Brain fog is not defined as a medical condition, however the symptoms associated with muddled thinking and an inability to concentrate are often a sign that something else is going on in the body. Underlying conditions can cause brain fog, but so can low levels of certain nutrients and vitamins.
If you’re finding it hard to focus, having difficulty remembering, or experiencing mental fatigue, read on to learn which vitamins and supplements can improve brain fog.
What is Brain Fog and How Does it Feel?
Although each person can experience brain fog in their own way, symptoms generally include one or more of the following:
- Difficulty concentrating, learning, and focusing
- Muddled thoughts
- Short-term memory loss
- Slower thinking than usual
- Mental fatigue or low mental energy
- Inability to clearly express your thoughts
- Diminished decision-making skills
- Slower reactions to questions and conversations
- Less recall on recently discussed topics or what was said during conversations
What Causes Brain Fog?
Brain fog can be caused by a lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, a poor diet, a lack of exercise, medication, the after-effects of COVID, or a nutrient deficiency. It can also be a symptom of a medical condition such as depression, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, autism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, chronic fatigue syndrome, or neuropsychiatric disorders like ADHD, seizures, and migraines.
If your brain fog is caused by a medical condition, additional symptoms associated with that condition will also exist. In this case, a consultation with your doctor will help to diagnose and treat the underlying condition causing your muddled thoughts, memory loss, or inability to concentrate.
However, if brain fog is caused by a poor diet that results in low levels of vitamins and nutrient deficiencies, the following supplements can be helpful to reduce the symptoms. (It is important to note that addressing nutrient deficiencies can also treat the non-medical causes of brain fog like poor sleep, stress, anxiety, and the after-effects of COVID.)
Suffering from brain fog? Try our Vitex Chasteberry Supplement for Hormonal Support
The 6 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Brain Fog
To function optimally and support its various neurological practices, the brain needs to be fueled by a wide range of vitamins and nutrients that are typically found in a healthy and balanced diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish.
If any vital vitamins or nutrients are lacking in your diet, the brain will not operate at its full capacity, leading to cognitive fatigue, a lack of focus, an inability to quickly process information, and sometimes memory loss.
When this is the case, natural supplements can be taken to substitute the dietary gaps and boost brain function so that brain fog does not become an issue.
1. Omega-3 Supplements For Brain Fog
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are typically found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel as well as nuts and seeds, play an important role in brain function. A lack of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can lead to sluggish or slower cellular communication in the brain.
However, if you do not consume the above mentioned foods, the healthy fats found in omega-3 supplements will help to support and enhance how your brain cells communicate and alleviate the symptoms of brain fog.
Another benefit of omega-3 supplements is their ability to lower feelings of anxiety. Because anxiety can negatively affect your mood, your ability to concentrate and your memory, overly anxious people often suffer from brain fog.
2. Vitamin E For Brain Fog
Used to protect brain cells from damage associated with free radicals, vitamin E has been proven to help reduce the natural decline of cognitive performance and neurodegeneration associated with aging. Naturally found in foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, leafy greens, peanuts, and pumpkin, vitamin E is an essential antioxidant for the brain.
Because the brain is extremely sensitive to oxidative stress, brain fog can be an early sign of neurodegeneration, and taking a regular vitamin E supplement will not only reduce brain fog, but it will also keep the brain healthy and functioning optimally as you age.
3. B Vitamins For Brain Fog
Sufficient levels of vitamin B12 are necessary to optimize nerve function, memory, and quick thinking. If you don’t eat adequate amounts of shellfish, poultry, and dairy products, vitamin B12 supplements can help improve cognitive decline, poor memory, as well as muddled thinking.
Additional B vitamins also play important roles in the brain and are just as important as B12 to reduce brain fog. Vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B7, for example, help to support cognitive functions such as; learning, remembering, reasoning, problem-solving, concentrating, and decision-making.
Vitamin B2 and vitamin B7 help the nervous system, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6 are required to support neurotransmitters and cellular communication, and vitamin B9 eases mental fatigue.
Taking a regular B complex supplement that includes all the necessary B vitamins can help to reduce symptoms of brain fog.
4. Vitamin C Supplements For Brain Fog
As well as being one of the best vitamins for the immune system, good eyesight, and healthy bones, vitamin C also helps to reduce brain fog. Naturally found in citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and peppers, vitamin C helps to fight brain fog as an antioxidant and a hormone regulator.
In a recent study involving 80 adults, results showed that those consuming sufficient levels of vitamin C tested better for focus, memory, reaction time, and concentration than those with low levels of vitamin C.
If you are low in vitamin C and suffering from brain fog, consider taking a vitamin C supplement to reduce symptoms and improve cognitive functions as well as memory retention.
5. Vitamin D Supplements For Brain Fog
Vitamin D, which is naturally absorbed from sunshine, and found in pure fruit juices, red meat, or egg yolks, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory for the brain. Widely considered as nature’s very own mood booster, vitamin D helps to lift depression, reduce mood swings associated with hormonal changes and alleviate brain fog.
While most people can naturally absorb enough vitamin D from exposure to 10-15 minutes of summer and spring sunshine, vitamin D levels can often drop sufficiently during fall and winter leading to more gloomy moods and brain fog. If this sounds like you, consider taking a vitamin D supplement in the colder months.
6. Magnesium Supplements for Brain Fog
Although it is an essential mineral required for turning food into energy, regulating blood pressure, managing nerve function, and brain health, a high percentage of people do not consume enough magnesium in their diet. Naturally found in beans, seeds, passion fruit, dark chocolate, and spinach low magnesium levels can make you more prone to stress.
Because stress results in poor concentration, anxiety, and diminished memory capacity, it is one of the primary causes of brain fog. Studies have also shown that low magnesium levels can be linked to declining cognitive functions like reasoning, decision-making, and learning. That being the case, adequate consumption of magnesium or regular magnesium supplements is vital for fighting brain fog.
The term brain fog is used to describe a collection of symptoms associated with memory loss, muddled thinking, mental fatigue, and reduced cognitive abilities. Because these symptoms are often the result of low nutrient levels, you might want to consider taking some of the above-mentioned supplements for brain fog if you can relate to one or more of the symptoms.
It is important to note, however, that brain fog can also be related to more serious underlying medical conditions, so it is vital to consult with your healthcare practitioner about your symptoms before relying on supplements alone.
National Library of Medicine - Omega-3 supplementation improves cognition and modifies brain activation in young adults - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24470182/
National Library of Medicine - Effects of Vitamin E on Cognitive Performance during Ageing and in Alzheimer’s Disease - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276978/
National Library of Medicine - B-Vitamin Intake and Biomarker Status in Relation to Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults in a 4-Year Follow-Up Study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295097/
National Library of Medicine - Plasma Vitamin C Concentrations and Cognitive Function: A Cross-Sectional Study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6454201/
National Library of Medicine - Vitamin D and Depression -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6970300/
National Library of Medicine - Relations of magnesium intake to cognitive impairment and dementia among participants in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31685499/