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Natural Remedies for Brain Fog and Difficulty Concentrating

Evidence-based Reviewed Article

The ability to focus and remember are important aspects of brain health. Unfortunately, these can decline for various causes, from sleep deprivation or the flu to more serious structural problems. One cause is brain fog. If you have experienced brain fog, you will understand how debilitating and frustrating it can be. This article will explore what brain fog is, its possible causes, and some natural remedies for brain fog.

What Is Brain Fog?

An image of a woman holding her temples with a laptop on her lapBrain fog, a condition marked by memory issues, lack of mental clarity, poor concentration, and difficulty focusing, can be influenced by various factors such as neurotransmitter imbalances, detoxification irregularities, and gut conditions. Neurotransmitter imbalances, caused by stress, poor diet, insufficient exercise, or certain medications, disrupt the brain’s chemical messaging, leading to mental health issues like brain fog. Inadequate detoxification processes allow toxins, like heavy metals and environmental pollutants, to accumulate in the body, impairing cognitive functions. Additionally, gut health, closely linked to brain function through the gut-brain axis, can significantly impact cognitive clarity, where issues like bacterial imbalances and poor nutrition contribute to brain fog. This term is not a scientific term but describes mild cognitive impairments affecting memory, attention, and thinking (1,2). Brain fog can be caused by many different factors such as:

  • Poor sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Illnesses, such as influenza or Covid-19
  • Medications
  • Drugs
  • Stress
  • Poor detoxification pathways
  • Toxins

The Effect of Stress on Brain Fog

Stress is a common cause of brain fog. Whilst your body is able to handle short-term stress through the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response System, in chronic stress, your body is unable to keep up. This can result in imbalances within your NEM system resulting in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). AFS is the non-Addison's form of adrenal dysfunction, where the body's stress response cannot keep up with life's chronic stressors.

Symptoms of AFS will depend on where the imbalance is occurring in the NEM system. One of the six circuits within this system is the detoxification circuit. The purpose of this circuit is to remove waste products and toxins from the body. The liver, interstitium, and immune system play a role in this process. An imbalance in this circuit can result in a number of symptoms such as food and chemical sensitivities and brain fog.

Brain Fog Remedies

Take A Break

It may seem like the wrong thing to do especially when there are deadlines to meet and a never-ending to-do list. However, if you are finding that you cannot concentrate no matter what, a break might be exactly what you need.

Research has found that having a break whilst being on your phone does not allow your brain to rest compared to activities without a phone.

Some examples of helpful rest activities include:

  • Meditation
  • Calling a friend or loved one - whilst it may involve your phone, it involves social connection through talking and can help to improve brain function
  • Take a power nap - ideally, this should be a maximum of 20 minutes
  • Get outside
  • Do creative activities such as baking, dancing, painting, or writing

Physical Activity

Exercising has multiple benefits on your health such as reducing stress and anxiety through the release of feel-good hormones such as endorphins. It also helps to stimulate the release of brain proteins that help to boost brain functions such as memory and concentration.

Whilst you may consider running, cycling, and lifting weights as exercise, there is a range of other exercises that you can practice. These include:

  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • High-intensity exercise

Improve Your Sleep

An image of a sleeping womanPoor sleep not only makes you tired and grumpy the next day but can have serious effects on your brain. Sleep deprivation can affect your decision-making, problem-solving, and emotional health. This can result in brain fog. Getting adequate sleep can ensure that your brain health is optimal and can prevent brain fog from occurring.

If you struggle to fall asleep, practicing sleep hygiene can help. This includes going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends, and removing electronic devices from the bedroom before you sleep. Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can help to increase the quality of your sleep and may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. If you are easily woken by noise and lights, a white noise machine and blackout curtains can assist.

Fuel Your Body With Optimal Nutrition

Nutrition is an important aspect of your health and can help prevent and alleviate brain fog. Poor nutrition, such as in processed or sugary foods, does not provide all the nutrients that your body needs. These nutrients play an important role in brain health.

Several vitamins and minerals can help to promote focus and are natural remedies for brain fog.

Vitamin D

Not only is this vitamin available through dietary sources such as eggs, cheese, milk, and mushrooms, but you can also receive vitamin D through sunlight. This vitamin is fat-soluble, meaning that your body keeps a reserve. This means that whilst you do not need to receive vitamin D daily, you need to receive an average amount over time.

Vitamin D has many important roles that include improving brain health. A deficiency in vitamin D can cause depression, and individuals with depression are at risk for experiencing symptoms of brain fog such as poor memory and concentration. Receiving optimal vitamin D can therefore help to support your mental health and possibly help provide relief from brain fog.


This fatty acid is an unsaturated fatty acid that is found in oily fish such as salmon and sardines as well as plant-based sources such as flax seeds and walnuts. Omega-3 has beneficial effects on the brain by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation. It also helps to improve memory and attention (3). It can also improve feelings of depression, which may aggravate brain fog, and may improve anxiety, which can occur as a result of the debilitating symptoms of brain fog.


Magnesium has a wide range of different roles in the body, including helping to maintain cognitive health. Low levels of magnesium can result in a decline in cognitive health and may cause symptoms of brain fog.

Whilst poor nutrition can cause low levels of magnesium, another cause of low magnesium levels is stress. During chronic stress, your body can increase its excretion of magnesium, leading to low levels. This can lead to brain fog.

Fortunately, you can get more magnesium from a wide range of different foods such as green leafy vegetables, beans, and seeds.

