How To Deal With Brain Fog On Keto Diet?

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If you’re like most people who practice a keto diet, you’ve probably experienced some brain fog. It’s a common side effect of ketosis and can be frustrating to deal with. Thankfully, there are ways to manage it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes of keto brain fog and offer some tips for dealing with it. So keep reading to learn more about how to keep your head above water on a keto diet!

What exactly is Brain Fog?

deal with brain fog

Brain fog or mental fog is a term used to describe mental confusion or forgetfulness. It can be accompanied by fatigue, difficulty concentrating and memory problems.

The cause of brain fog is not always clear, but it is often associated with lack of sleep, stress and nutritional deficiencies. It may also be a side effect of some medications and medical conditions.

Symptoms of brain fog may vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Trouble focusing
  • Difficulty with problem-solving 
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Problems with making decisions
  • Changes in mood

Some people experience brain fog as a mild cognitive impairment lasting a few days, while others treat it as a cognitive dysfunction lasting several months.

Causes of Brain Fog

Brain fog has a long list of potential causes. We’ll talk about the keto diet soon, but keto-related brain fog is just one small blip in the brain fog universe.

If you experience brain fog on a keto diet, it may have nothing to do with ketones. It could be a lack of sleep, lack of exercise, nutritional deficiencies, or a health condition.

Poor sleep is a good place to start looking. Sleep deprivation has been well documented to impair concentration, alertness, memory, and reasoning skills. These effects can occur after just one night of short sleep.

Don’t forget about exercise, too. All types of physical activity have been shown to cause positive changes in brain function. Sedentary people who remain sedentary are doing a disservice to their cognitive abilities.

Deficiencies in a few nutrients can also cause brain fog. Probably the most common is a deficiency of vitamin B12, a molecule that is critical to brain function.

Why are B12 deficiencies so common? One reason: as we age, we produce less stomach acid, which reduces the amount of B12 we get from food.

Moving on, medications or supplements may also cause brain fog. This can range from severe clinical interventions such as chemotherapy to the use of supplements such as sleep-promoting melatonin. Different compounds have different effects on different people.

Finally, symptoms of brain fog are associated with many health conditions. These conditions include:

  • Head injury
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Gut dysbiosis (SIBO or candida)

The last bullet – dysbiosis of the gut flora – deserves further explanation. As you probably know, the gut and the brain are intimately connected. The gut (and the critters that live there) is an integral part of your nervous system.

When there are problems with the gut microbiome, problems with cognitive health can follow. Brain fog is a commonly reported symptom of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO). (SIFO is usually an overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida).

By limiting the favorite foods of undesirable microorganisms (carbohydrates), a keto diet may help address SIBO and SIFO.

How to Deal with Ketosis Brain Fog

If you’re experiencing a keto fog, there are a few things you can do to help ease your symptoms:

1) Start slowly

Starting your keto diet slowly can help your body adapt to the new way of eating and minimize the risk of side effects.

Adapt to this way of eating by gradually reducing your carbohydrate intake over a period of weeks. This will give your body time to adjust to using ketone bodies for energy.

You can also try “fat loading” before starting the diet. This involves eating a high-fat diet for a few days before starting to restrict carbohydrates to help your body raise ketone levels.

If you have started a keto diet and are experiencing brain fog, try increasing your fat intake and reducing your carbohydrate intake slightly. This may help your body adapt to using ketone bodies for energy and ease your symptoms.

2) Stay hydrated 

Dehydration is a common cause of keto brain fog. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

You can also try adding electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, to your diet. This will help replace any electrolytes you may have lost through increased urination.

If you are still having symptoms, you can try increasing your fluid intake further. You may need to drink more than the recommended eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.

You can also try adding bone broth to your diet. Bone broth is a rich source of electrolytes and other nutrients that can help relieve keto brain fog.

3) Take an electrolyte supplement

If you’re experiencing the mental haze of ketosis, electrolyte supplements may help. Look for a supplement that contains sodium, potassium and magnesium.

You can also try drinking bone broth or eating foods rich in these nutrients, such as green leafy vegetables, avocados, coconut water and salmon.

Potassium-rich foods can also help relieve muscle cramps, another common symptom of keto flu.

4) Consume more fat

If you’re on a keto diet, make sure you’re getting enough fat. Fat is an essential nutrient that helps your body burn ketones for energy.

Increase your fat intake by adding olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado and fatty fish to your diet. You can also try using MCT oil, which is a coconut oil that is easily absorbed and used for energy.

If you’re still experiencing a keto fog, try increasing your fat intake further. You may need to consume up to 70-80% of your calories from fat to help your body adapt to using ketones for energy.

5) Get plenty of rest

If you’re experiencing the mental haze of ketosis, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep is vital to overall health and can help your body recover from the stress of starting a ketogenic diet.

Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, try limiting your caffeine intake and avoiding screens for a few hours before bedtime.

You can also try taking magnesium supplements, which can help relax your muscles and improve the quality of your sleep.

If you continue to experience symptoms after trying these tips, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian. They may be able to recommend other treatments or lifestyle changes to help relieve your symptoms and improve your mental clarity.

The Bottom Line

Keto brain fog is a common side effect of the ketogenic diet. However, this is usually temporary and resolves within a few days or weeks. Ketosis also has some potential benefits for brain function.

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