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Posts Tagged ‘brain fog’

99 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms- the Definitive List

Monday, December 9th, 2013



Still think vitamin B12 deficiency is something that can be ignored? If you have any of the most common symptoms- fatigue, depression, memory loss, painful “pins and needles” in the hands and feet- then you may be surprised to learn that there’s a lot more to pernicious anemia than beats the eye.

99 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms- the Definitive List

Vitamin B12- You need this!

Vitamin B12 is essential for so many primary biological functions that are necessary for survival- your nervous system, hormonal balance, cognitive functioning, metabolism, cell formation, to name just a few. It’s no wonder that when vitamin B12 levels are even marginally low, the results can range from annoying and disturbing to debilitating and catastrophic.

Pernicious anemia

In years past, pernicious anemia from severe vitamin B12 deficiency used to be fatal. Today, thanks to vitamin B12 supplementation, we are able to maintain normal levels of vitamin B12, even in spite of vitamin B12 malabsorption from autoimmune disorders and gastrointestinal illnesses.

But until you learn to recognize the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, you’re at risk for pernicious anemia and all the damage that it can cause throughout your system.

Symptoms of low B12

Here are 99 ailments that often occur in people with moderate to severe vitamin B12 deficiency, including comorbid conditions and direct symptoms.

  1. Symptoms of anemia- peripheral (megaloblastic) anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency
  2. Painful tingling and numbness in extremities (hands, fingers, toes)- paresthesias
  3. Peripheral nerve damage from demyelination
  4. Poor motor control in arms and legs
  5. Constantly dropping things
  6. Dizziness, poor equilibrium
  7. Gait disturbances, difficulty walking straight
  8. Vertigo, sensation of spinning when at rest
  9. Confusion
  10. Slow thinking, brain fog
  11. Difficulty remembering words or names
  12. Agitation
  13. Depression
  14. Chronic overwhelming fatigue
  15. Poor concentration, attention problems
  16. Difficulty completing tasks
  17. Mood changes
  18. Memory loss
  19. Unusual sudden anger
  20. Psychosis
  21. Age-related dementia
  22. Paranoia
  23. Hallucinations
  24. Anxiety attacks, panic
  25. Sore muscles, painful burning
  26. Tremors, trembling
  27. Frequent muscle fatigue
  28. Difficulty building muscle tissue, even with exercise
  29. Exercise requires several days of recuperation
  30. Neck pain
  31. Headaches
  32. Tight muscle pain in the arms and legs
  33. Joint pain
  34. Morning muscular stiffness
  35. Muscle spasms, twitches
  36. Tender spots as evident in fibromyalgia
  37. Bursitis- pain in elbows, shoulders, and hips
  38. Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods- pain in mouth, teeth
  39. Sore tongue, burning sensation
  40. Red tongue that is abnormally smooth, without texture
  41. Canker sores, mouth pain
  42. Sores at corners of mouth
  43. Dry mouth
  44. Altered sense of taste
  45. Unusual thirst
  46. Metallic taste in mouth
  47. Olfactory hallucinations
  48. Pain in bladder without uterine infection
  49. Stomach pain
  50. Nausea
  51. Constant bloating
  52. Difficulty swallowing food
  53. “Frog in throat” sensation
  54. Acid reflux, GERD
  55. Heartburn
  56. Flatulence
  57. Loss of appetite
  58. Constipation
  59. Diarrhea
  60. Esophageal ulcers
  61. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)f, Crohn’s disease
  62. Dairy sensitivity
  63. Unusual weight loss or weight gain
  64. Poor libido
  65. Hormonal problems
  66. Low sperm count
  67. Erectile dysfunction
  68. Infertility
  69. Post-partum depression
  70. Frequent miscarriage, early abortion
  71. Failure to thrive in infancy
  72. Language delays
  73. PMS, difficult menstrual periods
  74. Chronic yeast infections
  75. Early onset menopause
  76. Pale complexion
  77. Heart palpitations
  78. Shortness of breath
  79. Weak pulse
  80. Thyroid disorders- Hashimoto’s
  81. High levels of homocysteine
  82. Sensory issues- hypersensitivity to touch, scents, textures, tastes, bright lights  and noises
  83. Sleep problems, insomnia
  84. Sleep that does not restore energy
  85. Night terrors
  86. Vision problems- blurring, photosensitivity, poor night vision
  87. Optic neuritis
  88. Tinnitus – ringing in ears
  89. Hyperacusis- extreme sensitivity to sounds
  90. Low body temperature, always feeling chilled
  91. Neural tube defect in children
  92. “Electric shocks,” pain that shoots down arms and legs when you bend your neck
  93. Poor reflexes from impaired nerve cells
  94. Frequent bruising
  95. Constantly itchy skin
  96. Eczema
  97. Early graying of hair
  98. Hair loss
  99. Thin brittle nails with ridges

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

Brain Fog- 7 Helpful Treatments

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013



Many people get brain fog every now and then, but for some people, mental lethargy, “spacing out,” is a constant everyday struggle, and often a sign of an underlying condition requiring immediate treatment. Listed are 7 helpful treatments for brain fog, including vitamin B12 supplementation.

