Posted by Physicians Preference Vitamins on 8/17/2021 to Vitamins and Supplements
Do you feel like you’re becoming more forgetful and find it difficult to remember simple to-do list items? Is it hard to concentrate and focus for long periods of time? Maybe you feel overdependent upon coffee to boost your moods, and you know something isn’t right. How can you get your brain feeling sharp and happy again?
In order to find the real reason you are having brain fog, often you have to take a U-turn here and go back to the ice cream, pasta, cookies, bread or chips (or whatever simple carbs you ate) and then dive into brain chemistry.
Excessive carbohydrate cravings are a sign of a brain imbalance. The craving is legit, but you have to know what your brain is telling you, and why, to regain balance.
A balanced brain needs the right amount of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain that normally help us have good moods, creativity, a sense of well-being, and a sharp memory. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter for happy moods and memory. When serotonin levels are low, we feel anxious, sad, and even depressed or foggy. Our brain turns on the “I need carbs now” signal, because our brain needs carbs to make serotonin, and we go for the fridge.
The issue, and another connection here with memory and overall well-being, is that if we eat the wrong foods (simple carbs) when our brain is just yelling “CARBS!” then we get the wrong result. We have to keep in mind that our brain is telling us it needs just the right amount of complex carbohydrates. If we eat the simple carbs, we will feel anxious, have memory issues, low energy, and weight gain. This can also happen when we eat too many of any type of carbs, even if it’s a healthy sweet potato. If we eat too much, we can throw our body and mind out of balance and deplete our serotonin.
And the cycle begins again.
Serotonin is the happy neurotransmitter which reduces carbohydrate cravings because it makes us feel happy and content. When the neurotransmitter is low, we feel sad and anxious, and we may literally try to eat our feelings.
Keeping serotonin levels optimal by eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that supports optimal brain balance is critical. If we ignore the signs and keep going in the wrong direction, we may be tempted to “go see a professional,” but an antidepressant is the last thing we need. Antidepressants only temporarily increase serotonin, and then they cause lower levels than before. Antidepressants can cause feelings of detachment from reality, sadness, and even suicidal thoughts. Don’t go anywhere near them if you aren’t already on one. If you are taking one now, you’ll have to talk to your doctor about how to try to taper off of it slowly. Never just stop taking an antidepressant “cold turkey.” It’s very dangerous.
Having a healthy, well-balanced brain without medications is totally achievable and makes everything easier. It can boost our mood, improve our memory, and even help us sleep better. A better mood makes our days happier. A better memory can help us remember names, faces, and places. Better sleep helps the next day go smoothly.
Here are 4 tips for a happier, healthier brain:
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Your brain is 75% water and needs to be hydrated in order to function properly. Water is the quickest, easiest solution for a lack of focus, and it’s also one of the most commonly overlooked causes, especially in a hot, dry climate. The best way to beat the heat and perk up is to drink water. Make it a rule that if the temperature is going above 100 degrees, you aren’t drinking any alcohol or coffee, and only drink water. Also, make sure you drink about a gallon of water per day.2. Detox with a “veggie day” once or twice per week. This helps hydrate the body and creates an extra boost of energy from the nutrients in all the healthy veggies. This also helps reduce the amount of blood your digestive system uses, which allows more blood flow to the brain. Allow yourself to eat one small complex carbohydrate serving per day, such as half a sweet potato. Your brain probably does need it, especially if you are active. The key is to stop there and not eat too much. If you are on the Yeast-Free Eating Program, then you will have to get your complex carbs from vegetables, which is also pretty easy to do.3. Take B-Vitamins and Fish Oil. These nutrients work together to help fuel a balanced brain, and lower stress and inflammation. Low levels of B-12 have been associated with increased levels of depression. The omega-3 nutrients in fish oil are healthy fats that have been shown to preserve the integrity of the myelin covering of our brain cells. The myelin is 60-75% fat and it’s critical to maintain these healthy levels to preserve memory and proper brain function. Symptoms of a deficiency of healthy fats, which leads to damaged myelin, are things like double vision, cognitive disruption, and fatigue. Damaged myelin can lead to severe nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis.4. Take something for extra brain power. If your brain has slowed down lately, and you just need a little boost in speed, take Acetyl L-Carnitine for better brain energy. If you have trouble with recalling information, like names or places, or if you need to remember a lot of information, take Phosphatidyl Serine (PSC) for an improved memory bank. It’s like turning your brain into a big file cabinet. It may take you a moment to think about it, but with good PSC levels, you can recall far more information than you ever thought possible. You can also take Cognitive Support for an overall healthier brain.
Here’s the good news from your local nutritionist: If you eat healthy most of the time and you aren’t on the Yeast-Free Eating Program, go ahead and have some ice cream when it’s hot. Have a couple of bites, drink water afterwards, and then find a way to burn it off. The main issue we battle is eating too much of something our body only needs in small amounts (or not at all). Make sure you are still eating to live rather than living to eat. Sometimes we just need a reminder.