Are you experiencing symptoms like your mind feeling cloudy, forgetting basic things, and constantly struggling to stay focused on the task at hand? If so, there is a likely chance that you suffer from brain fog. In itself, brain fog can be frustrating as it keeps you from living your optimal life. But what’s worse is that it can be a sign of neurodegeneration that can eventually lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In order to improve your brain health, overcome brain fog, and prevent neurodegenerative diseases, it is critical to first understand the primary causes of brain fog.
You will learn all this and more as I talk to health journalist Jordan Fallis, the founder of Optimal Living Dynamics. Jordan’s passion for treating brain fog and improving brain health started out when he, after a series of unfortunate events, ended up suffering from brain fog and sought ways to treat it. In this episode, Jordan shares his knowledge on the root causes of brain fog and the simple yet powerful steps you can take today to optimize your brain health.
In this podcast, Jordan will cover
- The primary causes of brain fog
- The one mistake most people make when they want to heal their brain
- Can I self-diagnose the root cause of my brain fog? (Why identifying the primary cause of poor brain health is tricky)
- The link between hormone balance and brain health
- What are the most common brain fog symptoms?
- Jordan’s best tips to get rid of brain fog (One of these treatments is a favorite of Ari’s)
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The Primary Causes Of Brain Fog And How To Get Rid Of Brain Fog Naturally With Jordan Fallis – Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host Ari Whitten, and today I have with me the founder of optimal living dynamics, Jordan Fallis, for the past 10 years he’s worked as a health and science journalist and media and communications advisor in Ottawa, Canada.
He’s written for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and the Canadian Pharmacists Journal. He’s now finishing up his Masters of Science in human nutrition and his passion is discovering valuable cutting-edge brain and mental health solutions and sharing them with people that desperately need them.
And I’ll also mention on a personal note that I’ve read a number of his articles on his site and he does really great work around brain health. So welcome to the show, Jordan. It’s been a long time in the making and we finally were able to connect and make this happen.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, thanks for having me.
The causes of Jordan Fallis’s brain fog
Ari Whitten: Yeah, my pleasure. So first of all, why the interest in brain health? You know, you’re, you’re a young guy. You’re not like, you know, somebody who’s in their eighties or nineties suffering from neurological diseases. That shouldn’t necessarily be this deep personal connection with brain health as a result of some personal brain related story for a guy your age. But what, what led you down this path?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, well it was 2010 and I had a really, really bad concussion, so I had some concussions leading up to that. But in 2010 it was just a really bad one. And I had to drop out of school, like stop working. I just had to just stop everything and try to get better. But unfortunately, when I went to the doctors, they weren’t able to help me, so I had to keep searching for solutions myself and just looked and looked and looked, went to different practitioners, started doing research myself.
But yeah, it took me quite a long time to completely recover and so then yeah, so that’s how I got into it. I just started researching and writing and I thought, that was the best way to go about it. It’s kind of hard to publish what I’m writing about in publications, I guess. So, it’s kind of just set up my own website and started, started researching, writing and yeah, it all stems back to that really bad concussion in 2010.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get the concussion?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. So, I fell down the stairs in my home. It was my birthday and all my roommates gave me way too much alcohol and so it’s actually embarrassing, embarrassing way to fall down the stairs. But yeah, that’s, that’s how it happened.
Ari Whitten: And two neurotoxic elements working against you that night. The alcohol mixed with a concussion.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, it wasn’t good. So, then I hit my head on the railing and then also on the way down as well. And so, I had like double impact.
Ari Whitten: Gees.
Jordan Fallis: But then leading up to that I played like rep hockey as well. So, there’s body checking. I think I’ve had a bunch of different other like minor concussions over the years. So, yeah. And then, oh, so I had like really bad depression and anxiety leading up to that. So, it was kind of like a whole, like life changing type of experience where I had to sort everything out and yeah, that’s, that’s how I got into it.
Common brain fog symptoms
Ari Whitten: And what were the main symptoms that you dealt with as a result of that?
Jordan Fallis: So, had really bad brain fog, dizziness, chronic dizziness, so that was really annoying because it just never went away. Fatigue, headaches. Oh. And then also when this happened, when I had a, my really bad concussion at home, there was a bunch of black mold in the basement as well. So, so I, it’s, it’s hard to say, it was just kind of all these things together kind of turned my life upside down.
