Mental confusion; Lack of mental clarity; Difficulty thinking most of the time, in varying degrees. Walk into a room and can’t remember why you are there?  It’s called brain fog.  We are finding out that it can be brought on by various triggers.  Stress is one of those. Chronic stress can over stimulate the brain, so giving your brain a break—and proper vitamins and nutrients—can help quell the damage done to it and its nerve cells. In fact, your brain is fueled by an array of nutrients. Among those are omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, CoQ10, zinc, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D3, vitamin C and vitamin E. So, be sure your brain gets the diet it needs to function properly. Adaptogenic herbs, or adaptogens, are a wonderful gift from the plant kingdom. These herbs strengthen our resistance to mental and physical stress.

This next trigger, fatigue and lack of adequate sleep or rest can adversely affect your brain, leading to muddled thinking. On average, an adult requires 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Not getting that amount will cost you some brain power.  Sleeping restores the body and brain.  It’s when the body restores itself.

Then there’s gluten. Believe it or not, gluten-ridden foods, including that morning bagel, lunchtime sandwich or pasta dinner can all contribute to brain fog. Gluten, of course, is a protein found in most grains, including wheat, and can disrupt the balance of chemicals and hormones in the brain. Those who have gluten sensitivity often have mal-absorption of nutrients, which can adversely affect mental abilities. What happens is that the body attacks gluten as an invader, which damages the villi lining in the intestine, which are there to absorb nutrients as food passes through the small intestine. With damaged villi, however, nutrients are not absorbed properly.  So remove the gluten from your daily food plan.  For those who are sensitive to gluten, eating any gluten activates the immune system and can damage the gut villi. Symptoms spread from the gut throughout the body, including the brain. Hence, brain fog.

For some women, however, there’s more to the story of brain fog. Surgical menopause at an earlier age can lead to the decline of memory and thinking skills, says a study released and set to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 6th Annual Meeting in San Diego. Surgical menopause occurs with the removal of both ovaries prior to natural menopause onset and typically accompanies a hysterectomy—a procedure one-third of the women in the U.S. will have before they turn 60. However, stats indicate that nearly two-thirds of the hysterectomies are unnecessary.  It’s your body so ask until you understand before surgery.

Now back to surgical menopause and brain fog. . . Researchers found that women who had surgical menopause had a faster decline in long-term memory related to concepts and ideas, in memory that relates to time and places, and in overall thinking abilities. What’s more is that the researchers also found a significant association between age at surgical menopause and the plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.  Is that scary or what?

Those who underwent surgical menopause at younger ages had significantly more of the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s than those of women who had the procedure later in life.  Interestingly, no such correlations were seen between cognitive decline and the onset of natural menopause.  It’s not unusual; however, for women to report short-term brain fog after menopause—both surgical and natural—but researchers believe that this results from a sudden drop in the levels of estrogen, which plays a significant role in cognitive and memory. With natural menopause, however, cognitive changes are temporary and aren’t linked to the risk of dementia.  The changes with surgical menopause, however, appear to be more long-term, leading to continuous negative effects to the brain.

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