8 MIN READ

Vitamins and Supplements That Actively Fight Brain Fog

Written by MOSH Life

Reviewed by Camille Freking, MS Translational Pharmacology and Clinical Research

Neuroscientists and medical researchers have estimated that between 22 and 32 percent  of recovered patients from COVID-19 experienced brain fog. While the coronavirus pandemic might have increased public awareness of brain fog, it’s not the root cause of it.

Brain fog has been around for some time, and while it’s not quite a medical term you’ll find in a textbook, the forgetfulness, lack of mental clarity, and overall “off” feeling of brain fog is all too recognizable for many people. There aren’t any hard statistics on brain fog, but it’s estimated that around 600 million people worldwide experience this form of cognitive impairment.

The good news is that brain fog isn’t permanent. The better news is that you have a few different ways to fight brain fog, and a lot of them revolve around a healthy lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle. Easy, right?

Let’s dive into what vitamins and supplements can help kick those brain fog side effects to the curb.

What Is Brain Fog?

Brain fog isn’t technically a diagnosable medical condition. Instead, it’s a general term that’s used to describe a variety of cognitive symptoms and difficulties, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is experiencing cognitive decline or that they don’t have a healthy brain.

The easiest way to explain how brain fog feels is for you to picture how mentally sluggish you feel for that first minute or so right after you first wake up. Brain fog is very similar to that state, except that it lasts for much longer than a minute, and it can happen at any point in your day.

The symptoms of brain fog and their severity will naturally vary depending on each person. However, brain fog will typically include a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Reduced cognitive function
  • Impaired decision making
  • Struggling to adequately put thoughts into words
  • Slower reaction time
  • Concentration issues
  • Headaches
  • Difficulties with multitasking
  • Absent-mindedness
  • Poor memory and recall
  • Low physical and mental energy
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • A down, unexcited mood

What Causes Brain Fog?

As mentioned earlier, brain fog is one of the more prominent symptoms of COVID-19. However, brain fog has been around long before the coronavirus pandemic started. There is a lot that remains unclear about brain fog, but medical experts believe that it’s caused by elevated levels of inflammation in the brain.

Normal brain function involves a process known as microglia activation. The primary functions of microglia cells are to regulate your brain development and act as the main line of defense for your nervous system.

In general, microglia cells are very beneficial for brain health, but too many of them can cause problems. It’s possible that exposure to long-term microglial activation can cause damage to your brain neurons and their pathways.

Inflammatory molecules such as adipocytokines and histamine are thought to be the root of the problem. Whenever your brain has an excessive amount of these molecules, it will further stimulate microglia activation. The combination of these molecules and cells can dramatically  increase your overall brain inflammation.

As a result, it’s very common to experience the symptoms associated with brain fog.

Again, this is just one theory behind brain fog — because people who experience brain fog can have such varying medical histories, experts haven’t been able to narrow down an exact biological cause just yet, though inflammation is a contender as the primary culprit.

Aside from this imbalance of certain molecules in the brain, there are several possible reasons you may be experiencing increased inflammation in your brain:

Nutritional deficiencies. In order to function properly, your brain relies on a steady flow of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to fuel all that it does. A poor diet that doesn’t include the necessary fuel will leave your brain weakened and susceptible to inflammation.

Insufficient sleep. Sleep deprivation cuts down on the time your brain dedicates to self-maintenance and regulation. Whenever you’re sleeping, your brain uses that time to remove toxins and waste that slowly accumulate while you’re awake. If these natural byproducts of brain activity aren’t removed efficiently, it can cause inflammation.

Chronic stress. Prolonged stress causes inflammation throughout your entire body, including your brain. Chronic stress has been known to cause high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and mental fatigue. After enough time, these issues can develop into serious physical and mental health conditions, so make sure to practice self-care and stress management!

Hormonal changes. It’s common for women to experience hormonal imbalances during pregnancy and menopause. The ensuing swings in estrogen can have a strong impact on overall brain function and mental clarity. The same is also true for men who are experiencing the natural, steady decline in testosterone production that starts around age 30.

Certain medications. Lots of medications are designed specifically to alter the way that the neurotransmitters in your brain function. Painkillers, hypertension medication, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills are just a few examples of prescription medication that can cause brain fog as a result of changes in the way the brain naturally functions.

Which Vitamins and Supplements Are Best for Brain Fog?

The good news about brain fog is that you can keep it at bay with the right nutrition. Improving your overall diet is the first, and most important, step to getting rid of brain fog.

According to recent studies, roughly 46 percent of American adults have a poor diet. Improving your diet is one of the quickest ways to reverse the effects of brain fog.

These are the most beneficial vitamins and minerals to focus on:

Vitamin B

There are a total of eight different vitamins that compose the B-group. These vitamins primarily help your enzymes perform their jobs, which include producing energy for the brain to help keep it alert and focused.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is the single most important vitamin in terms of cognitive function as it plays a key role in the function and development of brain and nervous system cells — B12 helps to maintain the communication pathways your brain cells use to communicate with one another, supporting the mental clarity that brain fog can disrupt.

