5

votes

Brain Fog Attack- cause and fix?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 04, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I started eating strictly paleo a couple of weeks ago and am finding that it is easy for me and I love it, very comfortable with this way of eating. I'm slimming down quite quickly and am not hungry. Overall I have seen a reduction in anxiety...I feel calmer. One of the problems I'd really like to eliminate though is brain fog and depression. I've had it for years. Completely off gluten and any processed foods now and it seems better, so when I had a major attack of fog head an irritability last night I thought it must be food related. Possible culprits are chamomile tea (some teas seem to have irritated me in the past, but not sure) or chicken I ate from a bone broth (skin on). Is this an omega six issue? If so what can I do to best compensate for the years of depression and damage in my body? I was on SSRI's and now am completely off medication. They weren't working anymore anyway. Maybe it's not the chicken, but the low carb? I did eat an apple in the afternoon though... Anyone else have experience with this?

I am on several supplements to help the healing process early on, including fish oil, cod liver oil, magneseum/minerals. Is Sam-e helpful?

Update: ate some chicken again, no big deal. I think it was the tea, which has also made me think more about eating animal products from animals that have eaten allergenic plants. I once had a bad reaction to eating goat cheese from local goats that were probably chowing down on ragweed, juniper n stuff. Anyone have any experience with this?

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Luisa, great idea. I am planning to do that pretty soon. Getting going for a few weeks on the LC, a bit of berries and an apple here and there so far. AndyM, I just quit 3 weeks ago, so...yes!

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:19 AM

I'm glad I was able to encourage you re: depression, hang in there! :-) Good to hear that you know it was the Chamomile, atleast now you can avoid it.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 06, 2012
at 01:45 AM

Luisa, yes, been taking vitD every day and cod liver oil. I am feeling 90% sure the chamomile affected me though after looking it up...it's related to ragweed and also ragweed was one of the only things to come up in a limited allergy test I had. Also the attack the other night was more acutely intense. I really shoulda made this sort of a two part question I think. In any case, easy enough for me to test if I get up the guts to do it. I'm really glad to hear positive results for the ongoing depression issue. It means a lot to me and I'm needing these suggestions.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 05, 2012
at 03:20 PM

Why not up the carbs with carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, turnips, squashes, etc... instead of rice? (And I say this knowing that rice is a comfort to the soul :P but it's your choice, ofcourse)

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:54 PM

You ever talked to someone trying to quit smoking?

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:38 PM

Thanks so much. At least I have some great things to try and I am motivated for that!

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on January 05, 2012
at 08:55 AM

Heather - no worries...all the best with it. And don't sweat the exercise thing too much. It doesn't have to be strenuous - in fact it's better if it's not. If you can just walk every day a bit (and if you miss a day, so what?)...you should find that the spiral starts going upwards, and then you can do more and have more motivation...it's getting it turned around that's key and that can be done with surprisingly little of exactly the right things.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:06 PM

So reading through everything, no one seems to think it's the chicken? I'd like to keep working on my perpetual broth/bone broth plan...glad if it's not.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Will experiment with this... Ha, "bitchy" is about right. Not fun for hubs.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:01 PM

"Crisp" and "calm and happy" is exactly what I'm aiming for. So glad to hear a positive outcome.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:00 PM

I will read that (Primal Blueprint). No, have not been excercising much. A bit of treadmill walking last week, trying to reintroduce, but really have had trouble motivating to do ANYTHING for a long time. It's been intolerable. Quit the meds b/c they've been virtually ineffective. I did a bit of tanning in a bed yesterday and take vit D and cod liver since it's been snowing a lot. Thanks for the great suggestions.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Technically I went off the SSRI in August, ended up on an anxiety pill (buspirone) after a couple of months due to crippling anxiety. I quit that a few days ago, It was only helping a little, but enough to stop a complete freak out. I don't think I need it now. Yes, I should be patient with myself... Karen, ha I didn't think you meant waling. I will definitely read those links, thanks. I DO have an allergy to RAGWEED! That may have messed me up, I felt like garbage. Thanks Sara, ugh, trying to work this out. Have you gotten any better?

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 04, 2012
at 06:40 PM

Low blood sugar definitely *can* work that fast, though, and it exacerbates depression/anxiety symptoms. I never found SSRIs to work for me, either, and being on them retarded progress. I did find SSREs (e.g. tianeptine) helpful, but the withdrawal caused panic attacks, and the short halflife made it very difficult to taper gradually enough.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 04, 2012
at 06:36 PM

My experience is similar to Julie's. I've always struggled with depression and anxiety, and when I went VLC I noticed it got worse, and improved when I up the carbs. I am super foggy and irritable if I get below 50g carbs and I seem to do best around 100g carbs. When I catch an episode early, exercise helps me, but if I'm already in the midst of one, strenuous exercise (like weightlifting or jogging) seems to make it worse (walking is still good, though).

