Episode 84 – How to Beat Brain Fog + Sharpen Your Focus
Today I’m talking about brain fog and focus issues — two things I hear women talking about a LOT. And guess what? It’s not just your age.
Remember, just because something is normal does NOT make it healthy.
Tune in to find out the most common underlying causes and what to do about it.
Links + Resources from this Episode:
- Your Metabolic RESET (early-bird special ends 2/28)
- Share your screenshot on Instagram @wellthywoman.co
- Feel drawn to work together? Let’s chat!
- Check out
- Episodes 2 and 11 for more on brain fog and focus!
- Episode 75 for more on adrenal dysfunction
- Episode 30 for more on toxicity
- Episode 83 for more on gut health
Meet Your Host:
Michelle Rogers, ND, MSAOM, FDN-P
Over the past several years, I’ve created the most accessible, streamlined and effective virtual practice working with high-achieving women entrepreneurs, go-getters, and other badass women all over the world.
I intentionally blend my background of Functional, Naturopathic, and East Asian Medicine with my extensive experience in the online business world to help provide my clients with the personalized blueprint and strategy they need to get the mental focus, energy and business strategy required to share their gifts, better serve their clients and show up even more for the people they love.
Hey there, Michelle here with another episode for you. Today I’m chatting about brain stuff — specifically brain fog and focus issues.
Now, I haven’t really talked about brain stuff in ages — so check out episodes 2 and 11 for some more info on the topic.
But today, I want to talk about brain fog and focus, because it’s SUCH a huge issue for women, especially women entrepreneurs — we have to be on top of things — we HAVE to get stuff done — and we HAVE to be creative.
If we’re having issues with brain fog and focus, it can create some serious stress and added pressure — things that only make the situation worse.
Brain fog is an increasing problem affecting women — not just in their 60s and 70s and beyond, but women of all ages.
A 29-year-old client came to see me because she was having trouble focusing during her coaching calls and was told by her local medical doctor that her brain fog was just a normal fact of aging! He then offered her Ritalin as the solution.
Seriously? Come on! At least she had the gumption to tell him to F off and contact me.
AND, she’s just one of many women who are telling me they’re concerned about their cognitive function.
So what the heck is it?
Brain fog is typically experienced as cloudy thinking, difficulty focusing or concentrating and sometimes issues with memory, recall or learning new information.
Women who experience brain fog find that they’re just not able to cut through with clear and concise thoughts or converse as confidently as they once did.
To be clear, brain fog, at any age is not healthy. Remember, just because something is common, or normal, doesn’t mean it’s healthy, right?
Brain fog is a sign that something is affecting your brain function.
I’ll chat about the most common reasons in just a minute, but I just want to be clear that — it doesn’t matter if you’re in your 60s, 70s or beyond — and certainly not in your 20s — brain fog is a signal from your body that something is off, and you need to pay attention.
We ALL have the ability to become sharp old ladies someday — so don’t buy into the aging myths out there. While our brains DO age, we can keep them nourished and supple, which can help prevent us from experiencing brain fog and cognitive decline.
Alright, let’s dive into the most common root causes of brain fog and focus issues — I think this will give you a pretty good roadmap to identify what might be going on for you and also give you some idea of how to start the healing process.
Something interesting to take note of is that most of the root causes associated with brain fog are the SAME root causes of other chronic long-term health problems — things like chronic digestive issues, hormone imbalances, immune system dysfunction, autoimmune disease, diabetes and insulin resistance, cardiovascular issues and even dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Listening to your body’s signals NOW, can help you create a healthier tomorrow — seriously.
Alright, the first underlying root cause is
STRESS, OVERWHELM, WORRY AND DISTRACTION
Gosh! How many episodes have covered stress — stress is REAL and it causes REAL issues in your body.
If you think you’re not stressed, check in with yourself, because it may have just become your norm, and it’s not registering as stress anymore — you’ve likely become numb to it.
The thing is, stress, overwhelm, worry and distraction can put us in survival mode — stimulating our fight, flight or freeze response, which has huge impacts on our brain function.
Adrenaline, our first responder, causes your brain to be on high alert for danger — it is literally preoccupied by being on the lookout for the worst, and when our brain is stuck in this response, it basically becomes impossible to concentrate, learn new information or tap into our memory.
After our first responder, we have cortisol, which is released from our adrenals — check out episode 75 on adrenal fatigue if you want to learn more.
