After a run-in with Joe Mercola at PaleoFX, biochemical hacker Dr. Chris Shade started intermittent fasting—and it put him in ketosis almost immediately, to his surprise. As the founder of supplement company Quicksilver Scientific, the leader of the R&D team, and the developer of all products and protocols, Dr. Shade is no stranger to problem-solving. He conducted the research necessary to find the link between AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) and the production of ketones, and used this understanding to inform the development of new Quicksilver Scientific supplements. The resulting products have the power to transform your sleep patterns—and your health.
“There’s a balance between your immune system and your adrenals. When that’s ideal, you don’t get sick. When your adrenals can’t hold it anymore, you get all fogged up.”
In this first video episode of Stacked, we put supplements under the microscope and explore their role in cellular health, from detoxification to ketosis. Dr. Shade explains the interconnectedness of stress, glutathione, and leaky gut; walks us through the best way to prepare for a detox protocol, and shares his experience with NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and travel recovery. He’s on a mission to combat universal toxicity, and this episode is packed full of information that will help you navigate the saturated supplement market and experience optimal health.
“We’ve got tools that let us push different levers and such. But it’s not just the biochemical—it’s our whole application to the world.”
First video episode! (2:00)
The breath, the parasympathetic nervous system, and detoxification (7:00)
How to rebalance neurotransmitters (it’s less complicated than it sounds) (12:30)
Free medicine: supplements can’t save you from an unhealthy lifestyle (15:00)
Preparation for a detox protocol (16:40)
How your cells work (and what happens when they don’t) (21:00)
If our environments aren’t more toxic, why are we more susceptible—and how do we heal ourselves? (25:30)
Visceral fat, glutathione, and leaky gut: every process informs another (28:00)
Why plants don’t kill you (35:00)
What AMPK does in the body, and the effect of intermittent fasting (37:00)
Mitochondria and supplements (46:00)
The science behind the new Quicksilver Scientific supplements (58:00)
NAD and travel recovery (1:05:00)
Supplements and sleep: align more, sleep less (1:10:30)
How to know you’re getting your NAD levels right (1:15:00)
Take a holistic approach: it’s your whole application to the world (1:17:50)
Are you flushing money down the toilet with less than optimal supplements? With most traditional supplements, the amount that survives digestion and general acidity in the gut is very low. That is why Dr. Chris Shade developed the world’s most advanced phospholipid delivery systems. Through this superior delivery method, all Quicksilver Scientific products nourish your cells and enrich your body as they deliver nutrients more quickly and up to 600% more effectively.
Blood doesn’t lie. That is why Inside Tracker not only tests for your most important biomarkers—Glucose, Vitamin D, inflammation and many more—but also tracks your progress, makes dietary suggestions, and even suggests workout protocols to help you find health and wellbeing in your everyday life.
Let me tell you about a little hack I have been using lately: Before every show, I find a quiet place, grab my noise-canceling headphones and head over to brain.fm. With brain.fm you can decide how you want to spend the next few hours of your day — focus, productivity, relaxation — and brain.fm will play music that has been scientifically engineered to shift your brain in that direction. (See more of the science behind this here).
You can now save 20% on this already inexpensive app when you head over to brain.fm/stacked.
“This Workhorse of an Organ Can’t Signal for Help – Until It’s Often Too Late”
Your liver endures a tremendous amount of stress and toil, 24 hours a day. Hidden from sight, it doesn’t provide many clues as to its well-being. Yet it depends on you to give it the care it needs. Are you doing all you can?
By Dr. Mercola
Your liver might just be the most underappreciated organ in your body.
It is your body’s largest internal organ and one of its important functions is to help remove toxins and harmful substances. Unlike your gall bladder or appendix, you can’t live without your liver, at least not for very long.
And unlike some other organs in your body, such as your heart and lungs, it can be difficult to measure how well your liver is working. That is, until it falls to about 10 percent of its healthy working capacity.
Your liver can’t skip beats or produce a cough to warn you when it needs help…
Just because it sits quietly in your body most of the time doesn’t mean it can thrive without special care. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago, a healthy person’s liver did just fine without extra support, but today we live in a different world.
Today your liver confronts – and must overcome – challenges it’s never faced before.