Brain Fog- 7 Helpful Treatments- B12 Patch

As mentioned in the previous article, Brain Fog- 7 Likely Causes, there are many reasons why you may be having trouble focusing on work, finding your car keys, or remembering names for things that used to be on the tip of your tongue.

Brain fog may be a sign of chronic pain, vitamin B12 deficiency, or a number of other underlying illnesses. Brain fog may also signal the need to change your diet or reduce stress.

Listed are some helpful treatments for brain fog:

What helps brain fog?

1- Vitamin B12

If vitamin B12 deficiency is the cause of constant brain fog and other signs of cognitive impairments, then only quick and immediate supplementation of vitamin B12 will reverse the symptoms.

Often, several consecutive doses of vitamin B12 shots or other forms of non-dietary vitamin B12 are required, followed up with a lifelong regimen of monthly vitamin B12 supplementation.

Other excellent nutrients that support healthy brain functioning include zinc, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

2- Exercise

Daily exercise is one of the best natural treatments for most ailments, especially brain fog caused by stress, depression, or chronic pain. Talk to your doctor about choosing an activity that boosts energy and promotes healthy circulation without causing stress on your joints.

To Improve your Memory, Don’t Forget to Exercise!

3- Treat depression

Brain fog is comorbid with many types of emotional instability, including depression. Ask your doctor to suggest an antidepressant which complements your specific needs. Alternatively, ask your doctor about natural mood enhancers, such as SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine).

4- Take melatonin

If insomnia or lack of restorative sleep is behind chronic brain fog, then ask your doctor if taking melatonin supplements are a good option for solving your sleep problems.

5- Wean off caffeine and alcohol

Excess amounts of caffeinated beverages and frequent alcohol usage are both common causes of daily fatigue and brain fog. As a rule of thumb, limit yourself to two cups of coffee each day, and don’t drink any in the afternoon. At parties, try alternating between alcoholic drinks and tall glasses of water.

6- Avoid artificial sweeteners

Fake sugar, artificial preservatives, and chemically-produced flavorings are all toxic to our system, as our body doesn’t recognize them as verifiable food items. Brain fog, headaches, and respiratory problems are sometimes symptoms of toxicity from artificial ingredients.

7- Slow down

To prevent brain fog from overstimulation, try not to plan too many activities in one day. Relieve stress by practicing relaxation techniques, such as controlled breathing, positive affirmations, and mindfulness. Schedule meetings, pickup times, and other important dates in a daily calendar; that way, you won’t feel pressured to keep them on your mind the whole day.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

4 Ways to Energize your Brain

Tired All the Time? 30 Likely Causes of Daytime Fatigue

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Brain Fog: 7 Likely Causes

Monday, February 18th, 2013



Many people get brain fog every now and then, but for some people, mental lethargy, “spacing out,” is a constant everyday struggle, and often a sign of an underlying condition requiring immediate treatment. Listed are 7 possible causes of brain fog, including vitamin B12 deficiency.

Brain Fog: 7 Likely Causes- B12 Patch

With brain fog, you often have difficulty staying alert and “on the ball.” You keep forgetting where you left your cellphone, and you find yourself looking for things that were right in front of you all along.

Lack of spatial awareness, memory loss, and the feeling that your brain is always in “autopilot” are all signs of episodic brain fog.

Brain fog is a common symptom of most chronic illnesses, including chronic pain, autoimmune disorders, and depression.

Additionally, there are several other factors that may contribute to constant mental fatigue and disorientation, underlying conditions that may escape your doctor’s attention.

What causes brain fog?

1- Vitamin B12 deficiency

Brain fog is one of the earliest signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, a type of anemia that may linger undetected for years. In most cases, physicians don’t test for vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia until the signs of severe depletion of vitamin B12 levels become apparent.

Symptoms of early vitamin B12 deficiency often include:

  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms

Brain Fog from Pernicious Anemia- Telltale Signs

2- Stress

Stress, anxiety, and even electronic media devices can contribute to a prevailing feeling of brain fog.  Our brains can only handle so much stimulation before our nerve cells call it quits. As a result, our brains go in autopilot, or brain fog mode, when stress levels are high or we have spent an inordinate amount of time in front of the television or computer.

