Two of the most common complaints from patients in the functional medicine space are: Low Energy and Brain Fog. And, with the previous year we have all experienced, along with the extra stressors, most Americans have felt a little of one or the other… or a ton of BOTH.
What is news to most people, is that usually brain fog and low energy levels share the same root cause. That is why specific supplements and habits improve both simultaneously.
In this article, we dive into some of the easiest habits and hacks to implement in order to boost low energy levels and clear your foggy brain.
What Are Some Easy To Implement Lifestyle Habits To Help With Brain Fog?
Before we dive into our favorite supplements, let’s go through some low hanging fruit in regard to getting your mental and physical energy needs met and maintained.
Below, we will tackle some of the actions that you will want to make sure you are checking off the list prior to simply buying more supplements to try and put bandaids over your metabolically broken bullet wounds:
Focus on stabilizing blood sugar
If you notice that you need a nap after most of your breakfasts and lunches, you are more than likely dealing with some level of insulin insensitivity. This is telling you that based on your current energy needs and sleep, you may be taking in too many carbs/sugar or the wrong types of carbs for your unique metabolism.
Start paying attention to how you feel after your main meals or snacks and really focus on stabilizing your blood sugar throughout the day. When you experience highs and lows with your blood sugar, your energy is the first thing that will be zapped. Take note and make the necessary changes to those snacking and meal habits.
Notice how much and what type of alcohol you are consuming the night before
If there is one thing that has risen with the pandemic, aside from gas prices, it is our consumption of alcohol.
More than ever, parents are needing to take the edge off after work and homeschooling.
But, as much as it may help relieve immediate stress, it will cause your deep, restorative sleep to suffer. This is a killer for the next day’s energy levels. Sometimes the type of alcohol makes a difference too, and not just the amount. Beer may be worse for you than liquor. Or White wine may leave you feeling much better than red.
Pay attention and try a few different types of alcohol and see what works best if you are not ready to give up drinking just yet. Or, look for other sleep and stress aids such as CBD or L
Theanine and Melatonin.
Are you currently getting enough greens, fiber, and Omega 3’s in your diet?
While blood sugar and hormones will trump other aspects of your diet, such as micronutrients and vitamins, making sure you are feeding and maintaining good gut health along with a healthy inflammatory response is key.
This is where vegetables really shine. Packing a huge antioxidant punch along with necessary fiber for nourishing your gut bacteria and intestinal lining health, they provide a low sugar boost to the immune system.
Stacking those veggies with some wild fish or seafood, or just a good fish oil supplement, can also provide a health balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 in the blood, which is the trigger for either a healthy or unhealthy immune response to certain inflammatory triggers or immune insults.
In regard to sleep, how much are you getting and what’s the quality?
There it is again… Sleep! The fact of the matter is, you simply can’t escape it.
Without getting enough quality sleep, most realms of your health are going to suffer: your inflammation, energy, hormones, body fat, blood pressure, etc. They all suffer.
Focus on getting a wearable to monitor or track your sleep (such as a Whoop or an Oura ring) and then focus on getting into a super strict pre-bed routine. You can’t wing the process of improving your sleep… you must be intentional about it!
How much Caffeine are you consuming daily? And at what times?
The most popular legal drug out there on the market today: Caffeine.
Most people say they enjoy it, but they are really just addicted to it.
And while it may mask symptoms of sleep deprivation, it can never replace it.
Caffeine is also what most people reach for to remove brain fog or improve afternoon energy levels. Yet, while it may work in the interim, it is only masking a deeper issue.
It can also perpetuate the sleeplessness cascade. By overconsuming caffeine throughout the day, you may be hindering your ability to fall asleep or get into deeper sleep in the evening.
The half life of caffeine is roughly 6-8 hours. Thus having an afternoon energy drink or coffee could be the culprit as to why you can’t fall asleep as easily and spend the first 4 hours in your bed watching Netflix…. (the second most common sleeplessness perpetuator)
The takeaway: be conscious of your caffeine consumption throughout the day in regard to the amount and the timing if your sleep is suffering currently.
Which Supplements can help alleviate brain fog?
Now that we have gotten the foundational habits out of the way, we can dive deeper into a few of the supplements that can help with improving day time energy and alleviating brain fog:
A Good Multivitamin
Unfortunately, Centrum silver isn’t going to cut it. Our diets simply aren’t as nutrient dense as they once were and we need more vitamins available throughout the day given our stressful lifestyles. Look to good brands such as LifeExtension, Thorne, or PURE Encapsulations when going for a good multi.
Unless you have been under a rock this past year, you have seen the research regarding Vitamin D’s role with immunity and longevity in general. Most of us don’t get enough sunlight on our body to produce enough so we need to supplement. Get your levels checked and see where you are currently in the winter months and then in the summer. Usually, we require less in the summer but may still need the extra amount from a vitamin nonetheless.
Methylated B-12 and Folate
In regard to metabolism and energy creation, some of us are really poor methylators. And with the hopes of not getting too sciency for this article, essentially that means that we hinder our ability to produce enough energy at the mitochondrial level. Fortunately, supplementing with B-12 and Folate that has already been methylated for you can help. A good lozenge or capsule with the right amount of these two can often make a noticeable difference in regard to energy and focus
Most people have heard of Tumeric (Indian spice used in curry dishes). But what most people don’t know is that the majority of curcumin supplements (the beneficial component of turmeric) is highly unavailable for absorption when taken in supplement form. What you should be looking for is a great curcumin phytosome. Once absorbed, curcumin directly stimulates the immune system and has a potent effect on decreasing systemic inflammation. If that inflammation is occurring in or around your brain, you will notice a huge weight lifted off of your focus capacity as your energy can be directed towards paying attention and not fighting of low grade systemic inflammation.
A Good Cold Shower
Fun? No. Effective? Yes!
While most people have heard or understood that cooling or icing an injury can help with decreasing inflammation, not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon of ice bathing or cold showers. Yet, while blood restriction is one component of the anti-inflammatory effects of cold showers, the main avenues for healing occur with triggering nor-epinepherine and regulating the Autonomic Nervous System (Fight or Flight/ Rest and Digest).
By forcing the body to adapt to such cold temps, the body is more able to fend off inflammation, immune insults, and other stressors throughout our daily lives.
While a hot tub may be more relaxing, cold temps can pack much more of an impact under certain circumstances.
Trial a few of these, particularly the whole "blood sugar" suggestions and see if you don't start feeling more alert. Keeping insulin in check with fasting and NOT adding loads of syrup to your coffee in the morning should get you 80% of what you are looking for.
Then, once you have implemented a few of the foundational pillars, look into going a bit deeper with supplements or other health hacks such as cold plunging or showers.
In conclusion, as mental health conditions develop, brain function can change. These changes prevent the brain from working as to it's optimal potential, which often leads to brain fog. In fact, certain conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a few others can affect the brain in ways that lead to brain fog.
At NeuroMend, we offer treatment solutions that can help boost those low energy levels and clear your foggy brain.
Are you sick of the brain fog and low energy levels? Contact us for more information about our offerings or schedule a free consultation with us.
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