In an age of complex chronic conditions such as Long-COVID compounded by high-stress loads to meet the growing demands of society, more and more people are finding themselves wrapped in a perpetual fog. Where mental clarity was once the norm, symptoms of brain fog are now becoming more prevalent.
But while the causes of brain fog may remain unclear, insofar as the precise mechanisms involved, new promising research suggests that there is hope for those who experience brain fog, weather due to long covid or other conditions.
Brain fog is characterized by a lack of focus, laziness, forgetfulness, or inability to focus. It can also feel like a mild headache that may be related to temporarily impaired brain function due to a variety of reasons ranging from lack of sleep to a chronic illness such as Lyme disease or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
The causes of brain fog are often multifaceted which makes it so difficult to pinpoint.
Causes have been attributed to:
- Abrupt lifestyle changes
- Chronic infection
- Low blood pressure
- Mold or other toxic exposure
- Certain foods or chemicals especially when a person has become sensitive to chemicals, such as the case with multiple chemical sensitivities
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of sleep
- Thyroid issues
- Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies such as a vitamin b12 deficiency
- Chronic stress and inflammation
- Too much or too little physical activity
- Poor sleep or not enough sleep
- Autoimmune dysfunction
- Concussion, or a variety of other health issues both chronic and acute
- Other medical conditions
A person’s environment also plays an important role. This study shows that people in urban environments may be subject to higher cognitive loads than those who have regular access to nature and natural environments.
Although certainly not the only cause and more research needs to be conducted in order to understand the mechanisms of causation, brain fog often accompanies neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Brain fog can feel different for different people, but most people report the following:
- Feeling hazy
- Memory problems or memory loss
- Sometimes migraine
- Cognitive slowness or “sludginess”
- Mental fatigue
- General malaise or fibromyalgia
- Tired and wired
- Reduced cognition and comprehension
It can also feel like anxiety or depression and masquerade as a mental health issue. And while mental health may play a role, the known causes of brain fog seem to be more neurophysiological than psychological.
Many people who experience long-haul COVID report brain fog as one of their primary symptoms, along with fatigue and flu-like symptoms. This is not dissimilar to what many people have experienced with other types of Post Viral Infection Syndromes and even Lyme disease.
The length of COVID-related brain fog will vary from person to person and depends highly on a person’s lifestyle and treatment regimen. Those who rest and engage in some form of a neuroplasticity program such as re-origin, have reported overcoming covid brain fog in as little as a few weeks. For others, the symptoms can last for 6 months or more.
The symptomology and experience of COVID brain fog are very similar to, if not the same as people who experience brain fog due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or other forms of Post Viral Fatigue.
There is no evidence to show that brain fog related to COVID should be addressed any differently from brain fog that may step from any other condition. The main steps that people have taken to improve their condition are as follows:
- Visit a qualified healthcare provider to rule out any other major health issues
- Adopt a healthy diet, free of sugar and excess caffeine
- Make sure you are getting plenty of rest and quality sleep
- Rule out other health conditions
- Focus on brain health, making sure to include micronutrients in your diet
- Regular exercise and breathwork can also serve to improve brain health
- Use a Neuroplasticity training program to retrain your limbic system
Doing what you can to keep your immune system healthy by minimizing stress is also an important factor.
While there is not enough data to make conclusions about the long term effects of COVID brain fog, by likening it to the same type of brain fog that often accompanies other forms of post-viral fatigue, and considering that the brain can be retrained through self-directed neuroplasticity, there is much reason to believe that the effects of brain fog related to Long-COVID can eventually be reversed.