Do you walk into a room and can’t remember why? Forever losing your glasses or iPad more times a day than you care to remember? Then like many other women at menopause you are probably experiencing something called brain fog.
Many women secretly wonder if these ‘senior moments’ are the beginning of dementia and are truly frightened. Sometimes, their doctor does too. I met a woman recently who for 10 years, from the age of 37, believed she had dementia. Her husband was preparing to say goodbye to the woman he knew and loved. It turned out that her loss of memory, wooly headedness and clarity were actually associated with an early menopause. And, once she learned to get her body back into balance she restored her mental clarity.
If you forget what you were saying mid-sentence or where you put your car keys you are not alone. Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms of the menopause. And the reason? No one knows for sure, but it’s thought most memory problems at this time of life including poor concentration and lack of motivation are related to tiredness, anxiety and stress, rather than loss of brain cells. Underlying all of that are low levels of essential nutrients including Vitamin D, iron, Magnesium and Essential Fatty Acids, as well as falling levels of hormones like oestrogen.
Feeling fuzzy-headed is also thought to be related to the hormonal ups and downs associated with menopause. Some parts of the brain particularly involved with verbal memory are rich in oestrogen receptors, so there could be a genuine physiological link between hormonal status and brain function. Indeed, the studies show that when we take naturally occurring oestrogen into our diet it can improve both long and short-term memory as well as cognitive function.
Another reason for brain fog is due to our circulation slowing down as we get older. Less oxygen reaches our brain cells, so it’s no surprise we aren’t as sharp. Many of us don’t stretch our brains as much as we could. Like muscles, our brain needs to be used to function at optimum levels. The good news is forgetfulness doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older. Following a nutrient-dense and phytoestrogen-rich diet, leading an active lifestyle and keeping your brain well exercised will help keep you sharp.
Michaela was suffering with terrible brain fog at the time of her menopause. She was scared and unable to pursue her career. “I happened to hear Maryon Stewart talking about menopause in the workplace on the Jeremy Vine Show and decided to enrol on her virtual programme. Within 6 weeks, not only had my brain fog completely gone, I got an amazing new job which I never dreamed I would get. It was great to share the journey and watch other women make similar gains."
Here are three ways you can reclaim some of your clarity and battle that niggling worry of brain fog.
Learning to meet your needs
Get your nutrient levels back into an optimum range. To help you along the way, download my free nutritional assessment tool so you can find out where your diet is falling short.
Topping up on naturally occurring oestrogen
Research shows that your brain’s receptors struggle when you have low levels of oestrogen circulating in your body. By consuming more naturally occurring oestrogen, in the form of both food and science based supplements, you can restore both short and long term memory as well as improve your cognitive function.
Alongside keeping yourself in good nutritional shape, exercise also helps clear the mind and keep your brain sharp. It doesn’t even have to be regular workouts at the gym. You can try, for example, turning hoovering into a dance around the home, or you can take time for a brisk walk to clear your mind and relax.
If you would like to find out more about what’s going on in your body as you hit the menopause feel free to join my free menopause virtual class.