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  • Brain fog, general fatigue - What's my problem?

    Hey guys,

    I've had brain fog for a good 5 years now or so (currently 17, Male) and was wondering if anyone could help me narrow down the possible reasons as to why I have it. It's interfered with my life for far too long!

    These are the causes that I believe may be possibly involved:

    . Tap water - London tap water is meant to be completely safe, but knowing that there's different types of metals and such inside doesn't really help my confidence. This is all I drink by the way, no soft drinks or tea, coffee etc.

    . Hypothyroidism - I can't tell if I have this without seeing my GP to check, but I'm pretty sure my parents will be against this and just say that "you worry too much!".

    . Food allergies - I'm completely avoiding gluten, dairy and grains in general. I've had no official diagnosis of any allergies, but I'd rather be safe than sorry seeing as I already suspect myself of being somewhat gluten intolerant.

    . Adrenal burnout - I don't believe that I'm stressed; I get a solid 9-10 hours of sleep every night without fail, with little to no interruptions. That's not to say that I don't wake up feeling pretty weak and groggy, though. I give myself time to relax, but I can't enjoy the activities that I like doing because of my fatigue and mental fogginess.

    . Nutrient deficiencies (see below)

    I've been eating well for the past few weeks with non-processed meats and vegetables; no fruits and very little carbs overall. There is absolutely no junk, grains or starchy vegetables. I've been eating primal for at least 2 months now, with more strictness in the past 2-3 weeks to avoid gluten completely.

    According to FitDay I'm lacking in various nutrients though:

    Magnesium
    Phosphorus
    Potassium
    Vitamin D
    Vitamin B12
    Vitamin E
    Calcium
    Thiamin

    I'm currently supplementing with a multivitamin per day, one capsule of cod liver oil and a tablet supplement of Zinc.

    . I get sunlight daily whenever possible (London weather is purely random)
    . I exercise regularly (following Mark's general guidelines by doing plenty of walking, calisthenics 3 times a week and sprinting whenever I feel the urge, or running for a bus).
    . I get plenty of sleep, and although the quality may be improved, I find that my sleep is perfectly fine for now.
    . I do my best to keep an optimistic attitude, yet it'll take more than that to push through the fog.

    Does being a teenager have anything to do with this? I seriously doubt it, but I'd prefer to ask to make sure.

    Physically I also feel very heavy, if that's a symptom anyone might need to know.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by KG; 04-06-2010, 01:56 AM. Reason: Added gender

  • #2
    It could be a combination of things. For me, it was gluten. If you have celiac or are gluten intolerant, you might have malabsorption issues. It takes to for your body to heal.

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    • #3
      Okay, thyroid issues could be a factor. And since the thyroid regulates so very hormones in your body getting your levels tested is important if you're suffering from other symptoms. Mental and physical fatigues are signs of thyroid disorder. If you're also experiencing brittle nails, thinning hair, dry itchy skin, depression, irritability, puffiness, inexplicable weight gain, always being cold, or severe PMS then it wouldn't be "worrying too much" to get your levels checked. (Doubly so if there's any family history of thyroid issues). You're at the right age (late teens to mid twenties) where thyroid problems can manifest.

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      • #4
        Actually, being a teen can have something to do with it. Your brain currently is going through intense deconstruction and re-wiring. This causes the intense need to sleep, dramatic increase in hunger and yes, brain fog. It also causes generally nutty behavior among your kind. The hormones on top of all that lead to some lovely dramatics as I'm sure you've been witness too. I mean you're likely still growing as well, which, if you are not getting adequate nutrition, then it will drain your resources.

        Are you eating enough?

        I can't tell from your screenname if you are male or female. Anemia is another possibility, especially if you're female. That said though, if you are not getting enough iron, and your body is growing quickly, then you could be anemic, which would make you feel that way.
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        • #5
          The thyroid and adrenals are tied together like no other. If one of the two is struggling or under stress, you can bet the other one is. I'd recommend testing to be safe. On top of that, what hours do you sleep between? Because of circadian rhythm, between 10pm and 6am is key for optimal repair. Most adrenal repair occurs between 11pm and 1am.

