Do You Have Brain Fog? Take This Quiz to See…

wfx.brainfogImage: Dierk Schaefer

Foggy thinking and lack of focus can affect all of us at one point or another. The question is whether you have a persistent case of “brain fog,” a loosely defined colloquial term that represents a set of symptoms related to decreased cognitive function, that warrants a deeper look into your health. In that case, there may be certain underlying chronic conditions as the root cause.

Take this quick quiz to see if you have a case of brain fog that warrants further investigation.

A Brain Fog Quiz

Do you have…

1. Poor Memory

Do you forget things that you normally remember, like the name of that movie you are referencing, the technical term for the fear of cramped spaces (answer: claustrophobic), or your mother’s birthday?

2. Lack of Focus

Do you have less focus than you used to? Or do you find yourself unable to think clearly or get anything done at work or school?

3. Difficulty Learning New Things Retaining Information

Do you have trouble recalling something you just heard or read 5 minutes ago, like the name of your neighbor’s niece?

Finally, have you experienced any of these symptoms for more than 1-2 months?

Possible Causes of Brain Fog

In some cases, brain fog can be an issue with real biochemical causes.

For example, it was found that patients with “brain fog” and chronic fatigue have decreased levels of certain cytokines, small proteins used for cell signaling, according to a study published in Molecular Psychiatry.

Although some medical practitioners believe brain fog is simply a figment of a patient’s imagination, symptoms of brain fog can sometimes be correlated with changes in biochemistry for certain individuals.

The following are some possible physiological causes for brain fog.

1. Poor Nutrition

Insufficient nutrition, such as the overconsumption of sugars, could lead to spikes in insulin, which precipitate sudden drops in blood glucose levels, leading to symptoms like lightheadedness, low energy, and poor focus.

Another result of poor nutrition is electrolyte imbalance, which typically occurs after a  strenuous workout, either due to dehydration or, in surprisingly common cases, overhydration. The electrolytes sodium, potassium, and calcium all fluctuate in times of physical exertion. The lack of sodium, hyponatremia, can be especially dangerous.

A deficiency in iron or ferritin in the blood could lead to a case of anemia, or low blood concentration, which can manifest in fatigue, weakness, and pale skin. A low blood count is reflected in a low hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein in red blood cells.  A common cause of anemia is low Iron, which can be seen in low ferritin, the protein that stores Iron.  

2. Sleep Deprivation or Elevated Stress

Sleep deprivation and elevated stress both affect the levels of cortisol, commonly known as the “stress hormone.”

Symptoms of brain fog have been found to appear both in individuals with insufficient cortisol, and those with excess cortisol levels.

Vitamin D deficiency negatively impacts thyroid function, and can eventually cause cognitive impairment.

3. Hormone Imbalances

All manner of thyroid conditions, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism can bring about cognitive decline.

DHEA-S is also an important hormone that affects cognitive abilities. Most notably, DHEA levels decrease throughout the aging process, which is found to correlate with declined cognitive functioning.

Women frequently report forgetfulness during certain phases of pregnancy. From the hormonal standpoint, this may be attributable to changes to the hormones progesterone and estradiol.

Lose the Brain Fog – How WellnessFX Can Help

In summary, the biomarkers for discovering potential culprits behind brain fog are:

  • Glucose
  • Electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium)
  • Full anemia panel (iron, ferritin, complete blood count)
  • Cortisol
  • DHEA-S
  • 3 thyroid tests (TSH, free T3, free T4)
  • Vitamin D (25-Hydroxy Vitamin D)

The first step to getting rid of brain fog is having objective benchmarks using lab biomarkers.

After obtaining metrics relevant to your symptoms, the next step is to speak with a certified medical practitioner with experience helping individuals with your particular biochemistry.

WellnessFX offers various lab and consultation packages that can help identify the cause of brain fog and get help in feeling a sharper mind again. In particular:

The Premium package covers all the biomarkers mentioned above.

The Performance package offers:

  • glucose
  • electrolytes
  • partial anemia panel (hemoglobin, complete blood count)
  • cortisol
  • 1 thyroid test (TSH)

The Baseline package offers:

  • glucose
  • electrolytes
  • partial anemia panel (hemoglobin, complete blood count)

The Advanced Thyroid package offers all the tests for the thyroid panel, including some thyroid tests beyond the scope of this article, if you only want to focus on potential thyroid hormone imbalances.

Check out all blood test packages

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.