So, yeah, so then I had depression and anxiety already kind of had that leading up to it, but it got really, really bad after that. I was just depleted. I lost a lot of weight. I just wasn’t, wasn’t pretty. So yeah, I’m glad I’ve got far away from that moment, but that’s pretty much what happened.
The most common causes of brain fog symptoms
Ari Whitten: Well, I think that’s a nice segue into what I want to talk about, what I want to spend most of this podcast talking about, which is brain fog. So, you’ve as a result of your personal story and trying to recover from your own symptoms, you did a ton of research around brain health and brain fog specifically.
So, kinda take me into your paradigm from, from 30,000 feet, what does this look like as far as the big picture framework of what are the triggers of why most people would have brain fog related symptoms and assuming that they didn’t get drunk and fall down a staircase.
Jordan Fallis: So, I think one of the first things I like to look at is food. So, I want to make sure that their diet isn’t ridiculous, and they don’t have a bunch of like eating gluten or dairy or corn, soy. The common food allergens usually for people who have really bad brain fog standing up your diet isn’t going to reverse it. I will in my case, it definitely didn’t. and I, I have a feeling and a lot of cases it goes beyond food. So, I don’t, I don’t think diet and nutrition is going to be, I guess the main thing that changes everything, but I think in some situations when people clean up their diet, they’ll see a significant improvement in mental clarity and an overall brain function.
So especially if people have undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten intolerance. So, I had really bad asthma and acne from gluten as well. And from dairy. I’m clearing that up, by cutting gluten and dairy, my skin cleared up, my asthma cleared up and then my, my brain fog improved as well, but it just, it wasn’t enough. But I would say most should start, start with food.
I usually recommend like a paleo-based diet, so I don’t. Yeah, it doesn’t need to be exactly Paleo. I think it’s, it’s like a good template. Right? So, I’m going, going from there is a good place to start for most people and I think if they follow something like that, they should see improvements in brain fog.
So that’s usually, that’s like the first step, but there’s usually a number of other problems that can happen as well, like hormones. I think that’s maybe number two, I really think people need to check hormones and in particular making sure they don’t have any sort of subclinical hypothyroidism, so or, or full-blown hypothyroidism.
Jordan Fallis: A lot of doctors they miss that they don’t necessarily check free t3 for example. And so, in my case, my free t three was very low, but my Tsh and t4 looked fine. So, they didn’t…no one said anything. Right. So, and so I think looking at hormones like thyroid hormone, testosterone as well for men especially.
So, again in my case I had a normal total testosterone free testosterone fell. It was like at the level of like a 90-year-old man. So that was probably one reason why I felt like I was old and aging.
So, yeah. And so, I think there are a lot of people walking around with, with undiagnosed thyroid conditions and, and low testosterone and they just, they just don’t know it. And so, I think, okay, yeah, investigating hormones overall is very important. And even checking for IgF1 for example, that was one thing I didn’t really even think of for a long time.
But yeah, checking insulin growth factor one because, well in my case I had that brain injuries, right? So, a lot of people with brain injuries still hormones can be completely thrown off and just they’re a mess. So, but I think even in the general population, I think there was a lot of people with that’s low hormones, so that’s a, that’s a, those are the two main things that I would, I would look at.
But there’s other like other reasons like other nonphysical for reasons to like things like trauma and nervous system dysregulation. So…
The most common physiological mechanisms that cause brain fog
Ari Whitten: Let’s get into some of these other causes in a moment. But I want to maybe zoom out just a little bit. So, like before we talk about some of the other specific causes, what’s actually going on at the brain level in terms of physiological mechanisms, biochemical mechanisms and so on that are actually creating the symptoms of brain fog?
And I, you know, there’s, there’s sort of a variety of different theories that I’ve seen from people talking about brain fog. Some people talk more about neuroinflammation, others talk more about excitotoxicity. Some people talk about leaky blood brain barrier or mitochondrial dysfunction. what’s, what’s your take on sort the mechanisms at the brain level?
