Bright ideas to clear up brain fog

With adrenal exhaustion, the body is nutritionally depleted, toxic metals have replaced vital elements, chronic infections have often set in and many biochemical imbalances may be present.

With adrenal exhaustion, the body is nutritionally depleted, toxic metals have replaced vital elements, chronic infections have often set in and many biochemical imbalances may be present.

by Dr. Larry Wilson —

Brain fog, one of the most common conditions people experience today, is not a “diagnosable disease,” so it often is overlooked by physicians and psychologists. It can feel like a cloud that reduces your clarity of mind. Symptoms include confusion, forgetfulness and feeling detached, which can lead to becoming discouraged and depressed.

With adrenal exhaustion, the body is nutritionally depleted, toxic metals have replaced vital elements, chronic infections have often set in and many biochemical imbalances may be present. Let us begin with the most common ones.

Fatigue and adrenal burnout

Two very common causes of brain fog are fatigue and adrenal exhaustion. Many, many people with brain fog are simply tired. The brain requires a tremendous amount of energy to function properly. When fatigue occurs, the brain can be one of the first organs to suffer. Many people are so used to pushing themselves, they may not even realize that seven or even eight hours of sleep are simply not enough. For someone living in the city, as many as 10 hours may be necessary to offset the stress of a fast-paced life.

Many people can need as long as a year or more to catch up on their sleep. However, if sleep does not clear your brain fog, adrenal exhaustion may be its main source.

Stress of any type, including worry and fear, uses up a tremendous amount of energy. While some stress is unavoidable, many people create much unnecessary stress for themselves.

Adrenal gland burnout differs from fatigue in that it is a deeper derangement of the body’s energy system. Today, the majority of mineral analyses I review show some degree of adrenal exhaustion.

Adrenal burnout, which may be diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome or CFIDS, cannot be corrected with just a few good nights’ sleep. It requires a comprehensive healing program including diet, nutritional supplements, rest and other natural therapies. Another recommendation is to use infrared lamp saunas to help detoxify and rebuild the body’s energy system.

With adrenal exhaustion, the body is nutritionally depleted, toxic metals have replaced vital elements, chronic infections have often set in and many biochemical imbalances may be present. These include impaired thyroid activity and digestion, heavy metal toxicity, chronic Candida albicans infection, chronic viral infections and others.

At times, the exhaustion of the glands themselves can cause symptoms, but the causes of brain fog are actually these secondary imbalances. However, addressing them is only a partial solution.

Candida albicans produces nervous system toxins such as alcohol. An affected person may behave as if slightly inebriated, although they consume no alcohol. Many children have this and are diagnosed with attention deficit or even autism. Symptoms are often worse if one eats a lot of carbohydrates, especially sugars which include sweet juices and fruits.

Low blood pressure may also occur. Adrenal exhaustion can reduce blood pressure which, in turn, reduces blood flow to the brain. Brain scans may show hypoperfusion, meaning reduced blood flow to certain areas. Reduced circulation can affect all aspects of brain activity. Also, you may become dizzy when you stand up quickly.

Hypoglycemia may occur with adrenal exhaustion. When the level of glucose in the brain becomes too low, the brain essentially starves for fuel. Common symptoms of low blood sugar include confusion, irritability, forgetfulness and even blackouts. A patient once called me during a hypoglycemic episode during which she couldn’t remember her own name.

Food and chemical reactions

Cindy always had excellent energy and felt she could take on the world. She ate a lot of green salads, which she thought were very healthful. However, a few years ago, she became exhausted and developed brain fog.

The problem turned out to be perchlorate, a chemical added to the town’s water that tended to become very concentrated in leafy green vegetables. It interfered with her thyroid. When she switched to bottled water and reduced her salad intake, her mind cleared and her energy returned.

Nutrasweet (also sold under the labels of Equal, Canderel, Spoonful, aspartame, aspartic acid or phenylalanine) is notorious for causing brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, depression, seizures and panic attacks, to name just a few symptoms. It is found in more than 5,000 products and affects some 25 percent of Americans who use it. It often is hidden in prescription medication, vitamins, toothpaste, breath mints and all types of diet and sugar-free products. Everyone should avoid this food chemical.

