Fuzzy thinking, scattered thoughts, fatigue, not sleeping well, slow responses, eyes can’t focus well, and a host of other symptoms can all be very real symptoms of brain fog. What is wrong with your insides when this is going on? What can you do about it?
Here is a simplistic look at the connection of symptoms to the problem: Gut-Brain Inflammation.
Why does it happen? No one individual system works alone…
- Emotional stress; causing imbalances in chemicals such as cortisol and blood flow restrictions…then a mass of other shifts occur
- Blood and Lymph flow restrictions; through muscle, organ, breathing and joint restrictions
- Nervous system restrictions; through muscle, organ, breathing and joint restrictions. Look to the Vagus Nerve!
- Food intolerances; causing Inflammation and/or Leaky Gut Syndrome, leading to micronutrient deficiencies
- Blood sugar dysregulation or carbohydrate intolerance; better known in our clinic as the Blood Sugar Rollercoaster and Cravings
- Gut infections (sometimes so mild you have no idea they are there!)
What can I do about it?
Whew. If I had a perfect answer here for the solution, I would be a gazillionaire. The last two years this issue has been off the charts for most people and affecting liver, stomach, brain, and other organ functions.
But to put things in perspective, I talked with my Grandma who talked about her past and the times during and after the Great Depression. Owning one pair of socks, having one chicken to feed so many mouths, families living together, and men being out of work. And she said none of our generation has even known anything close to hunger. We’ve never really known ‘need.’ It put things into perspective. I think if anything, perspective has been a thought process to hang on to and nourish each day I want to wallow in the mess. So despite crappy things, cause they are just things and today is a new day, I am grateful for what I have. And breathing. And mediation and prayer. And journaling. And crying. And hot baths. And connecting to those important to me. Having friends and Grandmas to get me out of my own funk. I have no one answer for you, but try one thing. Take one action step that is different than you have been doing. You were made for a time like this. We were made to do hard things.
Deep breathing, meditation, journaling, and herbal adaptogen herbs can be helpful to reset your stress response and help you become more resilient to stressors. I have quite a few favorite herbal adaptogen blends (like twelve :), so this may be something you’ll need to talk to us about. We have questionnaires, experience, and knowledge of what the herbs do. Don’t be afraid to ask. Herbs nourish the adrenal glands, feed them and hug them, when maybe we have been using up what they can give. But so does breathing, meditation, and doing things for yourself that feel good. The trick is starting one small action step, and trying that for awhile. Do something different than you are doing now. There is no one size fits all to these bodies and minds. Try something. See if it works. If it doesn’t, try something else.
Image from the book The Neuroscience of Emotion by Adolphs and Anderson. Showing body heat response to emotions. This is a generalization, but it gives you a good visual of what it looks like.
Blood and Lymph Restrictions
Move your body! Remember the post about rubbing your dry skin with oil, or the practice of abhyanga? This would be a great place to use some dry brushing, shaking your body from head to toe, rubbing all those lymphatic congestion spots with some oil. Moving your body moves out all of the stagnant, low energy emotions that can bog up our organs. Get your heart rate pumping and some sweat pouring from your skin. Crank some tunes and dance it out. Go out for a walk, take some deep breaths and scream your lungs out. Do some forward folds with some deep breathing. Or while in the car sing, squeeze your muscles, roll your shoulders and neck, let some tension free. You’ll feel refreshed doing something. My favorite go-to Doc to listen to and watch is Dr. Perry with his teachings at Stop Chasing Pain. He always has great reminders if I forget some good ones about the lymphatic system. Check out Spotify or other Podcast apps for a good listen.
Nervous System Restrictions
See your favorite chiropractor! I’m hoping after the last two years of what you have experienced in the viral world, you know what I mean when I say Vagus Nerve. A magical nerve in the chiro world. The nerve is like an upside down tree, coming out of your brainstem and affecting your breathing, digestion, and elimination. All of it and more. The tone of your nerve determines the function and resilience of your breathing, digestion, and elimination. How can you make the tone of your Vagus nerve stronger? Sing and gargle water! Get an adjustment to your upper cervical spine! Get a massage! You could also implement some cold therapy- which right now would be free for those of us in Minnesota. Or finish a shower in cold water for 3 minutes. This builds resilience in your nervous system. Whew! Other great idea to implement techniques to strengthen Vagus Nerve tone: Watch Dr. Perry from Stop Chasing Pain show you the ins and outs of Vagus Nerve work at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTOvac2BLw4
Yes, issues with food really do affect your brain directly. Try a food elimination diet. What could it hurt? I have a lot of patients that have found different symptoms go away just from removing one food group. They are often amazed. Feeling scattered, ADHD, hard time focusing? Try removing all dairy. Feeling foggy thinking, not sharp and focused? Try removing gluten. Brain fog can be one of the first symptoms to shift when you take an action step in a better direction. You could begin by removing the one food item you would be the most sad about giving up, or the one you feel may be affecting you with bloating, gassiness, headaches, or joint pains. Then see how you feel after 21 days. Or you could go a little more extreme and eliminate many foods and eat really simply veggies, rice, and beans/ lean meats such as fish for 10 or more days and see what happens. The main goal: take at least ONE action step or change. Then each one change can add up to a great many. Try this for 10 days to 6 weeks, or more. Ask us. We have several ‘levels’ of options when it comes to dealing with food and how to navigate it. From muscle testing to blood testing, to plain old remove the food, we want you to be successful in feeling better. We love teaching, watching you learn and experience, and gain knowledge through that. Your experience will be your best teacher. Not someone necessarily telling you what to do. Try something. Shake up your nutrition and see what happens.
