Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
April 29, 2022
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

Do you feel like you can’t focus on anything? Like your brain is in a fog and your attention span seems to be cut shorter than usual?

You might be suffering from low vitamin D or vitamin D deficiency brain fog. This is a common problem, especially during the winter months. Fortunately, there are ways to clear it up naturally.

In this post, we will discuss 12 strategies that can improve your brain health, get rid of brain fog, and help you become sharper and healthier than ever.

Let’s get started!

What exactly is brain fog?

Brain fog or mental fog is a condition that can be described as a lack of mental clarity. It can make it difficult to focus and concentrate on tasks. You may also find yourself forgetting things more often than usual.

This mild cognitive impairment can be caused by a number of different things, including poor nutrition, dehydration, sleep deprivation, and stress.

For some people, mental fog is a temporary condition that lasts for a few days, but for others, it can be a frustrating cognitive dysfunction that can linger for months and even years.

While brain fog is not a medical condition, it can still significantly impact your quality of life. If you are struggling with brain fog, you may find it difficult to perform at work or school.

You may also have trouble keeping up with your hobbies or maintaining social relationships.

What is vitamin D, and why is it important?

Vitamin D is a vitamin that is essential for good health. It plays a role in calcium absorption, which helps to keep bones strong and healthy.

When you have low vitamin D levels, you may be at risk for developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle.

Vitamin D is also important for immune system health, and it has been linked to a reduced risk of some cancers. It also supports the nervous system and muscles, such as the brain.

Vitamin D can be found in the beverages and food you drink and eat, such as orange juice, fortified milk, eggs, and fatty fish. 

There are three ways to get vitamin D:

  • exposure to sunlight
  • diet
  • and vitamin D supplementation. 

While you can get small amounts of vitamin D from certain foods, such as fish and fortified milk, it is difficult to get enough from diet alone.

This is why exposure to sunlight is the most efficient way to produce vitamin D in the body.

When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D. However; this process can be inhibited by factors such as sunscreen, clothing, and time of day.

Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem, especially in the winter months when there is less sunlight.

Also, the elderly and people with dark skin are more prone to have low Vitamin D levels.

Can vitamin D deficiency cause brain fog?

There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D deficiency can lead to cognitive impairment and brain fog.

Low vitamin D has been linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

One study found that people with Alzheimer’s disease have significantly low vitamin D levels compared to those without the condition.

Another study found that low vitamin D levels were associated with cognitive function decline in older adults.

While more research is needed to understand the link between vitamin D and brain fog, it is clear that vitamin D is essential for brain health.

Common Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency and Brain Fog

There are a number of different symptoms that can be associated with vitamin D deficiency and brain fog.

These symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Fatigue or less energy
  • Chronic headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Foggy thinking 
  • Trouble problem-solving
  • Irritability or low mood
  • Dizziness 
  • Mouth sores 
  • Smooth tongue

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to speak to your doctor. They can order a blood test to check if you have low vitamin D levels and recommend a suitable treatment for you.

12 Ways to Clear Vitamin D Deficiency Brain Fog & Improve Your Overall Brain Health Naturally

Now that we have discussed what vitamin D is, its importance, and the link between low vitamin D and brain fog, let’s take a look at 12 strategies to clear vitamin D deficiency brain fog and improve your overall brain function.

Here are 12 ways to increase your vitamin D levels and clear your brain fog:

1) Get more sunlight (or use a portable ultraviolet (UV) lamp during winter)

Exposure to sunlight is the best way to increase vitamin D levels in the body.

If you can, aim to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight exposure per day. This can be done by taking a walk outdoors or sitting near a window.

If you cannot get enough sunlight exposure, you can use a portable UV lamp. Studies show that UV lamps stimulate vitamin D receptors in the body and are effective at raising vitamin D levels.

However, make sure to speak to your doctor before using an ultraviolet lamp.

2) Eat vitamin D-rich foods

While it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone, eating vitamin D-rich foods can help boost your levels.

Some vitamin D-rich foods include:

  • fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • vitamin D-fortified milk
  • egg yolks
  • mushrooms

3) Take a vitamin D supplement

If you are unable to get enough vitamin D levels from diet or sunlight exposure, you may need to take a supplement. 

Vitamin D supplements are available in a variety of forms, including capsules, tablets, and liquids.

Your doctor can help you determine the best type of supplement for you and the proper dosage.

Other brain-friendly dietary supplements that you might want to consider include:

  • Ashwagandha 
  • B Complex
  • Vitamin C  
  • Vitamin K 
  • Ginkgo Biloba 
  • Magnesium 
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Remember to always consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.

4) Reduce your sugar intake

Sugar has been shown to have a negative impact on brain health.

Eating too much sugar can lead to inflammation and damage the brain’s ability to function properly.

If you are struggling with brain fog, it is crucial to reduce your sugar intake. This includes sugars from processed foods as well as natural sugars, such as honey and maple syrup.

To help reduce your sugar intake, you can:

  • read food labels carefully and avoid foods that are high in sugar.
  • choose unsweetened versions of foods and beverages.
  • cook at home more often so that you can control the amount of sugar in your meals.
  • avoid sugary snacks and replace them with healthier options, such as fruits, vegetables, or nuts.
  • limit your intake of sugary drinks, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks.