Over time, the excess cortisol circulating through our body actually rewires our brain to make it harder to access our higher thinking centers, because it wants us to stay on high alert in our primal brain function.
To reverse this, we need to stimulate the relaxation response on the reg.
We need to get into routines that include meditation, time in nature, deep breathing, yoga, taking a social media fast, unplug, relaxing self-care, restorative movement — all these things help to shift our brain out of survival mode, which helps it recalibrate and open up those higher thinking centers.
BLOOD SUGAR IMBALANCES
Your brain typically runs on sugar — glucose to be exact, and when it’s running on fumes, panic mode sets in, and your body goes straight to survival mode again.
Not having the right balance of protein and healthy fats can result in a crazy train of thoughts, feelings and actions — we can get hangry, have uncontrollable cravings, lose all sense of willpower and basically, become victim to sugary foods and quick fixes that just leave us more inflamed… causing more brain fog and focus issues.
THYROID AND HORMONAL IMBALANCES
Unbeknownst to some, the thyroid actually plays a big role in brain health. When your thyroid is under-functioning, it can actually impact your cognitive function — contributing to memory problems or even dementia if it goes unaddressed.
Also, as women, our hormones naturally fluctuate, which can affect affect our memory and concentration, which is mainly due to fluctuations in our estrogen levels. For example, a lot of women would rather pass on rigorous mental activity when we start our periods and definitely notice cognitive changes during pregnancy, breastfeeding and perimenopause.
The issue arises when these fluctuations are severe or when we’re trying to work against our natural rhythm.
We also have to consider that many women are managing PMS, menstrual cramps or other symptoms associated with their period. If you experience symptoms around your menses, especially symptoms that affect how you’re showing up in the world, reach out. This is another perfect example of something that has been normalized but it’s actually a signal from your body that something is out of balance and you need to pay attention.
This is SUCH an overlooked topic — check out episode 30 for more details. Basically, toxins can and DO negatively affect every part of your body. Toxic effects on the brain include poor memory and concentration, erratic behavior, word confusion, mood issues, headaches, vertigo, and cravings. Toxic brain exposures, even from something as seemingly benign as alcohol, are also linked to accelerated mental decline.
Your body has a particular toxic load that it carries around, because you get exposed to toxins from the food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe and the products that come into contact with your skin.
In addition to brain inflammation, toxins can cause all sorts of issues in our body, including hormonal disruptions, systemic inflammation and damage to our nerve tissue.
Although we can’t avoid ALL toxins, we can do quite a lot to minimize our exposures.
If you need some guidance, please reach out!
Alright, finally DYSBIOSIS — OR AN IMBALANCE IN YOUR GUT BACTERIA
You know me and my obsession with gut health — to learn more about how gut health can actually affect all aspects of our health, check out episode 83.
The reason I bring this up, is because I see a lot of women blaming their brain fog and focus issues on fatigue or depression or anxiety, which I get, and YES, those are valid reasons to have brain fog, BUT they aren’t the ROOT cause, because those things all lead back to the gut.
When our gut is inflamed, we’re not able to absorb the vital nutrients we need to build hormones, neurotransmitters and nourish our cells in a way that ensures they’re communicating effectively.
When our gut is inflamed, our immune function is affected and inflammatory compounds get spewed out into our body causing systemic inflammation and even direct inflammation to our brain, because these compounds can cross the blood brain barrier.
On top of that, overgrowth of certain bacteria and yeast, like Candida, can contribute to fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and can lead to a state of low-level intoxication — like drinking alcohol, all of which can affect focus, memory, and concentration.
Everything is connected, ladies. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Always start with the gut.
Alright, in SUMMARY…
- Decrease stress by any means necessary — what resonates with you?
- Keep your blood sugar balanced
- Have your thyroid checked by a functional practitioner and also seek help, if your periods are dictating your monthly activities
- Decrease your toxic load
- And finally, heal your gut!
Alright — that’s a wrap for this week – if you found this episode helpful, please share it with someone you love.
Also, as a loving reminder, early-bird enrollment for Your Metabolic RESET ends on February 28th, so if you’ve been on the fence, now is the time to enroll, so you can save $500. You can learn more and schedule a chat with me at wellthywoman.co/ymr
Also, if you’re diggin’ these episodes please leave a REVIEW – it helps the growth of this show, allows me to bring more amazing guests on and helps MORE women take charge of their health.
So, tune in next week for more awesome and actionable info!
Chat with you then!