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 04, 2012
at 06:35 PM

I've always struggled with depression and anxiety, and when I went VLC paleo I noticed it got worse, and improved when I up the carbs. I am super foggy and irritable if I get below 50g carbs and I seem to do best around 100g carbs. When I catch an episode early, exercise helps me, but if I'm already in the midst of one, strenuous exercise (like weightlifting or jogging) seems to make it worse (walking is still good, though).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 04, 2012
at 05:15 PM

I've read about other's reactions to Chamomile tea. Especially if they have ragweed allergies. I doubt it's the chicken.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:25 PM

Also, a link to a great ongoing discussion - Whats your choice of play? http://paleohacks.com/questions/87335/whats-your-choice-of-play#axzz1iVGeeqrd

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:24 PM

Also a link to a great ongoing discussion - http://paleohacks.com/questions/87335/whats-your-choice-of-play#axzz1iVGeeqrd

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:20 PM

There are lots of posts here discussing depression. You may want to check some of them out too. http://paleohacks.com/search?q=depression#axzz1iV0s2olu

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:18 PM

walking (I am the typo queen)

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:17 PM

Meds don't work that fast ("a couple of weeks") for depression, you certainly shouldn't expect a diet to work that quickly either. The fastest working thing I know of is waling daily in nature and sun, but if too depressed that is hard to do. See Garys answer below and my comments.

8c8e71eb729c0edb4786c6f3ba8614e4

(568)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:13 PM

when did you go off the SSRI? It can take a while for your body to bounce back from it's effects

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:13 PM

Do as much as you can, but (and some will argue with this) if depression is bad enough that you can't cope with doing anything (been there, have the t-shirt) get back on meds, maybe a different on or a combo, until you can move enough on your own for these to start working.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:10 PM

+1 for mentioning some of the non-food factors involved in treating depression. Sunshine as early as possible. Cold exposure is allegedly helpful. Nature - get out where it's green - check out "forest bathing" although even short times in nature help. Vitamin D - from sun in seasons when that is practical. Music, meditation (for some people, quit if it leads to rumination), things that make you laugh like ridiculous movies....

  • C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

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8 Answers

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6
6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on January 04, 2012
at 02:45 PM

You talk a lot about your diet but not about exercise. I wonder if there is a clue in there ie that you don't mention it. I would suggest starting to ensure you get plenty of good exercise, start with just walking - and with some sunshine if you can. Check Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint suggestions. I'm following it at the moment and feel great on it in every way possible...

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:10 PM

+1 for mentioning some of the non-food factors involved in treating depression. Sunshine as early as possible. Cold exposure is allegedly helpful. Nature - get out where it's green - check out "forest bathing" although even short times in nature help. Vitamin D - from sun in seasons when that is practical. Music, meditation (for some people, quit if it leads to rumination), things that make you laugh like ridiculous movies....

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 04, 2012
at 03:13 PM

Do as much as you can, but (and some will argue with this) if depression is bad enough that you can't cope with doing anything (been there, have the t-shirt) get back on meds, maybe a different on or a combo, until you can move enough on your own for these to start working.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:00 PM

I will read that (Primal Blueprint). No, have not been excercising much. A bit of treadmill walking last week, trying to reintroduce, but really have had trouble motivating to do ANYTHING for a long time. It's been intolerable. Quit the meds b/c they've been virtually ineffective. I did a bit of tanning in a bed yesterday and take vit D and cod liver since it's been snowing a lot. Thanks for the great suggestions.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on January 05, 2012
at 08:55 AM

Heather - no worries...all the best with it. And don't sweat the exercise thing too much. It doesn't have to be strenuous - in fact it's better if it's not. If you can just walk every day a bit (and if you miss a day, so what?)...you should find that the spiral starts going upwards, and then you can do more and have more motivation...it's getting it turned around that's key and that can be done with surprisingly little of exactly the right things.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:38 PM

Thanks so much. At least I have some great things to try and I am motivated for that!

best answer

5
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 04, 2012
at 02:56 PM

I recommend you read around at Perfect Health Diet http://perfecthealthdiet.com/ I had severe brain fog when I started to add safe starches back in to vlc and I still don't know why but I suspected low grade infections. I added Candida Clear by NOW, oregano oil, Vitamin C, iodine and selenium. Continued with sunshine for Vitamin D and daily walks. It cleared up and now my mind feels very crisp and my mood is calm and happy. Keep up with Paleo and experiment around to see what helps. It takes time. Also, I made up a chart to track what I was trying and how I was feeling and it helped keep me focused when it was hard to focus!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:01 PM

"Crisp" and "calm and happy" is exactly what I'm aiming for. So glad to hear a positive outcome.