          You mentioned you have nutrient deficiencies, with many of them being key minerals and vitamins. Get that in order! If you're lucky, it's not an organ issue YET, and getting the nutrients your body needs will get you back to normal!

          Being a teenager is not associated with brain fog. That's my own empirical evidence.
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          In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!: www.livingnotsurviving.com

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          • #6
            Having low B12 can definitely give you brain fog. You might try a methylcobalamin B12 lozenge.

            If you're waking up tired after all that sleep, something is probably up w/ your thyroid and/or adrenals. Here is a list of thyroid symptoms:
            http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/long-and-pathetic/

            You can also do a basal body temp test: http://thyroid.about.com/cs/testsfor...ourthyroid.htm

            If you do feel that a thyroid disorder is a factor, I highly suggest this book that will tell you which tests to get in order to avoid years of misdiagnosis like so many thyroid patients experience. It also outlines exactly what nutrients to take and how to eat (very in-line with Primal, actually):
            http://www.amazon.com/Still-Thyroid-.../dp/1600376703
            http://www.prettyinprimal.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              eating a REALLY high fat meal seems to help when i get the fogs.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                I just read that exposure to chlorine and other halides (bromide and fluoride, for instance) can affect thyroid by letting them settle into the places where iodine should be.

                If the only liquids you're drinking are London tap water, it might be giving you chlorine exposure. If you could get a filter (like a Brita filter pitcher, I don't know if they have them in London) you could get any chlorine out of your water. Seaweed and/or ocean going fish could help restore iodine (if it's low.) It all takes time to work out. If you can't get a water filter, you could fill a glass or pitcher with water and let it sit around for a day for the chlorine to gas out. Then shake it up to get some air back in it.

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                • #9
                  Bromine, Chlorine, Fluoride all compete with Iodine receptors because they are fellow Hallogens... So reducing exposure to the other 3 should help utilize Iodine. Look up Dr. Brownstein for a little more info...
                  sigpic
                  In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!: www.livingnotsurviving.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by elorajade View Post
                    Actually, being a teen can have something to do with it. Your brain currently is going through intense deconstruction and re-wiring. This causes the intense need to sleep, dramatic increase in hunger and yes, brain fog. It also causes generally nutty behavior among your kind. The hormones on top of all that lead to some lovely dramatics as I'm sure you've been witness too. I mean you're likely still growing as well, which, if you are not getting adequate nutrition, then it will drain your resources.

                    Are you eating enough?

                    I can't tell from your screenname if you are male or female. Anemia is another possibility, especially if you're female. That said though, if you are not getting enough iron, and your body is growing quickly, then you could be anemic, which would make you feel that way.
                    I actually think that I'm eating a little too much. I end up feeling stuffed instead of full if I eat too much at one meal. I only eat twice a day because I never feel hungry otherwise, and I feel comfortable eating this way. I'm also male by the way, and I doubt that I'm anemic, I just need to get an actual blood test done.

                    Originally posted by EGYnutrition View Post
                    The thyroid and adrenals are tied together like no other. If one of the two is struggling or under stress, you can bet the other one is. I'd recommend testing to be safe. On top of that, what hours do you sleep between? Because of circadian rhythm, between 10pm and 6am is key for optimal repair. Most adrenal repair occurs between 11pm and 1am.

                    You mentioned you have nutrient deficiencies, with many of them being key minerals and vitamins. Get that in order! If you're lucky, it's not an organ issue YET, and getting the nutrients your body needs will get you back to normal!

                    Being a teenager is not associated with brain fog. That's my own empirical evidence.
                    I'm usually in bed by 9:30pm by the latest, although the time it takes to actually fall asleep can vary, but I think I'm usually asleep within half an hour. I tend to wake between 7-8am mostly.

