Brain fog is a real problem despite the lack of information in most medical and psychological texts. Brain fog describes mental confusion or a lack of mental clarity. People with brain fog have difficulty thinking clearly most of the time and in varying degrees. A morning bagel, lunchtime sandwich or pasta dinner may be the cause behind this scary condition.
Brain fog reduces quality of life
Even though the medical community mainly ignores brain fog, it is one of the most important symptoms, says Lawrence Wilson, MD on his website DrLWilson.com. Brain fog is unrelated to depression, dementia or any other mental problem and yet it is rarely accepted as a real symptom that can help make appropriate diagnoses.
People may spend their whole lives in a mental fog, unable to focus, make quick connections, process information correctly or keep up in school or the workplace.
Gluten and brain fog
According to Dr. Wilson, gluten-containing foods can cause reactions in the brains of people with gluten sensitivities that lead to brain fog. Gluten is a protein in most grains, including wheat, rye and barley. What people eat does affect the brain. Food allergies can disrupt the sensitive balance of hormones and chemicals in the brain, resulting in problems from depression to schizophrenia, according to an article on AlternativeMentalHealth.com.
People who are sensitive to gluten often suffer from malabsorption, leading to low levels of essential nutrients in the body. The body attacks gluten as if it were an invader, which damages the finger-like projections called villi that absorb nutrients when food passes through the small intestine. Malabsorption can inhibit mental development in children and lead to deficiencies in people of any age.
The brain needs a variety of nutrients to be healthy. Vitamins, minerals, protein, starches and healthy fats are all necessary for optimal brain function. According to DrLWilson.com, some of the most important nutrients include:
• B vitamins, especially B6 and B12
• Omega-3 fatty acids
• Vitamin D
These nutrients are in a wide range of foods, all of which may not be digested properly because of intestinal damage caused by eating gluten. A lack of these nutrients can cause brain fog, according to DrLWilson.com.
Eating any gluten, even small amounts, activates the immune system. Symptoms appear to spread from the gut throughout the body, including the brain, according to an article on DrKaslow.com, the website of Jeremy E. Kaslow, MD.
People may eat gluten and not know that their bodies are suffering. Allergic reactions often cause swelling and inflammation. Unfortunately, swelling in the gut because of an allergic reaction is not as easy to detect as swelling at the site of a bee sting or swelling on the face from eating foods that someone is allergic to. Even less observable is inflammation in the brain due to an allergic response. People cannot feel brain tissue; the tissue is not designed to alert people of problems using signs like itching, pain or swelling people can feel in other parts of the body, according to DrKaslow.com.
The solution is to adopt a gluten-free diet. Avoiding gluten improves cognition, lifting the brain fog so people can think more clearly. Getting off the gluten also has been shown to stabilize mood, improve grades, increase motor skills, promote faster learning, improve concentration and eliminate brain fog, according to DrKaslow.com.
Sources for this article include:
Image Credits: Flickr