Medical herbalist and columnist Jenny Logan writes about losing concentration and how to combat brain fog.
Following Brain Health Week (March 11 to 17), I thought I would have a look at natural ways to boost brain function and mental performance – and therefore lift that all too common brain fog.
So many people describe a sensation of ‘brain fog’, but what does it actually mean?
Brain fog encompasses a poor memory, lack of mental clarity, issues with concentration – the mind wandering, and therefore also a lack of focus.
Unsurprising really – most of us will have days where we feel like this.
Brain fog is not a medical complaint, but it can be a symptom of another issue.
There are many different causes of brain fog including:
STRESS: Long term stress leads to fatigue, which in turn can severely affect mental performance. When you feel exhausted, it is hard to think and focus as you would like to be able to.
POOR SLEEP: Sleep is the time when your brain ‘resets’ filing away memories and refreshing for the next day. Poor sleep will lead to low concentration and brain fog.
DIET: A diet low in omega 3 fatty acids or B vitamins – particularly B12, can affect brain function. The omega 3 fatty acid DHA has been identified as important to normal brain function, and could be low in any diet which excludes oily fish. Low levels of B12 have also been linked to brain fog, as B12 only really occurs in animal products, vegan diets particularly may be low in this vitamin.
MEDICATIONS: Certain medications could lead to low levels of B12 – this is specially true of antacid medications, as lack of stomach acid can prevent the absorption of vitamin B12.
BACTERIA – The bacteria in our gut have been shown to have a huge impact on our wellbeing in many ways, and low levels of the right type of good bacteria have been linked to poor mental performance, as well as anxiety and depression.
The good news is that there are natural remedies which can help to address these issues, including specific probiotic formulations, which support mental performance whilst providing the vital nutrients for brain health as well.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR:
PROBIOTIC STRAINS – Look for a product which contains the following probiotic strains: L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus and B. bifidum, as these bacteria have been shown to help support mental performance and even potentially reduce stress and anxiety.
It has also been reported that supplementing with good bacteria could also help to improve sleep quality – so these good bacteria could have many benefits.
B VITAMINS – B Vitamins support the nervous system, replacing B12 will help make up for shortfalls in the diet, and vitamin B5 is known to support energy production and brain function.
Natures Aid Pro-Cognitiv provides this exact combination, and I have had some great feedback from people I have suggested it for.
Including my own daughter.
My daughter is 15, and has a great deal of pressure from school, with GCSEs looming large.
She is also a teenager, who is tired all the time and prone to bouts of being non-communicative.
I asked her to take the Pro-Cognitiv, as I thought it would naturally help her with her energy levels, and help to reduce her sense of anxiety, as well as supporting her mental performance.
After a couple of weeks we had both noticed the benefits – she said she felt less tired and found it easier to concentrate. I thought that she had become happier and more communicative at home – so everyone was happy.
The other person who sticks out in my mind was an older lady, who had a lot on her plate, and just felt foggy headed a lot of the time.
Again, I suggested Pro-Cognitiv because I wanted to help with her anxiety, brain fog and energy – and again, it appeared to provide the perfect answer.
So for those who are looking for an answer to brain fog – Natures Aid Pro-Cognitiv could be just what you need.