Jordan Fallis: I think it’s a combination of all, most of them. They’re all those things, I think. I think its multiple things at once. I don’t think you can pinpoint one thing. I do think inflammation is a huge part of it. You’d mentioned leaky gut, and then leaky brain as well. So, the gut brain axis very critical when it comes to brain fog. So, I think, I think it’s all these different things. And like Mitochondria dysfunction. Yeah, that’s a big part of it as well. yeah. And, and the thing is, is a lot of like these underlying factors like mitochondria dysfunction and a leaky gut, they cross over from just brain fog to people with depression, people with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia. There’re these underlying factors that are common between all of them. Right? Brain fog is sort of part of the question and people with chronic fatigue syndrome tend to have brain fog as well.
So, I think it’s, it’s all these things at one happening at once. I don’t, I can’t really say exactly what one thing would be. I think it’s probably a combination of all of them.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I’m with you on that. I actually, I have to say that myopic singling out of one particular mechanism in isolation and saying this is the only thing that’s going on, I think is almost always misguided and there’s far too many people that are doing it. These things are all vicious cycles and you can conceptualize one as sort of the crux are the most important one, but there’s a lot of people that are just saying, hey, it’s all about this one thing. and so, you know, it’s all about psychological stress. So, all you need is to meditate and recite these affirmations and so on.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, and I think people get really close specifically on one thing that they’re, they specialize in, which makes sense and really zero in and study and you’re like an expert on that one thing. You kind of forget about the big picture. And so, in my case, I’ve been looking at all these different things and so it’s hard to really, really say exactly. If I had to say one, I would think mitochondrial function would be the main one and all the other ones kind of linked to that. But, but yeah, it’s still, they’re all intertwined.
Other common brain fog causes
Ari Whitten: Totally. So, you mentioned nutrition, you mentioned hormones. I want to come back to hormones later and maybe talk some details there, but what are some of the other big causes or triggers of brain fog for most people?
Jordan Fallis: I think another big one would be just general toxicity, like neurotoxicity I guess linked to that would be also the drugs people are taking as well. So, so I was eventually put on a bunch of psychiatric drugs after my concussion to deal with the symptoms of depression, anxiety.
So, so I know firsthand how these drugs can cause some damage to the brain and I think there, especially when they start piling on different drugs, it can be, it’s toxic mix of drugs, right? So, and I think there’s a lot of different people who are, yeah, we put it on, put it on these drugs in there and they’re experiencing negative symptoms including brain fog from these drugs. And it’s not just psychiatric drugs and be even antibiotics and antihistamines. And I’m anti psychotics, which actually that falls under psychiatric drugs. But anyways, it’s all these drugs I think overall can cause damage.
And now not everyone is on drugs but increasing amount of people are taking drugs. So, I think someone’s experiencing brain fog. They do need to look closely at the drugs you’re taking. And the thing is, is with me as a, its kind of built up over time. At first, I thought I was okay taking drugs, but then it was like increasingly becoming toxic over time and so I didn’t really connect the dots the first.
So yeah, that’s another part of my story is I feel like I had chemical brain injury as well with the, with the drugs and the mold anyways, it’s kind of all a mess, but I think that’s also a big, a big part of it. And even after people come off these drugs often, they can still experience brain fog and mitochondrial dysfunction. I like a lot of people would take [inaudible], yeah, get the specific class of antibiotics, but they get negatively affected by the antibiotics and even after they’re done taking a nap, pretty severe mitochondria, dysfunction and brain fog.
So, I think that’s another, another big part of it. And then not just drugs, but there’s so many different chemicals and heavy metals in the environment that I think most people have them in their body or everyone does. and so that’s another part of it as well as the accumulation of different heavy metals like lead and mercury.
So, yeah, that’s, that’s, I guess another really big p. and then, and I guess wrapped up in toxicity would be also environmental. EMFs as well. But I think or a problem and I think people who’ve developed EMF sensitivity, in my opinion, it’s not necessarily the EMF that are such huge problem, although I do think they are…
Just when people start picking up on the, in their environment, I guess it becomes an issue of their body is already so toxic that now they’re, they’re experiencing EMF sensitivity as well. And so, I have some history with that as well. So, anyway, so that, I think that’s another big, big part of it is toxicity from different chemicals and drugs and environmental toxins. Yeah.
Ari Whitten: What about the role of. I’ll mention a few things. chronic stress, nervous system dysregulation, past trauma, a poor circulation, blood sugar dysregulation, a lack of physical activity. Do you want to you, do you consider any of those to be major players in this?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, I think chronic stress and anxiety would be a big part of it. Well, and even yeah, just trauma from even from years ago as well. From childhood trauma could be a big part of it as well. Because I think in some instances people have brain fog almost as if like, like a defense mechanism from whatever stressful situation they say they’re going through or they, they have gone through and sometimes the fog doesn’t go away. So, I guess I would fall under depersonalization and derealization.