Live Without Your Liver? Don’t Bet Your Life on It
Your liver, which is made up of two main lobes, is located beneath your diaphragm and on top of your stomach, right kidney, and intestines.
Besides its primary role of protecting your body from harmful substances, your liver plays other key roles, too.
Your healthy liver:
Produces bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats
Helps regulate the levels of sugar, protein, and fat entering your bloodstream
Clears your blood of drugs, alcohol, and other potentially harmful substances
Processes nutrients absorbed by your intestines during digestion
Produces cholesterol, proteins, and clotting factors to help your blood clot
Regulates many of your hormones
Neutralizes highly reactive oxygen molecules, or free radicals
After your liver breaks down harmful substances, they enter your blood or bile and leave your body either through your kidneys and urine or your feces after traveling through your intestines.
Normally, all these functions go on like clockwork, without much support on your part. But today many potential threats to your liver’s well-being prevail…
Is Your Expanding Waistline Putting Your Liver at Risk?
Stunning new research suggests that your liver may be aging faster than the rest of your body if you hold excess weight in your waist.
Researchers found that for each 10-unit increase in body mass index, or BMI, the physiological age of the liver grew by 3.3 years.
To put that into real numbers…
Suppose a 5-foot, 8-inch man weighs 130 pounds and has a BMI of 20. A second man of the same height and age weighs 230 pounds, and has a BMI of 35.
The liver of the second man is likely five years older than the liver of the normal weight man.
And here’s another interesting finding… If the second man decided to have surgery to rapidly lose the excess weight, the age of his liver wouldn’t change!
What’s behind this vicious threat to your liver? It may be linked to one of its worst enemies.
One of Your Liver’s Worst Enemies Isn’t What You Might Expect
I’m guessing many people would say their liver’s worst enemy is alcohol. Yes, alcohol is harmful to your liver, but there’s another substance that’s equally so – and far more pervasive.
Unlike alcohol, this other substance can be found in some form in nearly everyprocessed food in your grocery store.
Fructose, the most damaging type of sugar to your body, is particularly hard on your liver, much like alcohol:
Fructose must be 100 percent broken down by your liver. Glucose on the other hand only needs to be partially broken down before it can be utilized.
Fructose is metabolized directly into fat that gets stored in your liver and other internal organs and tissues as body fat, which leads to mitochondrial malfunction
Fructose produces toxic metabolites and superoxide free radicals when it is metabolized, that can lead to inflammation in your liver
Fructose is a cheap form of sugar that’s found in thousands of food products and drinks. It’s often deliberately disguised by the use of many different names, so the only way to steer clear of it completely is to avoid eating processed foods.
I believe fructose and other non-fiber carbs are important factors behind the rising rates of liver issues and at least 30 other health concerns. Tragically, even children are now showing signs normally associated with alcohol abuse from their consumption of fructose!
Other Silent Slayers of Liver Function
Unfortunately, fructose isn’t the only challenge your liver has to deal with. Plenty more lurk in your home, water, and the air you breathe. Chemicals in plastics like phthalates and BPA/BPS, flame-retardants, and formaldehyde may be found in your:
Furniture and carpeting
Vinyl floor coverings
Vinyl shower curtain
Plastic water bottles and containers
Grocery store receipts
Scented personal care products
These contaminants enter your body through your skin or your lungs, or from the food and beverages you consume.
No matter how they enter your body, they end up in your bloodstream and your liver must process them.
Compared to 20 or 30 years ago, we are exposed to far more chemicals in our food, as well as in our living and working environments.
Yet your liver hasn’t changed – it hasn’t evolved to keep up with the increase in challenges. You still depend on it, day in and day out, to help minimize the effects of potential contaminants.
Simple Ways to Help Support Your Liver
Most likely by now you have a healthy appreciation of what your liver is doing for you – or at least trying to do.
Responsible for so many essential tasks, your liver can use all the support it can get. Luckily, there’s much you can do.
Of course, in today’s world you can’t safeguard your liver function 100 percent. But it’s worth doing all that you can…
To help protect your liver, I recommend:
Restricting alcohol consumption, and avoid completely if taking acetaminophen or Tylenol
Minimizing or avoiding the use of potentially harmful acetaminophen or Tylenol (be sure to check labels, it’s found in many over-the-counter products!)
