Whether You Call It Brain Cloud or Brain Fog, Here’s What You Need to Know
“What was it I was saying?”
“Where did I put my phone?”
“I just can’t seem to focus these days.”
By the time most of us reach “a certain age,” we have all had these moments. Some call it brain fog, some call it brain cloud. Many of us chalk it up to just getting older. But, is it always? Brain fog, in and of itself, is not a medical condition. But it is often a symptom of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. From autoimmune conditions to neurological disorders, brain fog is often one of first warning signs.
According to the National Stem Cell Institute, one of the U.S.’s leading regenerative medicine facilities, brain fog is among the top symptoms that patients report as the reason why they seek out stem cell therapy.
Brain fog/brain cloud is experienced in a number of ways, including:
- Memory trouble
- Lack of mental clarity
- Poor concentration
- Inability to focus
Brain fog can be the result of mental fatigue brought on by long periods of intense work and/or concentration. In many of these cases, getting enough rest is the right prescription. But severe, chronic brain cloud that is not resolved through adequate rest and exercise should not be shrugged off. When brain fog interferes with your job or classes, it’s time to take it seriously.
The good news is that, when the underlying condition is discovered and dealt with, brain fog isn’t something that you are doomed to endure your whole life long.
What Causes Brain Fog?
There are a number of reasons why we experience brain fog, so identifying the underlying causes is crucial in resolving that spacey feeling in the head. In doing so, many people are surprised that symptoms they didn’t realize were connected to the same condition are also resolved.
Below are 6 common causes of brain cloud:
The toll that stress takes on the body has been well documented. Elevated blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and persistent depression are classic symptoms. So is mental fatigue. When you’re persistently stressed, the brain becomes exhausted. This results in difficulties in thinking, reasoning, and focusing: all elements of brain fog.
- Not Enough Quality Sleep
Not getting enough quality sleep is a classic set-up for brain fog. Poor sleep interferes with your brain’s ability to function. Too often, people shrug off the importance of getting between 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night. In order to ensure that you get enough sleep, give careful thought to what may be the causing your insomnia or what may be preventing you from reaching deep sleep.
- Hormonal Shifts
Though changes in hormonal levels are more likely to affect women, men suffer from brain fog associated with drops in hormonal levels, too. For men, this is usually associated with low levels of testosterone. For women, hormonal shifts in progesterone and estrogen rise and fall for a number of reasons during adult life: from pregnancy to menopause. For both women and men brain fog is among the most common symptoms of hormonal shifts, and can include forgetfulness, poor concentration, and cloudy thinking.
- Dietary Concerns
There is a direct connection between mental sharpness and what we eat. For example, brain fog can be a symptom of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. This member of the B vitamin family is essential to healthy brain function. Food allergies can cause you to feel brain tired, too.
Possible food allergies/sensitivities include:
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Aspartame (ex: Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue)
Remove any foods that trigger feelings of brain fog and see how your mental sharpness improves.
Brain cloud is very often a side effect of medications. Sometimes this can be resolved by adjusting dosage or changing medication. You should never make any adjustments before talking with your doctor. Brain fog is often associated with chemo therapy, as well. Traditionally, this is called “chemo brain” but no matter what you call it, that fuzzy feeling in the head can often be severe enough to disrupt daily life.
- Illnesses, Syndromes, and Disorders
Brain fog can also be traced to fluctuations in blood glucose levels or inflammation. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and diabetes are just a few examples of medical conditions that can have an effect on cognitive function.
Other illnesses, syndromes, and disorders that frequently cause brain fog include:
- Sjögren Syndrome
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autoimmune Diseases (such as lupus, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis)
The Ways that Brain Fog can be Diagnosed
Since brain fog is not a disease in and of itself, a single test cannot properly diagnose the underlying cause or causes. So, how do you know when brain fog is a warning sign of illness or medicinal side effects? One way is if the brain cloud simply will not lift no matter your quality of rest, dietary changes, or reduction in stress. If this is the case, or if brain fog worsens, consult your doctor.
Be sure to have the following information ready when you go in for your appointment:
- Your Mental Health Status
- Dietary Information
- Frequency and Level of Physical Activity
- A List of Your Current Meds, including Supplements
Tell your doctor about any additional symptoms you’re experiencing, too. For example:
- Hair Loss
- Dry Skin
- Changes in Weight
- Brittle Nails
- Changes in Appetite
Don’t be surprised if blood work is recommended by your doctor. Blood testing can help detect conditions like the following:
- Abnormal Glucose Levels
- Liver Function
- Kidney Function
- Thyroid Function
- A Deficiency in Nutrition
- Inflammatory Illnesses
More in-depth diagnostics may also be recommended by your physician, like X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. She may also recommend allergy testing or a sleep study. Both you and your doctor will find it very helpful if you keep food and sleep journals prior to your appointment, with notations on how you feel your diet and sleep patterns might be affecting your brain fog.
How Brain Fog is Treated
Treating brain fog is a matter of addressing the underlying symptoms that may be causing it.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re anemic. For this diagnosis your doctor may recommend iron supplements to help boost red blood cell production, which can reduce brain fog. Or let’s say, as another example, that you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as lupus or fibromyalgia. Since these types of diseases can cause tissue, organ, or nerve inflammation, certain medications or stem cell therapy may be recommended.