Other food chemicals that affect sensitive people include MSG (monosodium glutamate), caffeine, fluoride and hundreds of other substances that either contaminate or are added to drinking water and food. Also, anyone with brain fog ought to try eliminating wheat and cows’ milk dairy products from the diet, as these foods commonly are allergens. Gluten-containing foods such as rye, oats, wheat, kamut, spelt and barley also cause reactions that may affect the brain in susceptible individuals.

Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause mental confusion and other brain fog symptoms. If you must take medication, check the side effects and know there may be effects beyond those listed on the label. Type “physicians desk reference” into your favorite search engine to look up drug side effects on the Internet.

Nutrient deficiencies

The brain requires many nutrients, including proteins, high-quality fats, vitamins and two dozen or more minerals. A B-vitamin deficiency is known to cause confusion, irritability, stupor and death. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is quite common, especially in vegetarians.

I recall a 7-year-old patient with recurrent ear infections. The ear infections cleared up with a healthier nutrition program. During a follow-up visit, her mother mentioned that the girl’s grades also had gone from Cs to As. This is not unusual. Improved brain function is often a side effect of nutritional correction.

Toxic levels of metals

Toxic metals often play a role in brain fog. Elevated copper is strongly associated with feelings of confusion, disorientation, racing thoughts, mood swings and confusion. This can be a significant cause of brain fog. Potential sources of copper imbalance include weak adrenal glands, zinc deficiency, stress, fatigue, birth control pills, copper intrauterine devices, or copper contamination of water or food supplies.

Many children today are born with copper imbalance. Vegetarian diets are high in copper and low in zinc, a mineral that balances copper. Copper imbalance is best corrected with a complete nutritional program. Copper antagonists and chelators often do not work very well.

Toxicity caused by overexposure to mercury, aluminum, cadmium, lead and other metals also may cause brain fog. Almost everyone has excess amounts of all of these metals today. Mercury toxicity is extremely common, as it is found in large fish like tuna and in dental amalgams. Aluminum is added to table salt and drinking water, and found in antiperspirants, antacids and many cosmetics.

Toxic levels of calcium and magnesium in the body’s tissues frequently cause diminished awareness, mental fatigue and brain fog. Fortunately, sauna therapy and a nutritional balancing program can slowly remove excess amounts of all these metals, along with many toxic chemicals.

Lack of grounding

Many people are over-stimulated, easily distracted and their attention wanders. This can be a mental habit. Many are bright, loving people who are very sensitive and respond quickly to environmental stimuli. Their weakened body chemistry and high copper levels, in particular, may make them even more prone to this condition. In a t’ai chi class, one would say their chi is in their heads.

The recommended solution to this problem is to set aside time each day for a practice such as meditation. Not any meditation will do, as many types of meditation just keep one floating in one’s head. I strongly recommend a grounding observation-meditation exercise that helps develop a quality called the witness. The exercise is available from www.FHU.org or 1-800-877-3227. A cassette tape or CD with an improved version of the exercise is available from www.drlwilson.com.

Writing each day in a journal is helpful for some people. Other techniques to assist grounding are daily gardening, slow deliberate walking, yoga, t’ai chi or chi gong.

Bowel toxicity

Sluggishness of the important eliminative organs will cause toxic substances and end-products of metabolism — such as ammonia, urea and others — to remain circulating in the blood. The brain is one of the first organs affected by these toxins, as it requires a large quantity of blood for its delicate and intricate functions.

The solution is a slow regeneration of the intestinal tract, which may easily take two or three years. It begins with cleaning up the diet, as well as eliminating chemicals and junk foods. Excellent sleep habits are important, as well. Most everyone needs digestive enzymes, and lactobacillus plantarum, a substance that has been called the life-changing probiotic, is sometimes suggested. A range of nutrients may be helpful, as well as milk thistle and dandelion for the liver and saunas for detoxification.

In other words, a comprehensive program is generally best. Be wary of cleansing programs such as fasts for correcting liver and kidney toxicity. Fasting can easily cause one to become even more nutrient-deficient.