If you are struggling to reduce your sugar intake, speak to a registered dietitian or nutritionist for help.

They can provide you with tips and resources to make the process easier.

It’s also important to note that sugar isn’t the only thing that can damage brain function.

Other unhealthy ingredients, such as trans fats, artificial additives, and preservatives, can also have a negative impact.

To help protect your brain health, it is important to eat a healthy diet that is free from these harmful ingredients.

5) Rehydrate often

Dehydration can lead to a number of problems, including brain fog.

When you are dehydrated, your body is unable to function properly. This can impact your cognitive abilities and make it difficult to think clearly.

To prevent dehydration, it is important to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Aim for eight glasses of water per day or more if you are sweating heavily or have been vomiting.

Other fluids that can help keep you hydrated include:

  • fruit and vegetable juices
  • soups
  • teas
  • milk
  • coconut water

If you find it difficult to drink eight glasses of water per day, you can do a few things to make it easier.

For example, you can:

  • carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and take sips often.
  • set reminders on your phone or computer to drink water at regular intervals.
  • flavor your water with fruits, herbs, or vegetables to make it more enjoyable.

Dehydration can also cause other problems, such as headaches, fatigue, and dry skin.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to increase your fluid intake.

6) Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for brain function.

During sleep, your brain is able to rest and repair itself. This helps to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of developing mental health conditions.

Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

If you are struggling to get enough sleep, you can do a few things to improve your sleep habits.

For example, you can:

  • create a bedtime routine and stick to it as much as possible.
  • avoid watching television or using electronic devices in the hour before bed.
  • establish a regular sleep schedule and avoid sleeping during the day.
  • create a relaxing environment in your bedroom, such as dimming the lights and using soothing scents.

If you are still struggling to get enough sleep, speak to a doctor or sleep specialist.

They can help you identify the underlying cause of your sleep problems and develop a treatment plan.

7) Get regular aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise is any type of activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe more heavily.

Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, running, cycling, and swimming.

Regular aerobic exercise has a number of benefits for brain health.

For example, it can:

  • improve blood flow to the brain
  • reduce inflammation
  • increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that helps to protect and grow brain cells.

Aerobic exercise also improves mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.

Most adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Moderate intensity is equivalent to a brisk walk.

If you are unable to commit to 150 minutes per week, any amount of exercise is better than none.

8) Play games that enhance the brain or learn a new language 

There are a number of games and activities that can help to improve brain function.

For example, puzzles and logic games can help to improve problem-solving skills, while memory games can enhance your memory.

Other activities that can enhance the brain include:

  • reading
  • writing
  • drawing
  • painting
  • listening to music
  • playing an instrument

Learning a new language is also beneficial for brain health.

Some research suggests that being bilingual can help to delay the onset of dementia.

Other benefits of learning a new language include:

  • improved memory
  • enhanced critical thinking skills
  • increased ability to multitask.

If you are interested in learning a new language, there are a number of resources that can help you get started.

For example, you can:

  • use an app, such as Duolingo or Babbel.
  • take a class at a local community center or college.
  • watch foreign films and television shows with subtitles. 
  • read books or magazines in the language you are trying to learn.

There are also a number of resources available for people interested in brain games and activities.

For example, you can:

  • download apps, such as Lumosity or Elevate, onto your phone or tablet.
  • play online games, such as Sudoku or FreeCell.
  • purchase board games, such as Scrabble or chess.
  • find printable activity sheets online.

Most of these activities can be done for free or for a small fee.

If you are struggling to find time to commit to brain-boosting activities, consider incorporating them into your daily routine.

For example, you can:

  • do a puzzle while you watch television.
  • listen to a language-learning app while you cook dinner.
  • play online brain games during your lunch break at work.

By making minimal changes to your daily routine, you can make a big impact on your brain health.

9) Practice mindfulness exercises

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations in the present moment.

It can help improve mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness can also enhance the brain by:

  • increasing grey matter density.
  • reducing stress-related hormones, such as cortisol.
  • increasing levels of BDNF.

Practicing mindfulness can be done in a number of ways.

For example, you can:

  • attend a yoga class that incorporates mindfulness exercises.
  • download a mindfulness app, such as Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer, onto your phone or tablet.
  • listen to a guided meditation.
  • read a book on mindfulness.

Mindfulness exercises can be done for free or for a small fee. You can also find many resources online to help you get started.

If you are struggling to find time to commit to mindfulness, consider incorporating it into your daily routine.

For example, you can:

  • practice mindfulness while you eat breakfast or lunch.
  • take a few minutes to meditate before bed.

By making minor changes to your daily routine, you can significantly impact your mental health.

Takeaways 

Vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of health problems, including brain fog. 

There are a number of ways you can increase your vitamin D levels, such as spending time in the sun, taking supplements, and eating vitamin D-rich foods.

In addition to increasing your vitamin D intake, there are a number of other things you can do to clear brain fog and improve your overall cognitive function, such as:

  • getting enough sleep,
  • exercising regularly,
  • eating a healthy diet,
  • reducing stress, and
  • practicing mindfulness.

If you want to learn more about how to clear brain fog instantly and improve your brain function, check out these resources and join this amazing online community.

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