Long-Term Strategies for Alleviating Endo Brain Fog
Last updated: March 2022
Many moons ago, I wrote an article about hacks to help with endo brain fog.
While they’re all well and good for at the moment and day-to-day pick me ups, I wanted to write something that enables you to address the root causes of brain fog and improve it over time, so that you don’t have to rely so heavily on hacks to get you through your day.
There are many root causes behind brain fog, but here are some of the key issues and the initial steps to begin improving them.
Chronic inflammation and endo
We know that chronic inflammation is a problem with endo, it’s essentially the fuel to the fire1. This chronic inflammation doesn’t always stay isolated to the pelvis either and many of us may find ourselves dealing with systemic chronic inflammation.
In fact, research has found that people with endo have higher inflammatory markers and lower levels of antioxidants (key nutrients that lower inflammation)2. This can also affect the brain, and brain inflammation causes issues like impaired cognitive function a.k.a brain fog3.
One simple way to lower inflammation is to increase your levels of antioxidants through colorful fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are one of the key ways to lower inflammation and the damage it causes to the body, and just by adding one or two extra servings a day, you’ll be making a difference.
Balancing your blood sugar
Ever feel like your brain fog is worse mid-morning and mid-afternoon? Your meals might have something to do with it.
Blood sugar is the measure of glucose, extracted from your food, in our bloodstream at one time. Having high levels of glucose in the blood causes inflammation and a cascade of hormonal problems, and a peak in blood sugar is shortly caused by a crash, which can feel like lethargy and brain fog.
So, what’s the first step to balancing blood sugar? Make sure you have healthy fats, protein, complex carbs, and fiber with every meal. You can learn more here.
Your internal clock and cortisol levels
Cortisol is not just our stress hormone, but our waking hormone, our energy hormone. It essentially gives us the fuel to get through our day.
It lowers in the evening to allow for the rise in melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep. Cortisol then starts to slowly rise in the early hours, and by the time we wake, it’s almost at its peak level.
But sometimes, and this is very common in people with endometriosis, our cortisol doesn’t rise properly4. It may start off slow and low but pick up later in the day or at night, which means we feel wired and alert when we’re trying to fall asleep.
Or it could simply be low all day every day. This means we don’t have that fire to fuel our days, and we can feel extremely brain fogged.
One key way to reset your cortisol levels, and your internal clock, is to get daylight to your eyes as quickly as possible upon waking. This actually helps cortisol to increase in the morning.
If you’re really struggling, also get daylight at noon and get outside again at dusk. Light helps to set our cortisol levels, and by following the sun’s journey across the day, you can reset your pattern.
Why not try working on one of these areas at first and then when you’re ready, try addressing another one on top. Be patient, these improvements will take time.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):