3- Chronic pain

Chronic pain is distracting- when you suffer from constant headaches, aching back muscles, or frequent stomach cramps, then obviously, you have a hard time focusing on anything else.

Brain fog is a comorbid condition of illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and many other forms of chronic pain and autoimmune disorder.

4- Lack of restful sleep

Another side effect of chronic pain, and consequently a cause of brain fog, is the inability to sleep peacefully throughout the night.

People with chronic fatigue often wake up already feeling exhausted, and rarely feel refreshed in the morning, even though they slept a good six or eight hours the night before.

Lack of restorative REM sleep, more so than insufficient sleep time, directly affects your ability to think clearly and stay alert throughout the day.

5- Depression

Brain fog is often a comorbid condition of emotional illnesses such as depression and severe anxiety disorder.

As many conditions are comorbid of each other, it’s worth noting that depression and brain fog are also common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, and are sometimes misdiagnosed as chronic mental illness. A simple vitamin B12 blood screening usually indicates if low vitamin B12 levels are a factor.

6- Medication side effects

Sometimes, brain fog is a result of a medication’s side effects, or occurs when two or more medications are used at the same time.

7- Dementia from old age

Brain fog is also one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease dementia, or other forms of brain atrophy. Often, symptoms of early aging and dementia are exacerbated by plummeting levels of vitamin B12, as evidenced by several scientific studies on vitamin B12 deficiency in patients of age-related dementia.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

7 Tips for Managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

But I’m too Young for Memory Loss…Right?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms that Mimic Aging

Image(s) courtesy of scottchan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But I’m too Young for Memory Loss…Right?

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013



Memory loss doesn’t always mean the D-word: dementia. Cognitive decline can also affect the young. If you’ve been suffering from frequent forgetfulness, brain fog, or disorientation, then it could signify an underlying condition that requires medical attention.

But I’m too Young for Memory Loss…Right? B12 Patch

So you’ve been having a hard time remember things, like what you had for breakfast this morning, how much your monthly cable bill is, or your bank’s PIN.  If you’re young or at least middle-aged, and it seems like you’ve been struggling with memory loss for several months or years, then it’s not your imagination, and you’re not alone.

Because memory loss isn’t just for the elderly; there are many causes for forgetfulness in young people under the age of 65, ranging from fatigue and medication usage to vitamin B12 deficiency and chronic illness.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Is it memory loss?

It’s one thing to forget your laundry at the dry-cleaning…but if it seems like you’re constantly losing your train of thought, forgetting people’s names, or having a hard time remembering numbers, and if these symptoms are unusual, then it’s a good idea to have it checked out, even if you think you’re too young for memory loss.

Symptoms of cognitive decline, including memory loss, include:

  • Difficulty remembering conversations
  • Forgetting names and faces
  • Losing things constantly
  • Brain fog, disorientation
  • Confusion about time, dates
  • Problems with vocabulary
  • Poor judgment
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Mood changes
  • Disinterest in things you used to enjoy doing
  • Trouble learning new tasks
  • Decline in math skills
  • Problem remembering numbers, amounts

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

Causes of memory loss in the young

As mentioned, dementia isn’t the only cause of severe memory loss that requires treatment. You may be suffering from a vitamin deficiency, you may need to get more rest, or you may be getting too much rest…the list goes on.

This does not constitute medical advice- you should see your doctor immediately and discuss your options.

Here is a list of common causes of non-dementia memory loss:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency, either due to autoimmune disorder, genetic predisposition, vegan dieting, gastric bypass, medication usage, or gastrointestinal disorders
  • Cardiovascular illness
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Organ dysfunction (kidney, liver)
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia (closely related)
  • Extreme stress
  • Medication side effect, including antidepressants, statins, or painkillers

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Boost Brain Health with B12

Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs


The Causes of Memory Loss

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6 Surprising Causes of Memory Loss

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012



Memory loss happens, and not just to the elderly.  The most common causes of severe memory loss are dementia (Alzheimer’s disease), drug abuse, brain damage, and neurological illness.  Even minor memory loss can be debilitating, if it goes on for years.  Reduced cognitive skills- brain fog, mental fatigue, irritability, lack of focus, and yes- memory loss are usually symptoms of an underlying condition that require medical attention.

6 Surprising Causes of Memory Loss

Here are 6 unusual causes of memory loss that you haven’t considered:

Not getting your vitamin B12

One of the many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is cognitive impairment.  Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is necessary for red blood cell distribution.  If you have low levels of vitamin B12, then your brain is not receiving enough oxygen, and the results are symptoms like memory loss, decreased mental focus, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty understanding new concepts.

Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • “Pins and needles” in hands and feet
  • Painful numbness in the extremities
  • Lack of muscular coordination
  • Muscular pains
  • Frequently dropping things and stumbling
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin itching
  • Eye twitches

Also read Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

6 Surprising Causes of Memory Loss


A recent study published by the Mayo Clinic reveals that elderly individuals who eat between 2,100 and 6,000 calories each day are twice as likely to suffer mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than people who don’t overeat.

  • Survey information collected from 1,233 elderly residents of Olmstead County, Minnesota found a direct link between high caloric intake and memory loss.
  • Study participants were asked to submit a questionnaire regarding their eating habits, including calorie intake.
  • While none of the participants suffered from dementia, 163 did experience symptoms of cognitive impairment such as memory loss.
  • After reviewing survey results, scientists noted that most of the people who had MCI overate, making them twice as likely to suffer from short-term memory loss.

6 Surprising Causes of Memory Loss


Being a male

In a recent report by the Mayo Clinic on aging, researchers found that elderly men are more likely to suffer from memory loss than women of the same age.  In a study of 1,450 test subjects, 296 showed signs of mild cognitive impairment, with an incidence rate of 7.2% for males and 5.7% for females.

Being stressed out

When you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed, you become fatigued.  Your brain becomes overstimulated, and unless you give it a break, you’ll suffer signs of cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and disorientation.  There exists a high correlation between many types of mental illness (bi-polar disorder, severe depression, and anxiety disorder) and attention deficit disorders.


Autoimmune disorder

“Brain fog” is a common complaint among people who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and celiac disease.  If you also suffer symptoms like severe stomach pain, diarrhea, constant muscular soreness, or daily headaches, then consult your doctor immediately.  

(Also read: 6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease)

Not getting your Omega-3’s

A recent study published by Neurology indicated that people who are low in omega-3 fatty acids have significantly less brain mass and more symptoms of cognitive impairment than people who eat healthy amounts of omega-3’s.

  • Using MRI testing and blood samples, researchers observed 1,500 elderly individuals who had no prior history for dementia.
  • Participants who had the lowest levels of DHA omega-3 fatty acids had the least brain mass, putting them in the bottom 25% range.
  • Also, subjects with the lowest omega-3 intake performed poorly on cognitive skill testing, including visual memory, abstract thinking skills, and executive function.
  • Overall, low omega-3 levels accounted for accelerated brain aging and atrophy by two years.

Please tell us…

  • Do you have trouble remembering words that used to roll off your tongue?
  • Do you find yourself forgetting to do things unless you write yourself a memo?
  • Have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency?
  • Please let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

Spread the love…

Know anybody who could be helped by this information?  Please share this article on Facebook, Google+, or by emailing a link.  As always, we welcome your comments!

Read more about memory loss and vitamin B12:

5 Ways to Ruin your Memory without getting Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Brain Fog: 20 Ways to Deal

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain


Overeating May Double The Risk Of Memory Loss

Mayo Clinic Finds Mild Cognitive Impairment is Common, Affects Men Most

Red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and markers of accelerated brain aging

Memory loss: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia


DerrickT, TheAlieness GiselaGiardino², David Castillo Dominici, stockvault

Brain Fog: 20 Ways to Deal

Friday, February 10th, 2012



Part I of Brain Fog: 20 Causes and symptoms covered reasons some people get brain fog, and the many ways brain fog interferes with daily activities.  Part II of Brain Fog covers ways to deal with chronic forgetfulness, fatigue, and disorientation that make up brain fog from B12 deficiency, fibromyalgia, or other illnesses.

How to deal with brain fog

Obviously, the most important thing to do in dealing with brain fog is to treat whatever’s causing it.  If you think you have vitamin B12 deficiency, then get a blood screening.  You could have pernicious anemia resulting from low B12 (cobalamin) levels, or fibromyalgia, which is correlated with vitamin B12 deficiency.  In that case, the simple answer is to supplement with extra vitamin B12.

Here are some excellent lifestyle tips for getting around brain fog:

