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HOW TOClear Brain Fog and Reduce Memory Loss


Who can relate to this?...

Sarah is a hardworking mother who has always done whatever it takes to give her kids a good life. She’s generally upbeat and on top of everything, but lately she’s feeling a bit off. Take yesterday, when Sarah was helping her daughter with her science homework and she couldn’t remember the name of the person who discovered radium (Marie Curie), or the day before when she forgot why her husband asked her to swing by the post office (mail a return package).

Sarah’s been attributing her forgetfulness to her age, but her friends don’t seem to be having the same issue. One of them suggested she’s just experiencing brain fog, and that it’s normal. While it can be normal, Sarah is determined to improve her memory so she can continue to be the reliable person she’s always taken pride in being.

You might have similar experiences as Sarah. And fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help clear up brain fog and preserve your memory.

Let's start by uncovering what causes brain fog in the first place, and then help you game plan how to get rid of that foggy feeling. We will dive into memory loss prevention and some ways to strengthen your brain health and support a strong memory function.


The Brain’s Natural Aging Process

Your brain goes through more changes throughout life than any other part of your body? It makes sense, since the brain comes equipped with ~100 billion neurons connected to each other by trillions of synapses which are activated all day long, every day.

From the time we’re born until we are six years old, our brain increases in size to about 90% of its adult volume. When we are about 35 years old, our brain has finally reached full maturity and development. That means we only get to enjoy full brain capacity for around five years! After that, its volume and/or weight “declines with age at a rate of around 5% per decade after age 40.” This rate of decline possibly even increases the closer we get to 70 years and older.

The most noticeable changes that come with this natural decline are of memory and cognitive skills because of decreased blood flow to the brain.

This may all sound like bad news, but just remember it’s normal to experience these issues as you get older. But, not all hope is lost. After we talk a bit more about what brain fog is and what can cause it, we’ll cover ways you can keep your confidence when working and socializing.

What Is Brain Fog?

Brain fog isn’t a medical condition but a term used to describe symptoms that can affect your ability to think clearly.

Symptoms of brain fog include:

  • Difficulty learning new things
  • Taking longer to commit new information to memory
  • Being slower at multitasking
  • Having trouble recalling names and numbers
  • Forgetting appointments and commitments
  • Needing a memory jog to remember something that was said or discussed
  • Not knowing where you put something
  • Having difficulty finding the right words to say
  • Lacking concentration, focus, and mental clarity

Here are three scenarios someone with brain fog may experience:

  1. Judith has been the chairperson of her neighborhood cleanup committee for over a decade. She’s always taken pride in her ability to multitask and get things done efficiently. Lately, however, Judith has noticed it’s taking her longer to complete her monthly to-do list because she has forgotten a few times to assign duties as they come in.
  2. Kevin used to be the king of names at every social event. Every time he met someone new, he’d come up with a mnemonic device to commit their name to memory and always use it whenever he saw them again. Unfortunately, as hard as he tries, Kevin can’t remember names of new people as well as he used to and will have to ask again the next time they meet.
  3. Mari loves spending time with her six grandsons. They love playing video games, and she is determined to be the cool grandma and play along with them when they come to visit. This endeavor has proved to be easier said than done. She can never remember which control button does what and has to give up after only a few minutes of gameplay.

We've all had similar experiences.
While none of these scenarios are serious or need to be worried about, brain fog is one of the common, frustrating symptoms of aging.

What Are Some Brain Fog Causes?

There is not just one cause of brain fog—there are many. A lack of mental clarity can come from internal as well as external factors.
They include:

Stress

High and/or continuous stress takes up mental resources, so if you are having anxious thoughts and can’t concentrate well, this may be to blame. Also, stress can undermine a person’s thought process and keep them from thinking clearly and remembering things they normally would otherwise. Sometimes this can cause even more anxiety, which continues the cycle.

Lack of Sleep

Unsurprisingly, a lack of a good night’s rest can put you straight into a dense brain fog. If your brain isn’t allowed to thoroughly perform its overnight rejuvenation process, your mental clarity suffers. This is because sleep deprivation interferes with your brain’s “neurons’ ability to encode information and translate visual input into conscious thought,” as reported in Healthline.