Attaining and maintaining your ideal weight
Restricting your intake of fructose from all sources to about 15 to 25 grams per day (avoid sweeteners in foods, fruit juices, dried fruits, and limit sugary fruits like grapes, pears, plums, and red apples)
Avoiding or minimizing contact with toxic chemicals like pesticides, cleansers, paints and solvents
Buying products packed in glass containers and limiting your use of plastics, including plastic wrap
Adding liver-protective foods to your diet, like fermented vegetables, dark leafy green and cruciferous vegetables, “clean” sea vegetables, sprouts, artichokes, garlic and onions, avocados, berries, whey protein powder from grass-fed cows, and organic pastured eggs and grass-fed meat
In addition to these commonsense measures, there’s another simple way to help support your healthy liver function.
Trifecta Support for Your Liver Function
In my opinion, there are three ingredients that provide healthy liver function support:*
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
Organic broccoli sprouts
I’ve combined this “perfect trifecta” of ingredients into my Liver Support for regular, daily use to specifically target six areas of concern:
Provide on-going support to help minimize the damaging effects of contaminants on your liver*
Help maintain intracellular levels of glutathione*
Maintain the normal metabolism of alcohol*
Provide antioxidant mitochondria support*
Support your body’s detoxification (cleansing)*
Provide short-term support for occasional acute events*
Let’s take a closer look at the first of these remarkable ingredients…
The Leader of Your Antioxidant Army… And It Helps Save Lives
Glutathione is your body’s principal antioxidant, and exists in each of your cells. With its lead status, it functions by keeping all the other antioxidants in line and performing at their peak.*
This super-antioxidant’s primary task is to help protect your body from free radical damage, wastes, and potentially harmful substances.* Glutathione is one of the most important factors in your body’s detoxification arsenal and is crucial for your liver’s well-being.*
As you age, your body’s ability to produce glutathione declines. And many substances like alcohol, drugs, and contaminants can deplete your glutathione levels.
While a glutathione supplement may sound like a good idea, oral glutathione is merely three amino acids and is rapidly broken down in your stomach by digestive enzymes. Even if it were effective, I still wouldn’t advise taking glutathione in oral form as it may interfere with your body’s ability to produce it naturally.
What I recommend instead for restoring the levels of glutathione inside of your cells is provide the raw materials for making glutathione so your body can produce the right amounts it needs and not any more.
One of the best ways to do this is use a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, called N-acetyl cysteine, or NAC for short.* NAC comes with four decades of scientific validation, and has been used in traditional medicine for over 30 years.
One of NAC’s primary roles in conventional medicine is as a treatment for acute poisoning with acetaminophen-containing pain-relieving drugs – the number one cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.
Too high of an acetaminophen dose can exhaust the body’s glutathione reserves, leading to permanent liver damage. As its precursor, NAC quickly restores glutathione levels, and, in effect, helps save lives.*
NAC’s Actions Beyond Its Role as Precursor to Glutathione
By replenishing your cells’ supplies of glutathione on a regular basis, NAC helps your cells regain their ability to protect themselves against free radicals and other damage.* This is especially desirable as you age.
Researchers have found that NAC does more than just replenish levels of glutathione within your cells. NAC provides additional potential benefits in these areas:*
Helps regulate the expression of many genes involved with your body’s inflammatory response*
Supports normal healthy insulin sensitivity*
Supports respiratory health*
Protects tissues and cells from the effects of oxidative stress from exercise*
Supports normal healthy cellular growth and development*
There’s no question that NAC offers valuable potential for the support of your liver health. Now let’s take a look at the second ingredient in Liver Support…
Don’t Be Fooled by Its Appearance – This Highly Valued ‘Weed’ Offers Potent Liver Support… and More*
Milk thistle has been treasured for over 2,000 years for its value in supporting liver, kidney, and gall bladder health.*
When the leaves of the plant are crushed, they release a milky sap. Hence the name…
The herb milk thistle is an excellent source of the antioxidant compound silymarin, its primary active component.
Extracted from the plant seeds, silymarin consists of three flavonoids – silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin – all of which may help repair liver cells that have been damaged by environmental pollutants, alcohol, and fructose.*
Silymarin has been found to increase glutathione and help prevent its depletion in your liver.* It also helps support a normal inflammatory response in your cells through its effect on gene expression.
