Brain Fog Breakthrough: TMG Betaine

I haven’t posted on this site for a while now, mainly because I hadn’t found any more answers to my remaining fogginess (until now). I had developed other symptoms over the past year or two, including: apathy; fatigue; poor balance; my skin pre-maturely losing its elasticity; and very low sex drive. I had pretty much given up on feeling like my old self again, after all I’d been trying for 8 years! A couple of weeks ago I went to see a naturopath about my skin and libido. The long and short of it is that she gave me a product called TMG Betaine and it had an immediately positive impact, and I’m talking “silver bullet” stuff. I feel absolutely amazing, excellent concentration from morning to evening, great energy, and I can eat a lot of the things that I haven’t been able to for a long time. I really feel like I have a new lease on life – it’s a miracle! It’s been almost two weeks now and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the change will continue.

Beat brain fog with water

Hi All,

I made a major discovery a month ago and it’s made a massive difference to my mental clarity and energy levels. Since my brain fog surfaced 7 years ago, I’ve made major inroads into overcoming it through changes to my diet. Now I am pleased to say that I feel back to 100% almost all of the time, and the simple secret…water!

I have always explained the sensation of brain fog to other people as feeling like I’ve got a hangover, just without the alcohol. I’ve tried a number of natural remedies over the years but it only occurred to me a month ago to try drinking the recommended amount of water each day (about 2.5 litres). It has really made such a big difference and I wonder if the reason could be that one of the causes of brain fog is dehydration of the brain, much like a hangover. Either way, about 8-10 glasses of water a day seems to do the trick.

The thing I can’t believe is that I didn’t find this solution earlier. I have read widely and seen a number of doctors and naturopaths to find a cure but never came across improving hydration as a suggested remedy. I still believe that improving my digestion through changing my diet has been the single most important factor in my recovery, but the addition of significant amounts of water has been the kicker I’ve been searching for.

The only negative associated with this change is that I have to go to the bathroom a lot but a secondary benefit has been an improvement in my skin, which is almost glowing! Either way, it’s got to be the simplest, most natural, and cheapest remedy for brain fog going around. Try it!!! I’m extremely interested to see whether anyone else suffering from brain fog notices major improvements in their mental clarity and energy levels after increasing their hydration.

I hope this post helps you.

Paul

Is “Leaky Gut” the Cause of my Brain Fog?

Hi All,

I went through a long process of getting healthy again after suffering from brain fog for a number of years. I got some excellent medical advice along the way, largely from a wonderful integrated medical specialist in Sydney. I made major changes to my diet and have taken a number of different supplements, mainly probiotics and digestive aids, to get me back to health. However, I was never specifically given a diagnosis along the way as to what was causing my spaghetti head. Perhaps it’s because I never actually asked or maybe I was told but couldn’t take it in while I was in the fog. Either way, I think I might now know what my problem was.

After reading parts of Dr Datis Kharrazian’s “Why Isn’t My Brain Working” and some articles on Dr Josh Axe’s website, I think that I may have been suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome. The part of Dr Kharrazian’s book that led me to this conclusion was his mention that new food allergies could surface as a result of Leaky Gut. I never used to have any major issues eating anything. I used to eat meat twice a day and have dairy with and between every meal. Now I’m vegan I feel 100 times better than I did. The other thing that lead me to believe that I had Leaky Gut was the similarity between the treatments that are suggested by these two health professionals and the treatment that I myself was prescribed to overcome brain fog.

I don’t profess to being a medical expert (because I’m not), so I thought I’d share a couple of links to more insightful sources so you can read up more for yourself. The first provides a quick overview of Leaky Gut Syndrome and the foods to avoid and to eat with reference to Dr Kharrazian’s guidance (link). The second is on Dr Axe’s website where he outlines the symptoms of Leaky Gut and how to heal yourself. In my opinion both of these are excellent sources of information.

The only thing I’d add to these two great sources of information about Leaky Gut Syndrome is the positive effect that I’ve found taking slippery elm powder has had on my brain fog. See my post on this natural product for more information.

Feel free to get in touch with me by sending me an email at spaghettiheadmaster@gmail.com or even better, share a post with me and all the visitors to this site. The whole point of this site is to help share my experience and hopefully others to help people to clear their brain fog.

