If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles here are written by a Functional Medicine Holistic Nutritionist. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Lupus Brain Fog: How I Defeated It And You Can Too
Brain fog is embarrassing, frustrating, and one of the crappiest symptoms to experience, especially because as you talk and look fine, people judge rather quickly, too quickly.
So, as my co-workers, friends, and family would get frustrated, so would I. I easily made myself look incompetent so many times as I reverse my nouns with verbs or completely forget mid-sentence simple words.
On top of that, sometimes I would slur my words and forget how to pronounce words like “interesting”… really, I did.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, keep reading.
It was heartbreaking because this was my new reality and those are the moments that people remember you for as compared to the “normal” times of conversation.
So, instead of sulking and accepting those negative feelings longer than necessary, I decided I’m done relying on conventional medicine as my only treatment because I was on track to starting immunosuppressive therapy and my rheumatologist wanted me to avoid it at for as long as possible.
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On top of that, I saw others doing so much better with Lupus when they added different areas of medicine in addition to their current treatment plan.
If my symptoms were felt most days out of a month and/or I’m experiencing many side effects, it’s a huge sign that current treatment isn’t good enough and we shouldn’t accept that as the new normal.
I knew there had to be a better way out from this rabbit hole of a symptom.
So, I’m going to explain how brain fog occurs and why.
Don’t worry, there are no magic pills or crazy mantras.
It’s evidence-based that’s proven through hundreds of thousands of autoimmune sufferers, their bloodwork, and research.
Let’s not waste time on our journey to wellness with Lupus. Am I right?!
The Causes of Lupus Brain Fog
Brain fog is your body telling you to fix underlying body-wide inflammation, nutrient abnormalities, and/or hormone imbalances.
Conventional medicine (CM) is what our current treatments are called. They use immunosuppressive therapy, generic prescriptions, and OTC drugs. These are designed to look at one organ system at a time and it is designed to treat and manage symptoms of conditions only.
There is a 100% need for CM for our condition, but not 100% of the time.
Now, is Lupus an autoimmune disease that is tied to one organ system only? That’s a big, fat NO.
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that attacks multiple organ systems. So, this answers your question of why we can never find reliable treatment options without the bed-ridden side effects.
Functional medicine (FM) is where medical practitioners (MD, DO, NP) looks at all health problems as a systemic issue which makes sense because our body is a system of organs that affect each other and work to keep us alive and well.
Not only do you suffer from chronic inflammation in parts of your body that cause physically seen changes, but your brain is inflamed! Inflammation is good temporarily to treat infections, but not chronically.
Basically your brain and gut have a very strong connection with each other. If you’re suffering from leaky gut syndrome, which we all are, it causes toxins to leak from your gut lining and travels around your body.
Then, there is increased inflammation in your gut which is the location of the majority of your immune system. This is mostly due to our lifestyle choices that contain many chemicals and pesticides in our food, water, skin/hair products etc.
Once those chemicals break down and “mix” into our cell’s molecular structure, it can start to alternate or break down the way they work and the cells start to misbehave, lose their ability to complete their task well and/or miscommunicate.
So, chronic inflammation is a one of the side effect which we experience too often.
Chronic inflammation causes a molecule, microRNA-155 to be elevated and this causes gaps in the blood-brain barrier. Gaps = toxins leaking into your brain. So, it causes inflammation in your brain and oxidative stress in your hypothalamus can be one of the underlying causes of brain fog.
This is just one of many examples of how chronic inflammation from one area of your body affects another causing brain fog.
When our nutrient levels are not in an optimal range we can still experience symptoms. There’s a huge difference between normal range as described in your bloodwork results from your CM doctor and optimal ranges.
So much so, that you feel symptoms when your vitamin D levels are in the low normal range to the CM doctors, but you still feel symptoms of bone pain, brain fog, immune system function isn’t quite there and so forth.
Or how about how your B levels are fine, but you’re still complaining to your doctors and they can’t figure it out.
On top of that, your homocysteine levels are elevated… Well, that’s all due to nutrients not being absorbed and utilized correctly. It’s a cascading effect that I’ll talk more about below.
Lastly, these key nutrients feed our gut microbiome and keep them in check so that our immune system protects us the right way. Our gut is our second brain. If our gut is not fed properly and not in a balance of 80/20 good/bad bacteria, everything is out of whack and our body is not afraid of letting us know.
When our gut is inflamed and not supported correctly, it will not send the messages needed to your brain or it’ll send the wrong ones. See how simple changes can have HUGE, long-lasting and positive effects?
So, having your bloodwork done a couple of times a year and ensuring you’re in optimal ranges will make the BIGGEST difference in your success with Lupus.
Hormones send specific messages or instructions to every organ and it helps determine your energy, mood, digestion, and more.
When it comes to hormones, it’s based on a healthy balance. Any imbalance will cause so many problems for your health. That’s why we see a spike in flare-ups with slight changes in our hormone levels.
It’s annoying when the doctors say our levels are “fine”. In reality, the range shouldn’t be so lax as we’re feeling symptoms.
Those numbers are telling us to fix something. It’s not in our head!
I talk more about hormones in this article: These Key Nutrients Help Your Lupus Disease and Hormonal Health
How You Can Defeat Your Lupus Brain Fog Like Me
Treatment is never one pill or one type of practice. If that is ever suggested, keep it moving.