  1. Take your vitamins and minerals. Besides getting enough vitamin B12, you should also be getting enough of all the other B vitamins, in addition to vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium.
  2. Sleep. Avoid naps, but stay regimented in your nighttime habits.
  3. Treat your pain symptoms. This one’s a no-brainer.  The fact is, pain distracts you, even when you don’t realize it.  If you suffer migraines, and your current migraine treatment isn’t working, then explore other options.  The same goes for chronic pain like fibromyalgia- never give up on lasting pain relief!
  4. Exercise! This is difficult when you have chronic pain, but even small efforts at maintaining a fitness plan can be therapeutic.  Try to incorporate stretching into your morning routine, or take small walks.  Tai chi and yoga are particularly helpful for people with fibromyalgia.
  5. Try an elimination diet. You never know- your brain fog could be a result of allergic reactions like gluten intolerance or milk allergy.
  6. Eat brain food. Some foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and nuts. Stick to lean proteins and plenty of fruits and veggies.
  7. Check your blood sugar. Brain fog is a common symptom of diabetes, so make certain that you’re not getting type 2 diabetes.
  8. Limit caffeine. The rush you get from drinking strong coffee is only temporary.  It is always followed by fatigue, or for some, brain fog.
  9. Avoid processed foods. There is a substantial body of evidence indicating that cutting out white flour, white sugar, processed snack foods, and stripped grains (white rice) from your diet prevents chronic fatigue and brain fog, in addition to promoting healthy weight loss.
  10. Try alternative medicine. Holistic and homeopathic medicine is becoming more mainstream as an alternative to some prescribed medications in treating chronic illness symptoms like pain and brain fog. Some good ones to try include acupuncture/acupressure, herbal supplements, and biofeedback.
  11. Look into cognitive training. Researchers are finding that exercising your thinking skills is an effective way to reverse cognitive dysfunction, or brain fog.  Examples of cognitive training are video games, websites, or programs like Wii that promise to improve your memory, regain mental clarity, and think quicker.
  12. Think ahead. Sometimes, it helps to be prepared in life’s situations, especially if you have brain fog on a daily basis.  Always think out a scenario in your head beforehand, and imagine ways you might make things easier on yourself.  If you’re worried about going on a job interview, look up tips for landing a job and creating a good impression.
  13. Rehearse what you’re going to say. Back to the job interview- go over the basic questions that people ask you when you’re interviewing for a position, and decide what you’re going to answer, ahead of time.  This way, you won’t be put on the spot when your future-boss asks you what traits you like the least about yourself.  (Hint: There is no real answer to this one.)
  14. Take it slow. Don’t try to cook a dinner for five in five minutes.  Even if it means running late, pace yourself.  People with brain fog are more susceptible to serious injury when they try to do things in a hurry, so give yourself extra time to do things.
  15. Stay organized. This is the secret to success with brain fog.  If you have one place where you always keep your scissors, then you won’t waste valuable time searching all over your house every time you need to open a package or cut the tags off a new outfit.
  16. Keep a good perspective. A good sense of humor can get you through chronic pain, brain fog, anxiety…anything.  In fact, some studies have been done which show that chronic illness sufferers who try to achieve happiness and look for the “sunny side” in life are more successful at eventually conquering their symptoms and healing their pain than those for whom the glass is always half-empty.
  17. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to admit that you don’t understand something- even if it’s been explained to you three times already.  Don’t pretend to “get it” when you don’t.  The results can be social awkwardness, feelings of isolation, and worse- injury.  (Know how the electric meat cutter works before you lose a finger!)
  18. Tools are helpful, so use them. If you have a smartphone, iPad, or other tablet device, then make it work for you.  You don’t have to remember phone numbers, dates, directions, shopping lists, passwords, or birthdays.  That’s what your Android is for!
  19. Relax. Another no-brainer: learning how to relax is instrumental in relieving stress, which is a common cause of brain fog.
  20. Seek counseling. If things seem too overwhelming, and you don’t know what to do about it, talk it out with a professional. Everybody who visits a shrink every now and then isn’t mentally ill…just human.

Please tell us…

Do you have anything to add to this article?  We would love to know!  Please comment below, and share this with your friends.

Read more about vitamin B12 and your brain:

Brain Fog: 20 Causes and symptoms

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain

Tired of being Tired all the Time…It’s Tiring!

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It


Brain Fog/Fibro Fog in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Migraine and Brain Fog Tips and Tricks

What is Brain Fog?


Brain Fog: 20 Causes and Symptoms

Thursday, February 9th, 2012



For some, brain fog is what happens when you drink too much cough medicine or stay up late at night.  For others, people with vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, or fibromyalgia, brain fog is part of everyday life.  In fact, many people who experience brain fog have had it all their lives, and don’t remember a time when they didn’t have trouble remembering numbers, responding with clever banter, or finding their way out of a parking lot…


This is Part I of Brain Fog, which focuses on causes and symptoms.  Part II is Brain Fog: 20 ways to deal

What is brain fog?

Brain fog is a lot easier to describe than it is to define, since scientists are not sure exactly what causes it, and most doctors don’t recognize it as a medical condition, but rather a symptom of other illnesses.

Here are some terms people use to describe their brain fog:

  • Mental fuzziness or confusion that is caused by a primary illness, condition, or other stimuli like food, drugs, or lifestyle habit
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Fibro haze
  • Brain drain
  • Brain farts
  • Space case
  • Stupid- This is wrong! Having brain fog does not mean that you are less intelligent than others are.  It only means that you have a real disorder with real symptoms, and brain fog is one of them.

