An Integrative Neurologist's Best Brain Fog Advice
This month we attended the Integrative Healthcare Symposium annual conference, an event where leaders in holistic health talk about the most interesting developments in health care, hundreds of brands promote their products and initiatives, and researchers present their hard-earned findings. After his talk about Leveraging Lifestyle for Brain Health, we sat down with Dr. David Perlmutter, an integrative neurologist and author of the book Grain Brain, to learn all about brain fog—and what we can do to fix it.
For any readers suffering from brain fog—whether it be from an underlying disease, an infection like Lyme, or medication—there are just a few things Dr. Perlmutter would recommend.
Simple tips for busting brain fog:
1. Limit your carbohydrate intake.
First things first, cut down on your carbs—especially white or refined ones like bread, pastas, and cookies. Just make sure you're getting plenty of good dietary fiber! According to Dr. Perlmutter, "The big issues are the amount of sugar in the Western diet and the lack of fiber and adequate good fats."
2. Cut back on sugars (especially the fake ones).
Speaking of sugar, cut down on added sugars, refined sugars, and eliminate artificial sweeteners—which have been linked to many healthy concerns, including weight gain—entirely. Focus on healthy whole sources of sugar like fruit.
3.Start focusing on healthy fats.
According to Dr. Perlmutter, "We can welcome good fat back to the table—things like olive oil, coconut oil, eating nuts and seeds, the fat that you'll get from seafood and meat." This is great news for those of us who can't go a day without an avocado.
4. Try to get moving, even if you're tired.
If you have brain fog, it's likely that you're also feeling fatigued. But pushing yourself to do something aerobic for at least 20 minutes a day can help enhance the body's natural production of the chemicals that increase brain functionality.
The best supplements for brain fog.
Lifestyle and dietary changes can make a huge difference when it comes to brain fog, but supplements can also help. Feel free to make these five your new go-to's if you're someone who struggles with frequent fogginess, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. Just remember, it's always important to talk to your doctor about adding new supplements to your routine.
DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid, and it's a very important omega-3 fatty acid. It's mostly found in fish oils alone with EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid. Omega-3s play an important role in reducing the risk of inflammation, heart disease, depression, and even cancer.
2. Prebiotic fiber
If you have a healthy diet, you're likely getting prebiotic fiber in your diet. That being said, Dr. Perlmutter says that even the healthiest diet can lack the amount of prebiotic fiber it takes to nurture our microbiome efficiently.
3. Vitamin D
Also known as the "sunshine hormone," vitamin D is known to support a healthy mood, especially through the winter. It's thought that as much as half of the population is deficient in this vitamin, and taking it might make the difference for your brain fog.
Turmeric is a great weapon against inflammation and free radical damage and is a great addition to any wellness routine. The best part? You can incorporate turmeric into your daily routine with a ready-made turmeric milk or golden milk latte.
5. Alpha lipoic acid
ALA is great for augmenting the body's natural antioxidant power, which the brain is especially reliant on. Oftentimes, it's also suggested for metabolic issues, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and chronic inflammation. Just remember to always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement routine!
For long-term brain health, focus on maximizing the brain-supporting nutrients in your diet. If you want to know more about what that means, check out Dr. Perlmutter's five-year revised edition of Grain Brain, which comes out later this year.
Need a quick fix for brain fog? Try this yoga pose.
Gretchen Lidicker has a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University. She's the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. A Kripalu Center for Yoga and Ayurveda-trained yoga instructor, expert bread baker, and farmers market fanatic, she believes that no day is complete without a good dance party.