If you're always feeling tired, and forgetful, and you find it hard to concentrate, you might be suffering from something known as brain fog. Brain fog is a condition or set of symptoms that affects millions and millions of people across the world every single year.
Sure, it can be hard to concentrate and get enough sleep when you're constantly on your phone and looking at the latest notifications and pop culture developments. However, the main causes of your brain fog are much more likely to be things like poor sleep, stress, malnutrition, hormonal imbalances, and more.
Today, we want to talk about the potential of mushrooms, such as lion’s mane, cordyceps, and others, to decrease or alleviate the symptoms associated with brain fog. Indeed, there are some mushrooms that are believed to have properties that are beneficial for your mind and may be able to increase your overall cognitive abilities in this sense.
No, here we aren't talking about some kind of mushroom that can turn you into a genius, but some special mushrooms may be able to help provide you with some energy, and focus, and increase your short- and long-term memory recall. There are even mushrooms that may be able to help prevent or slow down the development of neurodegenerative diseases, so let's take a look at what these might be.
- Brain fog can make you feel fatigued, forgetful, and unable to focus, and may be caused by a variety of conditions, including, but not limited to, stress, hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, malnutrition, and more.
- Using mushrooms for brain fog symptoms is becoming increasingly common, and thanks to the research that we will discuss below, the benefits appear to be very real.
- Some of the best brain fog mushrooms include lion’s mane, chaga, cordyceps, turkey tail, and more.
Here's a neat video discussing an easy way to treat brain fog at home.
What is Brain Fog and its Symptoms?
If you do some research, you'll quickly realize that brain fog is not an official medical term or a diagnosis that a doctor can officially provide you with.
However, brain fog is something that you may notice yourself having. Brain fog is generally used to describe a plethora of symptoms often related to other conditions, such as hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, stress, and more. Some of the main symptoms associated with brain fog include forgetfulness, a lack of focus, and fatigue.
In simplest terms, it just means that your brain is in a fog, that you can't think straight, you have problems making quick decisions, your memory isn't great, and you just feel slow and tired.
One of the main symptoms of brain fog is forgetfulness and issues with memory recall. When you're sick, tired, stressed out, or even on various medications, these can all make you forgetful.
If you are feeling like you are increasingly forgetful as the days or months go on, you may want to seek medical help to ensure that you do not have some kind of neurodegenerative disease.
There are times when forgetfulness can just mean that you are living a busy life, but it may also be an indication of a deeper underlying problem.
Lack of Focus
Another common symptom of brain fog is a lack of focus and the inability to concentrate. A lack of focus may be related to not sleeping enough, ingesting too much caffeine, adrenal fatigue, and about two dozen other conditions and causes as well.
Our world is so busy that it can be really hard to find a moment to just decompress and release some stress. With so much going on in our world, so many bills to pay, and so many responsibilities to take care of, focusing on any task can be difficult.
One of the most important things for your overall health, especially when it comes to your cognitive abilities such as memory recall and focus, is sleep.
The official recommendation is that we get around 8 hours of sleep a night, but most of us just aren't getting that, and most aren't getting anywhere close to that.
Most people sleep anywhere between four and seven hours per night, which in general is not enough for most people. The issue with not getting enough sleep is that the issue often compounds itself.
When you have insomnia, you start feeling more and more stressed out because you can't sleep, and the more stressed out you feel, the harder it is to sleep. It's a vicious cycle that keeps getting worse and worse, especially because the more tired your body is, the easier it is to get stressed out and lose focus.
What Are the Main Causes of Brain Fog?
There are a few main causes of brain fog that we'd like to take a quick look at, just so you know exactly why you feel the way you do.
Lots of people say that they are always stressed out, but this is much worse than most people know. High levels of stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and so much more. People who have a variety of medical conditions often won't see symptoms, or at least not nearly as severe of symptoms, unless they are stressed out.
For instance, people with the skin condition, psoriasis, often only see symptoms when they are very stressed out. If you are always feeling stressed out, it's difficult to concentrate or focus on any one task, because there are other things you are worried about.
Furthermore, if you're always stressed out and worrying about certain problems, the chances of you remembering everything else are nearly zero, not to mention that you'll just be too stressed out to sleep.
What is interesting to note is that when the brain releases too many stress hormones regularly, it can damage what is known as the HPA axis, which is the route that the signal from the brain takes to travel to the adrenal glands. The result may be that your fight or flight response starts firing, even though there is no danger around, therefore keeping you perpetually stressed out.
Another one of the main causes of brain fog is not getting enough sleep, with many people suffering from insomnia, which is a regular inability to sleep. It is thought that getting at least seven or eight hours of sleep per night can improve your memory, restore clarity, and reduce stress.
On the other hand, having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%, which means that you are very intoxicated, is the equivalent of not getting any sleep for 48 hours, in terms of cognitive ability impairment. As you can see, not getting enough sleep is therefore very serious, and it's something that can absolutely affect your focus, concentration, memory, and energy levels.
If you aren't getting enough sleep, this could also lead to you being more stressed out, and it can also cause a lack of focus. Getting enough sleep is just as important as getting the right nutrition, exercise, and more. Without enough sleep, you will start to fall apart.
The next possible cause of brain fog is hormonal imbalances in the human body, which women going through menopause know all too well. Hormonal imbalances can affect memory, attention, focus, and energy levels.
There are many causes of hormonal changes and hormonal imbalances, such as injuries, hormone therapy, medications, pituitary issues, diet, and stress. Yes, stress can cause hormonal imbalances. As you're finding out now, stress is a very big problem for most people.
All of these issues can lead to even more stress, lack of sleep, and even bigger problems focusing. Even worse is that all of these causes don't have to be mutually exclusive, which means that you can be suffering from hormonal imbalances, mouth nutrition, and severe stress, all at the same time.
Not getting the proper nutrition, which means getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, may also lead to brain fog. For instance, to have enough energy and focus for the day, you need proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, especially B12, and more.
Without a well-balanced diet that provides you with the majority of your vitamins on a daily basis, your brain won't be able to function as it should.
Although we don't have enough time to talk about exactly how each macronutrient, vitamin, and mineral affects your cognitive abilities, rest assured that a well-balanced diet will allow you to sleep better at night, reduce your stress, and help you focus better during the day.
COVID Brain Fog
While many people may have forgotten about the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID, some people still have some pretty big scars from contracting it, with one of those scars being brain fog. Although it's not known exactly how COVID causes brain fog to occur, it is thought that various infectious diseases can cause memory issues, confusion, and stress.
It is the job of your brain to protect your body, and once a variety of symptoms are associated with a dangerous disease or pathogen, even after it's gone, experiencing those same symptoms, such as a headache which is often caused by COVID, can cause your immune system to go into overdrive because it thinks you have COVID again.
Best Mushrooms for Brain Fog
Let's now take a look at some of the best mushrooms that may be able to alleviate symptoms associated with brain fog, such as their lack of focus, fatigue, and stress.
Lion’s mane, otherwise known as Hericium erinaceus, is believed to be one of the very best mushrooms in terms of improving your cognitive abilities and relieving brain fog. This mushroom has the potential to reduce symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, it may be able to help prevent memory loss, aid in the maintenance of neural health, and even prevent or slow down a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.
For instance, there is some evidence that shows that the lion’s mane mushroom can help improve cognitive functions, mainly memory and learning. Although this study was performed on animals, there is great promise in terms of human beings. This study showed that the lion’s mane mushrooms helped to promote something known as neurogenesis inside of the hippocampus, which therefore helped to improve memory. In case you don't know what neurogenesis is, keep reading, because we'll discuss this below.
There is also another study that showed great promise in terms of using the lion's mane mushrooms to help alleviate people suffering from mild cognitive impairment, such as those with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
This study gave lion’s mane extract to people suffering from a variety of conditions causing mild cognitive impairment, with half of the people getting a placebo. Those receiving the mushroom extract showed much higher scores in their cognitive function. This suggests that lion’s mane mushrooms may be able to help slow down or even reverse memory loss and cognitive impairment associated with various neurodegenerative diseases.
Something else that is known for causing brain fog, particularly fatigue and a lack of focus, is depression. Here is a study that indicates that lion's mane mushrooms may be effective at alleviating or reducing symptoms associated with depression. This mushroom can help alleviate symptoms of depression, you should end up feeling more energized, happier, and better able to concentrate.
There is also more evidence, from a Japanese study, which indicates that the lion’s mane mushrooms are able to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in menopausal women, which would appear to indicate that the lion’s mane mushrooms have benefits for women suffering from brain fog due to hormonal imbalances caused by menopause.
Lion’s Mane and Neurogenesis
As mentioned above, the lion’s mane mushroom is also believed to help assist with a process known as neurogenesis.
Neurogenesis is a process that involves neurite outgrowth, the stimulation of nerve growth factor proteins, the strengthening of the protective sheaths of neurons known as myelin sheaths, and neuron regeneration, which means that the neurons in your brain are growing back faster and stronger.
Here is a study that demonstrates exactly how lion’s mane mushrooms can lead to neurogenesis, with this study backing it up even further. Here’s another study that seemingly confirmed that these mushrooms can lead to neural growth.
To be clear, the neurons are the nerve cells in your brain that send messages across your body, which allow you to do everything from walking and talking to eating, breathing, thinking, focusing, and more.
Neurons are required for you to focus, concentrate, and remember, which means that the more neurons you have, and the better they function, the better your ability to remember and concentrate will be. The lion’s mane mushroom for brain fog symptom relief is worth checking out.
The reishi mushroom, officially known as Ganoderma lucidum, is not only a delicious mushroom to eat but also has many potential health benefits. It is believed that this fungus has massive neuroprotective benefits.
There is a study which was performed in 2017 that indicated that the polysaccharides found in the reishi mushroom have properties that can help provide you with neural protection.
This study indicated that by regulating your oxidative stress response, these mushrooms had the ability to inhibit neural apoptosis, which is the death of neural cells. In other words, it is believed that these mushrooms can directly stop your brain cells from dying.
Next, we have the turkey tail mushroom, which is aptly named due to its turkey tail-like appearance. Not only does it look really neat, but is also thought to have a variety of health benefits.
In-vitro research suggests that these mushrooms have extremely strong antioxidant properties, which may be able to help protect your brain from free radical damage.
In this sense, this mushroom may be neuroprotective in nature.
Here is another study that showed that turkey tail extract appeared to slow down the degenerative process of brain neurotransmitters due to the buildup of free radicals and Acetylcholinesterase (AChE)
Cordyceps are another mushroom that you may want to pay attention to if you have brain fog. This is a type of mushroom that athletes have been taking for a very long time to help improve energy levels.
It is also believed that Cordyceps have the ability to help improve your mental clarity, improve productivity, increase your capacity to learn and remember, and reduce fatigue.
In this study, which was performed on mice, it was indicated that Cordyceps was able to help mice improve their memory and learning capabilities.
This study appears to confirm that Cordyceps have neuroprotective properties that can help prevent neuronal death from occurring, and therefore prevent or slow down cognitive impairments.
Cordyceps are generally believed to be good for you, as they may help with kidney health and can even help lower blood pressure. If you want to take some fantastic mushrooms, whether day or night, that can give you some energy, Cordyceps is one of your best bets.