Hormonal Changes

The hormonal changes that come along with menopause lend to having a poor memory. Memory changes from this can happen abruptly and cause women to worry—but don’t. Dr. Barb DePree, director of the Women’s Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, wants you to know that as women age, they “don’t lose intelligence and knowledge.” So, fortunately, you can feel reassured that as estrogen levels adjust, the brain’s memory abilities will stabilize.

Diet

It may be surprising, but consuming too much MSG, aspartame, peanuts, and dairy can contribute to brain fog. If your body is allergic, intolerant, or sensitive to certain foods or additives, your brain’s ability to think clearly goes down. That’s because your brain is expending more energy dealing with operating your body’s immune system and digestive system than on remembering small details.

Medications

Some types of over-the-counter and prescribed medications can cause a fuzzy brain. If you are noticing this, talk to your doctor about changing the offending medication or its prescribed dose.

Certain Medical Conditions

There are a few medical conditions that have “brain fog” as one of their symptoms. These include:

  • Anemia
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Migraines

How to Prevent Memory Loss and Help Brain Fog

While brain fog is common, developing it isn’t inevitable. Here’s how to stop memory loss from settling in and disrupting your flow:

Spend less time on your computer and mobile phone.

Stick to time limits and remind yourself to take a break from screens to do something more interactive.

Adjust your diet for any food intolerances.

Even though you’re an older adult now, you still have to eat your vegetables. Leafy greens are especially essential to brain health.

Get enough sleep
each night.

It can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep at night as you age, but practicing good sleep hygiene and shooting for 7-8 hours of sleep per night will help.

Give your body a regular cardio workout.

Whether you run on a treadmill, pedal on the bike or elliptical, or simply walk around your neighborhood, these activities can help combat brain fog.

Avoid smoking, coffee in the afternoon, and too much alcohol.

Even though you're probably enjoying retirement, that doesn’t mean your body can handle an unhealthy “young adult” lifestyle.

Find enjoyable activities.

Make some of them challenging to the brain, and make sure some are enjoyed with family, friends, and community.

Take supplements daily.

Some of the best for brain health include Fish Oil, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, and L-Theanine.

Can You Strengthen Your Memory?

Yes, you can strengthen your memory muscles, just like you can strengthen your physical muscles. When you do mental exercises, they keep your brain strong and your memory intact.

Genes do play a role in memory loss, but so do choices. So make the right one and give your brain the workout it craves and needs to function well, no matter its age.



7 Simple Steps to Maintain/Strengthen Brain and Memory Health

Now that you know how to get rid of brain fog, it only takes a few simple steps to make a difference in the health of your brain and the functionality of your memory. The things we suggest aren’t any different from what you should be doing every day already.

Just know that the older you get, these things become even more important if you’re going to continue living the beautiful life you’ve created for yourself to enjoy during this new, older phase.

  1. Eat less added sugar. 

Lowering your sugar intake is vital for fighting brain fog. That’s because extreme highs and lows of blood sugar levels caused by an unhealthy diet harm brain function—even leading to brain cell damage and brain inflammation

  1. Try a fish oil supplement.

If you don’t eat much fatty fish, a fish oil supplement is a great alternative. Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), which are critical for brain function. As adults age, their blood contains lower DHA levels, which is “associated with smaller brain volumes” and faster aging of the brain, causing “cognitive impairment.”

  1. Make time for meditation and mindfulness.

When you declutter the mind, you make space for clear thinking. Take some time to meditate and practice mindfulness. Doing so isn’t only for hippies or millennials—you can gain the benefits of a brain reset, too.

  1. Have a regular exercise routine.

Data shows “exercise may confer neuroprotection by acting to increase the resilience of the brain.” So get your body moving to keep your brain in shape.

  1. Get enough sleep.

Sleep maintains neuronal connections and optimizes learning and memory capacity. Even though getting a good night’s sleep can be harder as you get older, there are things you can do to help—avoid afternoon naps, drink fewer fluids after dinner, and take a warm bath before bed.

  1. Drink less alcohol.

The hippocampus region of your brain (where new memories are made) is affected by alcohol. Over time, heavy drinking can shrink the brain and is associated with faster cognitive decline.

  1. Train your brain.

Playing “brain games” is one way to keep your thinking sharp. Memory games, learning a new language, and trying new things are all great ways to diminish brain fog.

Give your brain the best chance of staying vital and ready for anything you throw at it by practicing the tips we’ve given on how to get rid of brain fog. And, as always, don’t forget to consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.