Dealing with brain fog: What helps you?

Posted by jlo70 @jlo70, Jan 25, 2022

I’m 51 years old and new to the psoriatic arthritis auto immune world, having been diagnosed two years ago. My symptoms kicked into high gear the past year, and I’m experiencing plenty of physical issues, but the one that might be the most frustrating is the intense brain fog that’s with me daily. It’s making it difficult for me to do my job well, and it’s starting to really cause me a lot of concern and doubt about my ability to continue with my current job because it’s very mentally demanding.

I’m desperately hoping to hear from some folks who have dealt with brain fog issues and how you managed or eliminated it so that you could get back to normal functioning. I’m feeling a bit scared right now at my general lack of mental acuity. I plan to talk to my rheumatologist and see what she recommends, but I would also love to hear any tips from this group since so many of you have been dealing with this for much longer than I have. Thanks in advance!

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@colleenyoung thanks so much for these resources. So far, I find that staying away from processed foods, eating as many whole, healthy foods as possible, staying away from sugar, and taking sulfasalazine has helped, although it’s tough to eat fully “clean” with others in the home who don’t want to eat that way all the time, so I could probably be doing better if I could tackle that challenge.

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@jlo70, you already know about the two things I was going to mention, but I'm sending confirmation and semi-confirmation, in case it helps.

In 2012, I was diagnosed (sort of) with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.
. . . . . "Sort of" = I lacked heath insurance and was seen by an oversubscribed clinic for the uninsured working poor (the Great Recession torpedoed my profession, and I was pushed out of the middle class), so my treatment was sporadic and always with different practitioners.
. . . . . When I was unable to afford the Rx (hydroxychloroquine) that kept my inflammation under check, I changed my diet: plant-heavy, no more than 10g of added sugar daily, and almost no lab chemicals. It made a huge positive difference with regard to observable inflammation and pain (joints), and I don't remember having brain fog at the time (I'm a longtime copy editor, so I know whether my speed and accuracy when processing text are intact or impaired; at that time, they were intact).

I also wonder to what degree perimenopause or menopause, depending on where you are, are contributing to your brain fog.
. . . . . My brain fog was perceptible in my early years of menopause ( = from about age 54 onward) but bc I moved out of that clinic's catchment area, I was unable to get any treatment, such as Rx to balance or adjust my hormones.
. . . . . Brain fog persisted bc of, I believe, intense stress (joblessness; a dying parent) and insomnia, and this past year chemo was added to the mix; unfortunately I have no suggestions to offer re: reducing it, apart from diet (and, if you can, ensuring that you have healthy sleep and reducing your stress level).
. . . . . I tentatively think that omega-3 could help a little (I used the NOW brand for years), as could aerobic (oxygenating) exercise, such as walking -- and I recommend checking out Dr. Andrew Weil's website for tips. (He's a Harvard-trained MD who has become an expert in integrative healthcare.)

I hope you're doing well.


There are a couple of hints that may help you - i take a caffeine pill(200 mg) or 1/2 usually - the company i use is: Prolab n has a blue label
Another hint is ( if you are able to get prescription for it) is : Adderall
( 5 mg but i take 7.5 after breaking one in half)
I intend to increase as soon as i get clearance from a cardiologist as my dr is very careful ) as it’s a stimulant .. these 2 things most definitely help with clarity , energy and ability to complete a project / at least for several hours..
it’s not always easy to get a dr to be on board Re prescribing the adderall as this usage would be considered “ off label” ( it’s primarily used for ADHD
Good luck and let me know how you do with my suggestions


I understand your dilemma! I have a really thin husband who struggles to maintain a healthy weight, while I on the other hand struggle to lose weight. So I have to cook high calorie meals and try hard not to eat much. It is a challenge for sure.

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Perhaps each of you could cook your own meals? I'm concerned that this (eating small amounts of high-calorie meals) isn't a healthy or sustainable solution.

Fwiw, I found that making, once weekly, a big batch of steel-cut oats, of brown rice, and of beans -- and then freezing most of each batch in 2- or 3-portion containers -- very helpful. Brown rice gets a bad rap bc the cooking instrux result in gummy rice; I recommend the instrux offered by the magazine Saveur (you can google for them). Also, Minute Rice makes a brown-rice option that's pretty good (tho I'd still push for buying organic brown rice and cooking it per Saveur.)

Changing to a plant-heavy, low-added-sugar (not more than 10g daily), few-lab-chemicals diet helped me a lot. And, I relied on frozen veg bc I mostly dislike cooking and would have eaten fewer veg if prep time had been factored in. Frozen are less versatile, but they're nourishing; I find that broc, cauli, kale, spinach, green beans/string beans, and mixed (corn, peas, diced carrots) hold up pretty well.


I attended weekly sessions with a good speech pathologist. I did not know speech pathologist treat cognitive issues. At first I resisted but she taught me knew ways to do things I use to do but had difficulty doing. She provided exercises and eventually I was able to understand what I was actually doing. I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do tasks I’ve been doing for years. I encourage you to try it. Best of Luck


@jlo70. I just recently found this article on brain fog in The Washington Post
What is your take on it?


I was given Rifaximin for the brain fog. I helped a bit but didn't cure the issue.

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