by Kristin Henningsen
We’ve all been there. We’re trying to articulate something but just can’t quite grab the words. Or we walk into a room to get something and forget why we’re there in the first place. And that “what am I doing in here?” feeling is exactly why so many of us have turned to supplements promising to boost our minds and sharpen our focus. But often that pattern of brain fog can persist and you can still get hit with the afternoon slump. So how do you know if your brain support or focus supplement is working or if your feelings of fatigue run deeper than an endless to-do list? Here are some signs of brain fog to watch out for so you can evaluate the effectiveness of your brain booster.
Brain fog isn’t necessarily always tied to a chronic health issue. More often, it’s simply a result of too many demands with too little resources to meet them. Over time, this drains our energy to the point of not having the capacity to focus, regulate our emotions or make healthy decisions. If this vicious cycle continues, it can lead to full-on burnout.
According to researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, typical symptoms of mental exhaustion include:
- An unusual rapid drain on mental energy
- Following exertion, a period of unusually long recovery
- Impaired concentration and attention
- Cycles of mental fatigue and focus varying from day to day
- Mood swings
- Memory problems
- Sleep issues
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Chronic headaches
What’s Working and What’s Not
Identifying the symptoms of brain fog is the first step to knowing if a brain-boosting supplement is actually working for you. Since the symptoms can show up in a variety of ways, keeping track of what you’re experiencing can be extremely helpful in determining if your focus strategies are effective. Does taking a walk in nature help clear your mind? Does your supplement for brain support help you concentrate short or long term? What foods affect your focus? Monitoring the effects of these strategies over time can help to individualize your approach and see what combination provides the most clarity.
Keeping a journal or symptom diary can be key here. Recording focus, diet, sleep patterns and emotional states can help you make the connections to effective lifestyle strategies and supplements that clear the fog and boost your energy. Make a habit of recording these factors before or after meals to make it convenient, whether it’s in a journal or on your phone. And, of course, there’s an app for that.
Studies have shown that while you may feel results of supplements within two to four weeks, how effective they can be really depends on your baseline health. You’ll want to track your information for at least that long, taking your brain supplement daily. To test if it’s really living up to expectations, after six weeks taper off for a few days and keep tracking how you feel. If you notice shifts like increased brain fog, fatigue or mood swings after one day, two days, a week, etc. be sure to take note. Maybe you notice no shifts at all. This strategy will help you form a personal snapshot of if your supplement is effective or not and what the best frequency is to take it. Some may find taking it daily will keep them sharp, while others may only need it when feeling particularly sluggish, and some may need to switch supplements altogether.
Prevention Is the Name of the Game
Stopping brain fog before it even starts is by far the most effective strategy. If you’ve begun to experience some symptoms of mental exhaustion, taking a supplement for brain health and focus daily is a great long-term solution. Rhodiola, Bacopa and Lion’s Mane all show promising research for brain support. If you’ve been living with chronic brain fog, expect it to take some time to regain your focus, and expect to make some serious lifestyle shifts.
The moral of the story is don’t wait. If you’re feeling tapped out and unable to focus, give your brain a boost with a supplement that combines all of those ingredients with calming CBD like FOCL Day to increase that long-term resilience and end the vicious cycle of mental exhaustion.
Kristin Henningsen MS, RH (AHG), RYT, is a clinical herbalist and educator who first fell in love with plants in the Desert Southwest. She’s passionate about bringing plant medicine back to the people and integrating Western herbalism, TCM and ayurvedic practices to empower folks in their healthcare. She maintains a private clinical practice and serves as faculty for several university programs. Find her at banyanmoonbotanicals.com.