13 Best Natural Supplements for Brain Fog & Mental Fatigue
You’ve tried turning off the screens before you go to bed at night. You’ve replaced your mattress and your pillow. Yet you still suffer from brain fog in the morning and mental fatigue during the day. What options do you have aside from loading up on caffeine and energy drinks? Here are
13 Best Natural Supplements for Brain Fog and Mental Fatigue:
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fat. Your body needs them, but it cannot make them. Omega-3 fatty acids are converted by the body into hormones that regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, and inflammation. Consuming these essential acids reduces cardiovascular disease. This means you reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease can erode brain function through the reduction in blood supply to the brain, while stroke kills parts of the brain directly.
A lack of folate or vitamin B9 is a known cause for fatigue. When you don’t get enough of it, your body can’t produce enough red blood cells. This leads to anemia, a known cause of fatigue. A lack of folate impacts your nervous system, too. This makes folate one of the best supplements for brain fog and fatigue in general.
While we’ve addressed the body’s need for folate to process iron, an iron deficiency by itself will cause chronic fatigue. A lack of iron interferes with the body’s ability to produce red blood cells, and that, in turn, cuts short the supply of cells that can transport oxygen and glucose to the brain.
This is an especially common nutritional deficit for menstruating women. A pregnant woman who is suffering from brain fog should consider iron supplements since it is likely she’ll become nauseous at the mere sight of red meat. If you’re getting iron shots, then oral supplements are unnecessary.
You can get iron from vegetarian sources such as spinach, broccoli, tofu and dark chocolate. However, we need to be realistic – most people aren’t going to eat a pound of salad each day. Eating enough chocolate to get sufficient iron will also result in putting on a few pounds of fat. Pumpkin seeds and lentils contain modest amounts of iron, but few will enough sufficient quantities to receive their daily recommended allowance. This brings us back to the recommendation of taking an iron supplement each day if you’re suffering from fatigue or brain fog.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. This supplement can improve mood and aid sleep. The benefit of better sleep alone would make it invaluable in fighting fatigue. Tryptophan supplements aren’t always necessary. For example, those who eat several servings of dairy and meat each day probably get enough tryptophan. Vegetarian sources include buckwheat, chickpeas, almonds, tofu, and spirulina.
5. Vitamin B3
B3 or niacin protects both your nervous system and your cardiovascular system. This makes B3 doubly useful since deteriorating cardiovascular health increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure that erode brain function over time. Niacin should be considered one of the best supplements for brain fog if you’re dealing with heart disease that may be contributing to brain fog.
Niacin is a supplement vegetarians and vegans should consider taking if they’re suffering from brain fog or fatigue, assuming they’ve ruled out anemia. This is because some of the foods most rich in niacin are turkey, chicken, tuna, and beef. One full several ounce serving of these meets provides the total daily recommended amount of this vital nutrient. Peanuts are the next best choice, assuming you aren’t allergic. One cup of peanuts contains your daily requirement of niacin. Three cups of mushrooms would, as well.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D’s role in helping the body maintain bone density has long been known. A more recent discovery is how a lack of Vitamin D impairs brain function. Vitamin D apparently has a hormone-like activity throughout the body, and that includes the brain. It turns on and off enzymes in the brain and spinal fluid that are used in the manufacturing of neurotransmitters and triggering nerve growth. If you can’t spend enough time outside or you’re concerned about skin cancer, then Vitamin D supplements are in classification as brain fog supplements.
Note that if you consume too much vitamin D, it can cause weakness, headaches, fatigue, dry mouth and nausea. However, not everyone can skip the sunscreen and go out for a twenty-minute walk in the sun. If you’re taking medications that cause photo-sensitivity, ask your doctor if you should take a vitamin D supplement, especially if you’re suffering from brain fog. It may be necessary, particularly among those who can’t get it from natural sources like milk or fatty fish.
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a significant antioxidant. Degenerative brain disorders typically include high levels of oxidative stress. For this reason, vitamin C supplements can reduce the odds of diseases like stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and others from occurring. If these conditions do occur, vitamin C supplements slow down the deterioration. That makes Vitamin C supplements for menopause brain fog an excellent choice for women with a family history of these conditions, though their risk for cardiovascular problems and the related brain fog goes merely up once they hit menopause.
Why should you take a Vitamin C supplement? Isn’t your daily glass of orange juice enough? Actually, you’d need two glasses of orange juice each day to receive enough Vitamin C. Foods like peppers, kale, and broccoli contain more vitamin C per serving than orange juice, but good luck persuading the average person to eat enough of it to get plenty of this critical nutrient.
8. Turmeric Curcumin
Turmeric curcumin has long been known to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Turmeric curcumin, commonly called turmeric, has been found to improve memory and mood in older adults. This is probably one of the best supplements for brain fog if you’re also losing your short-term memory. Another benefit of curcumin is that it provides an incredibly high level of antioxidant protection.
