We all have a great deal of stress and responsibility on our shoulders, now more than ever before. In times of high stress, it is common for us to fall into a brain fog and become disoriented. This can be a major struggle for many people and is a difficult state of mind to overcome when you have a great deal to accomplish in your day. It might seem like suffering through your brain fog is the only recourse you have as the condition does not have any official treatments. However, you might be surprised to learn that another option does exist.
With this article, we hope to enlighten you on how adding turmeric to your diet can help you not only cope with brain fog but overcome it entirely.
What is Brain Fog?
Now, one of the main details to consider is what brain fog is. The trouble lies in the fact that brain fog in and of itself is not a medical condition but is more a symptom of other conditions. You might not even be aware that you are suffering through brain fog as it can be lost in the sea of symptoms the underlying conditions might induce.
Brain fog is a form of cognitive dysfunction that makes it extremely difficult for you to concentrate or focus on the tasks you need to complete for the day. In extreme cases, brain fog can even impede your memory and keep you from remembering the aforementioned tasks at all.
As we have established, brain fog is not a condition that manifests on its own and instead piggybacks as a symptom of underlying conditions. Several common issues can cause brain fog, including a lack of sleep, stress, and even poor diet. However, one of the major contributors to brain fog is inflammatory diseases. There are more than a few diseases and chronic conditions that cause chronic inflammation in the body, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Coincidentally, diabetes and arthritis are both known to also come with brain fog as a symptom. Even mental conditions such as anxiety can induce brain fog, keep you from concentrating on your tasks, and prevent you from being calm enough to do them. In essence, brain fog is a detrimental state of mind that can severely inhibit your everyday activities and workflow. It negatively impacts your focus, memory, and even your mood, all of which are extremely important things to preserve. Therefore, finding a way to alleviate it can only be beneficial, which begs the question: how can turmeric help?
Inflammation, Brain Fog, and Turmeric
When you think of inflammation, you likely think of when you suffer an allergic reaction or sprain your ankle. It causes pain and swelling that often takes time to go down but is temporary. When suffering from chronic inflammation or dealing with a chronic condition that causes inflammation, you suffer from several conditions. Many conditions can arise from inflammation of the brain, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Brain fog is a symptom of this inflammation as well, making turmeric helpful in overcoming them.
When it comes to brain fog, there are no pharmaceuticals that can tend to the symptoms. Of course, those underlying conditions that have pharmaceutical treatments might see the brain fog alleviated if the condition itself is treated as prescribed by your physician. If you can't treat the underlying disease, you may be able to use turmeric to treat the brain fog as a symptom. You might be wondering how turmeric could help with cognitive impairment of this nature. The answer lies in the most valuable chemical turmeric has to offer. Curcumin.
The curcumin found in the species Curcuma Longa has become something of a legend among proponents of holistic medicine. The most important benefit of the chemical is its status as a natural anti-inflammatory. Since brain fog is associated with inflammatory diseases and conditions, turmeric is a potentially powerful tool in the fight against it – especially given inflammation's role in other memory-compromising conditions such as Alzheimer's. Curcumin has high bioactivity that gives it the ability to reduce inflammation and, by extension, help to treat inflammation-induced brain fog.
Based on a study conducted by BMC, 139 individuals suffering from osteoarthritis were tested, 94% of whom saw reduced symptoms and inflammation after being administered 500mg of curcumin three times a day. This impressive effect of curcumin on the inflammatory effects of osteoarthritis indicates just how beneficial it can be in reducing the effects of inflammation-induced brain fog. However, it is not just the inflammation that curcumin can help with, but other factors that might help you overcome the brain fog that is wearing you down.
Turmeric and Brain Fog
One of the main issues that arise from brain fog is a negative impact on your memory and mood, which is also associated with Alzheimer's. A study published in 2018 in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry evaluated the effects of curcumin on supplementing the memory of Alzheimer's patients. 40 adults between 50- and 90-years-old suffering from memory complications were randomly assigned placebos and curcumin supplements. Those who were given the curcumin supplements noted improvements in their memory retention.
On a lesser scale, those taking the curcumin supplements also noted a slight improvement in their overall mood. When facing a highly detrimental condition like Alzheimer's, just one of many conditions that induce brain fog, curcumin's efficacy against the symptoms denotes just what a powerful tool it is in the fight against brain fog as a whole.
An improved mood, as well as the spike in memory retention, makes overcoming brain fog a simpler matter and allows you to return to the tasks you need to complete. However, this is not the full extent of how brain fog impacts you or how curcumin helps to resolve those issues.
