Brain Fog: Is the Real Issue in Your Gut?
It might seem logical to think of brain fog as a brain issue. However, is this really the case? Brain fog affects us all at times, but where do you turn when you feel like you are living in a fog. If your new normal is not being mentally quick on your feet, forgetting where you placed things or why you went into a room, it might be time to take a deeper look at the cause of brain fog.
The unfortunate truth is that brain fog is a complaint that is ignored or pushed to the side too often. As frustrated patients often report to me, they were told that it was simply a sign of aging. Some say that have been told that it was linked to depression. Others say they are left with no answers or hope and to return for another visit if it gets worse. This later is called watchful waiting. I don’t know about you, but that does not invoke a sense of comfort to watch and see if something gets worse.
Brain Fog: Normal, Disease, or . . .
In our current medical model, you are likely to receive one of two labels; normal or having a disease. Here in lies the problem. Many people are neither. So if you don’t fit into either category, what are your options? This scenario is especially true of brain fog. Having lapses in memory, not being able to think clearly and forgetfulness are certainly not normal. So brain fog cannot be considered normal. In contrast, brain fog is not Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or any of the other unfortunate dementia. So it is not a disease.
I have never been one for labeling. So rather than talk about brain fog as a label, let’s think of it in a third category. In fact, this is the category that most suffering with symptoms find themselves in. It is also the category that conventional medicine is not focused on. This category is called dysfunction. Dysfunction implies that there is not a disease, but you are not normal either. Most patients need a doctor that specializes in dysfunction, particularly with brain fog.
Here is why brain fog must be considered as dysfunction. Normal function implies all bodily systems are working together. Dysfunction on the other hand implies they are not. The brain is intimately connected to the rest of the body. The gut is no exception, and may be one of the most powerful allies that you have for decreasing brain fog.
Boosting the Brain from Below
If one area of the body does not get its fair share of acknowledgement for all the things that it does, it is the gut. “It’s just a place where I put food in and eliminate what is left over.” Are you guilty of this? I hope not, but if you are, let’s change your thinking right now about all the gut can do, in particular for the brain.
Brain Boosting Bugs
Rather than think of the gut as a tube for intake and elimination of food, let’s change your perspective. Instead, envision the gut as the home of billions (literally) of beneficial bacteria, aka probiotics. If you provide a sufficient home for probiotics, they are the hardest workers you could hope to have. If their home is a mess, they are lazy and don’t work for you.
The work that the probiotics do is astounding. For the brain they are best noted for enhancing the function of the brain in two ways.
Ramping Up Brain Energy
One of the primary causes of brain fog is brain fatigue. When you don’t have energy, you are fatigued. If the brain cannot produce energy, it becomes fatigued. The probiotics can help you prevent this though. They are persistent producers of vitamins, most notably the B vitamins. All of the B vitamins are made by the probiotics. Without them, you cannot meet your baseline requirements for B vitamins. Once the supply of B vitamins falls below demand, your brain can no longer produce energy efficiently.
Providing a suitable environment for probiotics to function in is a guaranteed way to reduce brain fog.
Accelerating Brain Speed
The gas pedal for the brain resides in your midsection. If you are still having difficulty making the connection, this should help. In addition to needing to produce energy, the brain also needs an abundance of communication chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for memory, motivation, your desire for social interaction, calm rational thought and essentially any other aspect that makes up your demeanor. You know when you are not on your “A game” mentally. This is due to a lack of communication chemicals, often called neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters have fancy names like dopamine and acetylcholine. What is important though is not the name, but the action of these neurotransmitters. They literally kick the brain into gear and allow it to function faster and more efficiently. This acceleration would not be possible thought without probiotics. All of the major neurotransmitter are produced by the probiotics, when of course they don’t live in a messy environment brought on by a bad diet, nutrient deficiencies and increased stress. The probiotics churn out neurotransmitters to keep the brain running efficiently, helping to maintain an abundance of these critical brain boosting communication chemicals.
Healthy Gut, Healthy Brain
If it appears keeping your probiotics happy is going to give you a better brain, you are on the right track. So with that in mind, let me share my top 3 strategies for nourishing the probiotics to allow them to stimulate your brain.
Start at the Beginning
It is going to be difficult to enjoy the benefits probiotics offer if you don’t have enough. Remember, their should be billions and trillions of these organisms. So even though we think of a million as a lot, it is nothing when talking about probiotics. If you have abused your health for years, eaten a poor diet, lived under a lot of stress, step number 1 is getting the numbers of probiotics up as fast as you can. Only then can you derive the energy production and brain boosting effects they offer. This is best accomplished by supplemental probiotics for a couple of months.
If the number of probiotics you have is sufficient, it’s time to think about building the perfect probiotic environment. One thing probiotics like is color. No they are not artist or painters, but their appreciation for color is the same, maybe more. When I refer to color, I am talking about the color of food. The most color in food is found in vegetables and fruits. The more, the better. All the colors in healthy, plant-based food provides the probiotics just what they are looking for. The more color you keep in your diet, the more they enjoy it. This is just another reason to eat the rainbow of foods with as much diversity as possible.
Increase the Volume
In this context, volume refers to mass and weight rather than noise. Choosing foods that are high in fiber increases the volume of the stool. Now, many resources will say to increase fiber to help with constipation and get the bowels moving. Yes, it can do that. However, let’s think far beyond that. What fiber is doing is providing a resource for the probiotics. Fiber helps them build the ideal environment. With it, they can produce critical brain boosting elements. For the best results, choose fiber sources from vegetables. Hands down, your probiotics will thank you.
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