1107. Clearing the Haze: Understanding the Epidemic of Brain Fog


A lot of people nowadays suffer from brain fog. Some of the symptoms include trouble processing, focusing, and sorting. Your mood seems low and experiencing mild depression. Brain fog is actually a huge component of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Join Dr. Martin as he shares some of the causes of brain fog in today’s episode. From chronic stress including poor sleep, to poor diet loaded with carbs, to deficiencies in certain vitamins, all of these play a role in brain fog.


Announcer:  You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.

Dr. Martin:  Well, good morning everyone, and once again, welcome to another live this morning. Hope you're enjoying your vitamin C. I certainly am. Okay, okay. Couple of things I wanted to talk to you about. One of them was brain fog. A lot of people suffer from that. Okay? Brain fog. And one of the things, when I wrote a book on chronic fatigue syndrome years ago, I talked about one of the number one things that people with adrenal exhaustion get. Whenever you see chronic fatigue syndrome, ME, whatever they want to call it, remember there is a huge brain fog component. I believe that's due to inflammation. Okay?

So, think of what the adrenals, okay, guys, just think about this for a minute. Okay? That's the fight or flight. Okay? Inside eeeh, that's all right. If someone is scaring you, that's just normal. You want that. You want that turned on, you want to respond, you want to turn around and punch someone or run, okay? That's the fight or flight. Your body is fearfully and wonderfully made. You got that built in, okay? Problem is when that doesn't get turned off, and one of the areas it affects is the brain. Okay? Let's do a little bit deeper dive on brain fog. And let me classify I, I've written down a few things here. What is brain fog? Okay? Classified by, or at least some of the symptoms. Obviously you have trouble processing. You're searching. I mean, you have trouble processing. Everything seems to slow down in the brain. You have trouble focusing, maybe a little bit of sorting, mild for some, mild depression, mood, okay? Mood seems to be a little bit low.

I used to have patients tell me it was like having cotton in the brain and your brain wasn't sharp, it wasn't processing like it used to. And that's an important symptom. And I used to lots and lots of it in the office. And again, I go through a pretty extensive history and I did a fair analysis of what we usually found. So let me categorize it. I put down nine things, okay? So if you're taking notes, okay, I know some of you do. You take notes, obviously, I just talked about it. What could cause brain fog? Chronic stress. Now cortisol. Cortisol will save your life. It really will. If someone's chasing you, it could save your life, but it can kill you too if it doesn't get turned off. Okay? So chronic stress, think about that. And when you're stressed and your body has got a, almost sometimes, a lot of people don't realize this, sometimes they can feel cortisol if they sort of focus a little bit and they go, you know what? I do feel a little bit of a vibration inside. It's almost like a that a little vibration inside.

And when you're chronically stressed, you don't sleep properly. When you don't sleep properly, you're chronically stressed. What a vicious cycle that is. Well, okay, that can give you brain fog. Now your brain is not operating on all its cylinders and there's a fog of war. Inflammation sets up because think of it, okay, if this doesn't get toned down, your body responds with an inflammation response. And it's the fog of war. Your chemistry, your cells, your neurological system in the brain is not communicating like it should. There's a fog of war. I love that, inflammation, a fog of war. And the cells don't communicate like they used to. And then you can get symptoms of brain fog, okay? Difficulty processing, difficulties, concentrating, mood down, mild depression. Those are things that happen with brain fog. Okay? Can't sort. They used to do, I think they use machines in the post office now, but they used to have male sorters and they just, they'd sort all that mail. And your brain can't sort like it used to. It seems to be in neutral to some extent. Okay?

Chronic stress cause number one, cause number two, poor diet, a lack of nutrients. Your brain needs those nutrients, guys. It really does. And when we went on a low fat, high carb diet, which is prevalent in about 90 something percent of the population in North America, it's absolutely crazy. But that affects your brain. Your brain is the energy center of your body. It is the energy hog. It's like the federal government. It takes up 25% in Canada. The taxes are higher than that. But I'm just telling you that your brain is headquarters. And it doesn't matter what you eat in this sense because your brain's going to take it. So if you're eating sugar or processed foods that get turned into sugar in nanoseconds, your brain says, okay, that's what you're giving me. I got to process it because I need energy.