While mood and memory are among the most severe effects of brain fog on your overall ability to function, there is also the matter of focus. Brain fog makes it extremely difficult for you to maintain your overall focus on the tasks ahead of you and can therefore lead to a decline in how effectively you can perform your duties. Fortunately, turmeric might even be able to assist with this symptom of brain fog.
The ability to focus on a task or information of any kind is determined by serotonin and dopamine, both of which keep our minds and bodies happy enough to achieve focus and are responsible for cognitive function. Research has determined that curcumin stimulates our body's production of both dopamine and serotonin. This means that curcumin can enhance our ability to focus and reduce the impact of brain fog.
Brain Fog and COVID-19
It is worth noting that, in recent days, the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to several recurring medical issues. However, recent symptoms and research have determined that COVID-19 causes many long-term side effects, including brain fog that can persist for long periods. According to Dr. Talya Fleming, brain fog induced by the COVID-19 virus likely stems from the following symptoms:
- Lack of oxygen from lung damage
- Inflammation of the brain cells
- Autoimmune disorders causing the immune system to target the body erroneously
- Lack of blood flow due to swelling of small blood vessels in the brain
- Invasion of infectious cells to the brain
COVID-19 is an extremely dangerous virus that has been sweeping the globe since 2020 began. There has been some information about turmeric potentially helping to alleviate some of the pain induced by COVID-19. However, using turmeric supplements may help alleviate the brain fog and inflammation the virus causes.
Turmeric supplements will not be enough to provide any lasting relief from the virus, and you should always follow medical guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and protection. However, using it may help with the brain fog you can suffer from and retain functionality even with the virus.
Prevention is better than mitigation of symptoms, and COVID-19 is a serious infection. It cannot be treated with turmeric or any other medication or supplement currently on the market. It's much better to get yourself vaccinated, try to avoid variant or breakthrough infections through safety measures, and deal with any medical, mental, or social issues that occur while doing so.
Other Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric can help with a variety of mental and emotional issues, not just brain fog. Curcumin has been researched and has been found to provide many benefits to mental health and other neurological conditions that might adversely affect you and your ability to focus.
For one thing, curcumin research has found that it has the potential as a natural antidepressant by promoting serotonin production. It may even be as effective as Prozac. This means we may soon have a natural treatment for depression through curcumin's properties. Studies on a group of three patients showed that those who took both Prozac and curcumin supplements enjoyed the most significant relief from depression. Furthermore, some research indicates that depression might be a result of chronic inflammation, meaning curcumin's anti-inflammatory could further protect against depression.
Another benefit of curcumin is that it might protect against brain aging, which can accelerate neurological degradation. This protection is invaluable for those who would otherwise suffer from chronic memory damage. The research backing this states that curcumin is a powerful antioxidant capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. By doing so, it protects brain cells from damage. It can also increase the blood flow to the brain and improve memory retention. Further research saw that curcumin supplements improve the overall blood flow in the brain and likely increases memory and attentiveness within an hour, even in elderly patients.
There is more research implying that curcumin can even protect against certain types of cancer. Regularly consuming turmeric, and therefore increasing your curcumin intake, might be able to help reduce tumors, block cell transformation, and minimize how cancer spreads through the body. This is not to say that turmeric can cure cancer, merely that it may reduce the symptoms that can cause it.
While these benefits are not necessarily a way to combat brain fog, they help keep your overall physical and mental condition healthy enough to keep fighting it going forward. It can be extremely difficult to find natural methods to do so, and none are without risk.
Turmeric itself is a culinary spice and supplement and has no associated risks in the amounts you are likely to take.
That said, there are some risks associated with production and retail. Turmeric primarily comes from India, where regulations on production and processing materials like turmeric are relatively lax. This has led to many instances of adulteration.
The most striking characteristic of turmeric is its vibrant yellow-orange coloration. Often, the public views turmeric by its color, assuming that the brighter the color, the more potent the spice. Unfortunately, this has led to some vendors mixing other bright yellow chemicals into their turmeric, aiming to make the color more vibrant.
One particular offender is lead chromate, a bright yellow chemical that is unfortunately highly toxic. As a lead-based chemical, it naturally can cause lead poisoning. There have been many cases of adulterated turmeric found in markets around the world.
For this reason, it is recommended that you purchase your turmeric supplements from a reputable vendor. This is especially important since the FDA only loosely regulates turmeric as a supplement, not a medication.
Brain fog can be an extremely debilitating condition that makes it impossible to function properly, especially when it comes to completing the work you set out to do daily. While it is not recognized as its independent medical condition, the symptom still necessitates treatment to avoid overwhelming us.
Taking turmeric is unlikely to treat the underlying diseases causing brain fog. However, regularly taking turmeric supplements may help with many side effects, including brain fog, and can make treating your conditions that much easier.
Feel free to reach out at any time if you have any questions or concerns!