0

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What's causing my brain fog right now?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 20, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Hey PH (pun intended?),

I'm going through the whole 'what food is doing what' moment right now.

When I woke up today I had my usual breakfast: eggs with kerrygold unsalted butter and two slices of bacon. I also had a Granny Smith Apple. I have not had apples or fruit for a very long time, by the way. I did however have a banana in a protein shake earlier yesterday (see below). I also had a bite of dark chocolate (some mornings I do, some I don't. Some mornings I'll have a bite of it and won't be fatigued whatsoever.)

My supplements: Vitamin B complex (contains lots of Bs, some vitamin C) Vitamin D3 Zinc Magnesium Fish Oil Potassium

Right now I am dealing with some mild heartburn, fatigue and brain fogginess. I do not feel 'on' at all and can't focus on anything.

I am ADHD and I take medication to regulate my screwy dopamine levels. It is integral to getting tasks accomplished and retaining information. The medication works best when you eat and sleep well, and hydrate often. I stick to a high sat-fat, high protein, low/mod carb diet most of the week, with a 'refeeding' period where I 'earn my carbs', usually after HIIT days. When I do this, I am sharp and function quite well with my challenging tasks and can fit a schedule.

However, certain variables seem to screw it up and bring on the brain fog and fatigue. The biggest one is sleep. I do not think sleep is the primary factor anymore for this particular day, after getting lots of it the past two days. But sleep is a tricky thing, and maybe I wasn't sleeping as much as I thought. But I almost feel 'too sleepy'. It's all or nothing with ADHD: too much... too little. Balance is a daily struggle.

What could be causing this blah mood? Could it be the apple? The fish oil? The bacon? The celery powder in the TJ's brand bacon?

Could it be the butter?

Could it be the exercise the day prior? Yesterday around the afternoon I did a 25 minute session of HIIT. During and afterwards I drank plenty of water and had a protein shake with a banana. The usual post-HIIT crabbiness still crept in, but a bit slower this time, and after eating dinner (my awesome hot Italian sausage stew), the headache melted away. I slept A TON however, and woke up today around noon. My work schedule permits these kinds of hours, though I prefer to usually wake up around 9-10 am. Stressful events around me have led to lack of sleep on that front, however, (such as on Friday), so I end up naturally being konked out for more hours.

Could it be the Vitamin C in the B-vitamin? Or any of the other supplements?

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on July 18, 2013
at 05:29 AM

i used to have severe ADHD problems. i really believe ADHD is caused by carbs, fibers, FODMAPS and sugars. i would try going on a VLC/ZC diet with less vegetables and more quality proteins/fats. i.e. lamb, beef, seafood, eggs (if tolerable), no dairy. high fat, moderate protein solved most of my problems in a few months time. i know what you mean by dopamine issues and sometimes it really seems like adding back carbs helps but it just only gives u a temporary feel-good high and leaves you unsatisfied. I'd go ZC all the way

3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on July 17, 2013
at 10:21 PM

blueberries--especially defrosted frozen ones--are an excellent choice: not too sweet, but tasty, and the sugar/carb hit isn't too bad, either.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 24, 2013
at 02:55 PM

yeah i can't get anything on their site to work right now... But shellfish/seafood (crab, lobster, scallops). But also I just re-read your question and if carbs help you un-fog, why not eat more of them? What's your carb refeeding amount and what are your sources?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 24, 2013
at 06:16 AM

i really don't know much about the protein powders. i'm sure the ingredients and quality vary wildly. i mean look, it's probable that your fatigue is caused by lack of sleep, as you mentioned. the other obvious thing is not eating "enough".. calories or carbs. if you feel like you know where you stand with those 3 things, it's time for eliminations, in which case the B vitamins or the powder should be the first to go. they should both be seen as sub-optimal add-ons anyway.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:29 AM

That link to the supplements page is dead :(

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:11 AM

Today I took the b complex at night for a change.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:09 AM

I supplement with magnesium. I have next to no shellfish in my diet.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:08 AM

I've been on a caloric deficiency for awhile (some days I go over). By how much differs from day to day. I try to get at least 2 big portion meals a day. I'm not really doing any IF'ing, or atleast not enough to be consistent.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:05 AM

I supplement with magnesium. I have little shellfish in my diet.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:02 AM

The powder isn't a daily thing. It's just taken after I workout, and It's only been at this new gym, and I've only been there about 3 times, so it isn't a daily thing or ongoing. Maybe if I cooked 3 eggs afterwards instead?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 22, 2013
at 04:43 AM

oh yeah, and eat more. maybe u just hongry. i just noticed you mentioned feeling better after carbs in a comment. you can ignore my answer entirely. i'm probably projecting. as usual. zzz.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 21, 2013
at 02:12 PM