What are the symptoms of brain fog?

Most people who suffer brain fog say that they feel tired all the time, even after getting a good night’s rest. But there are lots of other seemingly unrelated symptoms that indicate brain fog besides feeling like you always have a dark cloud over your head.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of brain fog:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Short-term memory loss- forgetting recent reminders, shopping lists, things you talked about a few days ago
  3. Difficulty with math- adding in your head, sequencing, remembering numbers
  4. Forgetting what you were going to say in conversation
  5. Difficulty concentrating or focusing while reading
  6. Difficulty recalling words that should be on the tip of your tongue
  7. Low attention span
  8. Easily confused
  9. Getting lost easily, even in familiar places
  10. Difficulty thinking clearly
  11. Difficulty with multitasking
  12. Difficulty solving problems
  13. Depression
  14. Anxiety
  15. Low spatial awareness- stepping on others’ feet, for example
  16. Absentmindedness
  17. Low learning curve
  18. Difficulty learning new skills
  19. Low energy
  20. Loss of creativity

What causes brain fog?

Since brain fog is not really a medical or psychiatric term, we likewise don’t have a specific answer as to what causes it.  Brain fog is linked with lack of sleep, dementia, chronic pain, brain disorders, vitamin deficiencies, and unusual blood flow to the brain.

Here are 20 conditions and illnesses that correlate with brain fog:

  1. Fibromyalgia (FMS)
  2. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  3. Vitamin B12 deficiency
  4. Pernicious anemia
  5. Lupus
  6. Migraines
  7. Meniere’s disease
  8. Menopause
  9. Anxiety
  10. Depression
  11. Diabetes
  12. Multiple sclerosis
  13. Graves’ disease-hyperthyroidism
  14. Chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease)- hypothyroidism
  15. Adrenal fatigue
  16. Sjogren’s Syndrome
  17. Insomnia
  18. Medical reaction
  19. Allergy
  20. Lyme disease

Please tell us…

Do you have anything to add to this article?  We would love to know!

Read more about vitamin B12 and your brain:

Brain Fog: 20 ways to deal

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain

Tired of being Tired all the Time…It’s Tiring!

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It


Brain Fog/Fibro Fog in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Migraine and Brain Fog Tips and Tricks

What is Brain Fog?

Tips for Remembering People’s Names, even under Brain Fog

Friday, January 20th, 2012



It’s mortifying when you can’t remember people’s names, especially when other people always seem to remember yours.  “Brain fog” caused by chronic fatigue, vitamin B12 deficiency, fibromyalgia, or other chronic illnesses makes it difficult to remember people’s names.

Name forgetfulness can be socially awkward, especially if that person works in your office, or goes to the same daily aerobics class as you.  Here are some helpful tips for remember names and boosting your memory, even when you’re in the middle of a brain drain.

Use it or lose it

As soon as somebody introduces himself, make a concentrated effort to remember his name the first time.  Turn your attention to the person, repeat his name back, and make sure that you heard correctly.  Repeat the name (quietly) to yourself several times. Take every opportunity to introduce your new friend to other people, and use her name while conversing.  Your earliest attempts to remember a name are always the most successful.

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Play Pictionary

Look for distinguishing characteristics in every person you meet, and link them with the person’s name.  It’s okay to let your imagination run wild this this one- Lenny from Human Resources need never know that you think he looks like a lion cub.  Another good association is connecting names with hobbies or occupations, like Arthur the Attorney, or Daphne who likes dolphins.

Put it in the dictionary

Sometimes, it’s easier to remember somebody’s name if you associate it with a real word that’s in the dictionary.  For example, Justin’s name will be easier to remember if you think of justice, or “just in time.”

Play the spelling bee

Some people are visual learners- they need to see something in their mind in order to absorb its meaning.  When you are introduced to somebody new, spell her name out (to yourself).  This will further establish her name in your memory.

Raise your IQ with Sudoku- 10 Free Online Games for Brains

Make it rhyme

Rhymes have been used for centuries to remember things like instructions, moral codes, and historical facts.  Today, they’re effective for remembering names, which is helpful if your job requires you to meet new people every day.  Some good rhymes are “Tracy shops at Macy’s,” or “Ellen eats melon.” It doesn’t have to be a perfect rhyme, just as long as it sticks in your memory.

Forget remembering

Have you ever written a “cheat sheet” before a test in high school, only to find out during class that you didn’t even need it?  Writing down important details cements them in your mind.  So, why not follow a scaled-down version of that practice?  Keep a small notepad in your purse or messenger bag, and jot down people’s names before you can forget them.  Not only will you be more likely to remember their names the next time your meet, but you’ll have a handy book of names to refer to later.

