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Menopause Blog: Help me relieve my brain fog!

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

menopause blog: help me relieve my brain fog

Brain fog doesn't just happen one day, it's one of those insidious chronic symptoms that builds up over time. I remember that I didn't even realise I had brain fog, I just found out, from others that I was messing up my diary; and then missed picking up mum for an important hospital appointment. Because I was self employed I didn't really have others around me pointing out my fogginess, I was just living within and not noticing it. You maybe the type who got a bug or virus, or had a shock and brain fog kicked in and hasn't gone; you just can't shake it off. So what is going on to create brain fog, and how do you resolve it? This is today's menopause blog: Help me relieve my brain fog!

Help me relieve my brain fog!

I think the most difficult thing when you have brain fog is having the capacity to research, understand and take in information; this is the feedback I get from my clients. Today's blog is in bitesize clear chunks to combat that. Keep the link to this blog at hand so you can read it bit by bit; you're in charge of your own capacity to create overwhelm, so only take on board bits or info at a time.

Brain fog doesn't happen overnight, it is a culmination of what's going on in your body and your life and can be made worse by the hormonal transition of menopause. Over the last 3 years it's become clear that many people are left with brain fog, long covid and post viral fatigue as well, so it can happen to any one at any age. I think this indicates that there is more at play here than hormones, and I certainly found when I took my perimenopause health into my own hands to resolve symptoms like sleep, fatigue and gut health that brain fog resolved itself.

I'd gotten a gut parasite in 2017 and although I already had brain fog/ memory issues the gut parasite left me with lots of little symptoms that I then took action to clear up, and luckily this sorted out my foggy brain too!

This leads me nicely to the root cause of brain fog:

Your brain chemistry starts in your gut

The brain-gut connection is now BIG science. Your gut is known as your second brain, it has just about as many neuro-receptors and before we became modern human beings our cave man/reptilian brain which was more instinct based, still does come from our gut today.

In fact, 90% of your brain chemistry starts in your gut.

I tell you this not to get into the science but to tell you that if you have something clogging up and slowing down how your brain works, you have to look at your gut.

THE BEST THING you can do is take a Probiotic, and not a supermarket one. It's not about the count of bacteria, it's about the variety.

Current lifestyle is the enemy of a healthy flourishing gut. The bacterial residence is known as the microbiome, another word you may have seen around. Simply put this is a home for your bacteria to thrive in, and good healthy bacteria leads to better brain chemistry. To make this home healthy it needs to receive daily greenery, wholegrains and some fermented foods too (have you heard of Kefir/Komucha?) This feeds the bacteria,keeping it healthy and able to do its job - create your body and brain chemistry.

For a lot of us we've killed off a lot of the bacteria and so need to repopulate it, this is a called a Probiotic. What you feed your bacteria is called a prebiotic, the easiest way I see it is to visualise thousands of bunny rabbits crammed into your back garden!

You can see these bunnies out the window, each time you eat, throw some of your food out to them. We know bunny rabbits really like greenery and these ones are partial to some wholegrains too. What happens if you don't feed them these types of food everyday? How well are they going to be in a week, how many will still be alive? This is your gut!

It only takes a week or so of bad eating to kill off your bacteria in your gut and months to try and replenish it. There is also another environment called the Estrobolome. The estrobolome is a collection of gut microbes that are capable of modulating the metabolism of estrogen. Due to estrobolome, the gut health and hormones connection is integral to your overall health of mind and body.

To boost your brain energy and clarity, look after your gut.

Sugar causes inflammation

Another cause of fogginess is inflammation, and we know that sugar causes this. My mum did a keto diet around 10 years ago (low carb) and at the end of one month said how much clearer her head was, this really started me thinking.

Often women reach for the quick energy fixes to keep going throughout the day, but as you pile in the sugar, the more your gut chemistry struggles to create the nutrients your brain needs.

More and more is coming out about the dangers of inflammation in our body, how it disrupts all of our systems, the liver, your blood; think diabetes and dementia. Women have started worrying that their brain issues are early onset dementia, they're not, but they are an indicator that it could happen if you don't support your gut.

Inflammaging is now a term, it means the age of your body is based on your inflammation levels. Looking after your liver, with daily cleansing, strengthens your ability to do battle with inflammation, but where is it coming from?

It's coming from foods that you eat that are acidic in the gut, it's everything you like basically (apart from fruit and veg!). Dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods and certain meats, all turn acidic in your body; this creates inflammation; as does stress.