Maybe it isn't food. Maybe it's paleohacks.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 21, 2013
at 01:17 PM

sorry I hope I don't come across as sounding supercilious when I say protein shake is not food. It's just that it's tough to get your vitamins + minerals because our soil is depleted and therefore our vegetables and fruit are, and supplements can help but better to eat shellfish, beef, eggs than protein powder because they have other important nutrients.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 20, 2013
at 11:27 PM

I haven't had a larabar or anything of that sort in a very long time, btw. I'd prefer to get my carb fix from white rice, white potatoes or sweet potatoes. The bagels help and I'm not sure if glutens affect me negatively (though certain beers torture my stomach). I should start cutting sweet potatoes up in oil for breakfast, or some other way.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 20, 2013
at 11:23 PM

I just had a larabar (omg cashews and dates!) and in about 10-15 mins after eating, I feel the fog lifting. Yesterday, when I did my HIIT session, my first meal was a bagel sandwich with eggs and bacon. No fatigue that afternoon either. I do need my carbs and I earn them.

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8 Answers

2
91451db3488201f51e85e6a69a6e0f89

(198)

on May 20, 2013
at 10:37 PM

Idk that there's any way to know, aside from removing things 1 by 1, then adding them back in and seeing what caused it.

It also happened once, so it may not be anything that's any sort of big deal.

1
564468f093b36d9cdeb8adb138446363

(188)

on May 22, 2013
at 06:42 AM

Last year I developed blood sugar instability and sensitivity to eggs and butter (among other things). Butter still gives me stomach upset. I eat fruit now, but I try to eat meat right after. Eggs are more tolerable now, but back then, a few minutes after eating eggs, I would start having intense brain fog accompanied by heat behind my eyes and awful mood swings.

Aaaaand the soy and wheat germ that held my supplement capsules together were giving me fatigue and antisocial moods. I switched to gelatin capsules quick. So really it could be just about anything you mentioned. Sorry :(

I probably say this in half my comments, but you could go autoimmune paleo for a month and reintroduce your eggs, dairy, etc with 4 days between new foods to see which ones are triggers. (Some foods can take up to 4 days to cause symptoms because some of them wreak havoc at the "other end" or in your liver.)

The good news is that I've never heard anyone having short-term bacon symptoms :)

1
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 22, 2013
at 04:35 AM

Everybody is different, but for me? if I did/ate everything the same? -- it would the B complex. I'd seriously try ditching those Bs before anything else. C should be ok.. if theres not too many fillers. I just think there's something about that B complex, man. It used to murder me. I had no idea what was going on. My main issue/allergy/intolerance thing is yeast. I think there's a relationship btwn some B vit preparations and yeast, but I can't be bothered to look it up right now. Even if it's not the yeast, it'll be useful and easiest, to chuck the Bs first and leave everything else the same, just to see what happens. The difference should be noticeable after a few days, if not sooner. If after a week or so there's no change, see how you do adding it back - but honestly, you shouldn't need B supps if you're eating enough good stuff.

B complex would give me brain fog, weird tingles, anxiety, nausea, and eff w my sleep. It took a while, but I figured out something was up with it even before drastically changing my diet. Just the smell of B complex makes me want to hurl.. //shudder//.

I also have an ADHD diagnosis. It's pretty much resolved and kept in check by avoiding all my previously favorite things. ;( ..SO hard. Aaaand.. Totally worth it.

Wait I re-read your post. Protein Powder?! Hrm. I am giving you the raised eyebrow! I would check out what's in that can... Do you need it? What is it? Is it awesome? I'm skeptical!

BUT I AM down with TJ's bacon, kgold butter, bananas, occasional apples, most dark chocolate*, and Cs and Ds. I swallow allv those foods on the regular. No fog.


*i must be careful about the chocolate - i react to some brands, including TJ's. Lindt and valhrona are safe for me (hey paleodogmatists pls don't start harping on soy lecithin, kthx).

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 22, 2013
at 04:43 AM

oh yeah, and eat more. maybe u just hongry. i just noticed you mentioned feeling better after carbs in a comment. you can ignore my answer entirely. i'm probably projecting. as usual. zzz.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 24, 2013
at 06:16 AM

i really don't know much about the protein powders. i'm sure the ingredients and quality vary wildly. i mean look, it's probable that your fatigue is caused by lack of sleep, as you mentioned. the other obvious thing is not eating "enough".. calories or carbs. if you feel like you know where you stand with those 3 things, it's time for eliminations, in which case the B vitamins or the powder should be the first to go. they should both be seen as sub-optimal add-ons anyway.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:11 AM

Today I took the b complex at night for a change.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:02 AM

The powder isn't a daily thing. It's just taken after I workout, and It's only been at this new gym, and I've only been there about 3 times, so it isn't a daily thing or ongoing. Maybe if I cooked 3 eggs afterwards instead?