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Don’t be afraid to ask

Despite your best efforts to seal somebody’s name in your memory, you will still have moments when you just can’t remember somebody’s name.  Instead of calling them “Hey you” or “What’s-your-name,” just come out and ask.  People would rather be asked to repeat their names- it tells them that they are important and worthy of your attention.

Think fast!

“Oh no, here she comes, and I don’t remember her name!” Don’t panic. If you’re standing next to somebody you know, casually initiate an introduction. “Hey Dan, have you two met?”  More often than not, she will probably pipe up with her name in introduction, and you’re home free.

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

When have we met before?

This isn’t just a good pick-up line; it’s also a great way to remember somebody’s name.  Sometimes, we associate names of people with places.  You may not recall Shawn’s name, but you probably remember that you spent three hours with him while waiting in line at the DMV.

Also read:

Aging begins at 45- Tips on how to Prevent Early Memory Loss

Brainy People are high on B12, according to Brain Health Study

Manage Fibromyalgia on your iPhone- Five Tricks that cost nothing

Thursday, January 19th, 2012



Fibromyalgia sufferers, listen up: It’s no secret that forgetfulness is one of the many symptoms of chronic pain syndromes.  “Brain fog” makes it hard to remember important schedules, to-do lists, and…what was I going to say?  You have enough on your plate without having to worry about whether or not you took all your fibromyalgia pain medications, what time the pharmacy opens, or what website you used to order your vitamin refills.

If you’ve got an iPhone or iPad, then use it to your advantage!  Here are some great tricks that let you get the most chronic pain management out of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod without spending a cent.

Trick #1: Pimp your home screen!

Dilemma: “My favorite website doesn’t have an app!”  Let’s say that you like a website, and you use it often to order vitamins, prescription refills, or other necessities that you can’t live without.  You want to be able to access this site immediately from your iPhone home screen…but there isn’t an app for that. You can make your own custom icon and stick it on your home screen!  Here’s how it’s done:

Go to your favorite page.


Click on the arrow at the bottom of the screen.


Now, choose “Add to Home Screen.”


The official title of the home page is Vita Sciences but you can change it; just remember to keep it short and easy to identify.


That’s it! Now you have a shiny new custom-designed icon on your home page that you can’t get at the iTunes store. This is a great trick that you can use for any and all websites.  Use it for pages that you use often, or just for something that you want quick access to in case of emergency. Pretty nifty, huh?

Trick #2: Set up vitamin and medication alerts!

The iTunes app store offers lots of daily reminders that are inexpensive.  You can track everything from your menstrual period, to your food diet points, to your bill schedule.  Sure, you could buy a pill reminder for 99-cents, but why bother? Your iPhone already came with an excellent calendar, and it’s just humming to remind you to take your pain medications, vitamin supplements. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to program it, either.  Here’s how:


Go to your calendar.  Click the “+” sign at the top right corner to add an event.  (Question: When did remembering to take your pain medicine become an event? Answer: Since brain fog became one of the symptoms.)


Okay.  Type in all the important details, like name of event, location (Behind the ear), repeat sequence (weekly), and most importantly, alert time.  Steve Jobs must have foreseen that fibromyalgia patients would need to use it, because he cleverly programmed two alerts to remind you to take your vitamins; one initial reminder, and then another one, in case you already forgot the first warning. This is an essential tool for people who are forgetful, which is anybody who suffers from:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Motherhood


And here’s your gentle reminder to take your vitamin B12!

Trick #3: Get these great apps!

Here are some free iTunes apps that are worth a second look:

This is the Chronic Pain Tracker Lite: This free app lets you document your pain history in a way that is simple and functional.  You can keep track of pain triggers, pain severity, location of pain, medications, and even add your own personal notes. This free version allows you to list up to 20 entries.  If you really like it, then you can get the paid version for $14.99, which is still cheaper than getting a health coach.

Also free, the Medscape app is a great tool for accessing up-to-the minute information on pain treatments, breakthrough scientific research, and common pain symptoms.  It’s like having a medical encyclopedia in your pocket, only much lighter. ;-)

Trick #4: Use Google Maps to find your nearest pharmacy- quick!

Google Maps is another excellent iPhone tool for people who have trouble remembering where their closest pharmacy is, even if you’ve been using them for prescription refills for the past 15 years.


Bingo!  I knew Walgreens was somewhere around that neighborhood, give or take a few miles.

Trick #5:  Follow the leaders on Twitter!