Foods that turn alkaline in the body are known as anti-oxidants, these combat inflammation - they are plant-based, you can't go wrong with a lot of vegetables in your diet, and berries are really good too. You've heard about Turmeric to fight inflammation? Gentle spices and anti-oxidant supplements are all super beneficial; have you heard the term superfoods?

Before you reach for the quick sugar fixes to get you through the day, put some planning into your week. When your body craves sugar its craving nutrients and you haven't got enough. If you plan ahead to have nutritious food at hand throughout the day, and have a breakfast that sets you off on the right path, you're setting yourself up to crave less sugar and reduce your brain fog.

lower brain fog remove sugar, include good fats and spices

I have a simple saying now for brain fog : Sugar out, Good fats in!

Up your EPAs (Essential fatty acids - Good Fats)

Your brain matter is a squidgy jelly-like marrow, it likes to be lubricated. Firstly hydrate, you know that you need more water but sip it regularly, don't glug it (you'll only pee more!)

Your brain loves really rich oils, known as Omega's. These fats help keep your brain in great physical condition. Rather than having sugar causing blockages have good fats reconnecting those neuro pathways; keeping it at the right consistency to work better.

Omega 3,6,7 - these oils come from good oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, plus Omega supplements and Evening Primrose / Starflower ones. If you're not eating oily fish 3 times a week (Salmon, herring, mackerel) then start supplementing.

Unfortunately women have reduced fat in their diet over the last 40 years or so due to the misinformation from the food industry that fat is fattening. It's not, sugar is fattening. Sugar that isn't turned into energy instantly turns into a fat that is stored around your middle; if you have brain fog you most likely have increasing belly fat too.

hydrate your brain in menopause its 75% water

Night sweats

You may or may not have these at the same time as brain fog, but they are an indicator that your liver requires some attention quickly. When your liver struggles, it heats up. It's like a giant filter /engine and it does its daily cleansing of your blood in the middle of the night. In Chinese medicine state this is around 1 to 3am. If you wake up hot at this time of night then you're being given a clear indication that there is too much sugar in your system and your liver filter is struggling. Reducing sugar and cleaning your liver in turn will mean less sugar is causing inflammation in your brain.

Stress munchs up available nutrition

If you don't have night sweats and you sleep until 4am-ish then wake with a whirring brain, then stress could be your enemy here; this was my predicament. Getting your sleep back is your first step, and this is done with upping your nutrition. If you're awake at 4am you do not have enough nutrients in your body, no matter how well you eat; add in Magnesium now, and then check out my free Quick Start Supplements Guide.

I say this because I see a lot of clients who's diets are great, but who are still struggling with these major symptoms. Why is this?

Being stressed may or may not affect you emotionally, but if you're under stress it will be building up physically in your body; and it will certainly be having an effect on how well your brain functions. When we're in fight or flight (the stress response) our brains work differently.

Whilst in a stressed state your brain doesn't work on the infinite intricate detail of your daily life, it certainly doesn't bother with remembering this and that; it's in survival mode which is quite clunky. It dumps excess water from your body (you may go to the loo a lot), it primes your muscles ready to punch or run. Its converting your stored energy into usable energy that if you don't do something physical to dissipate it right away, will leave you quivering and feeling anxious; because you were supposed to run and use it up!

This then leads to an excess of the stress hormone cortisol, it's building up in your body because western lifestyle has lead us to spend too much time in the fight/flight state, when we should spend 95% of our lives in rest and digest.

To combat stress, cortisol needs to do it's job and dissipate, it needs nutrients. It tries to get the good stuff from your gut but not enough is there, so it starts to leech it from your body - your bones, your joints, your muscles, your brain = you feel tired, achy and foggy.

This is where I was at 6 years ago, so I know how you're feeling right now. But the news is good - feed cortisol as much nutrition as it needs and it will go away and you'll feel better!

brocoli veg and berries lower stress and inflammation in menopause

Your nutrition level needs to be greater than your cortisol level

It's really simple, take on board enough nutrition and you will start to feel better, in a matter of weeks (for most people). Once you have a higher level of nutrition in your body than your hormone stress level, it can do its job. When cortisol is fed enough nutrients it can then resolve physical stress, your body will in turn spend more time in a relaxed state and your smptoms start to ease. Imagine feeling more energised, less achy, and have a clearer active brain within a month?

If however you're at a point of chronic fatigue (exhausted your cortisol, aka Adrenal fatigue) and you maybe on the verge of incapacity and it will take more time, but start making these changes and you'll be heading in the right direction. Your recovery time is based on your individual physiological state.

