If you find yourself dealing with memory loss, difficulty focusing on an idea or thought, or literally spacing out in the middle of a sentence, it’s not your imagination. Although brain fog is not technically considered a medical term, it’s often used to describe symptoms and pinpoint an underlying health issue which may be causing brain fog in the first place.

Brain fog can also be a result of different triggers. Fatigue, lack of sleep, and dehydration are just some of the factors that contribute to brain fog. There are also hormonal and nutritional deficiencies that can lead to a lack of mental clarity. This is what makes testing for brain fog and its primary cause important, to help you gain insight to fix brain fog for good.

Read on for some red flags that you may be suffering from brain fog, insights on how to test for brain fog, and ways to resolve it.

How to test for brain fog (yes it’s possible!)

STRUGGLING WITH BRAIN FOG?

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What does brain fog feel like?

You may find your head is stuck in the clouds, feel spaced out, think or speak slowly. You may also feel mentally exhausted or suffer from frequent headaches.

While you may have felt this way from time to time for a reason, such as working overtime or trying to get through the day after lingering at happy hour a little too long the night before, brain fog can appear for no reason. Understandably, this can leave you frustrated and concerned about what’s going on in your body.

How do you know if you have brain fog?

You’re constantly inundated with emails, texts, and to-do lists, making brain fog feel like a normal part of life. Plus, dealing with life in a pandemic, the once strict lines of work, childcare, and family responsibilities have all been blurred together. It’s no wonder you sometimes lose your train of thought or forget what you were saying just moments ago.

Stress can certainly play a part in brain fog, but it may be fleeting, meaning you regain your brain once life has settled down a bit. Chronic brain fog is something that can linger and is a warning that you may be dealing with an underlying health issue or imbalance.

Here’s what brain fog feels like:

  • Cloudy thinking

  • Frequent memory lapses

  • Losing train of thought mid-sentence

  • Getting easily distracted

  • Feeling unmotivated

  • Constant fatigue

Another key to brain fog: If you find you are dealing with these symptoms for no related reason, like taking a medication that may have temporarily given you brain fog side effects or jet lag, then testing for brain fog could help detect why it’s happening.

Is there a “brain fog test”?

Since brain fog isn’t a medical condition, there isn’t a specific medical test for it. However, because brain fog is commonly caused by hormone and nutrient imbalances, checking for these deficiencies can shed light on why you’re feeling so foggy.

Anemia is another medical condition that can lead to brain fog due to the lack of oxygen circulating around the body, including the brain. If you have an iron deficiency or a vitamin B12 and/or folate deficiency this can lead to anemia as it reduces the amount of healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin available to circulate oxygen. Some women who deal with heavy menstrual periods or menorrhagia may also suffer from undiagnosed anemia which could be the root of their recurring brain fog each month.

Hormonal transitions at certain moments in life can also lead to brain fog. Research published by The North American Menopause Society found that 60% of women deal with difficulty concentrating and other brain fog symptoms during menopause. Women who are pregnant may also be at higher risk for dealing with brain fog thanks to shifting hormones.

Getting to the bottom of your brain fog

To figure out what’s behind your brain fog, a glance at your hormone, nutrient, and vitamin levels is a good place to start. You can do this right at home, with Base’s personalized testing and receive results straight to your phone via the Base app. A quick and painless finger prick (or, in some cases, as saliva test) will be able to detect any deficiencies that may be causing you to feel sluggish and uncomfortable.

For any symptoms you’re concerned about, it’s always a good idea to mention them to your healthcare provider as well. They can help rule out underlying diseases or conditions that may require medication and further treatment.

What to do if a hormone imbalance, nutrient or vitamin deficiency is the culprit

Dealing with brain fog can be a drag, but if the reason you’re not firing on all cylinders is due to a hormone, nutrient, or vitamin deficiency there are a few ways to fix it.

When it comes to nutrient deficiencies, iron deficiency anemia is a primary condition that causes brain fog. In addition to consulting with a healthcare provider to treat the underlying issue of why you’re lacking iron (such as a menorrhagia), you can take over-the-counter iron supplements to increase levels gradually. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, so it’s important to keep this intake up as well through food, drink, or supplements if needed.

A vitamin deficiency that is causing brain fog can improve by restoring the vitamin that you’re lacking. In the case of brain fog this is typically vitamin B12 or folate. Consult with a healthcare provider to see which supplements and in what amounts you should be taking. Vitamin B12 comes in pill form, nose spray, and even injections if needed. You can also do your part with a healthy diet, eating fish, chicken, beef, dark leafy greens, and whole grains to ensure that your vitamin profile is balanced.

If your brain fog is caused by a hormone transition such as menopause, speak to your healthcare provider about menopause hormone therapy (MHT). Some research suggests that MHT may clear up cognitive thinking, in addition to other unpleasant menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings.

For low progesterone levels, hormone therapy may also help in addition to increasing your intake of vitamins B and C, be it through supplements or your diet. Making sure you have enough zinc is important as well, and eating more shellfish like crabs or oysters can help with this.


STRUGGLING WITH BRAIN FOG?

Take our quiz to build a bespoke testing plan that will help you regain your mental clarity.


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