Support Your Liver With Up to 100 Times More of the Sulforaphane Precursor in Fresh Broccoli
Glucoraphanin is a precursor to sulforaphane, a potent liver-supporting substance found in regular organic broccoli – its best-known source.
However, fresh, young broccoli sprouts – grown from organic broccoli seeds – can contain up to 100 times the amount of this glucoraphanin!
When animals in studies chewed or swallowed vegetables containing glucoraphanin, the resulting sulforaphane fired up the body’s waste disposal system.
This not only helped the body rid itself of pollutants, it also helped protect the body from potential harm.*
Researchers wanted to see how these substances would work in humans, so they travelled to one of the most heavily industrialized and polluted regions in China to put their theory to the test…
They recruited a total of 291 men and women living in a rural farming community in Jiangsu Province, China, about 50 miles north of Shanghai for their 12-week trial.
The treatment group received a half-cup of a beverage made with broccoli sprout powder containing glucoraphanin and sulforaphane, combined with sterilized water, pineapple and lime juice.
Urine and blood samples were taken during the trail to measure inhaled air pollutants.
The results were astounding… Excretion of a common and potentially hazardous airborne pollutant increased the very first day in the broccoli sprout powder group – by a whopping 61 percent! And increased excretion continued during the entire 12-week period.
Researchers concluded that the sulforaphane in the sprout powder might in some way be signaling to the cells the need to adapt to and survive a broad range of environmental contaminants, including those in water and food.
Based on these studies and more, I decided that organic broccoli sprout powder had to be part of my Liver Support!
Are You Ready to Give Your Liver the Support It Likely Needs?*
As I pointed out earlier, it can be difficult to know exactly how well your liver is functioning. That is, until it’s possibly too late.
But one thing we do know for certain is that your liver continuously labors hard to protect your body from the effects of environmental pollutants and chemicals.
Now you can help give it the support it may need with my Liver Support. With my unique “trifecta” formula, you get:
NAC for its ability to restore glutathione supplies and support mitochondrial function*
Milk Thistle Extract for its silymarin to help repair damaged liver cells and increase glutathione levels*
Organic Broccoli Sprout Powder for its rich supply of sulforaphane precursor to support your rapid excretion of environmental pollutants*
And much more… Liver Support provides the perfect tool to help minimize the damaging effects of everyday pollutants and stresses on your liver. And you can take it every day!
Take control of the health of your liver today and order Liver Support. When it comes to a hard-working organ like your liver, you don’t want to take chances.
Summary: Among older women, lower levels of hydration were associated with lower scores on tests designed to measure attention, working memory, and motor speed. Researchers also found over-hydration may have a detrimental effect on cognitive function.Source: Penn State
Not getting enough water is enough to make you feel sluggish and give you a headache, but a new Penn State study suggests it may also relate to cognitive performance.
The researchers investigated whether hydration levels and water intake among older adults was related with their scores on several tests designed to measure cognitive function. They found that among women, lower hydration levels were associated with lower scores on a task designed to measure motor speed, sustained attention, and working memory. They did not find the same result for men.
The findings were recently published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
“The study gives us clues about how hydration and related drinking habits relate to cognition in older adults,” said Hilary Bethancourt, a postdoctoral scholar in biobehavioral health and first author on the study. “This is important because older adults already face an increased risk of cognitive decline with advancing age and are often less likely than younger adults to meet daily recommendations on water intake.”
Asher Rosinger, Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor in Global Health, said the researchers found similar results when the participants were overhydrated.
“We found a trend suggesting overhydration may be just as detrimental to cognitive performance as dehydration for older adults,” said Rosinger, who also directs the Water, Health, and Nutrition Laboratory and was senior author on the study. “Because of this, being in the ‘sweet spot’ of hydration seems to be best for cognitive function, especially for tasks requiring sustained attention.”
According to the researchers, scientists have long suspected that dehydration may have an effect on cognitive performance. However, previous studies have largely focused on young, healthy people who are dehydrated after exercise and/or being in the heat.
Bethancourt said that because exercise and elevated ambient and body temperatures can have their own, independent effects on cognition, she and the other researchers were interested in the effects of day-to-day hydration status in the absence of exercise or heat stress, especially among older adults.
