Brain Fog

Conquering Brain Fog: You’re in Charge of Your Brain

Posted Sharon Norling, MD, MBA Blog

Brain Fog Begone!

Do you have brain fog? Are you having difficulty concentrating, remembering names and appointments, and keeping track of your glasses or keys? Are you easily distracted and less focused? Do you feel you are not as sharp or on-the-ball as you once were? Do you worry, “If I am like this now, what am I going to be like in ten years?”

In moments of desperation, do you wonder, “Am I losing it?” The loss of memory and mental sharpness is not a natural part of aging. It is an accumulation of causes and deficiencies over the years.

The good news is that the brain is plastic. Plasticity, or neuroplasticity, is the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences. Brain degeneration is not inevitable. You can reinvigorate, protect, and maintain your brain. This requires that you “clean up your act,” remove toxins, supply your brain with the nutrients and oxygen it needs, and enjoy a therapeutic lifestyle.

Here are just a few examples of causes of brain fog:

  • Toxins
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Neurotransmitter imbalance: low dopamine, low glutamate, low epinephrine
  • Metabolic diseases such as thyroid gland diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lung, liver, or kidney failure
  • Alcoholism
  • Vitamin B-12 and nutrient deficiency
  • Food allergies and gluten sensitivities
  • Insomnia
  • Smoking
  • Infections
  • Drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter

What are considered toxins?

If you drink unfiltered tap water, spray insecticides in your garden, smoke, or eat foods filled with pesticides, you are exposing your brain to toxins. Personal skin care products are also filled with toxins, some of which are carcinogens. Dangerous chemicals are found in tooth paste, hair shampoo, conditioners, shaving cream, anti-perspirants, and moisturizers.

Learn about a few of the top ingredients and contaminants to avoid, based on the science linking each to adverse health impacts, and the types of products they’re found in. To learn more about how chemicals impact your health and where they come from, check out www.safecosmetics.org . Also, avoid products containing the following chemicals: triclosan, laurel sulfate, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, parabens, nitrosamines, lead and other heavy metals.

Laboratory tests determine what toxins are hidden in your body that may be affecting your brain. These toxins can then be removed safely.

Inflammation & Brain Function

Any product or event that causes stress and anxiety to the body creates inflammation. An inflamed brain does not function optimally. Delegate, meditate, breathe, exercise, and let go of stressors that are other people’s responsibilities.

Other sources of inflammation include food allergies, gluten sensitivities, chronic illnesses, insomnia, infections and neurotransmitter imbalances. Specific tests can determine if you have a food allergy, gastrointestinal infection or a neurotransmitter imbalance. Once the root cause has been identified, therapies can be recommended specifically for that individual.

How Neurotransmitter Imbalances May Relate to Brain Fog

If your neurotransmitters are not in balance, brain fog will occur. Low levels of dopamine, nor-epinephrine, epinephrine, or glutamate create lack of focus and low brain function. Neurotransmitter testing allows for personalized care. Imbalances can be treated with specific amino acids for better brain function.

Nutrition: A Powerful Tool to Prevent Brain Aging

According to Dr. Perlmutter, a well- known neurologist, the single most important thing you can do to keep your brain functioning at its peak and prevent brain aging is what you put on your plate. It’s as simple as that. Nutrition is the most important tool for staying mentally and physically fit, and is by far the most underutilized tool. When you think about it, the only way we live and heal is by the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.

The most important nutrient for your brain is fat. Yes, fat. Fats are not a four-letter word. Sixty percent of our brain is made out of fat. All of our 100 trillion cell walls are made up of 60-80 percent fat. Brain friendly fats include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and safflower oil. Nuts and avocados are also good sources.

Tips for Improving Memory

Things to help you remember:

  • Keep lists.
  • Follow a routine.
  • Make associations (connect things in your mind), such as using landmarks to help you find places.
  • Keep a detailed calendar.
  • Put important items, such as your keys, in the same place every time.
  • Repeat names when you meet new people.
  • Do things that keep your mind and body busy.

The bottom line is that you are in charge of your brain. You can be alert, focused, and remember details. Fixing your brain starts with fixing your body. Eat well, decrease your stress, remove toxins, read all labels and, above all else, have fun!

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Clinical Advisory Board Member at Sanesco Health
Dr. Sharon Norling is a nationally known and highly respected medical doctor specializing in integrative medicine and practicing advanced functional medicine in Westlake Village, CA. Dr. Norling graduated from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and has trained at USC and UCLA. She received her MBA from St. Thomas University.

Dr. Norling’s expertise is based on her years of clinical experiences, former Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and her research. She is national board-certified in OB/GYN, Integrative Medicine and Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Norling combines a credible and responsible academic knowledge with years of experience and a caring nature.

Recognized for her expertise, she has testified before the White House Commission on Complementary Alternative Medicine Policy. She has served in multiple leadership roles as Medical Director and senior management in two large healthcare organizations.During her years in health care she has been nurse, medical doctor, hospital administrator, advocate and a dismissed and misdiagnosed patient.

Her passion is finding the root cause of illnesses instead of just using a pharmaceutical drug to treat the tip of the iceberg. Hormonal and neurotransmitter balancing is one of her specialties.

Dr. Norling is an international speaker and the author of Your Doctor is Wrong. As a presenter, she is engaging, articulate, humorous, and insightful, making learning a dynamic professional and personal growth experience. Whether you have heard her on the radio, seen her on TV or sharing the stage with celebrities, Dr. Norling is the expert.

Dr. Norling is a medical authority, a visionary and an extraordinary leader who provides real solutions for patients who have been dismissed or misdiagnosed.
Sharon Norling, MD, MBA