Do you sometimes feel stuck in a mental haze with sluggish thinking?
You’re not alone.
Many people struggle with brain fog. Often there is not a clear cause or strategy for treatment.
But thanks to new clinical research and the prevalence of medical testing, several new and familiar supplements provide an opportunity to address the root cause of brain fog.
In this post, we will explain what brain fog means and share the best supplements and vitamins to treat brain fog.
Let’s dive into these solutions!
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog refers to a constellation of symptoms related to impaired cognitive function, including:
- Mental confusion
- Reduced ability to focus
- Cloudy thinking
- Decreased memory formation
Instead of having sharp, clear thoughts, someone experiencing brain fog will feel like a foggy haze obscures their mind.
Some common signs and manifestations of brain fog include:
- Difficulty concentrating or paying attention – An inability to focus or concentrate on work, reading, conversations, or other mentally demanding tasks. Your thinking feels muddled and you may lose your train of thought mid-sentence.
- Memory problems – Forgetting facts, words, appointments, or other key information you would normally recall easily. Memory lapses may be more frequent or severe.
- Mental fatigue and burnout – Feeling constantly tired or drained in your thinking. Mental activities require more effort. You may lack motivation or feel like your mind is operating in slow-motion.
- Slow information processing – Taking longer to learn or understand new information. Having a harder time following complex concepts. Feeling slower mentally.
- Diminished clarity – Having fuzzy or jumbled thought patterns. Struggling to think clearly or rationally. Feeling spaced out or like you’re always in a mental haze.
- Lower work performance – Completing routine tasks at work or home requires greater effort and time. Making more mistakes. Reduced productivity.
Brain fog can range from mild to severe.
While occasional episodes are normal, frequent or chronic brain fog can negatively impact your quality of life.
Understanding the causes and solutions is key to regaining crystal-clear thinking.
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Brain Fog Causes
Numerous factors contribute to brain fog, including:
|Lack of Sleep||Essential for cognitive function, 7-9 hours of sleep is ideal.|
|Stress||Chronic stress elevates cortisol, hampering memory and learning.|
|Poor Diet||Unhealthy dietary choices can impair brain blood flow.|
|Medications||Some drugs can induce brain fog as a side effect.|
|Nutrient Deficiencies||Insufficient nutrient levels can result in cognitive challenges.|
|Medical Conditions||Conditions like thyroid disorders may cause chronic brain fog.|
|Aging||Age naturally brings a degree of cognitive decline.|
Lack of Sleep
Not getting 7-9 hours of consistent, uninterrupted sleep is one of the most common causes of brain fog.
Sleep is essential for cognitive function and allows the brain to restore and repair itself.
And chronic sleep deprivation impairs many aspects of cognition.
High levels of cortisol and other stress hormones released during chronic stress can negatively impact memory, focus, and learning.
These hormones essentially put the brain in fight or flight mode, impairing higher cognitive processes.
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Eating a diet high in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugars causes spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, reduces BDNF brain growth hormone, and impairs blood flow to the brain.
This compromises oxygen and nutrient delivery to brain cells.
Certain prescription medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, anxiety medications, and painkillers have brain fog as a potential side effect.
Being deficient in key nutrients needed for proper brain function, like B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, omega-3s, etc., can hamper cognition.
Brain fog can accompany several conditions, including thyroid disorders, Lyme disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, depression, mold illness, dementia, MS, and many others.
As we age, some cognitive decline and impaired mental clarity are natural.
Deterioration of neurons, shrinking brain volume, reduced blood flow, and neurotransmitter disruption contribute.
Staying mentally and physically active helps slow decline.
Best Brain Fog Supplements
Below is a list of the top supplements and vitamins to address brain fog.
Keep in mind this is a combination of addressing deficiencies as well as introducing new components such as antioxidants.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Superior absorption
- Improves brain blood flow
- Ideal DHA/EPA ratio
If you often feel in a mental fog at the gym or struggle to stay focused during work, omega-3s should be on your list.
Your brain is over 60% fat.
And not just any fat – it needs specific omega-3 fats called DHA and EPA to build and maintain brain cells.
Getting enough healthy fats from fatty fish like salmon promotes optimal brain health and function.
Studies show omega-3s increase blood flow to the brain and enhance communication between brain cells.
This translates to tangible benefits like improved memory, mental clarity, focus, and reaction time.