“As we age, our water reserves decline due to reductions in muscle mass, our kidneys become less effective at retaining water, and hormonal signals that trigger thirst and motivate water intake become blunted,” Bethancourt said.
“Therefore, we felt like it was particularly important to look at cognitive performance in relation to hydration status and water intake among older adults, who may be underhydrated on a regular basis.”
For the study, the researchers used data from a nationally representative sample of 1271 women and 1235 men who were 60 years of age or older. Data were collected by the Nutrition and Health Examination Survey. Participants gave blood samples and were asked about all foods and drinks consumed the previous day. The researchers calculated hydration status based on concentrations of sodium, potassium, glucose, and urea nitrogen in participants’ blood. Total water intake was measured as the combined liquid and moisture from all beverages and foods.
Participants also completed three tasks designed to measure different aspects of cognition, with the first two measuring verbal recall and verbal fluency, respectively.
A final task measured processing speed, sustained attention, and working memory. Participants were given a list of symbols, each matched with a number between one and nine. They were then given a list of numbers one through nine in random order and asked to draw the corresponding symbol for as many numbers as possible within two minutes.
Bethancourt said that when they first plotted the average test scores across different levels of hydration status and water intake, there appeared to be a distinct trend toward higher test scores in relation to adequate hydration and/or meeting recommended water intake. However, much of that was explained by other factors.
“Once we accounted for age, education, hours of sleep, physical activity level, and diabetes status and analyzed the data separately for men and women, the associations with hydration status and water intake were diminished,” Bethancourt said. “A trend toward lower scores on the number-symbol test among women who were categorized as either underhydrated or overhydrated was the most prominent finding that remained after we accounted for other influential factors.”
Bethancourt said that because the data was cross-sectional, they can’t be sure whether suboptimal hydration levels are causing cognitive impairment or if people with impaired cognition are just more likely to be under- or overhydrated. The researchers were also unsure why they failed to see the same associations among men. Still, she said the results raise interesting questions.
“It was interesting that even though the test of attention, processing speed, and working memory took only a few minutes, it was the one most strongly associated with lower hydration levels,” Bethancourt said. “Other research has similarly suggested that attention may be one of the cognitive domains most affected by hydration status. This left us wondering what the effects of inadequate hydration might be on more difficult tasks requiring longer periods of concentration and focus.”
Rosinger said the findings suggest older adults may want to pay close attention to their hydration status, by both consuming enough liquids to avoid dehydration as well as ensuring adequate electrolyte balance to avoid overhydration.
“Because older adults may not necessarily feel thirsty when their body is reaching a state of underhydration and may be taking diuretics that can increase salt excretion, it is important for older adults and their physicians to better understand the symptoms of being both under- and overhydrated,” said Rosinger.
W. Larry Kenney, Marie Underhill Noll Chair in Human Performance, and David M. Almeida, professor of human development and family studies, also participated in this work.
ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE
Source: Penn State Media Contacts:
Katie Bohn – Penn State Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.
Cognitive performance in relation to hydration status and water intake among older adults, NHANES 2011–2014
Risks of dehydration and cognitive decline increase with advancing age, yet the relation between dehydration, water intake, and cognitive performance among older adults remains understudied.
Using data from the 2011–2014 cycles of the Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (NHANES), we tested if calculated serum osmolarity (Sosm) and adequate intake (AI) of water among women (n = 1271) and men (n = 1235) ≥ 60 years old were associated with scores of immediate and delayed recall, verbal fluency, and attention/processing speed. Sosm was categorized as < 285 (hyperhydrated), 285–289, 290–294, 295–300, or > 300 (dehydrated) mmol/L. AI of water was defined as ≥ 2 L/day for women and ≥ 2.5 L/day for men.
Women with Sosm between 285 and 289 mmol/L scored 3.2–5.1 points higher on the Digit Symbol Substitution test (DSST) of attention/processing speed than women in other Sosm categories (P values < 0.05). There was evidence of a curvilinear relationship between DSST scores and Sosm among women and men (P values for quadratic terms < 0.02). Meeting an alternative AI on water intake of ≥ 1 mL/kcal and ≥ 1500 mL, but not the sex-specific AI, was associated with scoring one point higher on a verbal fluency test (P = 0.02) and two points higher on the DSST (P = 0.03) among women. Significant negative associations between dehydration or inadequate water intake and test scores were not observed among men.
