How many times have you commented in the last few weeks about how bad your memory has become? If you are like most people, it is becoming more and more an issue. Why? It’s not just about getting older. If that were the case, why are kids complaining about that too?
The causes of brain fog, poor memory and lack of concentration are exhaustive. First of all, we have to assess whether there is truly need for concern or just a casual loss of memory. We all experience “brain freeze” when we just can’t remember a word or we walk into a room and can’t remember what we wanted in there. But if it starts occurring at an alarming rate, we need to rule out a potentially serious cause.
Let’s get the worst ones out of the way: tumor, Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease, encephalitis, Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), HIV or neurosyphilis. Also of great concern would be lead poisoning, alcoholism, recreational drug use, blood disorders, Lyme disease, Epstein Barr virus, epilepsy, stroke, the results of brain surgery, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, and of course, Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia.
Now let’s look at other, more likely causes. I like to start with the most obvious because, believe it or not, they are the most likely to get missed: sleep deprivation — either due to the lack of hours of sleep, poor quality of sleep or sleep apnea. Next is emotional upheaval: anxiety, depression, feeling overwhelmed, stress and any negative emotion that is in excess. Often overlooked includes hormonal imbalance. This can manifest as PMS, menopause, andropause (male menopause), hypothyroidism, reduced adrenal function and sugar-related issues — like diabetes or hypoglycemia. Medications, especially antidepressants, painkillers, sleeping aids, anti-nausea medications, muscle relaxants, anti-spasmodics, diabetes medications, stomach medications, anti-histamines, heart medications and cholesterol medications, all can contribute to dull thinking.
And of course, nutritional deficiencies. I find nutritional deficiencies to be of primary concern. Iron deficiency anemia and a B-vitamin deficiency top the list, but only from a gross deficiency standpoint. Since vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fats are all necessary for proper brain chemistry, a deficiency in any of the essential brain nutrients can affect brain function — which includes foggy thinking and memory, and the inability to concentrate.
No nutrition conversation is complete without touching on the adverse side of foods. Foods containing artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, aluminum and other such concoctions can also impair clear thinking. Other toxins such as amalgam fillings and other sources of mercury, lead, silicone implants, fluoride toxicity, and other environmental toxins can contribute. Sugar, preservatives and certain additives can contribute to difficulty concentrating and foggy thinking, plus they rob other nutrients which could have helped.
There are many things you can do to improve memory and help with clear thinking. Ruling out the causative factor or factors is the first step you can take. Learn more by attending our upcoming health class, Brain Fog, Poor Memory & Lack of Concentration, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994 or register here: http://bit.ly/MentalClarity2020
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with over four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.”
She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic.
Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.