By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Do you often find it difficult to think quickly and get motivated? Brain fog is a very common symptom that a lot of people experience. It can make your life harder, as it takes longer to get work done, and you may have to deal with the consequences of forgetting to do something important. Many people find that correcting intestinal problems can be an amazing way of restoring mental clarity.
Research has shown that people with undiagnosed coeliac disease who regularly eat gluten are more likely to have problems with focus, memory and concentration. This is an important reminder that coeliac disease, and most other digestive conditions don’t solely affect the gastrointestinal tract. They have the potential to affect any organ or tissue of the body. People with inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to experience brain fog, depression, anxiety, low motivation and poor quality sleep. Further evidence that problems happening in the gut can have adverse consequences on the brain.
Brain fog is something many of our patients complain of and we’ve seen dramatic improvements upon the adoption of a gluten free diet and sugar free diet. A recent study titled “Cognitive impairment in celiac disease improves on a gluten-free diet and correlates with histological and serological indices of disease severity” was published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The researchers noticed a correlation between improved healing of the small intestine upon removal of gluten from the diet with improved cognitive function. Gut health is so important for good mental health. If you are worried your brain is not as sharp as it could be, perhaps a test for coeliac disease is warranted.
Coeliac disease causes damage to the intestinal lining, allowing gut wastes to enter the circulation and travel to the liver. The liver gets overwhelmed with toxins, and they spill out into the bloodstream. Improving liver function with a liver tonic can be helpful.
If you are prone to constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, reflux or diarrhoea, it means there is an imbalance in the good and bad microbes in your intestines. Bad bacteria can secrete toxins that can enter your bloodstream and actually pass through your blood brain barrier, muddling your thoughts and raising the risk of depression, anxiety, poor concentration and low motivation. The ingredients in Gut Health powder are renowned for their ability to heal and seal the gut lining. They help to renew and repair the intestinal lining, making it a better barrier against the entry of toxins. The ingredients in BactoClear capsules may help to relieve abdominal bloating and flatulence.
Food sensitivities are a very common and often overlooked cause of mood and cognitive problems. A food sensitivity can cause the development of leaky gut syndrome, with all the resultant cognitive symptoms. Food sensitivities also cause harm because they activate the immune system in a destructive way. The inflammatory chemicals and antibodies that are produced every time you ingest an offending food cause stress to your liver and your brain. People with food sensitivities typically do not produce sufficient digestive enzymes. This means food molecules are incompletely digested when they enter the bloodstream. This causes an immune reaction and the subsequent development of food intolerance.
There are various different tests to check for a food sensitivity, but the most accurate method (which is also free) is an elimination diet. This is where you completely avoid the food for one month and watch for a change in symptoms. The most common problematic foods are dairy products, gluten-containing grains, soy, corn and eggs. Try avoiding those foods for a month and see if it affects your brain power. Tyrosine is a protein your brain uses to manufacture neurotransmitters. It can help with mood and motivation.
For more information on keeping your gut healthy, see the books
Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to help your immune system and reduce inflammation
and Healthy Bowel, Healthy Body