our gut lining leading to leaky gut and cumulatively affected whatever systems that may have been impacted by your Lupus.

There are many variables but simply it’s your genetic disposition coupled with environmental toxins (food and air), fueled by an increase in stress levels, which then triggers an immune response.  Finally, it comes down to YOUR “tolerance” to such toxic exposure.

If you take a minute to look at the list above, you’d notice that much of those symptoms overlap with Lupus symptoms. 

Sleep

The number one struggle for my patients is sleep.  They struggle with falling asleep and of course, you wake up tired and can’t think clearly = Lupus Brain Fog.

If you feel like a zombie and can barely stand vertical, you will likely not be motivated to make good choices on food, exercise, or be happy.

Nutrition

You grab the easiest thing to eat which is loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates which cause a peak and burn out quick, further getting your body in an acidic state and decrease brain function.

Hormones

At the cellular level, brain fog is believed to be caused by inflammation and neurotransmitter imbalance.  There are three key primary hormones that determine your mood, energy, and focus:  dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol. 

Our brain relies on a cascade of hormones working “together” and if there is a drastic imbalance in any nutrients, neurotransmitters, and hormones, our whole system is in havoc.  When our systems are in chaos, Lupus Brain Fog is inevitable.

Physical Exercise

Because you’re tired and in pain, we stop moving.  When we stop moving, our heart has a harder time to pump the necessary blood to the brain.  When we move, we get our heart rate up and it improves the metabolic activity by improving detox pathways as well as to deliver oxygen and glucose to fuel our brain.

Balance

Key is to balance the production of such substance to get your body on track.

According to the 2015 report published in Frontier in Neuroscience, the incidence of people who struggle with brain fog are significantly greater for those with chronic fatigue syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, celiac disease, gluten intolerance or other food allergies, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

What do all of the above diseases or symptoms have in common?  Inflammation

So the good news is that if we replenish our bodies with anti-inflammatory foods, we can significantly alter our moods and mental ability and that means bye to Lupus Brain Fog.

For me personally, this was very important as I rely on my cognitive ability for my work and when I struggled with it, I was worried that I would end up with a decline so bad that I’d end up with premature Alzheimer’s.

8 ways to Improve Lupus Brain Fog

  1. Eliminate Processed Foods:  Any packaged, fast food, microwaveable foods, like chips, candy, cookies, and frozen dinners are your offenders, eliminate and replace with fresh vegetables and fruits.  Download your Elimination Guide here.
  2. Eat Healthy Amount of Protein:  Choose grass-fed or organic meats and dairy.  Conventional meats tend to cause inflammation in our bodies due to its impurities.
  3. Eat Healthy Fats: Eat avocados, cook with coconut oil, and salmon (Alaskan wild caught) which are high in EPA/DHA, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  4. Sleep 7-8 hours:  Avoid eating too close to bedtime (3-4 hours) have a nightly ritual, chamomile tea, meditate, gentle yoga, take this Lupus Sleep Support which is a controlled release melatonin to keep you in sleep mode so you don’t wake up multiple times through the night.
  5. Manage Stress:  Meditation, journal, drink chamomile tea and take Lupus support sleep to get ready for bed.  Avoid watching TV prior to sleep as it can keep you stimulated. 
  6. Healthy Exercise: Yoga or light walking will help you to get the necessary blood pumped from your heart to your brain.  To nourish and supply it good energy, (glucose) and oxygen. 
  7. Take Supplements:  Lupus Brain Support to ensure a healthy balance of neurotransmitters here.
  8. Hydrate:  No Energy or sports drinks, coconut water or plain water diffused with lemon or cucumber are nice.  Drink 1/2 body weight in water every day to hydrate our brain cells.

Lupus Brain Fog is one that we can work on improving.  I’ve done lots of work to keep my Lupus Brain Fog under control as I need my marbles for as long as possible. 

I hope that this helped, please subscribe, comment, and share, talk soon.

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