But yeah, I think that’s a big one part of it as well because I’m like, I had some trauma from my childhood and growing up as well before the head injury. So, a big part of my recovery was doing things like neurofeedback and that EMDR, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, EMDR, especially the trauma-based therapy.
And then neurofeedback will that also trauma-based therapy, but it’s more focused on a calming the nervous system. It’s kind of like advanced meditation. Right?
So, yeah, so all that to say I think focusing on trauma and stress and calming the nervous system, whether that’s just meditation or finding a neurofeedback practitioner is very important. And I think it’s, it’s not always appreciated it because I think a lot of people are walking around with, with trauma and stress built up some worse than others. But yeah, and if you have brain fog, I think for a lot of people it is a key part of it as well. Not always though.
I do think for some people they need to, they need to look down instead of always chasing the next supplement. The next physical ailment may be causing it. Right. So, yeah.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. What do you think of blood sugar dysregulation, you know, maybe just from poor diet or poor metabolic health and on and also poor circulation and the idea that there isn’t enough oxygen being delivered to the brain?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, I have seen studies, especially with people with chronic fatigue syndrome that they found, I guess it was lack of blood flow to the brain. So, I think for people with chronic fatigue syndrome, I think that’s a key part of it. and then also with blood sugar, low blood sugar definitely contribute to the brain fog. And I think, yeah, trying to get rid of all refined carbohydrates in the Diet, it can be pretty important, especially if you’re struggling with brain fog, and just sticking with things like sweet potatoes and just lots of fruits and vegetables make a big difference. And then obviously eating enough protein fat. but yeah, it’s that’s also, they’re also very important.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. What do you think of the role of neurotransmitters and all of this? And this is something that I will say I’ve encountered quite a lot of mixed information on and I’m generally somewhat skeptical of based discussions and explanations of things at this point because from what I think there’s been a lot of reductionism around this and just starting with the whole conceptualization of depression as a serotonin deficiency and the need for SSRI. You know, there’s been a huge narrative around understanding mental health problems as neurotransmitter imbalances.
And I think that is extremely reductionistic and is missing a lot of key parts of the picture of many of which you’ve already mentioned. But also, you see people kind of explaining symptoms based on, Oh, do you, are you dominant in this neurotransmitter? That one, from what I can tell, the actual testing for neurotransmitters is, is really complex and not that scientifically valid in a lot of cases. Like you can do urinary measurements of certain neurotransmitters, but it doesn’t necessarily… Like it’s not valid data in many cases where you know, they’ve done research to show that, hey, if your urine shows this neurotransmitter is low, then we know that that means that you have low neurotransmitter, that neurotransmitter is low in the brain. A lot of that scientifically validating research isn’t really there, but what, what is your general take on neurotransmitters? Do you conceptualize them as having a small or a really big role in all of this?
Jordan Fallis: I don’t think I agree with almost everything you’ve said. I think the testing is not reliable. I do have a lot of people come to me and they say, “oh, I think I have low serotonin and dopamine”. And I do think it’s interesting to research it and learn about it and learn about how you can increase dopamine and increase serotonin rate, increase oxytocin, for example. And I’ve even wrote articles about that.
But I don’t think I still picture it as a managing symptoms if you’re, if you’re taking something into boost dopamine or you’re taking something too calm yourself down, like with different supplements. I still think it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s taking the approach of the pharmaceutical industry essentially. And which is not. I don’t agree with that approach overall. And I don’t think it’s based on good science. Right. And so, it’s more marketing by the pharmaceutical industry than it is real science.
So, but I do think it can be valuable, because I’m just, I’m just interested in everything about the brain. So, it’s like, okay. Like I still am interested to know what can boost dopamine and how people can use those things to support themselves day to day. But I don’t think it’s. Yeah,
Jordan Fallis: I don’t think it’s the route. Yeah, because I don’t think people should focus on it as much as they do and when a lot of people come to me and yeah, the want to… they’re taking amino acids, amino acids for the move. That’s fine, that’s great. But I think there’s probably other directions people need to go to get better. And so, like before I used to take for example, which supports the opening and sports my mood, but I don’t anymore because I, I went in another direction and started doing some other things that seem to be more permanent and I didn’t take that.