Psychological causes

Conflicts, living in denial, and not wanting to think about or see something clearly are, at times, factors in brain fog. The solution I recommend is to always ask for and seek the truth, and cultivate a belief that “the truth will set you free.” This does not mean the truth will be pretty. However, seeing and accepting the truth about yourself and everyone else eventually leads to clear thinking and happiness.

Some people believe they are stupid and cannot think clearly. This can be a result of parental or school influences. Indigo children in particular often suffer through school. Many adults today are affected as well.

Many methods exist for releasing negative programming. The most important is to make the decision and accept as fact that you are loved by your creator, and that you have many gifts and skills. (Yes, it is a decision, first.) Counseling may help you understand causes, and many methods can help release negative programming. These include meditation, body therapies, nutrition and energetic work like Spiritual Response Therapy and Holographic Repatterning.

Other causes

Misalignment of the spine, or any impingement on the cranial, cervical or other nerves may cause symptoms of brain fog.

Another cause is reduced oxygen to the brain. This may be due to clogged arteries, low blood pressure, shallow breathing or holding one’s breath. Fear and worry can cause shallow breathing. Sometimes a physical disease such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema impairs breathing.

With adrenal exhaustion, the body is nutritionally depleted, toxic metals have replaced vital elements, chronic infections have often set in and many biochemical imbalances may be present.

With adrenal exhaustion, the body is nutritionally depleted, toxic metals have replaced vital elements, chronic infections have often set in and many biochemical imbalances may be present.

Adrenal gland burnout differs from fatigue in that it is a deeper derangement of the body’s energy system.

Adrenal gland burnout differs from fatigue in that it is a deeper derangement of the body’s energy system.

Adrenal gland burnout differs from fatigue in that it is a deeper derangement of the body’s energy system.

What to do

1. Rest more. Most everyone with brain fog needs more rest and sleep. Try for at least nine hours nightly, if not 10. This is not a waste of time. Often people with brain fog are sensitive individuals who need the time for processing and healing.

2. Improve your diet and living habits. Eat whole, natural foods. Focus on fresh meats, poultry, eggs, small fish and plenty of vegetables. Drink plenty of healthful water. Exercise gently each day. Eat relaxed, sit-down meals and sit for 10 minutes after meals before returning to work or other activities. Eliminate fast food, poor quality or junk food, and excessively sugary foods, including most fruit and fruit juices. Many people benefit by also eliminating wheat and most cows’ milk dairy products, or other foods that cause food allergies or reactions. Avoid vegetarian regimens, as these can increase copper toxicity.

3. Meditate on a regular basis. Use an observation-meditation exercise. This will help slow down your mind and assist you in observing your thoughts. Affirmations and visualizations are also helpful, but are not as effective in clearing brain fog.

4. Choose to live consciously. Singles, couples and families need to choose exactly how they will spend their time and money. Besides healthful eating and good habits, these plans should include wholesome activities and a spiritual focus. Otherwise, the advertisers and the media will dictate an unhealthy lifestyle that you will buy into.

5. Natural therapies can offer help. These include herbs, vitamins and detoxification methods such as sauna therapy, colonic irrigation and coffee enemas. Coffee enemas are particularly helpful (and much better than drinking coffee). Go to a competent chiropractor or osteopath to rule out structural causes.

If symptoms continue (and they often will), consider a nutritional balancing program utilizing hair mineral analysis. This test can identify nutrient deficiencies, toxic metals and many other imbalances such as an unbalanced oxidation rate or chronic fatigue. The test is used as a basis to recommend more specific dietary suggestions and supplementary nutrients.

In a few cases, more extensive testing for brain diseases may be necessary. Physicians often begin with a CAT scan or an MRI. However, it appears that most cases of brain fog will clear up without these costly tests. Instead, begin by correcting the factors discussed above, such as diet, lifestyle, infections, toxic metals, chemical toxicity and psychological/emotional stress factors.

References

Brain fog is not a medical term and, therefore, references are difficult to locate. For further information, see www.drlwilson.com and www.aznetnews.com. You can also use Google for additional references, using searches like: adrenal burnout syndrome, copper toxicity, candida, yeast infection, food allergies, stress, fatigue and toxic metals.

 

Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for 25 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. www.drlwilson.com or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 4, August/September 2005.

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