So if you feel like your mind is cloudy or you struggle to concentrate during exercises, try supplementing with 1 – 2 grams of quality fish oil daily.
2. B Complex Vitamins
- Aids in converting food into energy
- Essential for neurotransmitter synthesis
- Can help regulate mood
B vitamins like B6, B9, and B12 are essential for cognitive processes that affect workout performance.
These nutrients are involved in making neurotransmitters that relay signals between brain cells.
Plus they provide energy by converting carbs and protein into usable fuel.
Many athletes are deficient thanks to poor diets, high-stress levels, and excessive training.
Supplementing with a high-quality B-complex can enhance alertness, concentration, memory, and motivation – helping you crush your fitness goals.
Aim for a B-complex that provides 50 – 100 mg of the major B vitamins.
Your mind and muscles will thank you!
- NSF Certified
- Trusted by 100+ pro teams
- Flavorless, no added ingredients
Creatine is one of the most well-researched and effective supplements for building muscle strength and size.
But did you know it also boosts brain power?
This amino acid compound is stored in your muscles and brain to provide energy.
The typical dosage of 5 mg of creatine daily can significantly increase cellular energy reserves.
This extra fuel enhances brain functions like processing speed, memory formation, and attention span.
If you find your mind wandering during work or struggling with complex fine motor skill movements required in certain sports, creatine can help sharpen your mental focus.
The cognitive boost will help you concentrate, follow workout plans, and master new exercises.
As a bonus, creatine maximizes strength output so you can lift heavier weights and achieve greater muscle-building results.
- Supports healthy sleep and recovery
- Better absorption vs. other forms of magnesium
- Developed in collaboration with Huberman Lab
Between crushing your workouts and hustling through your busy day, your brain cells are firing on all cylinders.
This non-stop neural activity burns through magnesium – an essential mineral for cognitive skills like focus, memory, and learning.
Unfortunately, many athletes skimp on magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens.
The result? Your brain ends up deficient, unable to produce sufficient energy and neurotransmitters to sustain peak mental performance.
Low magnesium also causes excessive calcium buildup in brain cells, impairing neuron communication.
That’s why a deficiency manifests as brain fog, confusion, and poor concentration.
The fix is to supplement with 200 – 400mg of magnesium glycinate or 145mg of magnesium threonate.
This will banish deficiencies, reduce neural excitability, and promote clear, focused thinking – helping you stay mentally razor-sharp.
5. Vitamin D/K2
- Associated with reduced risk of cognitive decline
- Enhance brain blood flow and neurotransmission
- Potential mood elevation if deficient
- Taken alongside vitamin D
- Helps prevent calcium buildup in arteries
Receptors for vitamin D are found throughout the brain and are involved in cognitive processes.
Optimizing your levels enhances neural plasticity – helping you learn new skills faster.
The catch is that you need vitamin K2 to direct calcium into bones so it doesn’t build up in blood vessels or brain tissue.
Vitamin K2 activates proteins that prevent vascular calcification.
Together, vitamins D and K2 shield the brain from dementia and enhance blood flow, oxygenation, and neural transmission.
6. Vitamin C
- Protects brain cells from oxidative stress and damage
- Synthesizes neurotransmitters like norepinephrine
- May aid in improving mental clarity
This essential antioxidant plays a crucial role in brain health and function.
Intense exercise or mental work increases oxidative stress, depleting vitamin C reserves.
This allows free radicals to run rampant, damaging neurons and impairing neurotransmitter synthesis.
Adequate vitamin C protects the brain from this oxidative damage.
It also enhances blood flow to the brain to provide more oxygen and nutrients.
The boost in circulation combined with optimized neurotransmitter levels equals better focus, reaction time, and cognitive stamina.
Supplementing with 500 – 1000mg daily will keep your mind sharp and support optimal brain performance.
- Reduces oxidative stress
- Helps mitigate inflammation
- Potentially helps lower blood pressure
Quercetin is a natural flavonoid antioxidant found in fruits, vegetables, and green tea that can banish post-workout brain fog.
Inflammation from intense training, diet, or environment disrupts neural pathways and impairs cognitive function.
This antioxidant readily crosses the blood-brain barrier to suppress inflammation in the brain. It also boosts blood flow to enhance oxygen and nutrient delivery to neurons.
