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Medical Causes of Brain Fog and Their Diagnosis

November 04, 2017

Medical Causes of Brain Fog and Their Diagnosis

BY Dr. Keerthy Sunder

Brain Fog Is More Common Than You Think

Feel like you’re losing … well, your mind?

You are not alone.

More and more people over the age of 50 are reporting the following cluster of symptoms:

  • concentration troubles
  • confusion
  • decreased motivation
  • insomnia
  • low energy
  • memory problems

What may be frustrating is that your doctor(s) may not have been able to pinpoint an exact cause. Brain scans may be normal. A physical exam may show up normal, too. Still, you cannot shake the feeling that your mental cognition is clouded.

We’re here to explain how and why brain fog can be triggered by a variety of medical conditions. Although the term “brain fog” has not yet been officially recognized by medical professionals, the mental fatigue that people experience is real!

Continue reading here for a description of medical causes for brain fog. Then, we invite your questions at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all real-life situations personally and promptly.

Possible Causes of Brain Fog

What causes brain fog, exactly?

Some experts theorize that brain fog related to mild cognitive impairments can be traced to decreased blood flow to the brain. Others believe that “brain fog” is subjective and is left to the domain of psychologists. Still others talk about disturbances or inhibition of components of the nervous system. So, it can be difficult to nail down exact medical causes of the condition brain fog.

Still, brain fog has been known to be associated with specific medical conditions, most of which manifest cognitive difficulties themselves. We’ve listed and described five possible medical causes of brain fog here.

1. Brain Fog & Leaky Gut

The health of the gut profoundly influences the health of the brain. Studies link gut problems with mood disorders, memory loss, and learning difficulties. Leaky gut is a condition in which the walls of the intestine become inflamed, allowing undigested food, bacteria, and toxins to enter the bloodstream. As a result, harmful bacteria attacks both the brain’s and body’s normal function.

Lack of healthy nutrients, chronic stress, excess sugars and the frequent use of antibiotics can cause initial imbalance in vital gut flora. This weakens the immune system and causes inflammation throughout the body. However, when leaky gut occurs, the situation gets even more acute. When toxins enter the brain, the microglia (endogenous brain defense and immune system) gets activated. If the response is severe, the tissue around it can experience collateral damage.

The bottom line is that leaky gut can cause brain inflammation; the condition has been linked with depression and autoimmunity. In order to eliminate brain fog in cases of leaky gut, you must reduce brain inflammation and heal the barrier systems.

2. Brain Fog & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a set of persistent fatigue symptoms that last longer than 6 months. In 1994, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention defined CFS as a disorder that includes at least four of the following symptoms:

  • disease of the lymph nodes
  • headache
  • impaired short-term memory
  • impaired concentration
  • myalgia, pain in a muscle or group of muscles
  • multiple areas of arthritis
  • non-restful sleep
  • pharyngeal throat pain
  • prolonged post-exercise fatigue

Cognitive impairments are often mentioned as the first symptom of chronic fatigue by the majority of the people who become diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In fact, these cognitive impairments have been linked to “brain fog”.

For example, neurocognitive testing has mapped brain fog to the domains of attention, information processing, memory, and reaction time. Functional MRIs have also identified changes in brain activation for people diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. But the findings are not conclusive.

Researches are working to determine how mental fatigue, cognitive impairment, and the subjective experience of “brain fog” relate biochemically, physiologically, and mechanistically to the changes that occur in CFS following exercise or any stressor. While some experts theorize that brain fog occurs during CFS as a result of decreased blood flow to the brain, many leave brain fog treatment to the domain of psychologists. These experts tend to believe that brain fog is a perceptive symptom of chronic fatigue, one that can be treated with a change in belief.

2. Brain Fog & Women’s Hormonal Changes

Did you ever consider that Menopause and brain fog are very closely related? In fact, brain fog is just one of the effects of hormonal changes which can hijack a woman’s life for a good stretch of time. Hormones directly affects your brain and your ability to think clearly; they also affects your mental focus and your capacity to learn. In short, the period of time before, during, and after Menopause can influence your entire daily routine and ability to function.  

So, what exactly is the link between these two uncomfortable conditions?

The answer is simple: hormonal imbalance.

Menopause triggers changes in hormones. Simultaneously, brain chemistry changes as hormones change. So, it is almost impossible NOT to feel brain fog due to hormonal change. Our brain and bodies are synchronized; therefore, every change that happens to the body, happens to the brain and vice versa. In fact, medical research has confirmed that the premenstrual phase of a woman’s monthly cycle is often accompanied by cognitive difficulties such as brain fog due to the hormonal changes that occur at this time.

The impact that Menopause – The Big Change - has on concentration and mental clarity is big. This is one of the key reasons why women are often unjustly accused of being less efficient and capable at performing their daily tasks as they prepare to transition from the monthly flow.

4. Brain Fog & Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that manifests as muscle pain and fatigue. In addition to excessive feelings of tiredness, people diagnosed with fibromyalgia often report difficulties falling asleep. And over time, insomnia can take its toll.

Sleep deprivation and frequent difficulties in achieving and maintaining deep sleep are the mind’s greatest enemies. During the period of deep sleep (delta wave sleep) our minds achieve regeneration. At this stage of sleep, information gathered during the day can be integrated and fully understood. So, the lack of deep-level sleep has negative effects on your ability to recall information or function at a normal level of mental efficiency. In this way, people who experience Fibromyalgia can be at risk of brain fog.

5. Brain Fog & Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes damages to almost every part of the body. When the brain is affected by lupus, people report feelings of dizziness, depression, headaches, and they experience severe mood swings. The effects of this disease are visible, notably in symptoms related to brain fog: difficulties concentrating, thinking, clearly and processing information.

