Navigating the Fog?

brain fog, fatigue, natural health, natural medicine for chronic fatigue, Doctor Fisel

After a year, you finally feel safe enough to dine-in at your favorite pasta/ pizza restaurant. You thought the caffeinated soda would pair perfectly with the garlic buttered bread (yes, yes it did).

After all those carbs,
did you forget where you parked the car?

Or…your new baby is finally fast asleep in your arms.

After a sleepless night,
did you realize you had been staring at
the same line in an email for 30 minutes?

It’s time to present the findings of the project you’ve been working on during the pandemic.

After a stressful time at work,
did you lose the words to explain “the thing”
that had taken all of your attention for months?

If you feel like you are walking through your normal daily routine in a haze, you might be experiencing a common symptom described as BRAIN FOG.

Brain fog is a term that’s used to explain slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, or a haziness in thought processes (SOURCE).

In times when stress levels are higher than normal (we’re looking at you this past year COVID-19), when sleep routines are off, when recovering from a viral/ bacterial infection, or when comfort foods seem like a “quick fix” – those are the times when the brain feels the least clear. And we are here to help!

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOUR BRAIN MIGHT FEEL FOGGY:

1.AM I MOVING ENOUGH? Especially during this time, a sedentary lifestyle has become more prevalent. If you notice your brain isn’t processing at normal capacity, think about how much you move in a day. Incorporating more movement can help alleviate brain fog.

TIP: Try the cat/ cow yoga pose as a simple first step towards clarity. (WATCH)

2. AM I EATING NOURISHING FOODS? Inflammation in the body can cause systemic inflammation in the brain which adds to brain fog. Therefore, it is important to nourish your body with foods that reduce inflammation if you want to alleviate the symptom.

TIP: Eat leafy greens, almonds, salmon, strawberries, olive oil (SOURCE); Avoid: alcohol, cheese/ dairy and processed foods that contain: MSG, Aspartame, and/ or sodium (SOURCE).

3. AM I GETTING ENOUGH RESTFUL SLEEP? Especially for those that have little ones in the house, getting a restful night of sleep can be challenging. It would make sense that you might feel foggy the next day if you’ve gotten less than 7 hours of sleep in the night.

TIP: Develop healthy sleep hygiene habits: turn off screens at least one hour before bed, turn off harsh overhead lighting, take a warm bath or shower, and place a few drops of lavender on your pillow.

Like so many people who experience brain fog, maybe you’ve felt a little off but didn’t know WHY. Or… you’ve felt a little off, but you didn’t know HOW to fix it.

The naturopathic approach starts with “WHY” you are feeling the way you do so we can address “HOW” you’re feeling. Keep in mind, alleviating brain fog is not a one size fits all solution. We can help you as you start to navigate the process!

Dr. Fisel provides a comprehensive and integrative assessment with natural therapeutic solutions for those suffering from symptoms like BRAIN FOG.

Please contact Dr. Fisel, ND if you have questions about integrative solutions for your health care needs. Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment.

Are Annual Exams Really Necessary?

I hear it at least every week, if not more. “My doctor gave me a clean bill of health.” OK. So maybe the annual battery of tests and exams didn’t reveal any serious underlying diseases, but that hardly equates to being healthy. Unfortunately, we’ve become so accustomed to physical exams, even the insurance companies consider them “preventive care.” The chief cited rationale is that the annual offers a regular opportunity to address risk factors and health or life concerns. There may be some truth to this, but both insurance companies and doctors could be doing so much more to provide preventive care for patients. [Read more…]

Is It Really IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects one in five adult Americans, and is responsible for up to 40% of referrals to gastroenterologists. While there are legitimate criteria used to diagnose IBS (alternating constipation and diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain), the term is generally used to label patients who don’t have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other underlying “organic” diseases. Once patients have been labeled with having IBS, they are often given one or more medications to treat the symptoms, usually with little to no relief.

Fortunately for IBS sufferers, a multitude of underlying factors may be the real cause of digestive symptoms, making the likelihood of recovery much more promising. One condition in particular that’s often overlooked is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This is an abnormal colonization of bacteria within the small intestine by bacteria that are normally found in the colon, mouth, or pharynx. When left untreated, SIBO is not only mistaken with IBS, but has been linked to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome as well. The cause of SIBO isn’t always clear, but patients who are at higher risk include those with chronic constipation, achlorhydria, diabetes, scleroderma, diverticulosis, and adhesions from prior surgeries.

Up to 78% of patients who are diagnosed with IBS may in fact be experiencing SIBO. Testing for this condition is performed by blowing into a tube that measures gases given off by the excessive amount of bacteria that are present in the small intestine. While these tests are typically offered by gastroenterologists, there are several commercial laboratories that offer test kits for home use, which are then mailed back to the laboratory for analysis. If diagnosed, SIBO can be treated initially with specialized antibiotics. Once the offending bacteria are successfully eradicated, measures should then be taken to improve the intestinal environment (probiotics, digestive enzymes, etc.), which should help to prevent recurrence.

A diagnosis of IBS does not mean all hope is lost. Explore the possibility of SIBO, and seek out a naturopath or other alternative practitioner who can focus on how the digestive tract functions, rather than just looking for a disease.