Brain fog, also known as fibro fog, can be one of the most irritating symptoms of chronic pain conditions, and complex illness. Though it’s especially prevalent in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, it can also manifest in any conditions where a patient experiences severe pain, such as that of CRPS, also MS, lupus, and many other painful chronic illnesses.
You may be in an in depth conversation then suddenly forget what the topic was, much less what you were saying—which is frustrating for you and those you’re talking to. Other times your memory or ability to retain information is drastically affected. Whether it’s being lost for words (paraphasia), or forgetting what you were saying, thinking or needing to do, brain fog can cause difficulty writing, talking, understanding, and retaining information.
It’s hard enough living in such debilitating pain but these cognitive problems are linked to, and can magnify anxiety, and depression, which are of course, also both closely woven into the chronic pain and illness experience. If you’re finding anxiety an increasing problem, see here for tools to help you manage, and cope. Click here for tools to help you find a little calm in the chaos, helping you, and your body relax.
The obvious frustration that comes along with brain/fibro fog can be depressing but ever compare yourself now to who you were before your chronic illness began. Instead, use ways to help reduce and manage the fog. The following supplements may help. Obviously, always check with your doctor before taking any supplement, herbal or nutritional, in case of any contraindications with your medications, or other supplements.
Supplements to Help Heal Brain Fog
- DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol): DMAE is a natural amino alcohol that is found in minute quantities in the brain. It is generally regarded as a precursor to choline, which is needed for the brain to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in nerve signal transmission and healthy brain function. Citicoline: Choline is an essential intermediate in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, a major constituent of the gray matter of brain tissue (30%). Citicoline promotes brain metabolism by enhancing the synthesis of acetylcholine and restoring phospholipid content in the brain. It’s another great supplement for brain health and increased cognitive function. Can help reduce episodes of brain-fog.
- Alpha GPC: Derived from lecithin, Alpha GPC is extremely well absorbed and crosses the blood brain barrier. In the brain Alpha GPC supports brain function and learning processes by directly increasing the synthesis and secretion of acetylcholine. Alpha GPC protects neurons and improves signal transmission by serving as a precursor to membrane phospholipids.
- Ginkgo Biloba: Supports cerebral circulation in the brain, promotes mental function and memory; it’s said to help slow down the ageing process. It’s also beneficial for stopping dizziness and lack of balance, which is very common in many chronic pain conditions.
- Salmon oil: Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, which reduces the body’s production of inflammatory hormones (prostaglandins), helping with joint pain, mobility and brain health. Another valuable alternative is krill oil, which is full of brain nutrition but also helps reduce joint pain too. Always ensure that these products are sustainably sourced from pollution-free waters.
- B Complex: B vitamins can also help increase metabolism, maintain muscle tone, increase energy and enhance immune system function. They are especially important for nerve health, and in terms of brain function, choline, a B vitamin, is essential for optimum brain health. Around 200-500 mg is necessary for pain relief.
- Magnesium: A common deficiency, magnesium is crucial in helping muscles relax, as well as enabling normal muscle and nerve function, keeping the heart rhythm steady and bones strong. It is also involved in energy metabolism, protein synthesis and helps neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, communicate. A deficiency add both pain and increased brain fog.
- Other other smart nutrients include: GABA, Phosphatidyl Serine, L-carnitine and L-Tyrosine. Jarrow Formulars make a great supplement called “Neuro Optimizer” which includes citicoline but also PS (Phosphatidylserine), which supports the brain’s proper response to stress and promotes neuronal communication; the antioxidants Acetyl L-Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Taurine that provide protection for the neurons from damage caused by certain free radicals. Acetyl L-Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic Acid and L-Glutamine also support energy utilization. Taurine also aids in osmoregulation (maintenance of proper concentrations of ions) inside the cell. It’s expensive but does help without the use of stimulants.