The damaging effects of this autoimmune disease are often referred to as “lupus brain fog”. The causes of this disorder are not quite clear, but appear to be linked to the action of antibodies on brain cells, and to changes in blood flow to the brain. Experts also theorize that the immune system's role in neurologic processes impacts cognition and can alter central nervous system function. However, the research is just beginning.

The Bad News?

Medical issues like chronic illness can make it difficult to get what we need for optimal brain health.

The Good News?

You can support your brain regardless of what’s causing brain fog!

A daily brain supplement containing 25+ nutrients can “fill the gap”.
Plus, a good supplement formula will ensure that you get what you need
without overdosing on any one specific vitamin or mineral.

Brain fog nutritional supplements can help us achieve balance in our bodies. While we can find many of these nutrients via diet, sometimes external help is needed. Why is this?

As we enter the age of 50+ years, our bodies are less efficient at processing nutrients. Hence, some of us may experience deficiencies. Other times, our diets are not as balanced as we’d like. In fact, it can be difficult to put all the required daily recommended nutrients for the brain on one plate. In other cases, decreased appetite can make it difficult to eat amounts necessary to support our brains.

A Brain Fog Supplement Formula

First, know that brain fog supplements are most effective when taken within suggested daily dosing limits. Plus, they work best when taken together. When taken together, brain supplements effects are multiplied. A good brain supplement will leave you with feelings of:

  • Calm focus.
  • Energized focus.
  • Enormous potential.
  • Overall well-being.

Here are our specific suggestions for supplements that can address symptoms related to brain fog. Feel free to consult your physician as you consider adding supplements to your diet. The following ingredients are not known to have detrimental effect, but you may want to be sure that you have no contraindications with existing medications.

1. Acetyl-L-Carnitine - Acetyl L-Carnitine boosts the brain and is a memory enhancer. IT also affects mood and energy.
2. Activated B vitamins - B vitamins contribute to high brain levels of concentration! NOTE HERE: Vitamin B6 supplements taken alone or combined with vitamin B12 are not effective in the improvement of cognitive function for those who already experience dementia.
3. Digestive enzymes - While some foods create balance, others create imbalance. Plus, overconsumption of fats, carbs, and proteins can limit your digestive efficacy. Add on problems with food allergies, inflammation in the digestive tract, age, and a fluctuating emotional state...and you have many obstacles to healthy digestion.
Supplements can provide you with the enzymes you need to properly breakdown your food. In this way, probiotics and digestive enzymes can decrease psychological distress and improve mood.   
4. Essential fatty acids - Essential fatty acids are brain boosters! They support the brain and its ability to perform. However, EFAs can’t be synthesized by the body, and must be taken from dietary sources.  
5. Magnesium - Magnesium is super important to addressing brain fog. Magnesium supplements can help improve cognitive factors, such as memory, learning, recall, and cognition. Magnesium can also address insomnia, and reduce symptoms of depression. The result? Overall brain fog reduction.
6. Phosphatidylserine - This phospholipid contains both amino acids and fatty acids and works to regenerate nerve cell membranes and myelin – the fatty white tissue in the brain. Phosphatidylserine supports cognitive functions, especially memory and focus. 


An All-in-One Remedy: DoctorSunder's Brain Tune

Finally, we’d introduce you to what we think is the most balanced, effective approach to clearing up brain fog. It’s the work of our mentor, Dr. Keerthy Sunder and it’s called “Brain Tune.” DoctorSunder's Brain Tune is the culmination of Dr. Sunder’s decades of medical experience. In fact, he has created a 25 ingredient formula for one single purpose: brain optimization. The Brain Tune boost brain performance and it is designed to help you:

  • Eliminate brain fog.
  • Increase focus and concentration.
  • Reach mental clarity.

But unlike other formulas, it goes a step or two further. Brain Tune also helps you:

  • Balance your gut flora.
  • Improve your sleep quality.
  • Lose weight.

Lose weight? Yes! DoctorSunder's Brain Tune can be used as a delicious meal replacement. It’s truly unlike any other brain supplement capsule or pill. You can take the shake as a meal or use it to boost your energy throughout the day.

But you don’t need to take our word for it.


Also, here’s what Dr. Sunder’s clients and patients are already reporting:

  • Better quality of sleep
  • Clearer thinking
  • Improved memory
  • Increased focus and concentration
  • Increased productivity

Questions about Medical Causes of Brain Fog

We hope to have addressed your main concerns about the medical causes of brain fog. But if you still have questions about brain fog causes please let us know! Feel free to post your questions in the comments section below. Or, you can reach out to Dr. Keerthy Sunder personally at his contact page.

We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries in a personalized and timely manner. And we’re eager to hear from you!

Reference Sources:
NIH: What Is Fibromyalgia?
NCBI: The Gut and Neuroautoimmunity
NCBI: Regulation of neurological function by the gut microbiome
Medline Plus: Lupus
NIH: Scientists Reveal Clues to Lupus Brain Involvement
NIH: Lupus
NCBI: Caught in the thickness of brain fog: exploring the cognitive symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
NCBI: Lupus brain fog: a biologic perspective on cognitive impairment, depression, and fatigue in systemic lupus erythematosus.
NCBI: Phosphatidylserine and the human brain
NCBI: Essential fatty acids and human brain
NIH: Vitamin B6
NCBI: B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy - A Review
NCBI: Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function
NCBI: What is brain fog? An evaluation of the symptom in postural tachycardia syndrome
NCBI: The Gut Microbiome and the Brain
Harvard Medical School: The gut-brain connection
C J Bates MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, UK: Diagnosis and detection of vitamin deficiencies
Prevention: Brain Fog and Your Health

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