                    I've only been using FitDay for a few days at most, and whether it's actually a reputable source of knowing if I'm deficient in all those nutrients, I'm not sure. I'm pretty consistent with the foods I eat though, so I suppose that it will be somewhat accurate of the big picture.

                    As for the teenager - brain fog connection, I'm sure that a couple of years ago I felt clear-headed again for about 3 weeks. As far as I know, there were no major changes in my life that caused it. I just woke up one morning and felt normal again, and I was amazingly happy during that time. I'll have to agree with you, yet I understand what elorajade was saying about the changes teenagers go through. It's very plausible, yet it may not apply to me for now.

                    Originally posted by hazyjane View Post
                    Having low B12 can definitely give you brain fog. You might try a methylcobalamin B12 lozenge.

                    If you're waking up tired after all that sleep, something is probably up w/ your thyroid and/or adrenals. Here is a list of thyroid symptoms:
                    http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/long-and-pathetic/

                    You can also do a basal body temp test: http://thyroid.about.com/cs/testsfor...ourthyroid.htm

                    If you do feel that a thyroid disorder is a factor, I highly suggest this book that will tell you which tests to get in order to avoid years of misdiagnosis like so many thyroid patients experience. It also outlines exactly what nutrients to take and how to eat (very in-line with Primal, actually):
                    http://www.amazon.com/Still-Thyroid-.../dp/1600376703
                    These are my main worries:

                    1. These multiple factors are all connected, and it's a little overwhelming to try and figure out what's causing the biggest problems. I'll try and tackle it all one by one.

                    2. In reference to your post about "years of misdiagnosis"; what if the tests I take come back all clear, yet I was also misdiagnosed?

                    I need to stop worrying so much (that's certainly not helping!), but it's hard to when there's a gut feeling that something's amiss.

                    What I'll do is ask for an appointment with my GP and talk to them. I'll ask about getting a blood test done and a thyroid check.

                    What should my priorities be? I'm honestly driving myself insane and, heck, I'm becoming a little paranoid from dwelling too much on this issue!

                    Thanks for the support!
                    Last edited by KG; 04-06-2010, 02:22 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Honestly I would up my nutrients through a whole foods vitamin and foods. If it's not gone within a week to two go see a holistic health practitioner to help you out. You might actually want to go see one right now because brain fog for that long is waiting too long. Get on it!
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                      In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!: www.livingnotsurviving.com

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                      • #12
                        Brain fog and fatigue can also be indicators for depression or SAD. Living in London puts you at especially high risk for SAD. I'd get checked for those.
                        If you're on any psychotropic meds (antidpressants, antipsychotics, Adderal, etc.), those can cause brain fog. Looking at the ones I was on, I think that's how they work: your brain's so "stuffed full of cotton" that you can't process enough to "see" the depression, etc.
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                        • #13
                          I developed spells of brain fog, dizziness, blurred vision, extreme tiredness, etc out of the blue around age 31 (two years ago). After lots and lots of reading online, I was able to finally diagnose myself with hypoglycemia. Basically, eating three big, carb-filled meals a day was sending my blood sugar levels through the roof and back down through the ground. My family doctor was very little help (he wanted to subscribe scripts and nothing else) so I searched around for a specialist. I started seeing a doctor in a diabetes clinic and he set me on the path to healthy eating and living. At first, I did try a few of the medications on the market, but none seemed to make much difference and I was never comfortable with the idea of taking a drug everyday for the rest of my life. I've found that through eating/exercise I can control the spells about 95% of the time now. I eat very few carbs, lots of protein/fat and space out my meals throughout the day (I eat about six times a day).

                          Find a doctor you can trust, have your thyroid checked. Get checked for sleep apnea and depression. All of these things can cause what you are feeling. If none of those turn up any answers, start looking at blood sugar control. You can get a 5-hour glucose tolerance test to see how your body reacts to glucose.