How to Relieve Brain Fog at Home
You can be pro-active in treating your brain fog. In fact, many of the underlying conditions that are the reasons for or contribute to what causes mental fogginess are greatly improved when you become an active partner with your physician in combating brain cloud.
Ways to help your doctor help you include:
- Making sure you get 8 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night
- Learning how to manage your unique stress situations
- Reducing your consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages
- Getting the proper amounts of moderate or higher exercise every week
- Exercise your brain by learning something new via volunteerism, classes, hobbies, or brain puzzles and games
- Seek out and commit to activities that you enjoy
- Eat more protein, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats
The Importance of Exercising the Brain
More and more people now accept that physical exercise plays a crucial role in relieving brain fog, as well as improving overall health. Yet one well-established and important element that continues to be overlooked is exercising the brain itself.
Exercising the brain is beneficial in a number of ways. It helps retain mental sharpness as we age. It alleviates brain fog. It helps reduce symptoms of depression. It helps to keep us engaged in the world and increases personal knowledge.
The brain may not be a muscle, but it should be exercised like one.
While the brain isn’t a muscle, it can be strengthened and improved through mental exercise much like the muscles of the body are strengthened and improved through physical exercise. That’s why so many comparisons are made that liken the brain to a muscle.
Just as physical exercise needs to address the whole body to be effective, a mental workout should exercise as many brain functions as possible. Below are suggestions for several ways to give your brain a full workout. Try them and you may be surprised just how much they help to relieve your brain fog!
- Memory Exercises
When we age, one of the most common brain functions that diminish is memory. In many cases, this loss of memory can be profoundly distressing and even debilitating. This is because memory plays a critical role in all other cognitive abilities. The brain fog that often accompanies memory problems only worsens how we feel when we struggle with memory issues.
Happily, mental exercises to strengthen and retain memory are easy to do. They take very little time and are inherently engaging, which effectively reduces brain fog. Engagement also makes them stimulating and entertaining. This is no small matter! The more we honestly enjoy doing something, the more inclined we are to do it often and consistently.
You can improve your memory for a song. Literally!
One memory game that works great for brain fog is to learn a new song. Choose a type of music you enjoy and work on memorizing the lyrics. This not only helps keep your memory sharp, it will make you a favorite with your friends on karaoke night!
Another simple, but effective memory game is to enter a room and focus on 5 objects. What are they and where are they located inside the room? Leave the room then recall what each object with as much detail as possible and where they are located. Re-enter the room and see how you did. Set a timer for about 2 hours and test how well you still remember object details and location.
- Comprehension Exercises
Comprehension exercises help your brain increase or maintain its level of understanding. One way to do this is to learn a new word each day. There are several ways to do this, beginning with simply accessing a dictionary. But many people find it more interesting to choose a style of writing they usually don’t read. For example, opting for a section of daily news isn’t usually your first choice. Or reading a type of novel or nonfiction book that covers a topic that you aren’t familiar with. These increase the chance of discovering a broad range of words you aren’t familiar with, which prompts the brain to concentrate and comprehend their meanings.
- Focusing Exercises
Developing better focus and attention in this day and age is more important than ever. The modern world is becoming filled with evermore distractions. This means that a robust attention span is more crucial in today’s society than in the past. One game to play that improves focus is to practice mindfulness while performing an act. For example: when washing dishes, put as much attention as possible on the task. Notice how hot or cold the dish water is, the elements of texture on the sponge in your hand, the smell of the dish washing liquid, the textures and shapes of the dishes that you’re washing.
However you choose to sharpen your focus, begin with an easy goal of practicing 5 minutes of focus. Take the exercise seriously and don’t let distractions lure you from your dedicated time. As you improve, increase the amount of time gradually to a maximum time that fits your schedule.
- Executive Function Exercises
Executive function is what we call the brain’s ability to use reason and logic when solving a problem. Brain games that require fast decisions are a great way to improve executive function. Online sites such as Luminosity and Mind Games have many fun games for this. In fact, brain game sites like these have games to exercise many different brain functions.
Other ways to improve memory, focus, and acuity include:
- Learn a second language
- Learn a new dance step (extra points for exercising the brain and the body at once!)
- Working on language or math puzzles, such as cross word puzzles or sudoku
- Learn a new skill, such as woodworking or cross stitching
Where to Go to Learn More
When brain fog is persistent, it can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Don’t shrug it off and blame “getting older.” There are many illnesses, injuries, and disorders that affect brain function and focus. The sooner you understand the reason for your brain fog, the sooner the health reason behind it can be identified and treated.
At the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI), regenerative medicine therapies are used regularly to address a wide array of diseases that are related to brain fog. These include autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and traumatic brain injury.
As with all medical procedures practiced in the United States, regenerative medicine (popularly known as stem cell therapy and/or platelet rich plasma therapy) must be performed by a licensed physician. The stem cell clinic must be FDA guidelines-compliant.
With that in mind, NSI offers the following tips to help ensure that readers interested in learning more about regenerative medicine therapies will have good information to aid their search.
What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic
When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves and spinal cord.
Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.
The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.
What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:
1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.
2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.
3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics
4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.
5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.
Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.
If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.
* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.