So, yeah. So that’s how I see it anyways. yeah, I, I agree that the testing isn’t, isn’t sound scientifically.
How to identify your personal causes of brain fog
Ari Whitten: I want to come back to what, what you just said about, you know, going in another direction and talk specifics there. But first I want to ask you, what is your sort of general approach to assessing what triggers may be going on in a person who has brain fog and how do you sort of help them figure out which of these different triggers that you’ve just mentioned might be the major factor for them?
Jordan Fallis: Well, I usually ask them to, I guess give me an entire history of what’s happened to them. I’m going to try to ask for like the most in-depth type of information that they can give me as much as they feel comfortable doing it. And then based on that, I also asked for like any blood tests or any, any blood tests or the supplements are taking, their medications and their history overall.
And from there I, I can kind of see patterns. It’s, I guess it’s not the most regimented scientific type of approach, but I, I, and then also talking to the person that can kind of see where they’re coming from and what they’ve gone through. And so, I, for example, we’ll see some people contact me and I do a consult with them and they’re taking so many supplements have they have like the worst anxiety ever and they’ve tried every supplement and they’re like, well, what supplement should I take? Should I do this, should I do that? And then I find out that they may have had a really rough childhood, or they were bullied, or they’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and they’re trying to find nutrients to help them.
And I, so I try to point them in a different direction. I say go check out neurofeedback with EMDR example and then, yeah, so that, it’s, it’s hard to say exactly how I approach it. But…
Ari Whitten: Pattern recognition. What you’re talking about is basically your own clinical experience and knowledge. The Amalgam of all of that and experience of working with people that your brain is looking for patterns in all of the data that you’re assessing. And then, you know, for every individual that you’re seeing, you’re going to pick up on a particular pattern and say, oh, I think it’s, it’s more of these causes and less of these causes.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. And I also try to help people try to find practice there’s in their area that can, that can really help them it. So, I don’t really, I don’t, I’m not the one trying to fix them. I guess you could say I’m just trying to be a guide because I went through so much that it’s like, I feel like I’ve gone through it all, so probably not all but a lot. So, I know what people are going through and I know where they should focus. Kind of more of a guide than a, a complete problem solving for. And for a lot of these people that I’m dealing with, they’re like me and they, they’re really, they got really sick right in there and it’s gonna take some time and okay. So yeah, it’s not, it’s, it can be tricky. Right? So, I, I try to point people in the right directions and get them on the right track.
Ari Whitten: I want to come back to a couple of things that you mentioned in passing before. One is nervous system dysregulation, so you want to talk a bit more about what you mean by that and, and kind of what’s going on a mechanism level?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, sure. So, I guess when I think of nervous system dysregulation, maybe that’s the right, the best way to put it, but I think of trauma and the body’s response to trauma and holding on to stress. So, I picture the things that really helped me. So, the EMDR, like I’d mentioned neurofeedback and even something called somatic experiencing, which is a type of trauma therapy. It’s really good book. The body keeps score by, I forget the doctor’s name right now, but, anyway, so that’s how I, that’s, that’s what I picture when I, when I’m talking about nervous system dysregulation.
So, and when I went to my neurofeedback practitioner, she did this cute EEG brain mapping. So, she looked at all my brainwaves and she found like electrical abnormalizes in my brain. So yeah, I guess that’s what I’m picturing, I’m thinking people who have trauma and it’s actually stored in their energy and in their body and it’s not a pure physical, problem per se. That’s how I see it.
How hormone balance causes brain fog
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. Well, actually I’m going to save the practical side of things for a minute. There’re two other things I want to circle back to. One is hormones. you mentioned hormones as the second factor, second big sort of cause of all this. In my experience, there’s a lot of sort of disconnected thinking of hormones with nutrition and lifestyle habits and sort of we see hormones. Many people see hormones as being sort of disconnected. They’re sort of these hormones that our bodies that are sort of doing their own things separate from nutrition lifestyle, but you know, a lot of the things that, that you’re talking about, for example, free T3 thyroid hormone or igf1, and you know, pretty much the vast majority of other hormones are, are intimately tied to nutrition and lifestyle habits.
