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Effective Vitamins and Supplements for Brain Fog, Backed by Science

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Brain fog is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of something else. It feels like your brain isn’t working properly. You can’t organize your thoughts. Basic addition and subtraction are as confusing as quantum physics, and your morning coffee doesn’t help.

According to Henry Mahncke, a San Francisco-based neuroscientist, “Brain fog is a mild but important form of neurocognitive impairment.” A brain not firing on all cylinders can’t process information accurately, he explains. “It’s like if you had an old radio where you had to tune the dial and you weren’t quite on the station and there was some static.”

This can indicate that an underlying condition is preventing the brain from functioning optimally. Imagine your brain as a computer with a virus: if the virus is hijacking most of your computer’s processing power, there’s not much left for you to work with.

What causes brain fog?

While the term “brain fog” isn’t used medically to define a specific medical condition, it can refer to an experience associated with mental fatigue, memory issues, and decreased focus throughout the day.

Brain fog can develop as a side effect of various conditions, namely:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Age-related cognitive decline
  • High blood pressure
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Viral infections
  • Hormonal fluctuations related to pregnancy and menopause
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress and chronic fatigue
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
  • Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety
  • Low levels of brain serotonin
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Celiac disease

Can supplements clear up brain fog?

Supplements can dissipate brain fog caused by vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Here are some science-backed examples:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can boost mood and increase performance by promoting healthy brain function.

People with depression who have difficulty with concentration and memory are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Researchers have found that increasing vitamin D intake can reduce symptoms of depression including brain fog.

Moreover, studies have shown that menopausal women who received 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day for one year performed better on learning and memory tests than those who received 600 IU or 4,000 IU.


Evidence suggests that a magnesium deficiency can impair brain function, interfere with concentration, and contribute to brain fog. Plentiful in spinach, beans, and seeds, magnesium supports nerves, increases energy production, and regulates blood pressure.

Excessive or prolonged stress can seriously impair one’s memory, concentration, and reaction time and cause depression and anxiety. By calming our nerves, magnesium can help us to better cope with stress and reduce symptoms of cognitive impairment.

Studies have also found that magnesium may improve performance on attention and memory tests for those age 60 or older. 

Vitamin B complex

Researchers have found that low levels of vitamin B complex can result in brain fog symptoms like poor memory and an inability to concentrate. Over 200 people with vitamin B12 deficiency were treated with B12 supplements and showed an 84% improvement in cognition. Seventy-eight percent showed improvement in memory and attention tests.

Another study of almost 40,000 participants showed that a B12 deficiency was associated with lower levels of attention and memory, while low vitamin B6 and folate levels impaired concentration and memory.

Vitamin C

This vitamin can not only fend off a cold but also support brain health. A recent study of 80 adults showed that those with adequate vitamin C levels performed better in tests involving memory, reaction time, attention, and focus.

Vitamin C deficiency can hamper cognition and mood and has been linked to depression and cognitive impairment.

A study of 80 adults revealed that higher vitamin C levels correlated with a better mood and less depression. Vitamin C may also improve the mood in patients with subclinical depression, which, in turn, can improve cognitive performance, reduce depression overall, and clear brain fog.


Regular exercise can boost the effectiveness of supplements and help to keep brain fog at bay. Researchers have established a clear link between cognitive functioning and physical activity, so the more you move, the better you feel.

It takes a healthy mind, body, and spirit to age well. That’s the idea behind The Atrium at Navesink Harbor’s LivWell whole-person wellness programming. Contact us to find out more about our senior living community in Red Bank, NJ.

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