Hydration status and water intake were moderately associated with attention/processing speed among females. Future work should consider the effects of both dehydration and overhydration on cognitive function and investigate potential sex differences in cognitive responses to hydration status.
WHAT IS BRAIN FOG, EXACTLY? WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE? WHAT CAN A PATIENT DO TO GET RID OF IT?
Writing a weekly blog post is a thrilling and rewarding process. I love connecting with readers like me over various aspects of living with tick-borne illness, and I’m grateful to be able to share my story. I’m also thankful to have the physical ability to write on a tight deadline, which I haven’t always been able to do. In my worst days of fighting Lyme disease and two of its co-infections babesia and Ehrlichia, I couldn’t write at all. This was in part due to the achiness of my joints, but mostly, it was due to brain fog.
So what is brain fog, exactly? What does it feel like? What can a patient do to get rid of it? Now that I have greater neurological clarity, I can offer some information and tips on what I’ve learned about this frustrating symptom.
What is brain fog?
Lyme is an inflammatory disease. When Lyme pathogens in the form of spirochetes cross the blood-brain barrier, inflammation occurs in the central nervous system. “Common neurocognitive problems include poor memory, slower speed of thinking, difficulty with retrieval of words, and impaired fine motor control,” writes Brian A. Fallon, MD and Jennifer Sotsky, MD, in their book Conquering Lyme Disease: Science Bridges the Great Divide. “The slower mental processing speed contributes to the patient’s experience of ‘brain fog,’”[i]
A Johns Hopkins study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation showed that scans done on 12 patients with Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) all showed a chemical marker for brain inflammation, compared with 19 healthy controls. In an article published by Hopkins Medicine, Dr. John Aucott, Director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center said: “What this study does is provide evidence that the brain fog in patients with [PTLDS] has a physiological basis and [that it] isn’t just psychosomatic or related to depression or anxiety.”[ii]
A patient with brain fog can experience delayed response times, making it difficult for them to write clearly or comprehend text or conversation. As Drs. Fallon and Sotsky explain, “Patients may have difficulty reading and find that when they move on to the next paragraph, they have forgotten what they [just]read before….Patients may have spatial disorientation such that familiar routes become suddenly difficult to navigate or appear unfamiliar… [Or] patients may have new on-set dyslexic changes, reversing numbers or letters when writing or words and phrases when speaking. They may confuse left and right and may find themselves making verbal errors that are uncharacteristic of them.…Other examples of cognitive errors might include placing the cereal box in the refrigerator or asking one’s spouse to please put the milk back in the radiator.”i
What does brain fog feel like?
During a relapse of my tick-borne illnesses, I had a brain scan done that showed this precise type of inflammation, which made for a lack of oxygen to the left side of my brain. What did those symptoms actually feel like inside my head? In my post, Living With Lyme Brain, I likened brain fog to thick molasses that slowly pours into all the crevices of your brain, until it feels so full that it might explode out of your skull. When I was at my sickest, I felt this fog all the time and wished I could open a spigot to relieve the pressure.
As I got better, my brain fog dissipated, but it still returns from time to time. It can come on slowly, like mist settling over a valley, and can then build into an impenetrable cloud. I get it when I’m neurologically over stimulated: after watching a fast-paced TV show, while hearing loud music, or after reading for too long. “Too long” is defined differently for every patient; at my lowest points, one sentence was hard to comprehend. Eventually, I could read a short article in a light entertainment magazine. Now I can read a whole book, but I still need to pace it out, chapter by chapter.
If I read for too long, I feel pressure start to build, beginning at the base of my cranium and then spreading up over my eyes. Once my head gets full, I struggle to find the right vocabulary, and sometimes I invert my word order. When the brain fog builds to this intense point, it causes me to be very tired. A graduate school professor once joked, “Sometimes, without warning, Jen runs out of steam.” He was right. Suddenly, my eyes would glaze over and I’d zone out.
Sometimes brain fog comes on not from neurological overstimulation but from physical fatigue. When I exercise for too long, or push myself too hard before an afternoon nap, I feel brain fog come on even if I haven’t been doing anything intellectual.