Jordan Fallis: So, for example, just circadian rhythm and sleep are going to have a big impact on thyroid hormone levels, nutrition, and protein intake and things like that are gonna impact igf1 levels. Certainly, it’s possible to have sort of genetic abnormalities or serious medical conditions that might be affecting hormones in a, in a particular way despite good nutrition and lifestyle habits. But can you talk a bit about maybe some of that connection between the hormones and maybe just mention a few examples of hormones and sort of nutrition and lifestyle strategies that might be connected to them.
Yeah. So, for example, like with thyroid red-light therapy can be very helpful for the thyroid and I found out to be very helpful as well. and then for testosterone for example, making sure you eat enough saturated fat and cholesterol. Pretty critical for the production of testosterone. and, and with igf1 for example, I found out that claustrum taking claustrum powder supplementing and also increased igf1. So, there are, yeah, there definitely are these, these lifestyle and dietary factors that can increase it. But I guess I would say that for some people and for people who are very sick, I think it can be or who have gotten really sick if someone hasn’t dealt with really chronic diseases for most of their life.
I think a lot of these lifestyle and dietary factors may keep their testosterone and thyroid functional optimal. but I think for some people they may still need a load desiccated thyroid or testosterone cream while they either for the rest their life or while they try to figure out exactly why they’re still in like the lower end of the… So yeah. So, I. Yeah, I guess I’m a part of the bootcamp that is it against hormone replacement. I guess there are some people who think it’s a problem, but I think if someone’s really sick, they need all the support they can get. And, and so that’s how I say it and yeah. So, a lifestyle and diet for sure, very important, but sometimes not quite enough stuff.
Ari Whitten: Sure. I think, from my perspective, you just have to be. I agree with what you said. I think you just have to be a little cautious and sort of jumping immediately, like if you have a hormone issue, then immediately to hormone replacement. Because you know, there are just so many people who are not doing foundational stuff to support good hormones, who are then looking to pills and injections to fix their hormone levels instead of working on foundational stuff. And I think that is a, in my experience, like sort of a no-win game. Like you just, it tends not to get you anywhere productive.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. I think a lot of people, I guess its human nature to try to look for the quick fix, instant gratification. So yeah, definitely agree that the foundational stuff should done first and then see where you’re at from there and do everything in your power to get your levels up, brush your T3. and then if that’s not enough then finding a doctor who will help you with, with hormone replacement can be critical. But yeah, that foundations need to start there.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. One other thing I wanted to circle back to is you mentioned dl-phenylalanine far as dopamine boosting and then you said you kind of took that for a while and then you decided to pursue other routes that were more effective for you. What do you mean by that? In what? Why did you discard this sort of pill approach for, for other things, or maybe you replaced it with, with other different pills? Can you, can you talk more specifics around that?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. so, I didn’t replace it with any other pills. So, I think with the DL-phenylalanine is, I found that it helped me deal with anxiety and trauma. so, then when I did neurofeedback and EMDR I was able to drop it now DL phenylalanine also boost dopamine. So, I also get enough sunlight or try to get more sunlight. and then also blocking blue light at night seems to help. And so those are the main things I did too to get off the optionality, but the main, the main way, main ways with the EMDR neurofeedback, it seemed to help with trauma and I find that so the therapists I talked to and worked with a, they, they have found that deal offender alanine also helps other patients who have trauma as well. So, I don’t know exactly how it works, but yeah, it was helpful for that.
And then once I did those therapies, I was able to drop it. And I think there’s probably other instances like that I can’t really recall right now. But and yeah, in my, in my protocol or the supplements I take, they’re changing over time too. I’ve always tried to reduce the amount of stuff I take as I healed and got better. I think that should be everyone’s goal. You don’t want to have to be taken so many supplements. But yeah, and it, it, and even things like a red light therapy can really help people’s health significantly. And that can wipe out our needs for so many different supplements. So those, that’s one of the things like, there’s some big picture, a big impact therapies that can be done that people don’t focus on chasing all these different supplements, which it’s fine, I understand that. But long-term I think we need to shift into some of the, like more foundational things that can really like supercharge your health and your mental health.
Ari Whitten: Well, you know, I’m with you on red light therapy
Jordan Fallis: I have been recommending your book to different people because it is like the best resource now that I know of.
