Foods Causing Your Brain Fog
Brain fog is a funny term for a not-so-funny feeling. It feels like your thoughts are fuzzy and you just cant focus. You forget things and get confused easily. Its not normal and its not pleasant. Its a sign that something is just not right.
If youve had brain fog once, its no big deal. But if youre having it on a regular basis, you need to figure out why and do something about it.
One of the biggest causes of brain fog is the food that youre eating.
Tips For Getting Quality Sleep With Allergies
If your allergies are keeping you up at night or causing fatigue during the day, ensuring you take the proper steps to get quality sleep each night is always a good idea. Below are a few simple tips that can help you get a good nightâs sleep to feel rested and alert during the day, even if allergies are a problem.
How Do Allergies Cause Fatigue
Yes, allergies can make you feel tired. Most people with a stuffy nose and head caused by allergies will have some trouble sleeping. But allergic reactions can also release chemicals that cause you to feel tired. These chemicals help fight your allergies but also cause swelling of your nasal tissues that can make your symptoms worse. A lack of sleep and constant nasal congestion can give you a hazy, tired feeling.
Experts call this fatigue caused by allergies a brain fog. Brain fog can make it difficult to concentrate and carry out school, work, and daily activities.
If youre experiencing the effects of brain fog, there are some things you can do to feel less tired. First, youll need to stop the cycle of allergy symptoms and fatigue. You can try:
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Why Seasonal Allergies Cause ‘brain Fog’
The spring allergy season is upon us. Pollen counts are skyrocketing, sinuses are swelling, and for some of us other symptoms are creeping in as well. If youve experienced a brain fog characterized by dizziness, imbalance and fatigue during allergy season and wondered about the connection between the pollen youre inhaling and the mental murkiness, youre not alone. Science has been working the case, and although we dont have a clear picture just yet, were beginning to understand more about what happens in our brains when pollen is in the wind.
The basics of this story involve allergens and the immune system. If youre among the 30% or so of the population with seasonal allergies, your body responds to allergens as an assault and your immune system reacts by producing histamines, compounds that cause muscle contractions and blood vessel dilation. Later into the reaction, your body releases proteins called cytokines that signal the surrounding tissue to brace against the offenders.
All of this plus the activity of a few more chemicals results in inflammation, which we feel in our sinuses, nasal membranes, throats, eyes and lungs. Some of us are more sensitive to particular allergens , and the severity of reactions varies, from annoying to life threatening.
You can also try avoiding what sets you off , but for most allergy sufferers thats not much of an option.
Refined Sugar And Carbohydrates
Turning to sugar and empty carbs might seem like a good idea when youre dealing with brain fog because they can give you a quick boost of energy. Unfortunately, regular intake of refined sugar, corn syrup, and white flour can also lead to dramatic swings in your glucose levels, causing brain fog symptoms.
In addition, these foods can encourage the growth of candida yeast in the body. This yeast overgrowth can cause brain fog and fatigue. In general, the brain responds best to diets that have a balance of healthy fats and lean proteins, with minimal refined carbs and sugar.
Try to limit your intake of grains and get your carbs from fruits and vegetables instead. Avoid refined sugar as much as possible and eat a high protein, high fiber diet to combat sugar cravings and improve brain function.
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Controlling Allergies Will Improve Academic Performance
To provide symptomatic relief to children suffering from seasonal allergies, its best to begin with natural methods of prevention and treatment:
- Choose times and places for outdoor activities on the basis of pollen count. Spring vacations and weekend outings should be arranged in locations with fewer flowering trees and grasses, when possible.
- Help children wash their hair and change clothes when they come inside from playing. Launder the clothing to remove any lingering pollen.
- If pets have been playing outdoors, dont let them into the childs bedroom. Keep bedroom windows closed, and use air conditioning if cooling is needed. The relief of an allergy-free space each night can make a big difference during pollen season.
- Natural allergy remedies such as butterbur and astragalus have been found effective against seasonal allergies, according to the U.S. Governments National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. These and other herbal remedies are worth trying before turning to pharmaceutical options.
When working to ease the effects of seasonal allergens, consider the health of the entire body, including the child’s brain. Academic success depends on a healthy and well-balanced brain brain health begins with a well-nourished body that isn’t struggling against allergy attacks.
Treatment With Sublingual Desensitization
Sublingual desensitization is a very small dose of what youre allergic to administered as drops under your tongue. Unlike taking antihistamines, this therapy actually treats the root cause of your allergies. When compared to taking allergy shots, sublingual desensitization is much safer and certainly more convenient than making weekly trips to the doctors office and for anyone wishing to avoid injections, especially kids, theres really no comparison.
The Following Natural Approaches Can Be Taken To Help Reduce Unpleasant Cognitive Effects Associated With Leaky Gut And Allergies:
- Avoid food triggers and allergens. If the inflammation causing cognitive difficulties is starting in the gut, be sure to determine and then avoid food triggers. Those who suffer from IBS and SIBO often find relief when eating a low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are carbohydrates that easily ferment and cause gas and bloating in individuals who have susceptible digestive tracts.