The other B vitamins can also play roles in the battle against brain fog. For example, vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), and B7 (biotin) are good for your nervous system; vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and B3 (niacin) are good for your neurotransmitters; and B9 (folic acid) helps with mental fatigue.

All types of B vitamins are readily available in various meats, dairy products, vegetables (especially leafy greens), and legumes, so simply working toward a well-rounded diet can already boost your B vitamin intake!

Vitamin D

There are two different forms of vitamin D including D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both of these vitamins work as very potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories for your brain. However, D3 is much more effective at raising the overall levels of vitamin D in your body, which is why you’ll see far more many D3 than D2 supplements.

Another benefit of vitamin D is that it’s recently been used to help support mood balance and overall emotional well-being.

An easy way to get vitamin D is to spend about 10 to 15 minutes in direct sunlight. It’s also found in fortified foods, red meat, egg yolks, and supplements.

Omega-3

These fatty acids play a crucial role in supporting the health of your brain cells and their ability to communicate efficiently. The most beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are the long-chain variety, which includes EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

Fatty fish have an abundance of EPA and DHA, while certain plants flax seeds, hemp seeds, and soybeans are high in ALA.
Eating more seafood, using the right seed oils for cooking, or taking omega-3 supplements can help you get closer to your recommended daily value of omega-3.

Lion’s Mane

This edible mushroom is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Lion’s mane mushrooms contain two components that are beneficial for the normal creation and growth of brain cells: erinacines and hericenones.

Studies suggest that these components are the reason why lion’s mane can help to reduce inflammation in the brain and support overall cognition.

Ashwagandha

This evergreen shrub grows naturally in India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa, which is why it’s one of the most prominent plants in Ayurvedic medicine. This medicinal herb has been used for generations as a way to help the body deal with stress.

To keep it simple, ashwagandha is what’s called a nootropic, which is a nutrient that basically acts as a brain health supplement to support cognitive function, mental clarity, and overall brain performance.

Ashwagandha works to support your body’s innate stress management system, ultimately helping to relieve stress and ease those negative effects that can come from it, including feelings of mental fatigue and brain fog.

MCT Oil

This oil gets its name from its fatty structure as a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT). The most common method of producing MCT oil is extracting it from coconut or palm kernel oils. Your body uses MCT to help create ketones, which are used as an energy source for your brain.

Ketones are thought to be a more efficient fuel source for your brain than glucose, which is the standard energy source for your body. These elevated levels of energy can help your brain to function at its best since it can use that energy almost immediately!

Where Can I Get the Nutrients Needed To Support My Brain?

Life can be a challenge when you’re constantly dealing with the effects of brain fog. Being easily confused, losing focus, and feeling mentally exhausted is no way to live. Whatever the cause of your brain fog, there are several ways that you can help get some clarity back.

Ideally, you should aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night, find effective ways to manage your stress levels, and increase your daily amount of physical and mental exercise.

Each of these changes can be beneficial for dealing with brain fog, but the cornerstone of supporting your brain at the cellular level is getting the proper nutrients in your diet.

You can probably imagine how challenging it may be to get your recommended daily value of each of the items listed above without going out of your way to plan your meals.

Fortunately, you won’t have to juggle half a dozen bottles of supplements or make drastic changes to your diet to support your brain health. Just a single MOSH nutrition bar contains powerful brain nutrients that can help promote wellness for your mind, body, and soul.

Not only does each MOSH nutrition bar contain protein, it also includes vitamin B12, vitamin D3, omega-3s (from flaxseed), lion’s mane, ashwagandha, and MCT oil to support brain health. There’s no added sugar, GMOs, soy, or gluten involved — just the right blend of scientifically curated brain nutrients, all in one convenient, delicious bar.

Visit MOSH today to order the trial pack and see for yourself — it’s our mission to keep your brain and body fit, fueled, and feeling good.



Sources:

Ketogenic Medium Chain Triglycerides Increase Brain Energy Metabolism in Alzheimer's Disease | NCBI

Brain Fog: Memory and Attention After COVID-19 | Harvard Health

Brain Fog? Why you may be Struggling to Think Clearly | CNBC

Brain Foods: the Effects of Nutrients on Brain Function | NCBI

Lion's Mane & Your Brain | Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation

Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the Brain | NCBI

Microglia, Major Player in the Brain Inflammation | Nature

The fat-fueled brain: unnatural or advantageous? | Scientific American

Brain "Fog," Inflammation and Obesity | NCBI

Vitamin D2 and D3: What's the Difference and Which Should you Take? | The Conversation

Vitamin B12 and Cognitive Function | NCBI

Microglia in Neurological Diseases: A Road Map to Brain-Disease Dependent-Inflammatory Response | Cellular Neuroscience

Brain Fog: A Bit of Clarity Regarding Etiology, Prognosis, and Treatment | NCBI

A Nutrition Report Card for Americans: Dark Clouds, Silver Linings | The Conversation

Hormonal Influences on Cognitive Function| NCBI

Stuck in a Brain Fog? Look in Your Medicine Cabinet | Harvard Health

Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases | NCBI

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Microglial Activation and its Implications in the Brain Diseases | NCBI