Brain Health

Brain Fog in Your Patients Is a Red Flag Symptom

BY Datis Kharrazian TIMEFebruary 5, 2022 PRINT

Do you or your patients ever suffer from brain fog, that feeling like you’re disconnected from the world, moving in a daze, and slow to process information? If so, take this symptom very seriously as it’s one of the earliest signs of neurodegeneration, or accelerated brain aging. This means you are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Brain fog is a symptom of an inflamed brain. The brain’s immune cells are called glial cells and they function and behave differently than immune cells in the rest of the body. When glial cells become activated, or primed, they become inflammatory. As they don’t have an automatic off switch, they can be inflammatory on an ongoing basis, damaging brain tissue in the process.

This constant inflammatory state inhibits glial cells from performing in their role of supporting neuron health and function. These functions include supporting healthy synapses, pruning synaptic pathways to be more efficient, and clearing off protein aggregates, the tao proteins, neurofibrillary tangles, alpha-synuclein proteins, and Lewy bodies involved with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia and so forth.

Many things can prime glial cells, such as uncontrolled blood sugar levels, chronic inflammation, gut inflammation, food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, chronic or acute stress, and a brain injury. When a patient comes into your office with symptoms of depression, inability to focus or concentrate, fatigue, and poor brain endurance, they likely suffer from brain inflammation. You will have a difficult time treating them clinically unless you can lower their brain inflammation.

There are four distinct pathways that turn on brain inflammation, in addition to the possibility of a permeable, or leaky, blood-brain barrier. As a clinician, it’s important for you to know how to identify brain inflammation and the metabolic and immunological factors that can cause it in order to successfully address it.

Dr. Kharrazian has a private practice in San Diego, California. He consults with patients from all over the world who are seeking non-pharmaceutical applications. His practice is focused on developing a personalized medical approach using diet, nutrition, and lifestyle approaches. 

This story originally published on the Kharrazian Institute’s blog.

Datis Kharrazian
Datis Kharrazian, Ph.D., DHSc, DC, MS, MMSc, FACN, is a Harvard Medical School trained, award-winning clinical research scientist, academic professor, and world-renowned functional medicine healthcare provider. He develops patient and practitioner education and resources in the areas of autoimmune, neurological, and unidentified chronic diseases using non-pharmaceutical applications.
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