                          I know you have been eating primal for a few months now, but I was eating (semi) low-carb after I first starting getting spells as well. I really had to ratchet down my routine, find foods that my body agreed with and get on a set eating schedule before I started seeing real, consistent results.

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                          • #14
                            I've just been to see my GP about my acne. I've had it for years and have been taking different types of medication for the acne for 10 months in total. It's unlikely that my medication is causing my symptoms, as I've had it for years and have had it regardless of whether I was on medication or not.

                            As I was attempting to explain my brain fog symptoms to him, he looked somewhat dumbfounded and blank, as if everything I was telling him was bogus. I mentioned how I wanted a blood test done as well as a thyroid check to see whether I have hypothyroidism or a nutrient deficiency, and we'll discuss this next week thursday during the next appointment. I told him, as an example, that a magnesium deficiency is one possible cause of brain fog, and he merely stated that there is too many possible answers on the internet that can be from a "dubious source", and is much better off in tracking down the issue through discussing it one-on-one. I agree with him to an extent, although he also stated that diet has no effect on acne, which I believe is just an outright lie.

                            Honestly I would up my nutrients through a whole foods vitamin and foods. If it's not gone within a week to two go see a holistic health practitioner to help you out. You might actually want to go see one right now because brain fog for that long is waiting too long. Get on it!
                            I'll try visiting the nearest superdrug store soon and see what they have available, my mother's been getting multivitamins and cod liver oil capsules from there so it's worth having a look! Not sure where I could find a holistic health practitioner but I'll keep that in mind.

                            Brain fog and fatigue can also be indicators for depression or SAD. Living in London puts you at especially high risk for SAD. I'd get checked for those.
                            If you're on any psychotropic meds (antidpressants, antipsychotics, Adderal, etc.), those can cause brain fog. Looking at the ones I was on, I think that's how they work: your brain's so "stuffed full of cotton" that you can't process enough to "see" the depression, etc.
                            I think the brain fog causes my depression if anything. As for SAD, I've got an Apollo GoLite product that's used to correct circadian rhythm disorders and imbalances. I used it for a good few months, and didn't recognise any noticeable benefits, but I may try using it again soon in the morning.

                            I developed spells of brain fog, dizziness, blurred vision, extreme tiredness, etc out of the blue around age 31 (two years ago). After lots and lots of reading online, I was able to finally diagnose myself with hypoglycemia. Basically, eating three big, carb-filled meals a day was sending my blood sugar levels through the roof and back down through the ground. My family doctor was very little help (he wanted to subscribe scripts and nothing else) so I searched around for a specialist. I started seeing a doctor in a diabetes clinic and he set me on the path to healthy eating and living. At first, I did try a few of the medications on the market, but none seemed to make much difference and I was never comfortable with the idea of taking a drug everyday for the rest of my life. I've found that through eating/exercise I can control the spells about 95% of the time now. I eat very few carbs, lots of protein/fat and space out my meals throughout the day (I eat about six times a day).

                            Find a doctor you can trust, have your thyroid checked. Get checked for sleep apnea and depression. All of these things can cause what you are feeling. If none of those turn up any answers, start looking at blood sugar control. You can get a 5-hour glucose tolerance test to see how your body reacts to glucose.

                            I know you have been eating primal for a few months now, but I was eating (semi) low-carb after I first starting getting spells as well. I really had to ratchet down my routine, find foods that my body agreed with and get on a set eating schedule before I started seeing real, consistent results.
                            I understand what you mean by the hypoglycemic episodes, although I don't think that I have those anymore, especially considering how I'm eating proper, whole foods now. I would know if I had an episode, because my head begins to pulse and feel really fuzzy, and I'd get pretty dizzy to an extent. Haven't had those symptoms in a long time, thanks to the PB. Thanks for pointing it out as a cause though, because it definitely can cause serious issues.

                            Thanks again, everyone!

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