If you already eat Indian food, then you’re already consuming one of the top supplements for brain fog as part of your diet. If you can’t stand the spicy food, then supplements containing the ingredient are in order. A side benefit of supplements is that you don’t have to wonder whether the supplements include enough curcumin to be beneficial. The turmeric on your spice rack may only contain a few percents of this valuable substance, whereas supplements contain up to 95% curcumin.
Curcumin’s ability to slow down the development of heart disease will protect your brain over the long run. Its ability to improve the function of the lining of your blood vessels means that you’re less likely to develop high blood pressure, blood clots and heart disease in general.
9. Gingko Biloba
Gingko or Ginkgo Biloba has a long history of being used to improve memory and brain function. It is one of the top herbal supplements for brain fog. It has been used to treat conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, mixed dementias, dizziness, vertigo, mood disturbances, hearing disorders, memory loss, and headaches. It is occasionally used for leg pain worsened by walking, macular degeneration, and Raynaud’s syndrome. Gingko has been consumed to reduce the brain fog associated with disorders like Lyme disease and depression. Ironically, some of the oldest references to this herb are for the treatment of asthma and bronchitis.
According to a broad swath of clinical studies, it is utterly safe. The issue for many is the conflicting evidence about its effectiveness. Trials have alternately found that it slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease while others found not benefit at all. However, extensive studies demonstrated that it improves working memory.
Gingko increases blood circulation throughout the body. That fact explains why the drug has been shown to reduce vision loss due to glaucoma and pain due to weak blood flow. Studies have found it useful in reducing Tardive Dyskinesia. There are insufficient data to determine if it reduces dyslexia or migraines.
However, Gingko isn’t being proven to treat everything for which it is taken. For example, there is no real evidence that it reduces sexual dysfunction. It doesn’t alleviate winter depression. While recommended for altitude sickness, there is inconsistent evidence that it benefits those with the condition. It doesn’t improve autism symptoms in children. It doesn’t seem to have any impact on COPD or asthma, though ironically, that’s one of its first documented uses.
Magnesium aids the body in regulating the cardiovascular system and supporting healthy bones. When you don’t have enough magnesium in your body, your body has trouble maintaining its energy levels. For those suffering from chronic fatigue, half were found to be deficient in magnesium. An estimated 15% of those in the West don’t get enough zinc in their diet. That’s no surprise given that it typically comes from green leafy vegetables, seeds, squash, beans and other foods severely lacking in the modern diet.
Women, African Americans and the elderly are prone to low magnesium levels, and these low levels are in turn linked to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. A lack of magnesium worsens problems like chronic fatigue syndrome, PMS, and fibromyalgia. These groups would specifically benefit from magnesium supplements. The only possible exception is if you’re drinking a lot of hard water that contains this mineral. Install a water softener, and you may need to add a magnesium supplement to your diet.
Zinc is another of the mineral based brain fog supplements we should all consider. Zinc is key to improving one’s quality of sleep. And better sleep leads to improved brain function during the day. Zinc treats the stunted growth in children and slow wound healing in people of all ages. It boosts your immune system and slows the progression of respiratory infections. It is used to treat macular degeneration and cataracts. Zinc has been used to treat ADHD, ringing in the ears, a deteriorating sense of smell and taste, a variety of degenerative neurological conditions.
The benefits are amplified when you take zinc in conjunction with magnesium and vitamin B6. The few people who probably don’t need zinc supplements are those that get enough of it from regular dairy consumption, fortified breakfast cereals, and beans. However, you need to be careful not to consume zinc products that contain cadmium. Cadmium and zinc often occur together in nature. A high level of cadmium consumption can contribute to kidney failure.
12. Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid may be useful in fighting fatigue for the average person. Where it stands out is fighting fatigue in people with conditions like depression, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Just be careful not to overdo it, since overeating can cause diarrhea and nausea. Note that you’re probably going to get enough B5 and other B-vitamins on this list if you choose to take a B-complex supplement.
What if you don’t want to take a supplement? Then your best sources of this water-soluble vitamin include liver, avocados and sunflower seeds. It is found in lesser amounts in eggs, dairy products, legumes, and cereals. Supplements are a sure way to get enough into your system on a regular basis.
Melatonin is another natural supplement that improves brain function and fights fatigue by solving the root cause of exhaustion for so many – an inability to go to sleep and stay asleep. Melatonin is not a sleeping pill. It won’t force your body to go to sleep. However, once you fall asleep, it will help you stay asleep. You won’t wake up at every little noise, and you’ll be better able to return to sleep if something does disturb you. Melatonin won’t leave you feeling groggy in the morning.
This supplement is found in both natural and synthetic forms. Note that the natural sources of this supplement are not vegetarian. We recommend this supplement, though, if your exhaustion and brain fog are due to a job that disrupts a regular sleep schedule or due to jet lag.
Melatonin is not a cure-all. It can contribute to a heavy-headed feeling, anxiety and short-lived depression. Consult with your doctor before taking this supplement if you already suffer from anxiety or depression.
These 13 natural supplements are considered the best options for fighting fatigue and brain fog. A number of them improve brain health if taken over the long term. Others are known to improve health overall, such as those that enhance cardiovascular health and brain health at the same time.