Vitamin C

An image of a bottle of Vitamin C supplementUnlike vitamin D, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, so you need to consume more daily through your diet. It has many important roles, such as enhancing your immune system and supporting emotional health. Low levels of vitamin C can result in depressive symptoms, increasing the risk of brain fog. Another potential cause of brain fog is illness. Vitamin C may help reduce the occurrence of colds and flu by boosting your immune system.

In addition, brain fog can be indirectly related to inflammation and cell damage. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and can help to reduce cell damage, help prevent further damage, and improve inflammation. This can help to provide relief from brain fog.

Vitamin B Complex

This complex refers to eight different B vitamins. These B vitamins play an important role in supporting brain health by reducing depression and anxiety along with improving memory and attention.

One study found that supplementation of vitamin B12 in individuals with a vitamin B12 deficiency led to an improvement in memory and attention. Another study found that adequate folate and vitamin B6 can help to preserve cognitive health, while a deficiency can result in a decline in memory and attention (4, 5).


Glutathione, often termed the "master antioxidant," plays a pivotal role in reducing brain fog and enhancing cognitive clarity through its potent detoxification properties. This powerful molecule aids in neutralizing and eliminating toxins and free radicals that can cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, contributing to mental cloudiness and confusion. By supporting the body's detoxification pathways, glutathione helps maintain the integrity of neural cells and fosters a healthier brain environment, promoting optimal neurological function. Thus, elevated levels of glutathione are associated with enhanced mental clarity, improved focus, and a reduction in the symptoms of brain fog, supporting overall cognitive wellbeing.

Brain Trust

Brain Trust by Dr. Lam is a meticulously formulated supplement designed to combat brain fog by nourishing and supporting cerebral functions. Infused with powerful components such as Huperzine A and RoseOx®, Brain Trust offers neuroprotective and antioxidant benefits essential for maintaining cognitive clarity. The incorporation of Ginkgo Biloba enhances memory and concentration, making it a formidable ally against brain fog. Additionally, the supplement contains Phosphatidyl Serine and Glutamine, ingredients that harmoniously synergize to optimize cognitive functionalities. Phosphatidyl Serine plays an instrumental role in cellular communication and health, while Glutamine acts as a precursor to neurotransmitters vital for cognitive processes. Regular consumption of Brain Trust, as per the recommended dosage, fosters an environment conducive to improved focus and mental clarity, providing a comprehensive approach to managing and mitigating the effects of brain fog.

Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol

Whilst coffee can give you energy, an excess amount of coffee can cause difficulty in focusing and headaches. This can aggravate brain fog rather than relieve it. If you would like to have coffee, keep it below four to five cups a day.

Alcohol is another beverage that can affect your brain health. Alcohol is a stimulant as well as a depressant. It can cause a decline in the functioning of your brain cells, reduce your quality of sleep, and increase fatigue and anxiety. Keeping within the daily alcohol recommendations of one for females and up to two for males can prevent it from aggravating your brain fog.

Cautions With Remedies for Brain Fog

An image of a man massaging his templesThere are a wide variety of remedies for brain fog that can help provide relief. However, the best remedy for you is likely to depend on the cause of the brain fog in the first place. Therefore, it is important to determine the cause of your brain fog. If you are currently experiencing brain fog, especially on an ongoing basis, seek medical guidance. Once the cause is determined, you and your provider can then determine the best remedies for brain fog that will suit your needs.

If your brain fog is caused by a condition such as AFS, your body can become very sensitive to new foods, supplements, and exercise. This makes it important to talk to your doctor, only add new supplements slowly and carefully, and focus on gentle exercises that will help relax your nervous system.

Takeaway Message

Brain fog can affect anyone and can be caused by a number of different factors. It can affect your memory, concentration, and emotional health. Remedies for brain fog can ease the brain fog and reduce the symptoms. Natural remedies for brain fog include:

  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Vitamins D, C, and B
  • Omega-3
  • Magnesium

If you are currently experiencing brain fog and need some guidance on how to find relief from it, our team at Dr. Lam can assist.We offer a free, no-obligation phone consultation at +1 (626) 571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and various options. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system.

© Copyright 2024 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Kverno K. "Brain Fog: a Bit of Clarity Regarding Etiology, Prognosis, and Treatment." J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. vol. 59, no. 11, 2021 Nov. pp. 9-13

Dass R, et al. " Understanding the Experience and Impacts of Brain Fog in Chronic Pain: a Scoping Review." Can J Pain, vol. 7, no. 1, 2023 Jul.

Dighriri IM, et al. "Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Brain Functions: a Systematic Review." Cureus, vol. 14, no. 10, 2022 Oct.

Nalder L, et al. "Vitamin B12 and Folate Status in Cognitively Healthy Older Adults and Associations with Cognitive Performance." J Nutr Health Aging, vol. 25, no. 3, 2021, pp. 287-294.

An Y, Et al. "Dietary Intakes and Biomarker Patterns of Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 can be Associated with Cognitive Impairment by Hypermethylation of Redox-Related Genes NUDT15 and TXNRD1." Clin Epigenetics, vol. 11, 2019 Oct. pp. 139.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

The effectiveness of brain fog remedies will depend on the root cause of your brain fog. If the remedy addresses the root cause, then the effect can be permanent. In the case of a deficiency, resolving the deficiency may resolve the brain fog. However, many remedies, such as getting adequate sleep and rest, may need to be practiced consistently to alleviate brain fog.

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