3
5f3e1f803d7a9b8704bb11cda26bcf9a

on January 04, 2012
at 06:17 PM

Hi. I started strict Paleo and VLC 3 weeks ago. I, too, experienced a period of depression and irritability from 1-2 weeks in. I found myself unusually angry at things and my hubbie and I even talked about breaking up (!) before I realized it had to be food related. So I upped my carbs with a bit of rice and felt amazingly better. Now, at 3 weeks, I am just making sure I get a bit of high density carb every other day in the form of 1/2 sweet potato (preferred) or 1/2 c white rice. (still not bad) I'm no expert but I know it made me feel better and not at all bitchy.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 04, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Will experiment with this... Ha, "bitchy" is about right. Not fun for hubs.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 04, 2012
at 06:36 PM

My experience is similar to Julie's. I've always struggled with depression and anxiety, and when I went VLC I noticed it got worse, and improved when I up the carbs. I am super foggy and irritable if I get below 50g carbs and I seem to do best around 100g carbs. When I catch an episode early, exercise helps me, but if I'm already in the midst of one, strenuous exercise (like weightlifting or jogging) seems to make it worse (walking is still good, though).

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on January 04, 2012
at 06:35 PM

I've always struggled with depression and anxiety, and when I went VLC paleo I noticed it got worse, and improved when I up the carbs. I am super foggy and irritable if I get below 50g carbs and I seem to do best around 100g carbs. When I catch an episode early, exercise helps me, but if I'm already in the midst of one, strenuous exercise (like weightlifting or jogging) seems to make it worse (walking is still good, though).

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:54 PM

You ever talked to someone trying to quit smoking?

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Luisa, great idea. I am planning to do that pretty soon. Getting going for a few weeks on the LC, a bit of berries and an apple here and there so far. AndyM, I just quit 3 weeks ago, so...yes!

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 05, 2012
at 03:20 PM

Why not up the carbs with carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, turnips, squashes, etc... instead of rice? (And I say this knowing that rice is a comfort to the soul :P but it's your choice, ofcourse)

2
Medium avatar

on January 04, 2012
at 05:31 PM

Low blood sugar can cause brain fog-like thinking. Be careful thus for blood sugar spikes and their crashes.

1
19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 05, 2012
at 03:18 PM

Hi, I'm no doctor, but my severe depression + suicidal thoughts are GONE since I started Paleo back in May, so maybe I can help.

Do you take any Vit D3? I don't think it's the chicken or the tea, I think it's just you haven't healed yet. This is not surprising at all given that you've only been Paleo for a couple weeks. Have faith and give it time.

Exercise: never done it, yet still cured my depression and brain fog. I am starting a C25K soon (I had tried it before but couldn't do it). I think Vit D3 and eating better would be sufficient.

Also agree with the person who said to watch out for blood sugar spikes (eating too many carbs at once).

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:19 AM

I'm glad I was able to encourage you re: depression, hang in there! :-) Good to hear that you know it was the Chamomile, atleast now you can avoid it.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on January 06, 2012
at 01:45 AM

Luisa, yes, been taking vitD every day and cod liver oil. I am feeling 90% sure the chamomile affected me though after looking it up...it's related to ragweed and also ragweed was one of the only things to come up in a limited allergy test I had. Also the attack the other night was more acutely intense. I really shoulda made this sort of a two part question I think. In any case, easy enough for me to test if I get up the guts to do it. I'm really glad to hear positive results for the ongoing depression issue. It means a lot to me and I'm needing these suggestions.

0
36b3c970ad360d0159fcb9ef27cee90c

on January 25, 2012
at 11:34 AM

Is cod liver oil really a good supplement ? I've heard that too much vitamin A in the cod liver oil could lead to depression and stuff.

0
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:55 PM

If it were me, I'd have a nap.

0
755d3a18737359da49c5e2167e5f2f63

on January 04, 2012
at 05:00 PM

Make sure you're getting enough potassium in your diet.

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