Blood Sugar and Carb Intolerance
The rise of diabetes in our country is scary. And what is even more alarming, is the number of unacceptable glucose and insulin levels I see on bloodwork. The mainstream medical profession is allowing so many people to be pre-diabetic, without a conversation, and then let them slide into typically Type II Diabetes and wonder what went wrong. High glucose and insulin levels are not normal and not good! Your brain shrinks the longer your blood sugar levels are higher, and that leads to many brain diseases as you age. Friends don’t let friends get Diabetes! The free advice I have is to try and reduce the amount of processed foods, stop snacking, limit eating after dinner, eat more veggies and less foods that are white in color. Eat more colorful foods, fill your plate with mostly vegetables, and use spices and flavor for your food to make it interesting. Keeping your fat intake higher will keep you more satisfied. But combining high fat with more carbs will lead to weight gain around your middle. The trick is to get the balance right for you. And each of you is different. Find a friend or partner to help keep each other accountable to eat healthier to have a better quality life as you age. Trouble shoot together what you are trying and what is working and what isn’t. Cause yep. We are all gonna age, let’s do it the best way we can.
Gut issues on the rise! Alert, Alert….Stress changes blood flow in the gut and cortisol levels go wonky. Then the pH changes to more acidic and stomach acid decreases leaving you more vulnerable to bacteria, parasites, and fungus on foods you are eating. They get past the not-so-burning-hot stomach, and then harbor themselves in the nooks and crannies of your small and large intestine, and in some people crawl up the ductwork to hide in the gallbladder. Or the appendix. Or maybe many places. It often looks or feels like someone may need more digestive enzymes, but maybe they need to look deeper to underlying infections. If digestive enzymes, apple cider vinegar, hydrochloric acid, or CCF tea (see below) aren’t working for your symptoms, look deeper.
Work on the stomach digestion and elimination- CCF digest and detox tea. Sip on this tea with meals, or make a big thermos of it and drink it all day. Helps improve digestion and elimination. We carry it at the clinic, but also can get it here: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/detox-digest/?product_sizes=292
Fiber- cabbage beans, ground flaxseed, oats, apples, fiber supplements may or may not be needed. I love fiber.
Curious if you may have gut infections? Or need to support the immune/ lymphatic system of the gut? This can get a little more complicated and you may need help from a nutritional provider: naturopath, nutritionist, muscle testing. Not from around here? We have contacts all over we can help you find someone.
Nutritional supplementation we’ve been finding is foundational and greatly effective for your Brain Health:
Fish Oil: Capsule or liquid form. Dosing anywhere from 1 gram to 3 grams. Slippery cells are healthiest! You want nutrients slipping in, and waste moving out. Think of a plump and juicy grape and the hydration compared to a raisin. We want cells like grapes! Other items like MCT oil, butter, and ghee can be great additions to keep your cells and brain happy. We have two favorite fish oils we use for the whole family: https://nutridyn.com/3-care-omega-3-liquid or https://nutridyn.com/omega-pure-epa-dha-720
and for extra anti-inflammatory protection this is one with SPMs available WITH the fish oil https://nutridyn.com/omega-pure-complete
and for the kids that like a fishy that can burst open in your mouth https://nutridyn.com/suppys-omega-3-dha
Turmeric: Capsule or liposomal form at 500 mg to 2 grams. This can also be found in many teas, 3 cups or more would be therapeutic. If there could only be one herb left in the world, this would be my pick. It’s the ‘anti’ of everything. It’s a favorite. We have a few options in clinic that are higher dose, but here are a couple of other favorites:
Inflam Eze Plus https://nutridyn.com/inflam-eze-plus
and for liquid option with a delicious flavor Liposomal Curcumin https://nutridyn.com/liposomal-curcumin-t2197
Charcoal, Clay and other Gut Binders (GI Detox is our favorite!): toxins come in and they must come out! This helps to bind to anything in your intestinal wall that doesn’t belong and get it out, leading to less inflammation. Some times this is the first step we try with skin/ acne issues, and for some it works well. Helps with bloating, binding, and cleaning out the colon.
G.I. Detox https://nutridyn.com/g-i-detoxtm
That was a lot of info, but I hope you found it at least a tad-bit helpful.
I love this stuff. I love the connections. Let me help you experience it.
Nutrition appointments available above and beyond your chiropractic adjustment.
A lot of issues are beyond the adjustment (like 90%).
Here to serve in the best way I can, Dr. Christine
*In-Clinic Purchases or Online shopping with your account for everyday discount: http://www.nutridyn.com
Or order some at our next Fantastic Friday Sale: Mar. 14-18!
*Note: Not all products pictured are on sale through Nutri Dyn. Get a hold of us if you have questions.
phone or text: 320-983-2333