Finally, you don’t like to be in the dark.  24-7, people are talking about things that importantly impact your life; things like

9 Conditions that Mimic Fibromyalgia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

You want to join in on the conversation, and be “in the know,” right?  The best way to do that is to follow them on Twitter.  This way, if the Fibromyalgia Society decides to coordinate an impromptu Occupy Fibromyalgia sit-in, you’ll be one of the first to respond.


We won’t be leading any protests any time soon, but we do keep you informed on the many topics related to vitamin B12 deficiency, like pernicious anemia symptoms, gastrointestinal disorders, gastric bypasses, diabetes, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, and of course, fibromyalgia.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia- Is there a Difference?

Thursday, December 15th, 2011



What’s the difference between fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)? Health experts often differ in diagnosing fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue symptoms, as they tend to overlap.  Judge for yourself- here are some facts on symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.


What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition that causes pain, tiredness, and stomach upset in its sufferers.  FM is somewhat of a medical phenomenon, as scientists are still unsure exactly what causes fibromyalgia.  Theories abound, and researchers continue to conduct studies on possible causes of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia symptoms:

The most prevalent symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic pain: About 70% – 80% of fibromyalgia patients suffer severe muscular soreness.  Pain occurs mostly along the spine, the shoulders, hips, and neck, but can also happen in other parts of the body.  FM sufferers may also experience joint stiffness similar to arthritis pain.

  • Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia are gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea), severe fatigue, sleep difficulties, and “brain fog” (concentration problems).
  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, approximately five million US citizens suffer from fibromyalgia.
  • In order to diagnose fibromyalgia, a doctor must confirm eleven out of eighteen fibromyalgia “tender points” in his patient.
  • More women than men suffer from fibromyalgia.


Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

Why am I always tired?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) goes by a few other names: immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).  CFS is another “invisible disease” that affects the body and the mind.  Like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome is also an illness for which scientists are still attempting to determine the cause.  The leading theory is that CFS is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system.

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What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?

While fibromyalgia symptoms center on pain, CFS symptoms are primarily related to extreme unending tiredness.  Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME AND FIBROMYALGIA- IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? WWW.B12PATCH.COMbeing tired all the time, despite getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and generally taking good care of yourself,
  • complete exhaustion after low-impact exercise, examinations, or long periods requiring mental focus, followed by a recuperation period,
  • poor short-term memory,
  • brain fog,
  • waking up fatigued, and never feeling fully rested,
  • flu-like aches and pain,
  • headache,
  • sore throat,
  • poor reading comprehension,
  • difficulty grasping appropriate words while communicating,
  • anxiety

What’s the difference between CFS and FM?

The fact that symptoms of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia so often overlap makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose, and confusing for patients to understand.  Here are some basic similarities and distinguishing facts of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Not all people who have chronic fatigue syndrome also suffer from chronic pain symptoms such as those with fibromyalgia.  However, most fibromyalgia patients live with extreme, persistent fatigue every day- approximately 50% – 70%, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
  • About one million people have chronic fatigue syndrome, compared with five million fibromyalgia sufferers.
  • While some physicians believe that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are two separate conditions that often overlap in one patient, others believe that chronic fatigue is one of many symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome, and not a disorder in its own right.
  • Stress and physical exertion are both common triggers of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Chronic Depression, Chronic Pain- It’s All the Same, say Experts

Vitamin B12 deficiency in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

Other illnesses share similar symptoms with FM and CFS, causing yet more confusion in diagnosis and treatment.  Additionally, other conditions like pernicious anemia may occur at the same time as CFS, and may go undetected as a result.

  • A high correlation exists between vitamin B12 deficiency and fibromyalgia.  Any condition that causes gastrointestinal problems will likely also result in poor digestion of vitamin B12.  Untreated, B12 deficiency can escalate into severe nerve damage.
  • Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include nerve pain (tingling, pins and needles) in the hands and feet, numbness in the hands and feet, decreased energy, loss of mental focus, fatigue, depression, anxiety, sore tongue, altered sense of taste, short-term memory loss, clumsiness, and difficulty walking, running or jumping without stumbling.
  • Other disorders and illnesses linked with vitamin B12 deficiency are inflammatory bowel disease (IBD- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), lupus, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, celiac disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
  • Because vitamin B12 deficiency shares so many symptoms with chronic fatigue syndrome, it might go untreated.  For that reason, it is advisable for people suffering from CFS or FM to get their vitamin B12 blood levels checked routinely.

Read more about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome:

Back Pain Exercises and Fibromyalgia- the Do’s and Don’ts

40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It


The Fibro Fact Page: Basic Brief Information about Fibromyalgia

The Common Threads of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Fibromyalgia Center- Everyday Health

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The CFIDS Association of America

Image credits:

Stuart Miles

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