All the best,

Paul

An unexpected remedy for brain fog

I have found a natural remedy that has had a significant, positive impact on my wellbeing.

As you may have read in my previous posts, the most important element of my recovery from brain fog has been through diet, finding ways to be more gentle on my digestive system. Even though I was feeling so much better than I used to, I was still a little foggy some mornings and I’m always on the look out for different ways of getting back to 100% (or hopefully beyond).

I was at the library a few weeks ago and found a book entitled “Why Isn’t My Brain Working” by Datis Kharrazian, associate clinical professor for the Department of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Amazon Link and link to Dr Kharrazian’s website). I haven’t read the whole book but there is a section on the relationship between the gut and the brain and a lot of the information reconciled with my experience to date and the treatment plans I had successfully followed. The book has a couple of pages that tell you the foods to avoid and the ones to add to your diet to help heal your gut.

The main thing I want to share with you is the positive impact that taking slippery elm bark powder has had on my brain fog, which is now basically gone. As I understand it, the powder, when mixed with water, forms a coating on your digestive tract which reduces inflammation (see Dr Axe’s explanation for better insight). I have bought two different products (Caruso’s and Nature’s Own) which both seem to be equally effective, although it’s much more cost effective to buy the former which is in a bulk powder format. I have found that my stomach is able to cope so much better with the meals that I eat when I take the slipper elm powder between 5 and 30 minutes before eating main meals. I am quite amazed at what an impact this product has had. Slippery elm bark is totally natural so it’s worth giving it a try and seeing if you notice any difference.

I’d be really interested to hear if anyone else has made any improvements with slippery elm powder. Or even if this post prompts you to try it, let me know whether it made any difference for you.

I hope this helps you.

Paul

Excellent article on natural brain fog cures

Hi All,

I just read an article about natural brain fog cures that I wanted to share with you. I read through it and think that this guy, Dr Axe, really seems to know what he’s talking about. I like his holistic approach and the way he links together a lot of wisdom that I’ve seen written elsewhere.

Happy reading -> Brain Fog Article by Dr Axe

Paul

Improving digestion to beat brain fog

Hi readers,

It’s now been 5 years since my brain fog began, and a little over 2 years since I began my road to recovery. I am now healthy and only suffer mild fog symptoms some mornings, but these are gone by about 8am.

The key to my recovery was the discovery that poor digestion was the cause of my fogginess, or my “spaghetti head”, as I like to call it. The challenge for me was that even after I’d learned that good digestion was critical to my recovery, I had to identify what worked for me and what didn’t. As I’ve discussed in my other posts, meat and dairy were the main causes of my poor digestion and resulting fogginess. But greatly reducing my intake of these food groups still didn’t leave me with perfect clarity each day. Getting 7.5-8 hours of sleep helps me, as well as going to bed and waking at a fairly consistent time (asleep at 10:30, awake at 6:10 is my usual routine). After all this time, I’m still not sure how much exercise really helps in reducing brain fog. However, exercise helps relieve any anxiety that may otherwise arise. Having said that, I still exercise 2-3 times a week because the health benefits and stress relief are virtually indisputable.

Even though I’ve changed my diet to become (very close to) vegan, there are still a few foods that disagree with me and even upon careful scanning of the ingredients, I cannot for the life of me figure out why they are causing me issues; one is pasta, even the buckwheat-based ones; the other is pizza bases. Does anyone have any idea as to why these would be a problem? It’s not gluten as I eat bread every day with no problems.

I have recently discovered a supplement which helps my digestion which I wanted to share with you. I have started taking a digestive aid and have noticed that my morning fog has improved even more. I have tried two different brands of digestive aid (Eagle Vegie Digestaid and Blackmores Digestive Aid), both are vegan-friendly. Although they both help relieve fog symptoms, I have found the Eagle product to be more effective. I take two tablets of the Vegie Digestaid with my dinner, and one with my breakfast each day.

I hope that anyone suffering from brain fog might find this post useful. If you’d like to add anything from your own experience, or would like more details about mine, feel free to post a comment (I’d love to get my first one!!!) or send me an email at spaghettiheadmaster@gmail.com.