Does oestrogen and progesterone have anything to do with it?

Yes and no.

Let's look at progesterone first, it's suppressed when cortisol levels are high so it's not in balance with oestrogen, at a time of your life when it is starting to decline anyway. If you still have periods, and have symptoms, aka Perimenopause then you need nutrition. When cortisol lowers, progesterone rallies, closing the gap and reducing your symptoms which are mainly caused by an imbalance/excess of Oestrogen. You may already be a person with Oestrogen dominance if you have these associated symptoms (think PCOS, endometriosis, Fibroids) - that canse I refer you to a fantastic website called I've learnt so much from this website myself.

Oestrogen declines later than progesterone and this has a more erractic drop off, causing symptoms to be exacerbated at certain times of the month. Women are then in a catch 22 situation, with less oestrogen the body can't handle stress as well, and you can become stressed more easily, further imbalancing your hormones, leading to loss of libido as well.

Brain fog is more prevalent around the menopause change due to how your body copes with stress as your hormones change. Infact your hormones changing causes a physical stress in your physiology making it way more susceptible to stress before adding everything else. I bet you've thought many times:

I used to be able to handle stuff like this easily, what's happened to me?

Although hormones are involved to a degree you can still work on bringing your cortisol/stress levels down irrespective of your changing hormones, infact if you work on your stress levels, your hormones tend to rebalance themselves. It's less about resolving hormone imbalance specifically than resolving life and health balance. Remember brain fog can hit anyone at anytime of life, so it isn't all hormonal.

recharge yourself as much as your phone yoga childs pose

Minimise overwhelm to keep stress at bay

I said back at the start you are the manager of your own overwhelm levels. As well as feeding your body maximum nutrition to lower stress levels and regain brain clarity if you can come at it from this perspective too - i.e. not to get so stressed, then you're on the path to stopping stress build up again.

Taking on tasks/obligations maybe unavoidable but how you manage those tasks can change to fit with your current situation. You may have to have this discussion at work; companies with an HR dept now have to have a menopause policy.

I've had to work differently in recent years, I don't have the attention capacity that I used to have. I could be hyperfocused for hours and hours, days and days, but then exhausted afterwards. I see that now looking back, how I overworked; now I choose quality over quantity. I always give myself one hour to write a blog, yes it spills over but I'm into the flow of it then. If however after one hour I'm feeling a little brain dead (there are days, hormonally driven I'm sure!) I take it easy on myself. We can't stay on high focus for 8 hours day; even if we can I've learnt how unhealthy it is for you in the long term.

Quality over quantity, take regular breaks, where you step away and breathe, make a cuppa, nip to the loo, 3 minutes of exercise or meditation. If you take a few minutes out per hour to allow your brain to calm, (and that doens't mean social media scrolling!) away from a screen then it gives your brain a quick pick-me-up.

Manage and reduce your brain fog and you'll improve other symptoms too

There are lot of steps and advice in this blog, but you can put them all to good use because managing stress, reducing anxiety, resolving hot flushes, relieving brain fog all are the same advice, because the root cause of them all is the same - stress, fatigue, inflammation.

It doesn't matter which one major symptom you choose to resolve in doing so you will improve your whole menopause experience. Your body is incredibly forgiving, give it what it wants food wise, clean it up a little and let it have more relaxation and some TLC and you'll see wonderful changes.

Ready to take action?

You may be very good at self help in which case my Go Getter Starter Pack is right for you and a very low price for 4 incredible products!

If you need personalised help or accountability then contact me for a free chat and we can take it from there!

Contact Andrea

Andrea is a shiatsu and chinese medicine practitioner who uses the principles of chinese medicine in a completely practical way to help you resolve your symptoms naturally and effectively. If local you can book in for Shiatsu for Menopause otherwise Andrea can do online indepth Consultations where you'll leave with an action plan to follow.

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Beware Menopause-branded supplements

There is very little scientific backing on most of the supplements that are currently flooding the market at present - you are being sold to; you are being promised that this one pill will solve everything. I look at the ingredients and percentages of all supplements that I'm notified about or come across. Do not believe any menopause expert endorsement; I don't know who these women are.


The menopause experts that I trust don't endorse any of the products I've looked at. Some supplements will help with some symptoms; it's better if the supplement is targeted to a small set of symptoms that are linked; it's more likely to be effective.  They can be a good starting place but over time will become less effective; don't be disheartened it's likely that they don't have enough dosage in for what you now need. I have a Starter Supplement Guide that  explains what you need and why you need it i effective levels to help relieve your symptoms naturally.

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