Ari Whitten: Thank you so much. I appreciate that. I’m speaking of which, I’m curious, you didn’t mention, I mean you mentioned red light therapy a couple times, but I’m curious and you actually also mentioned sunlight as far as in the context of dopamine, but as far as causes of brain fog, do you conceptualize light as playing a big role there? As from both the perspective of sort of sunlight, vitamin D, production in the skin, cholesterol sulfate, dopamine synthesis in the brain. And then you also mentioned also blocking blue light at night. So, you know, circadian rhythm related influences of some, like what, what’s your take on that role of that in the context of brain issues?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, I think it’s a big part too because I think a lot of people have deficiencies in Vitamin D and so I think most people need to check their vitamin D and make sure it’s within optimal range, especially here in Canada. Like I think there are so many people who just, they don’t even know if I bring up vitamin D, you don’t know really know what they know what vitamin D is. I don’t think they’re checking. So, vitamin D is a big part of it as well. And then even just getting enough light, especially in the morning and then blocking the light at night can be a huge, a game changer for people in the health and people with brain fog. And then yeah, and getting enough red and infrared, infrared light, especially for the brain infrared light right within the, around 850 nanometers, I’d say. So. And the VieLite device are really good for that.
And there are other devices. Are you discussing the book better when they go to? Yeah. so yeah, I think light is another thing that people don’t really pay attention to too much. Yeah. So, I think it’s just another thing needs to be on people’s radar, especially brain fog. They’re not getting any sun into their eyes like that. That was a thing for me for the longest time. Our contacts and glasses in my eyes were just shielded for so long and so, and I think there’s probably a lot of other people who were like that. so yeah, getting more light for sure can rather than help.
Ari Whitten: Awesome. One other question and I want to go a little practical and you’ve, you’ve mentioned a few practical strategies already, but I want to go a little deeper in that. You mentioned before and your personal story that you suffered from depression from, for a while and I think also anxiety, correct? Yeah. So, have you found any particular things that are especially helpful for depression and anxiety maybe that are, that are separate and uniquely helpful for those things relative to brain fog? Or is it in your experience mostly the same sort of amalgam of, of different causative factors? And things that you need to focus on?
Jordan Fallis: Same, same causative factors I’d say, especially with, with anxiety, it’s different. I think with depression and brain fog, I think they’re very, very similar. and yeah, so a lot of the same things for depression. Depression also have helped me with Franklin. They’ve improved side by side. so, for example, the red light with a red light can improve mood, but then also rainfall as well. So, yeah, I think they’re very similar and like for example, one supplement I used to take, I don’t take it as much anymore but like methylene blue so that I can at times support brain function and can clear brain fog for some people and then it can also improve mood too. So, and methylene blue works by supporting the mitochondrial function. So, yeah, that’s just an example.
Hot to get rid of brain fog naturally
Ari Whitten: Cool. Well, with that in mind, let’s go deeper into the practical side of things. So, we’ve talked about all these different causes of or triggers of brain fog and sort of the mechanisms behind it and nervous system dysregulation of blood sugar issues and nutrition and hormones. and a number of other things that you mentioned, toxins and so on. What are some of the big strategies that you’ve found to be most helpful in helping people overcome brain fog?
Jordan Fallis: Well, I’m thinking, so one of the main things I did after my concussion was, I did a combination of ear acupuncture and laser therapy at a practitioner’s clinic. So, it was the combination of both. And so, I remember this was a while ago. Yeah, no, but I remember those two together. It was synergistic and I seem to really see a huge improvement in my brain fog. It’s hard to say exactly which one made the biggest impact, but I do think it was probably the red light therapy and laser therapy.
So, I would recommend people look into that more and because that can really, really help with brain fog. Neurofeedback did as well because it reduce stress so much. And reduce anxiety that my brain fog improved. I also had pretty high alpha brainwaves, which you would think would be a good thing, but people with brain injuries can often through Alpha brain waves can get you high and then things get foggy.