And when you give it bad food, your brain processes it. But the side effects of that are legion in the brain. But one of the things it leads to is brain fog. Your brain needs certain nutrients to function at its highest level. It needs 99% octane. It's why I continuously talk to you about good food. Health starts in the kitchen. It starts in the kitchen, and it's important, brain function, okay? Brain function. And I've talked to you when you think of poor diet, I've talked to you about what we call type 3 diabetes, Alzheimer's, memory center. Your memory center of your brain. Not the only thing. I divide the brain in two. Okay? You have your hypothalamus. And you guys, when you think of hypothalamus, think hormones, your thyroid, your adrenals, your estrogen, progesterone headquarters for hormones are in the brain. Okay?

So your hypothalamus sends messages down to control your hormones. Well, that gets affected by a bad diet. And this is why people say, doc, I came into your office with a thyroid problem and you sent me home eating eggs, meat and cheese. What's with that? I said, well, you got to start with food. Start in the kitchen. A lot of people, they don't realize that their body is not functioning at a high level. It's running on fumes. And your brain needs that proper energy, guys, because it's, it's just the way you operate. And if you remember that the brain is headquarters and it's got two huge compartments, one for your hormones, hypothalamus, and the other for your memory hippocampus. Now I know it's more complex than that. I want to divide it so that you understand it. And both those compartments, your hypothalamus and your hippocampus rely on good nutrition.

But if people don't eat well, and I feel sorry for kids today cause they're being told, don't eat meat. The farmer is not your best friend. I imagine being told that. Guys like Al Gore, they drive me crazy. I think we're going to have to get rid of the farmer. Ooh, ooh. You want to talk about making my head explode? I tell you, you need good nutrition for your brain. So brain fog, I used to do this all the time in my clinic. Here's what I saw consistently. They were under chronic stress. I never saw a case that was diagnosed of chronic syndrome or fibromyalgia because fibromyalgia is part of chronic fatigue syndrome. Never saw a case where there wasn't a stress related event in their lives. Caretakers, taking care of someone that was sick over a period of time could have been parents, child, family dynamics, stress, finances, divorce.

Guys, I was a historian. If you want to get stuff figured out in medicine, you better be a historian. And I tell you, one of the problems in the art, it used to be called that. Do you know that it used to be called the art of medicine. Okay, now I flunked art. I can't even draw a stick man. But you have to learn if you want to be a good doctor, you better learn the art of medicine, and today they pump them out. I hate to say it, they pump them out. The pharmaceutical industry has hijacked medical schools and they're not into history like they should. I'm not saying they're no good, I'm just saying they're missing something. The old-fashioned doctor was a historian. They took histories. They wanted to know what makes you tick. That's an important part of a good workup in medicine. Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your history. It always bothered me. My dad was so good at it. Give me your history. He used to tell me, listen to your patient. They have inside information.

And today, doctor, man, you can ask me one question. Are you kidding me? Chronic stress, okay, chronic stress, including poor sleep, because like I said, it's a vicious cycle. Poor diet, carb loaded. Guys, you have no idea. You have no idea what sugar does. It rewires your brain and it affects both compartments of your brain, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. It's amazing. It's amazing what happens when you get off sugar. You know me, I'm not into moderation. I'm into elimination. Eliminate it. If you are unwell, you better start there. Eliminate sugar. You'll be surprised how your brain headquarters will respond. And like I said, people would leave my off and they probably were shaking their head like, doc, I got a thyroid problem. I got estrogen dominance, and you're telling me to go home and change my diet? Yep, I am. You're telling me to go home and not have any sugar. Yep, I am. And you got to trust me for 30 days. You know? Got to trust me, man, because I know what I'm talking about.