All the best,

Paul

So now I’m vegan, here’s what I eat to keep brain fog away

It’s been three years since I first discovered that my brain fog was being triggered by eating meat and dairy. From that point on, I eliminated dairy from my diet completely and began to reduce my meat consumption. It took me another year or so to realise that I felt much better when I completely eliminated meat from my diet. So I’ve been effectively vegan for the past two years and you’re probably wondering what do I actually eat each day to fill up and stay healthy. Well, here’s a run down:

Breakfast

Every morning I eat home-made muesli, made from as many of the following ingredients as I can muster:

  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Linseed/flaxseed
  • Coconut flakes
  • Psyllium husks.

I buy all the ingredients in bulk from the internet (from Sydney-based Honest to Goodness) and mix them once a month in a large Tupperware container. I add unsweetened almond and coconut milk or just almond milk and some honey. I’ll admit that it gets a bit boring sometimes so now I usually add some of my favourite “normal” cereals such as Special K or Weet-Bix.

I also make “green drinks” every morning in my Nutri Bullet. I try to use two types of greens, usually kale, silverbeet/chard and/or celery. In addition to these greens, I add 3-4 types of fruit, usually banana, apple, pear, orange, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, papaya and/or paw paw. From what I’ve read, it’s pretty important to eat leafy dark green vegetables to maintain good calcium intake.

The final thing I eat each morning is some natural peanut butter (ie. just peanuts) and jam on dark rye bread. I don’t think this is quite as healthy as the muesli and green drink but it doesn’t cause me any problems and it’s yum (so bite me)!

Morning Snacks

When I first cut out meat and dairy, I found it very difficult to fill up at first but if you stock your pantry with the right ingredients, it’s not too hard. Here are the things I usually snack on at home or in the office:

  • Unsalted mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamias and/or cashews), sometimes with a date and coconut flakes
  • Humus and celery and carrot sticks (I really like Obela Classic Hommus)
  • Dolmades (vine leaves filled with white rice).

Lunch

When I’m at home, I normally make a massive salad and try to keep in mind the guiding principle of “all the colours of the rainbow”. Here are my “go to” salad ingredients:

  • Mixed lettuce leaves
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Spanish/red onions
  • Avocado
  • Red or yellow capsicum/peppers
  • Sweet potato or pumpkin roasted in coconut or olive oil
  • Sprouts (any type)
  • Mixed beans from a can
  • Cup mushrooms sautéed in vegetable oil, salt and pepper
  • Seed mix (sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
  • Humus
  • Dressing, 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar

Do you know that tired feeling you get after you eat something like pasta or pizza for lunch? I guarantee you that you won’t feel any of that after eating a salad made from some or most of these ingredients. I’m not going to say you will feel amazing, you won’t, but you will feel pretty much the same as you did before you had lunch, just fuller.

I’m pretty busy with full-time work and a young family, so I don’t have time to make this salad every day, although when I make it, I always make enough for lunch the next day as well. But when I’m at work, I buy my lunch each day, and the following meals make up my repertoire:

  • Miso soup and vegetarian sushi without egg
  • Roasted vegetable and salad sandwich on brown bread
  • Falafel and salad sandwich on wholemeal bread
  • Salads comprising brown rice, quinoa, roasted vegetables, beetroot, legumes/pulses (you can usually find these sorts of salads at organic or new-age health bars)
  • Chilli and basil thai stir fry with tofu and vegetables (this dish doesn’t normally have any fish or oyster sauces, which don’t generally agree with me)
  • Thai green curry with tofu and vegetables, which contains coconut milk rather than dairy
  • Subway Veggie Pattie with no cheese, all the salads and sweet onion sauce

After lunch I always have a couple of pieces of Lindt 70% dark chocolate, my refined sugar hit for the day. My afternoon snacks are pretty much the same as my morning snacks mentioned above, although I usually have some Ryvitas with humus instead of vegetable sticks. I generally also have some fruit, normally a banana or apple.

