Brain Fog and Migraine

Have you ever felt some days that you have zero mental clarity??? That you’re moving through a thick haze of confusion, forgetfulness, and slow thinking? Do you feel like the lights are on but nobody’s home in your brain? If this sounds like you – welcome to the migraineurs with brain fog crew!

Rest assured- You are NOT alone. Brain fog is a common symptom amongst migraineurs, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to improve it!

What is brain fog???

Brain fog can show up in a variety of ways- forgetfulness, unexplained fatigue, loss of words, difficulties focusing, not feeling like yourself…

Furthermore, brain fog can happen during any phase of a migraine attack including before, during, and after a migraine attack. You may even find yourself experiencing brain fog outside of migraine episodes.

What are some other reasons for brain fog with migraine?

If you’re experiencing brain fog 24/7 and no amount of caffeine or sleep is helping, there may be some underlying causes making your brain fog worse.

Thyroid Dysfunction: Hypothyroidism, or slow thyroid function, is more common in migraineurs and can contribute to brain fog. ​​​​​​​​We highly recommend getting your thyroid checked if you suspect you could have hypothyroidism!
Nutrient Deficiencies:
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies like vitamin D and iron are common in migraineurs and are big brain fog contributors!​​​​​​​ Yo-yo dieting and extreme calorie deficits can contribute to brain fog if you are not nourishing your body or getting in the right types/ amount of nutrients.
Mitochondrial Dysfunction:
Your mitochondria help you produce energy from food. Consequently, when mitochondria function is low, it could affect migraine AND contribute to 24/7 brain fog.​​​​​​​​

Fluctuating Hormones: A woman’s monthly cycle is a constant fluctuation of hormone levels and can have a huge impact on the body! The second that a woman’s hormones adjust, they fluctuate again and this constant change can contribute to brain fog.

How can you improve brain fog with migraine?

1.) Feed your brain– Undereating and skipping meals will not help ‘starve out’ the brain fog! Be sure to focus on eating balanced meals and snacks and staying hydrated.

2.) Prioritize quality sleep – While we know that all the sleep in the world won’t cure your brain fog, we do know that consistent quality sleep over time helps raise your migraine threshold and helps you become more resilient!

3.) Keep your mind active – Although it’s so easy to want to hangout in bed when you can’t focus on anything- try to gently stimulate your mind by doing a hands on activity mindfully such as building a puzzle or even trying to focus on doing the dishes.

4.) Get moving (gently) – No one needs to train for a triathlon during a nasty case of brain fog, but a brisk walk can help wake your body up and get some feel good hormones flowing!

5.) Step outside or open up the windows – What makes a case of brain fog feel more foggy? A dark room! Getting 15 minutes of sunshine helps your body create vitamin D, which is a common nutrient deficiency amongst migraineurs with brain fog.

The moral of the story with brain fog…

Is that sometimes it’s simply a symptom of migraine, but other times there is a bigger contributing factor at play!

I want to hear from you – are you having a difficult time with 24/7 brain fog? Have you tried talking to your doctor about your concerns? Let me know in the comments.

Want more support managing migraine using a gentle, holistic approach? Click HERE to learn more about how I can help!

Reviewed by Kelli Yates, RD, LD, CLT

Published by Kathryn Darsillo, B.S Nutrition & Dietetics, Dietetic Intern

Kathryn Darsillo, is currently a Dietetic Intern with Lenoir-Rhyne University and has a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in addition to having an Associates Culinary Arts.

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