And I've had tens of thousands of patients, tens of thousands of patients who tried that, elimination, not moderation. 30 day elimination, eliminate sugar, and their brain gets rewired, the fog of war, inflammation goes down and the synapses in the brain are start communicating with each other. It's amazing. Try it. Try it. Okay? Alcohol, on the reset, no alcohol for 30 days, none. Nada, because that can have a big effect on brain fog. Okay? So again, we eliminate temporarily, okay? Temporarily, we used to have a weight loss clinic and we'd catch people cheating, especially women. We'd say, well, have you had a little of that vino just before your meal? Stop, okay. We used to insist on it for the 30 day program. Okay?

Obviously goes along with food, certain vitamins, and I'm telling you guys, this was so consistent. It was unreal. Deficiencies. It was so consistent in brain fog. You know what I'm going to tell you ahead of time, but let's say it for those who are new to this podcast, almost invariably people were low in vitamin D and B12. Those two, especially low in vitamin D and B12, when a doctor will not test your B12 or your vitamin D, they need a spanking on their bum bum. I'm telling you, I'm making a case again for what it's like in medical school. They don't talk about B12 anymore. I talked to a guy on the weekend that was suffering from pernicious anemia. You know what that is? Pernicious anemia. And I hadn't heard that in a while. He said, well, I doc, I got pernicious anemia. It can be treated because it's low B12.

But you know what? Here's me the way I think most people, you know what the word pernicious means? Okay? Is they don't know. It sort of sneaks up on you, but that's what it is for the vast majority of the population. Now pernicious anemia, they're not making the intrinsic factor, they can't absorb B12, and that is a condition that can kill you, but it's treated with B12, but most people are deficient in B12. You got brain fog, you're low in B12, almost invariably, almost no exceptions to it. Over all the years, people would come in, we test their B12 and they were low in B12. And the vast majority of the population is. Why today are we so low in B12? Extremely low levels of B12. "Oh, doc, my doctor said, I got normal B12." Yeah, well, normal is for a mouse, not for you. Your body, especially headquarters, your brain needs B12 to be optimized.

And the vast majority of people in the world, they walk around and they've got low levels of B12, they have pernicious anemia, but they don't know it. Okay? And I'm using that word just because the guy was telling me about it on the weekend. I said, I haven't heard that for a bit. And the vast majority of the population is walking around with low vitamin D because they got low B12. They almost go together. People don't get, they're scared, skinny of the sun, or they live in Northern Ontario where we don't get any sun. No, I'm just kidding. We've had lots of sun the last couple of weeks. Like, okay, beautiful. It's climate change. You know what? We're getting our summer, believe me, the climate will change in the fall or before in Northern Ontario. Okay? We're not growing palm trees up here. All I'm saying is people are consistently and chronically low in B12 and vitamin D and boy those are big factors in your brain.

It should be the first thing we test in blood work. The first thing, let me see your B12, let me see your vitamin D. But doctors are not trained because physicians, they're trained to do blood work. But you know B12, man, I'm not worried about B12. You don't have pernicious anemia or I'm not worried about your vitamin D. You don't have osteoporosis. That's all they know. Unless they're reading, they got to read. You got to read journals. It's postgraduate education. Man, that bothers me. I remember, this is years ago, I worked for a company just on the side. All physicians, in most professions, by the way, every year need to update their education. So this company I worked for, they used to provide a seminar so doctors could come in for one or two days and get almost all of their credits that they needed for licensing to keep up their license and they could get it in one or two days. I used to teach that, and they used to like me because I used to make 'em laugh.