Dinner

Dinner is often not as well planned out as my other meals but I still have a list of “regulars” which make being vegan easier. I find that if you have to think too much about what you’re going to have for dinner, you either get a bit deflated by the limitations of being a time-poor vegan or you just start getting really hungry! So here are my regulars, which I usually have with a simple salad of mixed lettuce leaves, tomato, cucumber, avocado and spanish/red onion with olive oil:

  • Lentil patties (in the frozen aisle of the supermarket) with sweet thai chilli sauce
  • Steamed shitaake mushroom and vegetable dumplings (same aisle as above) with soy sauce
  • Fried “Chinese” flavoured tofu (different aisle) with brown or white rice
  • Burritos with kidney bean, tomato and onion sauce, mixed leaves, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, spanish/red onions, guacamole and taco sauce. Guacamole is a great snack with some corn chips, I make mine from avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Dahl (made from lentils) with brown rice
  • Roasted sweet potato and pumpkin, baked with olive or coconut oil, salt and pepper

Dessert

I guess I don’t get all that excited by dessert any more, although you can buy or make some pretty tasty vegan treats. I usually just have a little bit of chopped fruit.

In terms of keeping brain fog away, I have found that I feel better the next day if I don’t overeat at dinner time. In fact, the earlier I eat the better, as it gives my digestive system more time to process the food before morning. And, as I’ve mentioned in another post, the mornings are always the worst in terms of feeling foggy.

Let me know if you’d like any more detail about my diet. I’d also love to hear from anyone who has any easy-to-make suggestions to add to mine.

Happy (and healthy) eating!

PK

These 2 amazing photos show how my brain fog lifted at a cellular level

To some extent, the story of my recovery from brain fog is lacking in scientific detail. This is largely because I couldn’t absorb most of the detail that my medical practitioner was telling me. My spaghetti head just wouldn’t allow it. The first time I saw this terrific lady, she asked me what I ate each day, checked my pulse and took a small droplet of blood and put it under a microscope. The first picture below shows what my blood cells looked like under 100 times magnification when I first saw her. Notice how jagged all of the cells are. She told me that I had the blood of a 90 year old and that my digestion was terrible. Luckily, she said it was easily fixed!

Live blood analysis - 11 September 2012

Live blood analysis – 11 September 2012

After this consultation I was told to eliminate dairy from my diet and to reduce my meat intake to 3-4 meals per week. I was also told to take a vegetable-based digestive aid and some tablets to build up my gut flora. I also started taking dairy free probiotics each day. I don’t think I quite stuck to the meat limitation but I definitely halved my previous meat intake which was pretty much twice a day. It’s quite miraculous, but apart from starting to feel a lot less foggy within 48 hours of these changes, the change in my live blood sample in less than 6 months is just phenomenal. The photo below shows how my cells had recovered to be perfectly round, just like they should be in a health young man.

Live blood analysis - 28 February 2013

Live blood analysis – 28 February 2013

I’m not a doctor and didn’t even expect that you could see things like this under a plain old microscope, but I think it’s amazing. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to this medical practitioner, she is so much more enlightened than most GPs. I still don’t really understand how she knew it was dairy and meat that were causing me so many issues, and not gluten. Either way, I would highly recommend that anyone suffering from brain fog seek out a medical professional who is going to focus on digestion and diet as the primary method for trying to tackle this soul-destroying disease. I feel pretty sure that pills and procedures are not the way to go.

How I found the solution to my brain fog misery

I find it interesting to look back and connect the dots which led to my recovery, to identify the key moments or decisions which put me on a path to mental clarity. As Steve Jobs highlighted, I can only really see these connections now, having the benefit of hindsight.

In October 2011 I read a book my Mum gave me called “Manhood” by Steve Biddulph (Amazon link) which I thoroughly recommend that everyone read, male or female. The book demonstrated to me that the “big boys don’t cry” mentality that many men are brought up with is both unhealthy and destructive. I read this book and I loved it. It empowered me to realise that many of the fears and insecurities that I had secretly harboured my whole life were normal and nothing to be ashamed of. This was the first major dot.

At that time I was actively seeking remedies for my brain fog. My wife and I visited the Mind, Body & Spirit expo in Sydney’s Darling Harbour in late 2011 to see what alternative remedies might be available. As I walked through the stalls of clairvoyants, candle sellers and yoga practitioners, I noticed Steve Biddulph’s book on the shelf of a rather nondescript stall. My interest was piqued so I asked the two men running the stall what their organisation was about. It turned out that they were promoting the Mankind Project (MKP), a not-for-profit group which helps men to be the best they can be through collaboration with other men. I know the idea of this kind of group would freak most Australian men out. I can imagine the eyes rolling because I think I would have done exactly that five years ago. Check out their website which provides a lot more information about the work they do and the personal development that can be achieved.

