3 surprisingly easy ways to fight the scientific cause of brain fog

Excuse me for being blunt, but brain fog bites. It steals your memory. It makes it hard to think, work, and socialize. When it’s severe, it can even temporarily prevent you from speaking and understanding language. Scary stuff.

Now, most people don’t have brain fog so severe that they forget how to speak. But lots of people deal with mild to moderate brain fog that keeps them from functioning at their best. That’s because it’s a symptom of so many common conditions, diseases, and life circumstances.

Autoimmune diseases cause brain fog. Cancer treatment causes brain fog. Fibromyalgia causes brain fog. Depression causes brain fog. Anemia causes brain fog. Pregnancy causes brain fog. Medications cause brain fog. Heck, even stress causes brain fog.

It seems strange that such a wide variety of things can cause the exact same symptom. Which makes you wonder… what’s really causing the condition in all these situations?

And a new study may have finally uncovered the answer — inflammation.

Inflammation makes your mind less alert

Inflammation is a factor in most major diseases. And brain fog is a symptom of so many of these diseases. It makes sense that inflammation could be causing the brain fog that debilitates so many people. And scientists at the University of Birmingham and the University of Amsterdam recently found evidence that’s true.

The study included 20 young men who received a salmonella typhoid vaccine that causes temporary inflammation. A few hours later, they took a cognitive test that measured their attention while researchers looked at their brain activity.

Related: 10 best ways to blast inflammation from your body

These young men took the same cognitive test on a different day too, when they weren’t impacted by the inflammation triggered by the vaccine (on these days, they received a placebo vaccine that contained water). Researchers also took blood samples from the young men on both days to check inflammation levels.

Here’s what they found…

The temporary inflammation triggered by the vaccine affected a part of their brain that made it harder to stay alert. And the stronger the inflammation response in each individual, the more it impacted this part of the brain.

“These results show quite clearly that there’s a very specific part of the brain network that’s affected by inflammation,” says the senior author of the study Dr. Ali Mazaheri. “This could explain ‘brain fog.'”

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Options for battling brain fog

If you suffer from brain fog, the results of this study are good news. Why?

Because there are so many tools you can use to impact inflammation levels in your brain and body. Here’s a specific example…

Another recent study found that depression (which can cause some serious brain fog) can be improved by taking anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements. They reduced the severity of depression symptoms 52 percent better than the placebo, and they eliminated depression symptoms 79 percent better than the placebo.

Some of the products that worked for depression (and could potentially work for brain fog) were:

  1. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin and acetaminophen)
  2. Omega 3 fatty acids
  3. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

All of these items are available through a quick trip to the drugstore or health food store. But be warned — fighting inflammation is a long game.

It may take time before anti-inflammatory agents make a dent in your brain fog. And, of course, you may not want to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs long-term since they can cause internal bleeding and digestive issues. If you’re having a particularly bad brain fog day, though, you can see if popping an aspirin helps. Omega 3 fatty acids and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) are safe to take long-term (although, check with your doctor first… especially if you’re dealing with health issues beyond brain fog).

Beyond supplements, you could also try fighting inflammation through diet. In fact, there’s evidence that both high-fiber diets and keto diets reduce brain inflammation specifically. So, consider diet changes to banish brain inflammation… and hopefully, brain fog too.

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!


  1. Link between inflammation and mental sluggishness shown in new study — MedicalXpress
  2. Selective effects of acute low-grade inflammation on human visual attentionNeuroImage
  3. Brain fog: Causes and tips — Medical News Today
  4. Anti-inflammatory agents can effectively and safely curb major depressive symptoms — MedicalXpress
  5. Efficacy and safety of anti-inflammatory agents for the treatment of major depressive disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trialsNeuropsychiatry
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.