If you are struggling with brain fog, low energy or have trouble making it through the day without added caffeine, you’re going to want to read below.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you cannot function at your best 😑
It can be embarrassing and impact your self confidence.. But you’re not alone
You may have hear of the gut brain connection–but how does that impact you as a busy, successful woman? A lot actually!
The good news is that there’s hope for anyone who struggles with brain fog! Improving gut health can help restore balance between good and bad bacteria in your body which directly impacts the gut-brain axis and can improve your brain fog. Now, you’re probably thinking–is it as simple as eating yogurt or taking probiotics? Maybe. But most likely its deeper than that.
Now let’s dive deeper into the gut-brain connection and the chain reactions.
Brain fog is a common symptom of many health conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also been linked to depression and anxiety.
Brain fog occurs when the brain doesn’t process information as efficiently as it should–and this can happen for several reasons:
- Inflammation in the body
- Inflammation can be caused by many different things, including food allergies and sensitivities, gut infections (like Candida, dysbiosis or parasites), stress and anxiety, toxins in the environment–even exposure to heavy metals like mercury or lead can cause brain fog by leading to inflammation.
- Stress and anxiety (which can cause hormone imbalances)
So if you’re experiencing brain fog as a result of any of these things then it’s likely that your gut health is suffering too!
How does gut-brain communication affect brain fog?
The gut is a complex organ, and it’s not just the seat of digestion. The gut and brain communicate with each other in both directions: your brain sends signals to your digestive tract, which then sends signals back to the brain. This means that anything that affects your mental health can also affect how well you process food. In fact, although it is a bi-directional pathway, there is more information going up to your brain from your gut. So you cannot address brain fog by just looking at what is going on in the brain.
Improving your digestive health can lead to an improvement in your brain fog and overall energy levels 💃 After all, the gut and the brain are connected ⛓️ and we need to keep them on good terms so they communicate kindly with one another 😉
That’s why stress and anxiety are such common symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), an inflammatory condition that affects 1 in 5 Americans every year–and many more worldwide! Stress can cause our bodies to produce more cortisol (the stress hormone), which triggers inflammation throughout our bodies including our digestive systems. This can lead to painful bloating or constipation when food doesn’t move through smoothly enough; diarrhea when there’s too much movement within the intestines; nausea from poor digestion or blood sugar imbalances; GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) when acid flows back up into esophagus instead of staying where it should be (in stomach).
In addition to this bidirectional communication between your brain and gastrointestinal tract, there’s another key factor: gut bacteria
Probiotics are “good bacteria” needed to improve digestion.
You may have heard about probiotics already: these are the beneficial microbes that live in our guts that keep us healthy by breaking down food into nutrients we can absorb more easily. But if you’ve ever tried taking probiotic supplements or eating yogurt with “live cultures,” then you know it’s not always easy to get enough of those good guys! Probiotics are “good bacteria” that help to improve digestion. They’re found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Probiotics can also be taken as supplements in the form of pills or capsules.
Probiotics can help you:
- Increase the amount of “good” bacteria in your gut microbiota
- Reduce bloating caused by gas by breaking down undigested food particles that cause gas production (psst: did you know that it is actually your gut microbes that digest fiber for you!)
- Fight off harmful bacteria that live in your intestines
Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
Prebiotics are food for the good bacteria in your digestive tract. They help them grow and thrive.” Prebiotics can be found naturally in plants like garlic, onions, leeks and artichokes–though sometimes they’re added to foods as well as sold separately (like inulin).
A lot of the focus is often on probiotics, but prebiotics are really the MVP of this process. They provide food for those probiotic microbes so they’ll grow faster and multiply more readily than if given nothing at all (which would happen if there wasn’t anything available).
By loving our gut and increasing its bacterial diversity, we can start to improve the gut-brain function. Ways we can increase our gut bacteria diversity:
- Eat probiotic foods
- Eat rich prebiotic foods
- Eat foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids
- Aim for 30 different plants per week (plants include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, herbs and spices)
- Eat fermented foods. Some examples of fermented food include kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt (non-dairy), kefir and kombucha tea.
What happens when gut bacteria increase in diversity
When you consume prebiotic and probiotic rich foods your gut pays you back by producing something called short chain fatty acids. These by-products of fermentation in the gut are an important factor in healing from brain fog. They are anti-inflammatory to the body and the brain and influence overall health in so many positive ways.
Without short chain fatty acid production, inflammation in the brain and body can continue and the cycle of brain fog can remain.
Probiotics and prebiotics are key here, but often are just scraping the surface when it comes to what is really going on with the gut-brain connection and your brain fog.
The deeper contributing factors to brain fog
If you are doing all the “right things” like eating plenty of fiber, including probiotic rich foods in your diet, sleeping well, hydrating and balancing stress, your brain fog could be stemming from a deeper issue in your gut.
When stress is high or when inflammation is present, the intestinal lining can become more permeable leading to what many know as “leaky gut”.Intestinal permeability, also known as “leaky gut,” is a condition where the intestinal lining becomes damaged and allows toxins, bacteria, and partially digested food particles to leak into the bloodstream. This can lead to a range of symptoms and conditions, including brain fog. Studies have shown that when the intestinal lining is compromised, it can trigger an immune response and increase inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can then spread to the brain and contribute to the symptoms of brain fog.
Additionally, harmful substances that enter the bloodstream through a leaky gut can negatively impact neurotransmitter function and disrupt the balance of gut bacteria. This can further contribute to brain fog and other cognitive symptoms.
Its helpful to work with a provider who can help you address the deeper issues that could be contributing to your brain fog and energy issues by looking at contributing factors like:
-Imbalances in your gut bacteria
-Inflammation in the gut
In addition to intestinal permeability, hidden infections and dysbiosis can also contribute to brain fog. Hidden infections refer to infections that go unnoticed due to a lack of symptoms or a weak immune response. These infections can cause chronic inflammation in the gut, which can then spread to the brain and contribute to the symptoms of brain fog.
Dysbiosis is an imbalance of the gut microbiome, with an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a reduction in beneficial bacteria. This can also lead to inflammation and a weakened gut lining, further contributing to the symptoms of brain fog. Therefore, it is important to consider not only intestinal permeability, but also the presence of hidden infections and gut dysbiosis when evaluating and treating brain fog.
A root cause approach to brain fog
By addressing the root cause of your brain fog, such as intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) or an imbalance of gut bacteria, you can unlock your full potential both in your career and in your personal life 🙌
As you can see, the gut health chain reaction is a fascinating and complex relationship between your gut and your brain. There’s much more to it than just feeling “off.”
The good news is that there are many ways to improve this connection and clear up brain fog–from taking probiotics and prebiotics to eating a diverse spread of foods. It is also important to look for the deeper driving factor such as hidden inflammation, intestinal permeability or dysbiosis.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms work with a specialist to help you identify the true sources and gain a plan for full relief.
In conclusion, intestinal permeability is a critical aspect of gut health that can significantly impact brain function and contribute to the development of brain fog. To support overall health and cognitive function, it is important to take steps to maintain a healthy gut and reduce inflammation.