Brain fog

Brain fog can be described as a feeling of distraction, fatigue, feeling somewhat moody and a bit ‘off.’ Brain fog may be a side effect of today’s fast-paced, industrialized way of life.


To remain clear and focused, the brain needs a steady supply of essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, glucose (derived from complex carbohydrates), and amino acids as well as a sufficient amount of rest. According to the CDC’s Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population, approximately 30 million, or 10 percent, of Americans have at least one nutrient deficiency. Furthermore, sugar overload, high stress and lack of sleep deplete what energy Americans do have. The good news is that brain fog is not necessarily a permanent condition, by addressing its underlying cause, you can regain a clear head, increased energy levels, as well as recapture the ability to concentrate and remain focused.

Dementia, concentration difficulties and a lack of mental sharpness

Dementia is the term used to describe a group of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain, manifested by memory disorders, personality changes, and or impaired reasoning. One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. The 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report states that approximately 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. People aged 65 and older make up 5.3 million of these cases; whereas, the remaining 200,000 are under the age of 65. Although the risk of dementia increases with age, this condition is not considered part of the normal aging process.


The majority of the foods we eat in the U.S. are processed and contain ingredients that are not intended to support brain health. In addition, many of the activities we choose to participate in offer little to no support for the brain.

Causes of brain fog

Lack of sleep increases the likelihood that an individual will experience brain fog. To avoid feeling sluggish, it is recommended that adults sleep no less than 7 hours each night. To think clearly, children and teenagers need to sleep more than 7 hours. In the event that an individual does get an adequate amount of sleep, but still struggles with low motivation and continued fatigue, the next thing to consider is diet. Nutritional deficiencies in conjunction with alcohol consumption, excessive sugar intake, caffeinated beverages and refined carbohydrates may be impacting the ability of the brain to function.


When considering the cellular level, it is believed that brain fog occurs due to high inflammation levels and changes to the three hormones that are responsible for determining an individual’s mood, ability to focus, and energy level: These hormones are dopamine (the ‘feel good hormone’), cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) and serotonin (the ‘mood regulator hormone’). The hormones throughout the body work together to keep themselves in check; however, when one hormone becomes imbalanced, the entire system can be affected. For example, serotonin levels may drop due to an insufficient intake of carbohydrates and cortisol levels may increase due to stressful situations. Rebalancing these hormones is necessary for improved brain function.


Inflammation can cause the symptoms associated with brain fog: Low-grade overactivity of the immune system causes inflammation. This overactivity is frequently tied to depression, insomnia, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. One of the theories behind the reason inflammation causes the symptoms of brain fog states that an increased number of inflammatory molecules stimulate microglial activation (a characteristic found in the brains of individuals who have an autism spectrum disorder or some other type of psychiatric disease). According to a report published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, people who experience brain fog usually have chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, food allergies, some type of neuropsychiatric disorder, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, mastocytosis and/or sensitivities to gluten.

Causes of dementia

Certain factors impact whether an individual is at an increased risk of developing dementia. Unfortunately, some risk factors cannot be avoided; however, there are numerous potential causes that can.


Most common risk factors of dementia:


  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Age (65 and over are at a higher risk)
  • Type II diabetes
  • High LDL (the bad cholesterol)
  • Genetics
  • Down syndrome
  • Atherosclerosis (an accumulation of cholesterol and fat in the arteries that causes inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels: thus, affecting the ability for the brain to receive an adequate amount of blood)
  • Smoking
  • Depression
  • Hypertension


Some researchers believe that brain fog is caused by a lifestyle that promotes inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and stress.

Symptoms of brain fog may include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability/Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness/Confusion
  • Difficulty sleeping/Insomnia
  • Mild depression/Hopelessness/Decreased motivation

Symptoms of dementia appear gradually and may include:

  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Delusions
  • Changes in personality
  • Memory loss
  • Language difficulties
  • Agitation
  • Struggles related to motor activity
  • Decreased ability to solve problems, plan and/or organize
  • Problems recognizing objects


Alzheimer's disease accounts for up to 80 percent of all dementia cases.


Schedule a 15-minute phone consultation to learn how we can help you.


At Florida Health & Wellness Institute, Dr. Jorge Peláez helps individuals who already display signs associated with memory loss as well as assists those who would like to prevent the onset of such conditions. Dr. Peláez was a neurologist and sleep specialist for nearly two decades; however, he decided to pursue his dream of ‘filling the gap’ between conventional and integrative medicine by founding the Florida Health & Wellness Institute. As a functional physician, Dr. Peláez concentrates on finding the root of the problem and addressing it, as opposed to just masking the symptoms a patient is experiencing.


Dr. Peláez creates each patient a program that is designed specifically to meet his or her needs. Program treatments may include changes in diet and lifestyle, the addition of herbal supplements, yoga, exercise, and/or meditation techniques. If you are experiencing memory loss, we can help. Click the button below to request a consultation.