I said, you doctors, okay, put your hand up. Put your hand up. If you take omega-3, almost all their hands went up. They took a supplement, fish oil. How many of you taking fish oil? And there was cardiologists there. There was all sorts of different doctors. They put their hands up, Al my, let's say 60, 70% of the room. And I said, you're a bunch of hypocrites. You're a bunch of hypocrites. You take omega 3, but you don't tell your patients to take omega 3. That's hypocrisy. And they'd all laugh. And then I'd say, well, how many of you guys, when's the last time you gave a B12 shot or a nurse in your office gave someone a B12 shot? And they all look at me like why are you talking about B12? Cause it's important. And then I talk to them about vitamin D. All you think of is vitamin D and what it does for your bones. That's what you've been taught. You got a poor education, I used to tell them. You got a poor education compared to the old fashioned doctors. Anyway, oooh.

So when you got brain fog, you're deficient. Vitamin D, B12, almost for sure. Omega 3 almost for sure. Magnesium. Your brain needs magnesium almost for sure. Okay? That's what I used to test anyway, your gut, they don't look at the gut brain connection, and they should because serotonin, mood, there's more serotonin in your gut than there is in your brain. And that gut-brain connection, leaky gut, leaky brain. I talk about the gut, and it was almost like I was coming from outer space. I said, well, the biggest thing in medical research is the microbiome. I've only been talking about it for 40 years. The importance of the war that goes on inside your body, between good and bad bacteria. I said, that is essential. And your medications that you give out, okay? Sometimes people need to take their medications. I get that. I said, but you got to understand what it does. It affects the microbiome, especially antibiotics, and it can disrupt the microbiome, the balance that's in there.

Then you get an invasive species that comes in and can get up into your brain and bring heavy metals into the brain and can give you a brain fog, the gut brain connection. And in hormones, hormones, we talked about the hypothalamus. And you get too much estrogen, you become too much of a woman, and men become too much of a woman too.

And when men get too much estrogen, their testosterone sinks like the Titanic. It creates an imbalance. And most men after 50 that I tested, have more estrogen than their wives do and their testosterone. You want to know why men get brain fog? One of the biggest things, their testosterone is not registering on the Richter scale. Guys, the serum testosterone test, what they consider normal is not enough for a man. Okay? It isn't. And testosterone sinks like the Titanic in men if they don't be careful. And in women, your estrogen is dominant compared to your progesterone. It's an imbalance. I see a lot that can give you brain fog. Even in post-menopause. It can give you brain fog, horrormones. Again, you used to see it so many times. Okay? Thyroid can do it. Okay? That TSH, T3, T4 should be well-balanced.

And then let me finish with this. Meds can give you. Antihistamines over the years that people take those things. You've got allergies, it's bad. And when you have an allergy, you got to clean up a lot of things and you got to figure yourself out because you're usually allergic to yourself too. And there's always a component of leaky gut, and you got to fix that. And it's not always easy to fix. Doesn't get fixed overnight. And you got to figure out what foods bother you. And you got to be your own doctor in a lot of ways. But antihistamines, one of their side effects is brain fog. Okay? High blood pressure medication. I mean, millions and millions of people are on high blood pressure, and I'm not telling you not to get on them. I can't do that. I won't do that, but I'm just telling you, they're side effects to them.

And anxiety meds and depression meds and sleeping pills. You think you're sleeping, you're really sedated. That's different. Your brain can't repair itself. The glial system, okay? Your lymphatics and your brain doesn't repair if you're on sleeping pill. I know Doc, but I don't sleep well. I said you're not sleeping. Your sedated is different. Sun, Steak & Steel (and sleep). I hope to have an announcement this week. Yep. Okay. On that book. I don't want to say too much because I disappoint myself, and then I don't want to disappoint you guys. You're going to love that book, though. I mean it.

Okay, that was fun for me. I hope for you. Okay. Brain fog. And I often go off in these rabbit trails. Ooh, guys, we love you dearly. Okay, we got a good week coming up. Lots of fun. Friday is question and answer Friday. Don't be shy. Don't be shy, okay? Join our private Facebook group. We love you guys. What a great community. We just love it. Okay? And if you're not getting our emails, go to martin clinic.com and I think you can sign up for the emails if you're not getting them, I think, don't ask me. Okay guys, we love you dearly. Talk to you soon.

Announcer:  You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!

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