- Drink molkosan. Molkosan is a prebiotic drink rich in L+-lactic acid, which is known to support the growth of healthy gut bacteria and improve digestion and gut inflammation.
- Multiple animal studies support that exercise alters gut microbes, which promotes brain health. Other studies performed in athletes suggest that exercise may promote bacterial diversification in the gut, positively impacting digestion.
- Rebuild the gut lining. L-glutamine is a major fuel source for colonocytes . Taking L-glutamine in powdered form daily may help decrease intestinal permeability and optimize digestive function.
- If the brain allergy is caused by a true allergy-mediated immune reaction, high histamine levels will play a role in allergic symptoms. Allergy relief is an effective remedy that can reduce histamine and relieve symptoms such as itchy nose, watery eyes, and scratchy throat.
What Might Help Clear The Fog
The best way to get rid of brain fog and improve symptoms is by treating the underlying root cause. Which usually means changing your diet, getting enough sleep, or taking care of any other medical issue that may be causing you stress.
Adopt healthier eating habits by choosing fresh, unprocessed foods. Get plenty of leafy greens and dark berries. Eat fish high in omega 3s like salmon. Go for whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. Avoid sugar as much as possible. The same goes for caffeine and alcohol.
In the event you cant get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from your diet, get a good multivitamin, B complex, and/or trace mineral drops. Take probiotics or a supplement with prebiotic fiber to support your gut health.
If you suspect stress is why you have brain fog, try a new method of stress relief like yoga or meditation. Use talk therapy to let out your problems with a good therapist or coach that can guide you.
Be sure to get enough sleep, making sure the room is comfortable and dark at night so you can rest and repair.
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But What About An Allergy Occurring In The Brain
A small, somewhat controversial body of literature defines a brain allergy as any abnormal reaction to a food or other substance that creates psychological, emotional, or neurological symptoms.
Indeed, allergic symptoms can go beyond their bothersome impacts on the sinuses or the digestive tract. There are a multitude of emotional and behavioural symptoms that can occur alongside an allergic reaction, such as anxiety, agitation, confusion, depression, palpitations, sweating, as well as lack of concentration and mental slowness or, what is otherwise known as brain fog.
For instance, newer research is suggesting there is in fact a link between brain fog and impairments in digestive function. An overwhelming number of patients suffering from either irritable bowel syndrome or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth , for example, will agree that they experience cognitive changes upon ingesting offending foods.
One mechanism by which the brain experiences adverse symptoms during a food allergy or other abnormal digestive processes may be due to a small molecule called zonulin.
When zonulin levels are increased, it has the ability to open up the spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining, causing leaky gut and resulting in increased gut permeability as well as a host of alarm bells in the immune system.
Mild Allergy Symptoms Typically Include:
- Runny or congested nose
- Mild rash
More severe allergic reactions are labeled as anaphylaxis and are considered life-threatening. If someone is prone to anaphylaxis, its critical to have an epinephrine pen on hand as symptoms typically occur within the first 20 minutes and can last for 2 hours.
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So How Do Allergies Make You Tired
When battling with allergies, many chalk up their fatigue and low energy to stress and other factors. But the truth is, allergies contribute to fatigue in more ways than one.
1. Your Long-Term Immune Response is Exhausting You.
When your bodys in healing mode, it prioritizes its resources to bring you back to health. With short-term illnesses like colds or the flu, well typically feel tired for a few days and begin regaining energy as we start feeling better.
But with allergies, our immune system stays active for longer than its meant to, requiring more resources and energy to keep up the disease-fighting histamine and immunoglobulin E activity. As time stretches on, the inflammation meant to heal us can become chronic and lead to long-term fatigue resulting from diversion and depletion of your bodys energy.
2. Youre Breathing in Less Oxygen.
Stuffed noses and congestion make it harder to breathe and reduce your oxygen intake. With less oxygen comes less energy for our cells to refuel our bodies, making the impact of a long-term immune response even more exhausting on our systems.
3. Youre Not Sleeping Well.
Nasal congestion can make it uncomfortable, if not impossible to get a good nights sleep. In addition to our decreased oxygen intake, finding a comfortable position to fall asleep can feel like an infuriating pipedream. Sleep is a restorative process that keeps us healthy our health declines when were deprived of sleep, leaving us more and more fatigued.
How To Treat Allergy Fatigue
The brain fog and exhaustion of allergy fatigue can be frustrating, but they are not without solutions!
Before anything else, its advisable to talk to a physician or allergist to determine exactly what youre allergic to. Theyll likely perform an allergy test usually a blood or skin test to figure out exactly what triggers an allergic reaction in your system, so you can do your best to avoid that allergen.
Aside from avoiding your allergy, there are a number of other ways you can reduce allergy symptoms, and with them allergy fatigue.
