What is Brain Fog and Who Gets It?

In the first couple years of dealing with my allergy and eczema diagnoses, I kept hearing something: other bloggers with similar allergy issues mentioning "brain fog". It usually came from people who were super sensitive to chemicals. Once these chemicals hit the air or were too concentrated in other things, such as a sofa, the dreaded fog would set in. 

Brain fog sounded similar to what it would be like to be all hopped up on strong medication or something... these people would talk about how brain fog made it difficult for them to focus and think quickly. Some describe it as a dream-like state (or nightmare - your pick!).

This made complete sense to me. When your body is fighting off allergens, chemical sensitivities or food intolerance... we tend to feel like we're off our game. When we're feeling like that, we simply can't perform as we usually do. Brain fog seems like the next step up from feeling a little "off", mentally.

Brain fog, for some people, gets pretty extreme. I remember some blogger (sorry, it was so long ago I can't remember!) talking about how just walking through the cleaning product aisle at the grocery store gave them such horrible brain fog. It was so bad that this person no longer goes near the aisle!

There was one time early on in my diagnosis when I ended up in a car with two friends who were both smoking cigarettes at the same time. I didn't think much of it because in my late teens / early twenties I was a smoker (blegh, I know). What I DIDN'T think of was the immense amount of chemicals packed into a normal cigarette and how common the additives I'm allergic to are in this day and age.

I could feel my mind getting a bit cloudy in the car... and couldn't focus on anything else because I was also starting to get a bit nauseous. By the time I got home, I had a raging headache and felt like such complete crap that I spent the rest of the day in bed. Even though the nausea subsided after a while, the dazed and out-of-it feeling didn't go away all day. And it felt JUST like what everybody else had been describing: BRAIN FOG!

I want to share a little bit about this with you guys because if you keep displaying symptoms like these, it's time to step it up and figure out what's going on.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information defines brain fog as:

“a constellation of symptoms that include reduced cognition, inability to concentrate and multitask, as well as loss of short and long term memory”

An interesting thing about brain fog is that there hasn't been a great deal of scientific research done on it. It was easy enough for me to find reputable sources that talk about brain fog, but it seems like there's still a lot of research regarding why it actually happens.

So, who ends up getting brain fog? It's associated with a lot of different things including (but not limited to):

  • allergies
  • food intolerances
  • switching to a new medication
  • menopause
  • cancer treatment
  • stress
  • lack of sleep
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • lupus
  • celiac disease
  • diabetes
  • vitamin deficiencies

As it turns out, many of us have probably dealt with brain fog at some point in our lives whether it's due to stress and lack of sleep or a more serious medical condition like Lupus or Diabetes. Actually, you could also be dealing with brain fog for some of the reasons I mentioned last week:

Since brain fog can be associated with such a wide variety of things and there hasn't been a lot of research done on how to combat it, it's hard to give concrete advice on how to combat brain fog. Dr Myhill suggests using:

  • Lecithin
  • Coconut Oil
  • Hemp Oil

Unless you're allergic to those things, it can't hurt to give them a shot!

Have you experienced brain fog?

What caused yours and did you find anything to successfully combat the symptoms?