What I do not only stops symptoms but prevent them by solving imbalances within my body.
We are all deficient or in the low normal range of crucial vitamins and minerals and have hormonal imbalances, especially when it comes to Lupus sufferers.
I’m going to tell you why this happens so that you can improve your health, even with Lupus.
You picking up what I’m putting down?! I hope so!
As I worked at an integrative medical center and did so much research, we have found that vitamins & minerals work synergistically.
Synergy means something has a much greater result if it works together with other things, as oppose to working by itself.
One of the most important things you can do for your brain fog is to support your cell’s mitochondria.
They perform essential functions in your body and if they are not “fed” properly, they will be hangry, in turn, make you forgetful, anxious, sad, and have all the feels in all the wrong ways.
How do you know if you have this problem?
Those with chronic illness (me and you) have exhausted our cells due to low levels of antioxidants, exposure to toxins from our tap water, air, foods, and soil, nutritional deficiencies, and our immune system in constant fight mode.
It can’t keep up with the demands and we have exhausted its resources of energy or fuel.
Plus, they have a hard time producing energy and sustaining that energy because of all the free radicals that are attacking them.
This causes our brain cells to fire slowly, now that’s an understatement!
Not only that, it causes our metabolism to slow down and it stops our ability to get rid of toxins, which means we continue to feel sluggish, foggy, tired, and sick.
I decided I need to feed my billions of cell’s mitochondria the right way so that they can take care of me. It comes back full circle ladies and gents.
I take Acetyl L-Carnitine w/Sigma Tau to feed the mitochondria of my cells specifically from this brand because it doesn’t have binders, fillers, preservatives, or artificial colorings. Plus, it has research and testing done, unlike so many other companies.
If it was filled with all those nasty additives, it would contribute to the problems we face and make it worse in the long run. There are so many more reasons why I take this, click here to learn more.
Then, I knew that my meals were not made of a high quantity and variety of veggies, so my B’s are lacking and not in the optimal ranges. As Dr. Mark Hyman says, methylation is a key biochemical process that is ESSENTIAL for all your body’s systems.
It helps repair DNA daily, control homocysteine levels( which a lot of us have high levels of this, most doctors don’t test for this though). It also helps recycle molecules that are needed to detox our body from daily toxins and free radicals.
Did you know that sugar, saturated fats, coffee, and irradiation of food deplete nutrients that are in our food? Plus, certain compounds raise levels of homocysteine, which depletes the B vitamins in our body?!
Well, now you know it does and you know how to prevent it 🙂
I knew I needed this and so I started to take methylated Bs. They are methylated because it allows the nutrients to be absorbed by your cells much easier. It’s a common method because around 40%+ of people have the MTHFR gene mutation which explains why their bloodwork looks fine, but they feel like crap.
It made such a HUGE difference by adding these two to my daily routine. I felt more energy after 3 weeks and noticed my mind didn’t feel like a cement roadblock was in there stopping me from thinking clearly.
But, I still didn’t feel well enough to think I’m in the clear. I wanted to feel completely normal again.
I decided that I need to get back to the roots with my dad’s side of the family. They are from the middle east, so much so that I’m proud to say I’m the first generation here and it’s only right if I include the most trustworthy, reliable anti-inflammatory remedy.
In honor of that, Curcumin with Bioperine. I mean, it’s been used for thousands of years because it works so well for many different health issues without the side effects. This has helped so many more issues besides my brain fog. By taking this brand specifically, it increases the bioavailability of turmeric by 2,000% because it includes Bioperine and keeps the fillers, binders, preservatives, and gunk out. So, no money wasted!
Lastly, I thought I should address my vitamin D levels for many reasons. First, it was at 35 which is a low normal.
Plus, vitamin D is one of the best immune supporters, bone supporters, and great for brain health/brain fog. So, I take 10,000 3 days a week of vitamin D3.
Did you know D3, as compared to D2, is one of the best decisions you can make for your brain, immune system, joints, and bones because D3 is the version that your body easily recognizes? That means it processes and use it much faster and easier as compared to D2.
Plus, it’s not the synthetic version, who wants fake stuff floating around in your body? Not me.
Chronic fatigue is a big contributing factor to brain fog, so by taking the acetyl-l-carnitine and magnesium, it was a combo deal in that they treat brain fog and chronic fatigue, PMS cramps, and relaxes me before bed too.
What does that really mean? We save money in solving multiple symptoms of Lupus and you can too!
Lastly, Omega’s are a great addition for brain health.
What I highly suggest is:
Norweign Carlson Cod Liver Oil:
- Pure: no additives, fillers, binders, cheap fish oils, and it is fresh as it can be.
- Made in a glass container: keeps it fresh longer, no worry of temperature changes that could cause plastics to ruin the fish oil.
- Flavor is lemon: natural and makes it much easier to take
Sound complicated? Don’t be overwhelmed.
The more positive choices you make towards your health, the better you will feel.
Note: when choosing supplements, you should always choose high-quality products. Not all supplements are created equal, and the wrong ones—those with things like potentially reactive fillers or inferior forms of nutrients—can cause more harm than good in your body.
That’s why I’ve provided the best combination of products with clean ingredients and proper testing.
Get your brain fog under control faster so you can remember where your keys are, how to pronounce words AND say complete sentences!
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