Adrenal Fatigue & Brain Fog

Adrenal Fatigue & Brain Fog

Dr. Lisa Gordon | Natural Health Improvement Center of Columbia, MD

410.717.6610 | | Facebook @drlisagordon

Adrenal fatigue and brain fog can severely impact one’s life and overall health; getting to the root cause of your symptoms is the only way to truly overcome these issues.

Adrenal Fatigue

Whether your adrenal glands aren’t producing adequate amounts of hormones or if your body has been under abnormal and extensive amounts of stress, adrenal fatigue can be detrimental to one’s health. Your adrenal glands are responsible for different vital tasks including maintaining metabolism, fight-or-flight reactions, regulating hormones, managing inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble falling asleep or waking up
  • Salt and sugar cravings
  • Needing caffeine to get through the day
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sudden intense pain in the lower back, legs or abdomen
  • Severe diarrhea or vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Digestive issues

When the adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of ongoing fight-or-flight arousal, they can’t produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good. Conventional medicine practitioners usually prescribe steroids, which do not correct the underlying organ dysfunction and only bring along a list of other bad side effects.

Giving your body the nutrition it needs to overcome adrenal fatigue is the priority. Focusing on improving nutrition and decreasing stress will help as well.

A high-protein diet is recommended with incorporated fresh fruit, vegetables, elimination of sugary and processed foods, and limited consumption of alcohol and caffeine. See food chart on back for more recommendations.

Reducing stress is very important. Incorporating meditation, deep breathing exercises, unplugging from electronic devices and regular exercise will all help with adrenal fatigue. Check out these apps for easy to follow meditation guidelines: Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Calm. See our handout on anxiety & depression.

Brain Fog

Brain fog is not a condition in itself, but is very likely to be a sign or symptom of another underlying issue. Everyone experiences the occasional confusion or forgetfulness, but when it becomes a chronic issue, action needs to be taken.

Symptoms of brain fog include:

  • Constant confusion
  • Disorganization
  • Disorientation
  • Feeling scattered
  • Diminished ability to react
  • Difficulty thinking or expressing thoughts
  • Loss of attention
  • Memory lapses
  • Lack of focus
  • Slower decision making
  • Forgetfulness
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Low energy

The solution for brain fog is similar to the solution for adrenal fatigue; the priority being getting your body the proper nutrition it needs to overcome the underlying inflammation causing the symptoms in the first place.

A balanced diet, regular exercise schedule, quality sleep and stress reduction practice are very important to overcoming brain fog. Removing foods like gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, fried foods, sugar, lectins (legumes, beans, peas, lentils), nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, grains, soy) can help lower your current inflammation. See food chart below for more recommendations.

Aerobic activity (running, dancing, biking), anaerobic activity (HIIT training, speed drills) and restorative practices (yoga, walking, Pilates) will all help with brain health.


Foods to Focus On:

Protein (30%): grass fed beef/chicken/turkey, wild caught salmon/tuna, eggs, almonds, oats, whole fat yogurt, beans/lentils, pumpkin seeds, almonds, SP protein powder

Veggies (40%): brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, sweet potato, carrots, swiss chard, bok choy, tomatoes, fermented veggies, onion, garlic, sprouts, bell peppers, collards, mushrooms, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, seaweed

Fats (12-20%): flaxseed, almonds, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, eggs, chia seeds, walnuts, cheese, full fat yogurt, virgin coconut oil, salmon, peanuts, grass fed butter, ripe olives, hemp seeds, pecans, cashews, dark chocolate

Carbs (10-15%): quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, bananas, oranges, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, kidney beans, chickpeas, beans/lentils, pumpkin, butternut squash, beets