So I gave the guys at the stall my email address. I hadn’t heard anything for about four months when I received an email telling me about an upcoming New Warriors Adventure Training weekend. I really felt I needed some type of transformation at that time so I signed up with little hesitation. The weekend was transformative, I met some very interesting people and learned a lot about life. One of the men I met during the weekend mentioned to me that his son had had some medical issues and had been treated by a terrific doctor who practiced integrative medicine. Weeks later he gave me this doctor’s details.

About four months later, after much deliberation, I decided to quit the job I had spent the previous 18 months working in. I felt stressed and really wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. I needed a break. When I gave my notice, my boss’ boss made the compassionate and supportive decision to give me a month’s paid leave to consider what I wanted to do next, within the company or without, no strings attached.

I took a few days away from my family in the Blue Mountains to get my thoughts together, as best I could under the cloud of my spaghetti head. I read a book on how to find fulfilling work and wrote a list of all the things I should do to find a more enjoyable career and to get my head straight. One of those things was to visit the doctor to whom I was referred.

I made an appointment to see the integrative medical practitioner, Marilyn Golden, on Sydney’s lower north shore. It took me two years to get to this point and my two visits to see her changed my life, and quickly. Within a week of my first appointment I felt so much better. It took another 18 months to get back to perfect (if there is such a thing) but the changes were dramatic. I will write more about my treatment in other posts.

A year after seeing Marilyn, I took some time off work and went down to Merimbula on the coast with my family for a holiday. I’d say I was 90% better by this point but still suffered from the fog most mornings (see my post on morning fog). I had been keeping a food/stress/medication/activity diary for about 6 weeks before this holiday but had been unable to identify what was causing this remaining fog. Right near the end of the trip, I got up early with the kids and then had the luxury of going back to bed for another hour or two’s sleep. It was on this morning that I discovered that the asthma puffer I was taking at the time, Seretide, was contributing to my fogginess. I have since changed to using the lowest dosage of Flixotide that I can, while still managing my asthma safely.

The final dot happened just last week. I still occasionally get a little foggy for about an hour in the morning. I had been on such a long journey of eliminating possible causes that I had pretty much become resigned to this mild, remnant symptom. Last week, one of my colleagues at work almost died. He had had a continuous migraine for 48 hours over the weekend. On the Monday morning, he still had the migraine and thought that a really hot shower might help clear the pain. Unfortunately, he collapsed in the shower, after a throbbing pain developed in is head and is heart. The good news for him and his young family is that he is now OK. While speaking to him about the incident, he explained to me that a migraine is to some extent caused by the expansion of cells in the brain. It turns out that the hot water from the shower also has the effect of causing the cells in the brain to expand. I have been taking lukewarm showers for the past week and my remaining morning brain fog has disappeared altogether.

I think there are a few morals of this story. Firstly, I don’t believe that the exact things that have triggered my spaghetti head will necessarily be the same for everyone, but I do think that everyone should look at their dietary options first. And I don’t think you should necessarily consult with your regular GP either. My cousin just completed his medical training at Sydney’s premier university and told me that across the whole multi-year degree, a grand total of 2 hours of tuition were dedicated to nutrition. Most of our doctors have only been trained to prescribe pills and procedures to “fix” ailments such as this. I’m sure that my brain fog was cured through a simple dietary change.

Secondly, it was really important to my long-term success that I continued to look for answers that worked for me. Don’t give up, there is a reason that you’re getting brain fog and it’s probably not primarily caused by stress. I recommend that you keep a food/stress/medication/activity diary and listen to your body after you eat.

The final moral of my story is that it was through opening myself up to the universe and talking to the people around me that helped me find solutions. Try to keep an open mind. It is thoroughly depressing having spaghetti head every day and I don’t think I would have been able to live like that for the rest of my life. My belief that I would find a way to work through this major life challenge was the foundation of my recovery.

Please get in touch with me if any of this resonates with you or if you have any questions.

All the best,

PK