A typical dosage is between 500 – 1000 mg.
Zinc often gets touted for boosting testosterone and immunity.
But it’s also vital for keeping your mind sharp.
This essential mineral is needed to synthesize neurotransmitters and modulate neural signaling.
Without adequate zinc, communication between neurons breaks down, leading to cognitive disturbances like brain fog, mental fatigue, and impaired concentration.
Physical and mental stress from rigorous training depletes zinc stores quickly.
Ensuring optimal intake with 25 – 50mg of daily supplementation provides raw materials needed for uninterrupted neurotransmitter production and neuron firing.
The mental clarity zinc provides helps you stay focused on proper exercise techniques, absorb new coaching cues, and push past perceived limits.
Don’t let low zinc dull your mind – keep thinking clearly and training intensely!
9. NAC (N-Acetylcysteine)
- Supports healthy antioxidant production
- Boosts brain health via glutamate regulation
- Aids liver/kidney detoxification process
NAC is a powerful antioxidant that crosses the blood-brain barrier to neutralize these threats.
It suppresses damaging oxidative reactions and inflammation in the brain to protect neural pathways.
Additionally, NAC provides the raw material to produce glutathione – your brain’s master antioxidant.
Optimizing glutathione levels enhances detoxification to preserve neural function and clarity.
Through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, NAC supplements can sharpen memory, reaction time, attention, and alertness depleted by strenuous training.
600 – 1200 mg daily appears to be the standard dosage referenced in clinical studies.
What helps brain fog fast?
Getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, reducing stress, and taking brain-boosting supplements like fish oil, B vitamins, and ginkgo biloba can help clear brain fog quickly. Light exercise and meditation also improve mental clarity.
What vitamins are lacking if you have brain fog?
Common nutritional deficiencies linked to brain fog include B vitamins (B12, folate), vitamin D, omega-3s, magnesium, and zinc. Taking supplements to optimize levels can sharpen thinking.
Do brain fog supplements work?
Yes, certain supplements can effectively reduce brain fog, especially those that target circulation, neurotransmitters, antioxidants, and inflammation like fish oil, ginkgo, creatine, Vitamin C, and curcumin.
What is the #1 brain supplement?
Fish oil is arguably the top brain supplement due to its high omega-3 content, which provides raw material to build brain cell membranes and boost neuronal communication.
What kills brain fog?
Getting enough sleep, staying active, reducing stress, drinking enough water, following a clean diet, taking targeted supplements, and avoiding things like alcohol, smoking, and sedentary lifestyles can all help defeat brain fog.
What gut problems cause brain fog?
GI issues like food sensitivities, leaky gut, IBS, SIBO, and dysbiosis can trigger inflammation that causes brain fog. Healing the gut microbiome improves cognitive function.
What three foods cause brain fog?
Refined carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fats are top dietary culprits. They spike blood sugar and promote inflammation linked to cloudy thinking.
Can belly fat cause brain fog?
Yes, carrying excess abdominal fat increases inflammatory cytokines that can cross the blood-brain barrier and impair neuronal function and mental clarity.
What neurological disorder causes brain fog?
Several conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, Lyme disease, and some autoimmune disorders have brain fog as a symptom.
How do doctors test for brain fog?
No single definitive test exists but assessments for cognitive skills, blood tests for nutrient levels, sleep studies, EEGs, brain MRIs, and mental health evaluations help diagnose causes.
What blood test is done for brain fog?
Checking vitamin B12, vitamin D, blood sugar, inflammation markers, thyroid hormones, and amino acids can help uncover potential nutritional or hormonal causes.
Why do I feel spaced out and weird?
Feeling spaced out or weird can result from lack of quality sleep, blood sugar swings, anxiety, depression, medication side effects, and some medical conditions. See a doctor to identify causes.
How I cured my brain fog diet?
Eliminating refined carbs, inflammatory foods, and artificial ingredients while increasing healthy fats, produce, clean proteins, nuts/seeds, and anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric.
Are there foods that cause brain fog?
Yes, sugar, refined grains, processed foods with additives, foods you have sensitivities to, heavily fried foods, and those with unhealthy oils can contribute to brain fog.
Does low carb cause brain fog?
It can initially when the body adapts to using ketones and fats for fuel instead of carbs. Supporting electrolytes, hydration, and mineral intake can reduce low-carb associated brain fog.