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What Causes Brain Fog?

Brain Fog

One of the most common complaints our Director of Education, Dr. David Scheiderer, hears from clients is that they have “brain fog.” By this, they usually mean they are experiencing loss of mental focus, impaired memory, or poor decision-making. They may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to put thoughts into words.

But brain fog is just one symptom often accompanied by others that can indicate an underlying health issue.

Symptoms we often see hand-in-hand with brain fog include fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, and any number of what we call “lack of” symptoms: lack of joy, lack of motivation, lack of energy, lack of desire, etc. It is not surprising that someone complaining of brain fog may also have gastrointestinal complaints.

These symptoms reflect high levels of systemic inflammation. Brain fog, in particular, is a cognitive change that can be caused by depression, as well as neurotransmitter imbalance.

Check out Dr. Dave’s short video on Brain Fog and Fatigue.

What kind of deficiency leads to brain fog?

Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are thought to be directly related to imbalances with neurotransmitters. The four major neurotransmitters that regulate mood are Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA, and Norepinephrine.

Depression is a precursor to brain fog, and it is one of several resulting issues for those struggling with low serotonin levels. If you are already taking medication for depression, it may not address your brain fog, and for some people, medications may actually aggravate symptoms of brain fog.

PEA is an excitatory neurotransmitter made from phenylalanine. Low PEA is associated with difficulty paying attention or thinking clearly and depression.

Another issue that people with brain fog might be dealing with is low dopamine. Low dopamine states are quite common and sometimes go years without being identified.

A clinical picture Dr. Dave commonly finds is individuals with too little of their own cortisol to dampen their hyperactive immune (inflamed) state.

How can I get rid of brain fog?

Although you can articulate a long list of symptoms, you can’t identify the underlying imbalances causing those symptoms.

Many symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, anxiousness, and sleep disturbances, can have strikingly different underlying causes. While your poor sleep may be due to low serotonin, someone else’s may be related to high glutamate. Neurotransmitter testing gives more information than your symptoms alone can and can help identify your specific biochemical imbalances.

A common next step is to seal and heal both your leaky gut (glutamine, NAC, pre-biotics, digestive enzymes, probiotics, carnitine, curcumin, lifestyle, and others) and your likely leaky blood-brain barrier and, at the same time, support your clearance and detoxification pathways to rid you pro-inflammatory toxins.

A leaky gut repair powder, like the one below, can be effective in healing and sealing the guy.

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Leaky Gut Repair Powder

Regardless of where your inflammation started, is has probably spread to your entire system. Chronic inflammation, in addition, will stress your adrenal glands and increase the rate of turnover and decrease the rate of manufacture of your brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) and eventually your sex hormones.

For those reasons, Dr. Dave often tests urine and saliva for cortisol, DHEA, along with neurotransmitter levels. Depending on a patient’s age and how long he or she has been inflamed, he may advise testing sex hormones as well.

What supplements are good for brain fog?

Since inflammation can lead to the depletion of various vitamins and minerals (such as selenium, zinc, copper, glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D), these often need to be supplemented.

If the issue includes more of the “lack ofs” (decreased energy, poor concentration and attention, lack of interest, and no joy), that’s usually a low dopamine and norepinephrine state for which Dr. Dave recommends Dopa Maxx or Cogniben.

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Crave Control by IP Formulas is an excellent supplement to help balance out neurotransmitters. It contains targeted amino acids specifically needed for the manufacture of dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters enable “brain reward” activity. By providing nutrients for replenishing neurotransmitter stores, Crave Control helps to restore brain chemistry balance and related feelings of well-being and satisfaction.

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Crave Control

Proteins, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats are the essential nutrients that make up your body. Your brain needs the proper nutrients every day in order to manufacture proper levels of the neurotransmitters that regulate your mood.

Listen to why Dr. Dave measures neurotransmitters.

Personalized treatment requires personalized evaluation of neurotransmitters and, for that matter, hormones, adrenal output, and inflammation. Without such testing, no matter how educated, we are merely guessing.

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Meet Dr. Dave

Dr. David Scheiderer MD, MBA, DFAPA, is the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Education for Integrative Psychiatry, Inc. 

An accomplished clinician, educator, and lecturer, Dr. Dave has established himself as a key opinion leader in the fields of both mainstream psychiatry and functional medicine. Dissatisfied with the patient outcomes using only conventional treatments, he began treating his patients by addressing biological imbalances with lifestyle improvements, nutrition and nutraceuticals to get better outcomes. His integrative approach provided much improved results. Dr. Dave is passionate about helping the community he serves by personalizing treatments and educating the public about mental health and healthy aging. He has formulated several of our supplements and sat on the advisory board for many others, ensuring the products we carry are based on science and experience and have the best efficacy rates and highest ingredient quality available.

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