‘Brain fog’ has become a buzzword in recent times - a vague, colloquial term for when you feel scatter-brained and mentally impaired. It is used to subjectively describe mental states that lack clarity and sharpness.
The term crops up a lot in the medical research literature where it’s used to capture the experiences of cognitive difficulties described by various patient groups, from people with chronic fatigue syndrome to patients undergoing chemotherapy (for whom it’s sometimes dubbed ‘chemobrain’) to women transitioning through menopause.
Recently, as you have likely heard, COVID-19 has also been maligned with brain fog, including in the context of long COVID after the initial infection has actually passed.
So if you've ever felt muggy headed, as if you can't concentrate of focus – perhaps you've been forgetful and accident-prone too – it is likely you've experienced what is referred to as brain fog.
- Lack of sleep
- Increased stress levels
- Viral infections, such as COVID-19
- Hormonal conditions
- Chronic health conditions
- Nutrient deficiencies
The list however, is theoretically long. Anything that impairs healthy brain function has the potential to impact cognition, likely causing the foggy brain sensation. Numerous health conditions and lifestyle factors may therefore be implicated in the symptoms associated with brain fog. It is not unusual for brain fog to be caused by a combination of two or three of these factors since they often go hand in hand.
For instance, depression can lead to a lack of sleep or vice versa. Similarly, stress can affect your sleep and cause depression. Perimenopause may be accompanied by lack of sleep and depression.
- Focusing on a thought or idea
- Recalling things
- Following conversations
- Paying attention to your surroundings
Brain fog can also cause symptoms like headaches and mental exhaustion.
Inflammatory processes influence most neurological disorders, even those for which the primary cause is not inflammatory. After an acute neurological incident, whether traumatic or non-traumatic, markers of inflammation increase in the brain and systemically within minutes; a cascade of immune events follows. This process can be harmful but can also promote repair. Brain fog, fatigue, and depression happen in an inflammatory state because the inflammation slows down conduction between neurons. As a result, the brain slows down and tires more easily when doing things like reading, working, concentrating, or driving for any length.
COVID-19 can cause inflammation in the brain, which can affect the ability of neurons in the brain to communicate with each other, resulting in brain fog. Additionally, the presence of inflammation in the brain can help COVID-19 persist and spread.
As mentioned, brain fog may be the product of health conditions and in this case treating the condition is likely the best mode of alleviating the symptoms. However, as brain fog is associated with inflammation, lifestyle interventions that address this may be one of the most productive avenues for treatment.
Ārepa and its active ingredients show efficacy in reducing inflammation, the root cause of brain fog, and also in alleviating the associated symptoms. Both the blackcurrants and the pine bark present in Ārepa products have shown potent anti-inflammatory properties in a multitude of clinical trials. A reduction in neuroinflammation, may restore neuronal function and communication, facilitating a rebound in cognitive function.
At the same time, the increased mental clarity and cognitive performance associated with the consumption of L-theanine would be highly beneficial for those struggling with the cognitive deficits associated with brain fog.
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