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Economic Times Best Healthcare Brand
New COVID-19 variants have emerged time and again. While some variants have been easier to deal with, other variants such as the Delta and the latest variant Omicron have inflicted a lot of havoc globally. The virus has influenced respiratory, cardiac, gastrointestinal, and neurological functioning. The people infected with COVID -19 and its variants had been suffering from severe symptoms associated with respiratory, cardiac, gastrointestinal, and neurological disorders with their long-term effects.
It is reported that almost a third of patients across the world experience persisting symptoms weeks and months, sometimes 1-year after diagnosis. 2
As we have come a long way on our journey with dealing with COVID-19 and its variants, we have been successfully able to figure out its vaccine and approach to deal with its after-effects.
Brain Fog is one such effect, that many infected people had been complaining about even after recovery. It is a health condition with certain symptoms, worth discussing that will guide people to regularize their life after recovery from COVID-19 and its current variants.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain Fog is not a disease, but a subjective experience of neuroinflammation associated with a set of symptoms affecting brain functioning that COVID-19 patients have been going through after recovery. The brain in this condition feels sluggish, blurry, and unable to process information normally.
In medical science, Brain Fog has been associated with disorders affecting the central nervous system (e.g., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Celiac Disease, and Neuropsychiatric Disorders) or treatments affecting the Immune System such as Chemotherapy for Cancer.1
Infection with COVID-19 has made the term Brain Fog more popular and needs further research to find its root cause.
Brain Fog Description:
The recent analysis demonstrates the presence of cognitive impairment even 4 months after COVID-19 with the following Illustrations.3
Factors that might contribute to Brain Fog post COVID-19
1. Immunologic Response
Body’s immune system according to a hypothesis from two neurologists in New York, Brain Fog could be due to immune system activation in response to COVID-19.4
The immune system releases these molecules that help to make fight off the virus, but as a side effect, these molecules start attacking normal, healthy cells in an attempt to get rid of the virus.
Hypoxia, one of the consequences of COVID-19 is found to be associated with sleep disorder contributes to Brain Fog.
Furthermore, a history of insomnia, poor sleep hygiene, and obstructive sleep apnea in a COVID-19 patient also contributes to Brain Fog.
Disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all concerns for patients with COVID-19.
Patients experiencing psychological distress may exhibit insomnia that affects neurological operations.
An unhealthy diet is a potential risk factor for the development of cognitive impairment. Conversely, dietary nutrients are protective against such impairment.
Inflammation plays an important role in mediating the link between diet and mental health.
The inflammatory foods such as sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, red meat, and diet soft drinks are rich in carbs, trans fat, and food additives and low in nutritional value, hence associated with increased risk of neuroinflammation.9
Research on the gut and brain further demonstrates that the nervous system between the gut and brain is closely connected.
Lifestyle modifications to deal with Brain Fog post COVID-19
On a brighter note, there’s no evidence that Brain fog caused due to Covid-19 is everlasting. It can be resolved and rectified to normal with a few lifestyle modifications.
For a speedy recovery, a patient is recommended to get back to a normal routine. Redirecting to a healthy lifestyle, indulging in physical exercise, and keeping your brain occupied are encouraged to recover from Brain Fog.
Here are some activities that might help you improve Brain Fog:
1. Adequate Sleep: Getting adequate sleep gives the brain enough time to recover and coordinate the thought process.
2. Exercising: Physical exercises not only helps in weight loss but also improves mood and induces structural and functional changes in the brain, determining enormous benefit on both cognitive functioning and wellbeing.6
Most people think of exercise as an activity that benefits the body’s muscles. However, during intense cardio, the brain extends to its maximum limit and releases adrenalin into the blood, which considerably enhances memory.7
3. Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, walking, stretching, dance, music, and even gardening can improve concentration and provide satisfaction.
4. Engaging in Social Activities: Indulging in social activities and healthy conversations as much as possible can significantly improve concentration.
5. Exercising mind: Learning and grasping new information, and skills can help the brain focus and boost the thought process.
6. Avoiding Alcohol and Caffeine: Alcohol acts as both a stimulant and a depressant, which can considerably impair cognitive functioning.
Too much Caffeine can cause insomnia and interfere with the natural sleeping process of the brain.
Therefore avoiding alcohol, caffeine and unnecessary medication can help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.
When to seek Medical Guidance?
If the focal symptoms of Brain Fog get severe or interfere with your life, or they fail to get better after a few weeks, or they’re associated with any other unusual symptoms like weakness, difficulty speaking, loss of vision, numbness, and tingling, you should see your doctor immediately.
Neuropsychological evaluations may help quantify the cognitive disorder. Technology has allocated several platforms online to evaluate the brain in real-time.
Recently, a new clinical trial technique termed as Constraint-Induced Therapy (CI Therapy), for the patients experiencing memory loss, brain fog, and other cognitive issues after COVID-19 has been reported. This rehabilitation technique is expected to restore the lost functions of the brain.5,6,7
Healthy Food Options for Brain Fog
Healthy food options loaded with nutrients can help in the smooth operation of the brain. Omega 3 Fatty acids, Antioxidants, and Vitamins are the dietary nutrients with the highest protective capacity against cognitive impairment, potentially due to their antioxidant properties.
Also include Dr Trust wide range of Dietary supplements in your diet to get rid of Brain Fog post COVID-19
Moreover, adequate dietary intake of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol are also significantly associated with decreased risk of cognitive impairment.8
Here is the list of Nutrients with their Sources to get rid of Brain Fog:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA And DHA)
Salmon Fish, Cod Liver Oil, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Walnuts, Soybean
Olive Oil, Blueberry, Raspberry, Strawberry Turmeric, Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Beans, Beetroot, Spinach, Pumpkin Seeds, Dark Chocolates Or Other Cocoa Based Foods Green Tea
Eggs, Milk, Soybeans, Salmon Fish, Wheat Germ, Peanuts, Almond, Cauliflower, Broccoli Brussels Sprouts, Chicken , Turkey, Kidney Beans, Quinoa, Cottage Cheese
Magnesium and Potassium
Potato, Beetroot, Spinach, Orange, Banana, Yoghurt, Avocados, Coconut Water, Legumes, Chia, Flax, Pumpkin Seeds
Healthy Monosaturated Fats
Avocados, Cheese, Dark Chocolates Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Yoghurt
Spinach, Corn, Bell Pepper, Pistachios, Eggs
Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Iron
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables, Citrus Fruits, Legumes, Egg Yolk, Mushrooms, Cow’s Milk, Soy Milk
Vitamins A, E, and K
Butter, Cheese, Spinach, Broccoli , Mangoes, Apricot, Tomatoes Nuts, Avocados