Adrenal Fatigue & Brain Fog: What’s the Connection?
If you struggle with chronic fatigue, insomnia, and feeling overwhelmed by or unable to cope with stress, you likely have poor function of the adrenal glands. Of all the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, brain fog can be one of the most frustrating and debilitating. Restoring healthy function to your adrenal glands can greatly improve your mental health and quality of life.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
The adrenal glands help our bodies cope with stress by producing hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) that aid our fight-or-flight response. Stress comes in many forms, from physical injury and illness to work and relationship problems. After a stressor, our bodies are meant to return to baseline and resume normal daily functioning. However, in our chronically stressed modern lifestyles, our bodies are experiencing prolonged periods of stress. This can cause the adrenals to become “fatigued” and fail to regulate our hormones properly, particularly cortisol.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue, even with sufficient sleep
- Craving salt or salty food
- Compromised immune system
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Difficulty waking up in the morning or falling asleep at night
- Dizziness upon standing
- Exercise intolerance
- High stress levels or always feeling like there is too much to do
- Increased effort to do everyday tasks
- Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight, especially around the abdomen
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is not a specific medical condition in and of itself, but it is a symptom caused by an underlying medical or lifestyle problem. Brain fog is a type of cognitive dysfunction characterized by feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, lack of focus, trouble concentrating on tasks, and poor mental clarity. It can also cause:
- Decreased productivity
- Difficulty communicating (struggling to find the right words)
- Disorganized thinking
- Impaired decision-making
How are Adrenal Fatigue and Brain Fog Linked?
While it is easy to focus on the adrenal glands themselves, the brain plays an important role in adrenal fatigue as well. At the root of adrenal function is poor function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis refers to the feedback loop between your body and areas of your brain that govern adrenal function. Prolonged stress negatively affects this entire system, not just the adrenal glands, and the problem is more complicated and involved than simply low cortisol.
The brain strives to operate in the most efficient way possible, which means becoming so efficient at stress that either the tiniest thing triggers a big response or you are too tired to respond to anything. It also causes a cascade of cognitive dysfunction, from mild brain fog to severe symptoms that interfere with everyday life.
Diagnosing and Treating Adrenal Fatigue and Brain Fog
At Anchor Wellness Center, we run diagnostics to measure your adrenal function and conduct a thorough patient exam to identify stressors and any underlying illnesses that could be contributing to your symptoms. Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM, then develops a targeted and customized treatment plan using natural remedies, lifestyle changes, appropriate diet supported with plant based nutraceuticals. We will show you relaxation techniques, guide you with appropriate exercise routines, and where necessary provide bioidentical cortisol replacement.
Board Certified in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra has the knowledge and expertise to help you optimize your adrenal function. Call us today at (832) 246-8437 to schedule a consultation.