Once I hit this level of fatigue, it becomes hard for me to think clearly. This doesn’t just mean losing the ability to read a book or grade a student’s essay. I get recurring thoughts and feel sensitive and sad. I ask myself, am I actually feeling upset about a situation, or am I just experiencing brain fog?
What I do about brain fog
Once I’ve determined I’m experiencing brain fog, here’s what has helped the most to alleviate it:
Antibiotics: To alleviate the symptom of brain fog, you have to eliminate the cause: spirochetes. Lyme is a bacterial infection that needs to be treated with antibiotic therapy. My brain fog did not get better until I’d been on enough antibiotic therapy to really get at the spirochetes in my brain. Due to Herxheimer reactions, the brain fog actually got worse before it got better, but long-term antibiotic therapy eventually cleared up my infection enough to check the inflammation in my brain. The appropriate antibiotic protocol, and length of treatment, is different for every patient. What worked for me might not work for you, so it would not help you to learn about my specific protocol. Please discuss your symptoms and treatment with a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD).
Anti-inflammatory medication: My LLMD put me on an anti-inflammatory medication that worked in conjunction with my antibiotic to get across the blood-brain barrier. This was a prescription medication, different than over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills.
Herbal/nutritional supplements: Certain supplements such as essential fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the brain. Talk with your LLMD about which supplements would be best for you.
Anti-inflammatory diet: For me, it helped to eliminate sugar and gluten from my diet. For others, it also helps to eliminate dairy. Some foods like certain green vegetables, nuts, lemon, ginger, and blueberries are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Water: The more you can flush your system, the faster you will eliminate live and dead Lyme bacteria (just be sure to keep your electrolytes balanced; I do so with electrolyte-infused water).
Time limits: To stop my brain fog before it starts, I impose time limits on my screen and reading time. Even if I’m feeling okay after an hour of watching TV, I make myself take a break, so that the fog doesn’t suddenly come rolling in.
Rest: These days, the very best thing I can do when my brain fog flares is rest, rest, rest. This means sleep, but it also means just having some quiet down time lying on the couch or going for a short walk. Many people think of reading or watching TV as resting, but for a patient with neurological Lyme disease, that is not the case. We need quiet, calm activities like coloring, baths, or soft instrumental music. The idea is to shut your brain off—to get away from screens, noises, and other stimuli.
Brain fog can be overwhelming. When you’re experiencing it, you might feel like the pressure in your head will never go away. With time, rest, and proper treatment, though, the fog eventually lifts so you can enjoy clearer skies.
[i] Fallon, Brian A. and Sotsky, Jennifer. Conquering Lyme Disease: Science Bridges the Great Divide. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018 (52, 314).
Thanks to the Human Microbiome Project, we know that the human body contains about two to six pounds of microorganisms and that according to some estimates these microorganisms out-number our own cells by as much as ten to one. Other estimates put the number lower, but the fact remains that we are home to trillions of microbes, the largest number of which are found in our gut. And while the mapping of the microbiome is complex and not yet finished, we know that diversity is everything. As in agriculture, diversity tends toward a state of health and balance; monoculture tends toward one of sickness and disease….(See full article within link)
What You Need to Know about MTHFR, Detox, Genetics, and Autism
Find out why thinking about MTHFR variation requires brains, and info on other genes. Join Dr. Jack and Dr. Becker as they discuss the science of MTHFR, why polygenic biomedical research has been ignored. Learn about the role of diet, how MTHFR is connected to detoxification and neurological pathways.#UnbreakingScience from the WWDNYK Studios with Dr. James Lyons-Weiler
https://suzycohen.com/articles/methylation-problems/ Pharmacist Suzy Cohen states 100’s of diseases are the result of methylation problems, including Lyme, chronic viral infections, schizophrenia, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, addictive behavior, insomnia, cancer, and more. (Wonderful 1 minute video explaining methylation in link)
While methylation problems do not directly cause Lyme (it is caused by a pleomorphic bacteria called borrelia)it causes severe symptoms due to the inability to clear infections & their by-products, as well as repairing the damage they cause.
If you are extremely sensitive to medicine you probably have a methylation problem.