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Chronic Fatigue and Brain Fog: The Hidden Links

Most people ignore the fact that dealing with constant fatigue and brain fog is the direct result of structural modifications in the brain.

Despite the incredible properties of this organ, it is still prone to fogginess that might trigger chronic mental and physical fatigue, which negatively impacts your professional performance, personal life, and social connections.

To figure out the ways to address this problem, we first need to identify the factors that are causing it in the first place.

In this article, we will focus on the underlying causes behind brain fog and the consequent chronic fatigue.

The Concept of Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity refers to the neuronal interconnections that the brain forms as you experience and learn new things. The process persists throughout your entire life, allowing you to learn new information and process ideas and concepts.

However, the rate of neuroplasticity is not constant among all humans, as it’s partially depending on the activities and functions you perform on a daily basis.

The most common symptoms of poor neuroplasticity often seen in clinic are resulted from stress and fatigue.

Additionally some of the factors that may be disrupting the process of neuroplasticity may include:


Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of most debilitating pathologies, including brain atrophy that affects your mental sharpness and causes fatigue. Inflammation is present almost whenever there is a health concerns. However, to really allow the body to function at its best, we must discover what is driving the inflammation.

Inflammation could result from several causes, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury (recurrent concussions)

  • Food intolerances

  • Drug intoxication

  • Chronic stress

  • Chronic infections

  • Carbohydrate-rich diet

Microbiota Composition

As more studies are conducted, we are finding evidence that links the gut microbiome (microbiota) to numerous physiological functions, including cognitive and physical abilities.

The microbial composition of your gut plays a major role in how healthy you are. Any factors that cause dysbiosis can lead to fatigue, distractibility, poor memory, and concentration difficulties.

Researchers identified several strains of harmful bacteria that may cause chronic fatigue, pain, and brain fog.

These may include:

  • Faecalibacterium

  • Roseburia

  • Dorea

  • Coprococcus

  • Clostridium

  • Ruminococcus

  • Coprobacillus

Some factors that may lead to microbial gut imbalance include the inappropriate use of antibiotics, food poisoning, food intolerance, and gastroenteritis.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Your brain also requires certain nutrients to stay healthy.

If you have low magnesium, the effect would be on your thinking. Magnesium helps to maintain the synaptic nerves smooth and resilient, prevents neurogenic inflammation and helps to release inflammatory cytokines. Magnesium has been known to preserve the structure and function of mitochondrials. It decreases excitotoxicity and encourages GABA-our relaxing neurotrans

Acetyl L-Carnitine – this compound improves neuronal activity and regeneration while protecting the nerve cells from any electrical toxicity.

Vitamin B12 – this vitamin is crucial for the myelinization of nerve cells to accelerate the process of electrical signalling. Vitamin B12 also ensures DNA replication.

Iron deficiency – iron is vital for producing red blood cells (RBC); therefore, any deficiency in this element may lead to iron deficiency anemia, and consequently, lower oxygen saturation and less than optimal function of the brain.

Vitamin D – plays an important part in the preservation of cognitive function, particularly as we age. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with cognitive problems.

Low phosphorus – researchers found that low phosphorus serum levels are associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and causes brain fog.

Iodine deficiency – iodine is utilized by the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4, but did you also know it mediates the effects of thyroid hormone on brain development. Iodine deficiency is the most prevalent and preventable cause of mental impairment in the world.

Fatty Acids – fatty acids are essential for the central nervous system as they compromise the fundamental building blocks for the neurons. Consuming unsaturated fatty acids (e.g., omega-3, omega-6) improves the fluidity of brain cells, increases neurotransmitter efficiency, and stimulates neuroplasticity. It has been found that DHA, along with other compounds, improves brain activity, which is attributed to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol (stress hormone), which may lead to brain atrophy by targeting specific CNS tissues (e.g., prefrontal cortex). This area of your brain is responsible for planning and executing complex cognitive behavior.

The prefrontal cortex also determines personality traits, social behavior, and the efficiency of the decision-making process.

Chronic hyperglycemia

The brain takes up around 20% of your daily caloric expenditure. However, and despite the need for glucose, excessive amounts of carbs in the blood increase the risk of several ailments, including type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

Takeaway message

Brain fog and chronic fatigue could be the result of several factors that vary in severity and frequency. Unfortunately, the chronic disruption of cognitive function can increase the risk of neurodegenerative pathologies, such as Alzheimer’s disease hence the need to take care of our brains.

Due to the complexity of the underlying mechanisms, it is often challenging to address this issue on your own as the therapeutic approach is multidisciplinary and requires symptomatic and etiological treatments.

Nevertheless, contributing factors, such as inflammation, insulin resistance, disrupted thyroid function, nutritional deficiencies, and heavy metal toxicity, should all be targeted.

In fact, brain fog and fatigue could be attributed to numerous causes, which is why treatment  with us is designed on a case-to-case basis for an optimal prognosis.

For this reason, I am here to help you with any questions, concerns, or services regarding functional testing to optimise your performance and support you to feel yourself again. BOOK HERE

In good health,

Suzzi Hartery

BHSc Naturopath (Distinction) The Feel Good Society Founder & Head Practitioner


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