Defining Peak Brain Performance
Whether you’re leading meetings at work, helping kids with homework, or just having a leisurely conversation over dinner…
Life is better when your brain is working at its best 🧠 One of the common things I hear from clients I advise is they have “brain fog”. That means different things to different people. It is also dependent on what is most important for that person as well as their age. Symptoms that would bother a 40 year old might not even register as a problem to a 75 year old.
How should we define “brain fog”? It is not a diagnosis; it is a symptom of some other condition. Most often, “brain fog” is described as an inability to focus, lack of mental clarity, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. People who have previously been successful in these areas notice that, over time, their mental abilities have ebbed. They want to know why and what they can do about coming out of the fog. Here are 6 common causes for brain fog:
1. Stress can be a root cause of a lot of health related issues. Of course one of them is chronic elevation of blood pressure leading to a host of other problems including heart disease. High blood pressure can weaken your heart, immune system, blood vessels, kidney function, and lead to depression. Put that all together and you have a chronic fatigue condition leading to exhaustion and brain fog.
2. Hormone imbalances are usually not identified by doctors until menopause. There can be hormone imbalances during adolescence and pregnancy which may manifest as brain fog. In the 10-15 years prior to menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels may become imbalance leading to menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, but also may lead to brain fog. Then at menopause, a significant drop in estrogen and progesterone levels occur possibly with the same outcome. Men have the same problem when their testosterone levels begin dropping by 2-3% per year starting at age 30. Virtually everyone I interact with as a health coach has brain fog as one of their concerns.
3. Diet is one of the issues we deal with a lot in health coaching. One physician wrote an entire book showing that unhealthy gut function and diet is the basis of most if not all human disease. Food insensitivities and allergies can lead to brain fog. It is estimated that elderly people frequently have Vitamin B12 deficiency and this Vitamin is critical to healthy brain function. Most of my elderly clients complain of brain fog. The sweetener Aspartame, used in most diet beverages, is well known to lead some to experience brain fog. I’ve been one of them until I figured it out 20 years ago.
4. Insomnia and inadequate sleep is rampant in the United States. Just one night of poor sleep can lead to brain fog for the entire day afterward. Adults should obtain 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night while teenagers need 10 hours per night. If that doesn’t happen, mental dysfunction occurs immediately the next day.
5. Medications are notorious for side effects and many of them can give you brain fog. This may be dose related or just a response to a particular medication. Talk with your prescribing practitioner to see if a lowered dose or switch to another medication may alleviate the problem.
6. Chronic medical conditions frequently have brain fog as one of their symptoms. Frequently the underlying issue is inflammation but that can manifest as fatigue, exhaustion, and brain fog. The most common conditions include: anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia, diabetes, depression, thyroid dysfunction, viral illnesses, autoimmune diseases, migraines, and dementia.
The functional medicine approach to brain fog is to get at the root issue and reverse or eliminate it. Adding medications to someone with brain fog (think amphetamines) may mask the symptoms but also exacerbate the underlying problem.
Peak brain performance means…
✅ Focus comes easily.
✅ Your mind feels sharp.
✅ You feel creative and clear.
✅ You can confidently make decisions.
✅ You have the mental energy and stamina to stay productive throughout the day.
3 Hidden Health Factors that Affect Brain Performance Interested in boosting your brain power for peak performance? The first thing to know is that your brain function is a byproduct of the health of your entire body.
Here are 3 health factors (that most people never even think about) that can influence your memory and mental clarity:
According to neuroscientist Lisa Moscani, estrogen is key to energy production in the brain. Changing estrogen levels at menopause mean altered energy production in the brain—triggering everything from hot flashes to mood swings to memory lapses. Remember that estrogen changes begin 10-15 years prior to the onset of menopause so altered energy production in the brain may not be addressed during those critical perimenopausal years.
2. Gut Health
The gut has been called the second brain because it produces many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain (including dopamine, serotonin, and GABA). It also has its own neurologic system that is in close communication with your brain. Your gut and brain are connected through a communication network that researchers call the gut-brain axis. Plus—in people who struggle with digestive gas and bloating? Brain fog is common.
3. Blood Sugar
Blood sugar swings are bad news for the brain. When blood sugar is low, the brain struggles to access enough energy to function. When blood sugar is high, there are shifts in neurotransmitter levels that affect memory and focus. Over time, high blood sugar damages the blood vessels and compromises circulation to the brain. Dr. Jason Fung states that diabetes, the end result of chronic high blood sugars, is a condition of your body rotting from the inside out.
✨ these 3 health factors are important but not the whole story
✨ Other reasons brain performance can suffer include chronic infections, exposure to environmental toxins, autoimmune disease, or poor circulation. Functional medicine testing can uncover if any of these underlying issues are present.
Achieving peak brain performance will only be possible if you first optimize your overall body chemistry and health.
The best way to do that?
🔥 Work with a functional medicine practitioner who is trained in root-cause approaches and health optimization. Avoid practitioners who just want to give you a medication for each symptom that develops and then another medication to cover the side effects of the original medications. Identifying and defining the cause of your brain fog and working toward reversing and eliminating those issues will lead you back to efficient brain performance. It is not that difficult to get back on track but it takes a proper medical history and thorough testing.
We qualify, and we can help! Ready for a better brain? My website is at www.healthwithoutrisk.com and I’d be honored to work with you.
#brainhealth #optimalbrainhealth #peakbrainperformance #rootcausemedicine#brainfog #mentalacuity #memoryloss #chronicdisease #functionalmedicine#askdrtreacy #healthwithoutrisk