1
8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 21, 2013
at 01:15 PM

I would suggest more carbs, iodine, selenium, other micronutrients and macronutrients. Can you get your TSH tested? what is your cholesterol? I'm pretty sure my TSH went way up on paleo because I wasn't eating enough shellfish, seaweed, etc. salmon doesn't really have enough.

Even if your physical says your TSH is normal, read this: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/07/thyroid-more-evidence-that-%e2%80%9cnormal%e2%80%9d-is-unhealthy/

Also, I can't recommend their book enough for why supplementation with a paleo-style diet is important. Magnesium, chromium, vitamin C, etc.

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/recommended-supplements/

Of course, protein shake is not food to me...and you don't say enough about your diet but keep in mind it is possible to develop nutrient deficiencies on a paleo diet, and also being too low carb can hurt you and your energy levels. Again, I urge you to read the perfect health diet for a good diet template and check again how you feel in 2 months.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:29 AM

That link to the supplements page is dead :(

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:05 AM

I supplement with magnesium. I have little shellfish in my diet.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 24, 2013
at 02:55 PM

yeah i can't get anything on their site to work right now... But shellfish/seafood (crab, lobster, scallops). But also I just re-read your question and if carbs help you un-fog, why not eat more of them? What's your carb refeeding amount and what are your sources?

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:09 AM

I supplement with magnesium. I have next to no shellfish in my diet.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 21, 2013
at 01:17 PM

sorry I hope I don't come across as sounding supercilious when I say protein shake is not food. It's just that it's tough to get your vitamins + minerals because our soil is depleted and therefore our vegetables and fruit are, and supplements can help but better to eat shellfish, beef, eggs than protein powder because they have other important nutrients.

1
76810b88f822fe3d8cf5399862d1068a

on May 21, 2013
at 04:45 AM

You probably need more carbs. I have ADD too and you should see me when I haven't been fed enough carbs...

Getting more carbs is as simple as eating more fruit. Try adding more fruit to your diet and see what happens, particularly when you feel foggy.

3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on July 17, 2013
at 10:21 PM

blueberries--especially defrosted frozen ones--are an excellent choice: not too sweet, but tasty, and the sugar/carb hit isn't too bad, either.

1
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:31 AM

Could be the apples - high on the FODMAPs list. Could be the fish oil too (another fermented fodmaps type item). I suppose the bacon and celery are high in nitrates.. so, sure, maybe that too. Or, it could be the combination and whatever drugs you're on. Maybe even something to do with your supplementation and workout. Or, most likely, none of that.

How many carbs / calories do you eat and how long have you eaten like that? I've found the adaptation to a new diet much slower than I would like. (with my natural sweet spot now settling in ~100g carbs, 2250 calories, 40/30/30.)

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 24, 2013
at 05:08 AM

I've been on a caloric deficiency for awhile (some days I go over). By how much differs from day to day. I try to get at least 2 big portion meals a day. I'm not really doing any IF'ing, or atleast not enough to be consistent.

1
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on May 20, 2013
at 11:15 PM

Not enough carbs causes brain fog. Specifically when your body is converting amino acids to glucose.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 20, 2013
at 11:23 PM

I just had a larabar (omg cashews and dates!) and in about 10-15 mins after eating, I feel the fog lifting. Yesterday, when I did my HIIT session, my first meal was a bagel sandwich with eggs and bacon. No fatigue that afternoon either. I do need my carbs and I earn them.

65b264d08baee91c52a4b7ea2d4a6665

on May 20, 2013
at 11:27 PM

I haven't had a larabar or anything of that sort in a very long time, btw. I'd prefer to get my carb fix from white rice, white potatoes or sweet potatoes. The bagels help and I'm not sure if glutens affect me negatively (though certain beers torture my stomach). I should start cutting sweet potatoes up in oil for breakfast, or some other way.

0
3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on July 17, 2013
at 10:24 PM

Also, with the right food plan and supplementation, it is possible to treat ADD/ADHD without meds. I did it--after years of saying it wouldn't work for me. This way, I don't blow my adrenals out with prescription speed, my mood is more stable, and the effects are even better than the meds.

F63d18a50a9cff09fac41cc420553710

on September 10, 2014
at 06:51 PM

Hi What food plan/supplementation helped you treat ADD/ADHD without  meds?

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