1. Allergy Medication.
Several medications provide relief for allergy symptoms. Decongestants and nasal sprays can make it easier to breathe, and antihistamines help reduce allergy symptoms. Its important to remember that some antihistamines may make you drowsy, but that can actually be a plus if youre having trouble falling asleep! If youre trying to stay awake, non-drowsy allergy relief like Claritin or Zyrtec may be better options.
2. Try a Saline Wash.
Many people find that nasal irrigation using nasal flo or a neti pot helps clear sinuses and relieve congestion and headaches. If youre using a neti pot, be sure to clean it thoroughly between uses.
3. Ask your Doctor for an Allergy Shot.
4. Clean Up Around the House.
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Refined Carbs And Sugar
While people may initially fall into eating sugar because it helps to stimulate and wake up the brain, long-term and chronic intakes of refined carbs, white flours, refined sugars, and corn syrup can lead to glucose problems as well as systemic issues with yeast overgrowth, also known as candida albicans. Two of the main issues associated with yeast problems can be fatigue and brain fog, and whether theyre specifically caused by yeast or not, the brain typically responds better to diets with balanced levels of protein and healthy fats, and not those that are dependent on huge amounts of refined and empty carbs.
Eat this instead: Instead of refined sugars, choose sweets that use natural sweeteners instead, like raw honey or coconut sugar, which have less of a glycemic impact than cane sugar. Limiting sugar is also essential, but sugar cravings will diminish or lessen when protein is eaten with every meal. If you must have carbs, choose vegetable, fruit, and nut-based carbs so that youre balancing them with fiber and plenty of other nutrients.
Injuries Wisdom Teeth And Trapped Nerves:
It has recently been substantiated that pinched nerves can also cause brain fog. Don’t ignore any aches, or pains as it may be a pinched nerve and may be the cause. This nerve pain also exists behind your wisdom teeth. The pain is causing your brain cells to focus on the pain instead of the task at hand. Ultimately, brain cells, or neurons, dont communicate well with each other to focus on the task at hand. This causes brain function to slow down and diminish, giving you brain fog.
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Consider Immunotherapy Allergy Drops
While allergy medications provide short-term relief from symptoms, and often lose their effectiveness if overused, immunotherapy is a more long-term approach to allergy fatigue treatment. Immunotherapy slowly introduces the body to more and more of the allergen it is allergic to so that it builds up a tolerance and no longer reacts as strongly. Allergy shots are an older form of immunotherapy that are very effective, but this treatment has some associated risks and requires frequent office visits. Allergy drops are just as effective but can be done easily from home with daily drops under the tongue, making this one of the best ways to manage and eliminate allergies causing fatigue.
How The Blood Sugar Roller Coaster Causes Brain Fog
Your brains main fuel source is glucose.
Complex carbohydrates, the kind found in unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, provide your brain with a steady supply of the energy it needs.
Simple, or refined, carbohydrates like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and flour products send your blood sugar level on a roller coaster ride, first up and then down.
When brain glucose gets low, you may experience a host of mental symptoms:
- brain fog
This can lead to memory loss and even Alzheimers, a disease that many experts believe is a form of diabetes that selectively targets the brain.
If you fall into a mental fog several hours of eating, you may be experiencing a condition known as reactive hypoglycemia.
When this occurs, your blood sugar drops too low two to five hours after a meal.
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Certain Allergy Medications Can Worsen Fatigue
Even though they work to relieve some symptoms, certain allergy medicines can actually make you more tired. Antihistamines in particular have been known to cause drowsiness, however, most newer, second-generation pills are designed to be non-drowsy. Still, it is important to always read labels carefully, and consult with a doctor if unsure which allergy medications may cause increased fatigue.
How Its Diagnosed
See your doctor if you have persistent lack of clarity that worsens or doesnt improve. A single test cant diagnose brain fog. Brain fog may signal an underlying issue, so your doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask about your:
- mental health
- level of physical activity
- current medications or supplements
You should let your doctor know about other symptoms you might have. For example, someone with hypothyroidism may have brain fog along with hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, or brittle nails.
Blood work can help your doctor identify the cause of brain fog. A blood test can detect the following:
- abnormal glucose levels
- inflammatory diseases
Based on the results, your doctor will determine whether to investigate further. Other diagnostic tools may include imaging tests to look inside the body, such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. The doctor may also conduct allergy testing or a sleep study to check for a sleep disorder.
Keeping a food journal can help you determine if your diet contributes to brain fog.
How To Treat It
Brain fog treatment depends on the cause.
For example, if youre anemic, iron supplements may increase your production of red blood cells and reduce your brain fog. If youre diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid or other medication to reduce inflammation or suppress the immune system.
Sometimes, relieving brain fog is a matter of correcting a nutritional deficiency, switching medications, or improving the quality of your sleep.
Home remedies to improve brain fog include:
- sleeping 8 to 9 hours per night
- managing stress by knowing your limitations and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine