Natural Wellness, Beauty & Lifestyle |

Brain Fog

Brain Fog is a complex condition as it can be caused by a variety of factors and may manifest differently in different people. Learn how nutritional therapy, diet, lifestyle and herbal supplement advice could help to support your symptoms

What is brain fog?

Brain fog is a term used to describe a condition in which a person experiences cognitive difficulties such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, confusion, and a general feeling of mental sluggishness. It is often described as feeling like one's thoughts are "foggy" or "clouded." Brain fog can be caused by various factors, including stress, lack of sleep, medication side effects, hormonal imbalances, or underlying health conditions.

You may have brain fog if you notice any of the following symptoms:

Memory problems

Poor concentration

An inability to focus

A lack of mental clarity

What are the possible causes of brain fog?

This complex condition can be caused by a variety of factors and may manifest differently in different people.

Brain fog may occur due to several contributing factors such as:


Chronic stress is a primary cause of brain fog. Research shows that chronic stress may lead to multiple health issues such as increased blood pressure, a weakened immune system and depression, all of which can contribute to mental fatigue.[i].

Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep is another factor for brain fog. Getting adequate sleep, usually around 8 to 9 hours per night, is essential for proper cognitive functioning. Sleeping too little can lead to poor concentration, ‘fogginess’ and forgetfulness[ii]

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes can also trigger brain fog. Women may experience brain fog during pregnancy or menopause due to changes in hormone levels. During pregnancy, increased levels of hormones like progesterone and oestrogen can affect memory and temporarily affect cognitive impairment. Similarly, a drop in oestrogen levels during menopause can cause forgetfulness and poor concentration[iii] [iv].


Adequate consumption of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, are essential for healthy brain function. Deficiencies in nutrients can contribute to the development of brain fog[v].

Additionally, some people may experience brain fog after eating certain foods due to food allergies or sensitivities. Removing trigger foods from one's diet may improve symptoms [vi]. Nutritional therapists can help to pinpoint which foods and food groups may be an issue for you. Read more on how nutritional therapy can help below.


Certain medications can also cause brain fog as a side effect. If you notice brain fog while taking medication, it is important to talk to your doctor.[vii]

Medical conditions

Finally, certain medical conditions can cause brain fog as a symptom. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anaemia, depression, diabetes, Sjögren syndrome, migraine, Alzheimer’s disease, hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, and viral strains of flu are all associated with mental fatigue and cloudy thinking. Identifying the underlying cause of brain fog is crucial to finding effective treatment[viii] [ix]

Supplements recommended for brain fog

Bacopa Monnieri:

Bacopa monnieri is a herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to positively impact memory and focus. Research suggests that the plant's bacoside compounds can cross over from the blood into the brain tissue, known as the blood-brain barrier. Certain substances can prevent the breakdown of chemicals in our brain that are responsible for important brain functions like memory and learning. When these chemicals are not broken down, they can continue to work in our brain and help us think better. Additionally, these substances can also assist in creating new pathways in our brain which can further improve our cognitive abilities.[x].

Studies suggest that Bacopa monnieri has the potential to enhance brain function. One study found that it increased the length and branching of brain cells, called dendritic cells, which are closely linked to learning and memory[xi].

Another 12-week study conducted on 46 healthy adults showed that taking 300 mg of Bacopa monnieri daily, significantly improved their visual information processing speed, learning rate, and memory. Similarly, a 12-week study conducted on 60 older adults found that taking either 300 mg or 600 mg of Bacopa monnieri extract daily significantly improved memory, attention, and information processing ability, in comparison to the placebo treatment[xii][xiii]. Bacopa Monnieri (60 Caps)

Ginkgo Biloba:

Ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for its neuroprotective properties. Its root bark and leaves contain ginkgolide compounds that stimulate higher concentrations of the brain power neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, in specific brain regions associated with short-term memory and decision-making[xiv]. Additionally, these compounds promote cerebral blood circulation, which is beneficial for brain health[xv]. Ginkgo Biloba Drops


Rosemary contains compounds known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help protect the brain from damage. One study found that the aroma of rosemary essential oil was associated with improved cognitive performance, including improved memory.

Rosemary has also been found to have anti-anxiety and anti-stress effects, which may benefit cognitive health. Studies have found that rosemary extract may help reduce anxiety in adults, and may also improve mood and reduce stress levels. [xvi](for aromatherapy): Rosemary - Organic (10ml)

L-Theanine and Lemon Balm:

Lemon balm has been seen to increase alertness: A study investigating 300mg of lemon balm extract supplementation on stress and cognitive function found that 300mg significantly improved maths performance and immediate recall [xvii]

Likewise, research on L-theanine suggests that L-Theanine can have a positive impact on cognitive function and help protect brain cells. Anxiety and stress can negatively affect cognitive function, and L-Theanine may have a potential role in supporting cognitive function and preventing cognitive decline. [xviii] Viridian L-Theanine And Lemon Balm.

Lions mane:

Lion's Mane has been found to increase nerve growth factor levels, which may have a protective effect against cognitive impairment disorders. Nootropics, also known as cognitive enhancers or smart drugs, are a category of supplements, drugs, or other substances that are believed to enhance cognitive function. As a nootropic, Lion's Mane contains compounds that have the potential to improve brain health and function. [xix] Hifas da Terra Mico Leo.

Omega 3:

Consuming omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to enhance cognitive function, improve memory, boost overall mental well-being, and promote increased blood flow in the brain.[xx] Bare Biology Mindful Fish Oil

Vitamin B12: Has been seen to slow the progression of cognitive decline through supplementation of B12 and folate taken together[xxi]. Viridian B12 Liquid

Our Favourite Multi’s and Complexes for Brain Power: Mind Focus by Pukka: Contains a blend of herbs, including turmeric, brahmi and rosemary, Mind Focus assists in supporting cognitive ability. Cognitive Complex Veg Caps by Viridian: contain the mind power boosting ingredients L-Carnitine , L-Theanine, Alpha Lipoic Acid. Organic Fermented Wisdom by Living Nutrition : contains the powerful action of turmeric and curcumin[xxii]

Lifestyle suggestions for brain fog

Getting a sufficient amount of sleep for 8 to 9 hours every night.

Effectively managing stress by recognising your limits and refraining from excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine.

Engaging in physical exercise regularly.

Enhancing cognitive abilities by participating in activities like volunteering or solving puzzles.

Seeking out enjoyable activities to promote overall wellbeing.

Why Nutritional Therapy can help with brain fog

Nutritional therapists can help to pinpoint which foods and food groups may be an issue for you as well as using your personal medical history and family medical history to map out possible causes of brain fog for you as an individual. As part of a naturopathic plan, nutritional therapists can react to the information gathered from your health history and holistic analysis of symptoms to give advice tailored to you regarding dietary and lifestyle changes as well as recommending nutritional and herbal supplements.

Testing options for brain fog

Due to the huge variety of possible causes which could be leading to brain fog, there are also many types of functional tests which could be used for help with diagnosis, including but not limited to:

Intestinal Permeability Profile: ‘leaky gut’ which is referred to as intestinal permeability occurs when gut health is suboptimal, and particles which should not pass the gut barrier can mistakenly filter through to our bloodstream, impacting mental health and cognition[xxiii]

Coeliac & Gluten Sensitivity Panel: Coeliacs and people suffering from gluten sensitivities often also present with brain fog[xxiv]

Food Sensitivity Test (Dietary Antigen Test): Many food allergies often lead to brain fog and issues with mental cognition and mood[xxv]

Complete Hormone Panel - DUTCH Test: As mentioned previously, female hormones and stress hormones, when out of balance, can impact brain health and cognitive functioning[xxvi] [xxvii].

Complete Thyroid Panel: Suboptimal thyroid health, usually in hypothyroidism, can negatively impact cognitive functioning[xxviii]

Complete Gastrointestinal and Microbiome Test: The microbiome, meaning ecosystem of bacteria in our guts can often negatively impact our cognitive functioning if certain species grow out of balance with our beneficial gut bacteria. This is often very unique to each individual, being defined, not only by food intake but from lifestyle choices and also genetic makeup[xxix].

Metabolomix Plus, Metabolomix Plus Advanced and NutrEval all assess your nutritional profile to gauge problematic areas and point towards possible causes of your symptoms.

Want more Advice?

Talk to Us
Want more Advice?

Related Products


Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.