So, and the key thing is to find a neurofeedback practitioner that, that offers qeeg brain mapping, so then she can, or he can look at all your brainwaves and see where they’re abnormal things and then put together a protocol just for you. So, so you’re like one person’s brain fog may be caused by different dysregulated, that makes sense compared to someone else. So, you really need to find, yeah, a practitioner that can make a protocol for you for you instead of just doing generalized neural feedback, really, really need to find someone who knows what they’re doing tickets. So yeah, those two things in particular, really helpful.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. What about some of these things like improving circulation and oxygen delivery to the brain? do you have any particular strategies that you found effective for that?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. So, the first thing that comes to mind is Gingko Biloba. So that’s a herb and that seems to help people, particularly people who have brain fog when they’re all older. People with mild cognitive impairment or pre-dementia. so that seems to really help methylene blue that I mentioned earlier, that that seems to help a lot of what people, it is a drug dose you need to say be careful and look into it, but that low dose is, it seems to really help with blood flow. Oh, and mitochondrial function. So, those are the two main ones that I can think of. And just eating a clean whole food diet can make a huge difference as well. And of course, exercise. But I usually don’t bring up exercise because it just. Everyone talks about exercise, everyone agrees exercise is good and so try to get more advanced, different, different things that people try.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, I’m with you. At the same time, I think there might be a lot of people who are on the more sedentary end of things who are maybe trying to address their circulation and oxygen delivery issues to the brain by jumping immediately to supplements. For example, when you know, maybe what they really need is to build up their cardiovascular health.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. No, you’re right. It’s A. Yeah. Because I guess in my, my world that I feel like I’ve been so screwed for so long that exercises, like I don’t even think about it, you know what I mean?
Ari Whitten: You’re kind of like assuming that everybody is already health conscious and doing the foundational stuff like that.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. Yeah. That’s how I see it. So, but yeah, definitely exercise. Especially for blood flow to the brain.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. You mentioned toxins earlier. I’m curious if you have any thoughts on sort of, you know, maybe not necessarily how to avoid toxins. I think probably most of the listeners to this podcast are familiar with a lot of material that I’ve taught and what other people on this podcast have taught, but do you have any thoughts on, you know, sort of purging toxins from the system and any particular methods that you use and recommend?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. Well one thing that really helped me with toxins and when something called biotherapeutic draining. So, I don’t know if other people have talked about that, but there was this a, she’s like a bioenergetic practitioner and she practiced a regular medicine. She used all these different things that help me get better in one part of it was therapeutic drainage.
It’s hard to explain exactly what it is. I guess I’d just recommend people google it and read about it, but that seemed to also help with my brain fog and it’s something to look into because I have heard that other people have chronic fatigue syndrome, have benefited from it. I’ve seen some, some anecdotal stories of people who’ve done it and they’ve gotten better with it.
So again, it depends on the practitioner. I guess. It’s, I can’t hardly… recommended similar do neurofeedback. I know who I worked with and I know what they did for me. Right. So, but, but I think yeah, you brought up toxins and she, I guess it’s very hard to explain. I don’t really know how to explain it. I’d recommend people just look it up. But yeah, biotherapeutic draining. It’s helpful for sure.
Ari Whitten: Okay, cool. we talked about blood sugar dysregulation and you mentioned getting refined carbs out of the Diet. EMFs. So, I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on. I’ll mention a couple of other things. So ems and leaky gut and leaky blood-brain barrier. Do you have any good tips on how to deal with any of those?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, so I was really trying to improve my gut health was a while ago. I did a few things. I saw a doctor and he recommended I do colon hydrotherapy, so that was very helpful. It wasn’t the most comfortable procedure, I will say that, but it was a. So, I still had some asthma acne when I went and did it and that, that was gone, my skin cleared up and my asthma went away.
My brain function improved as well. And then another thing that this doctor had given him given me was something called … it’s a, I think it’s magnesium peroxides. It was just a supplement that I told I’m on an empty stomach and that seemed to heal my gut, improve my digestion along as well.
Things like activated charcoal and Bentonite Clay. It was helpful around that time as well. and then things like Collagen and bone broth just healthy fats like olive oil, egg yolks… I’m sure people are familiar with these things and trying to think what else. Yeah. Fermented foods like Sauerkraut, probiotics and I kinda just went all out with my gut health and I saw significant improvements, but the colon hydrotherapy and it was a bit, was very helpful. And then also [beler] broth. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that or…
Ari Whitten: I haven’t actually. No.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, it’s just if you google it, it’s just a mix of specific type of vegetables. it’s just like a soup, but there’s something about the soup that is apparently very good. I haven’t looked into it enough, but a practitioner I worked with recommended it highly and I did it. There were certain days like on a Saturday or a Sunday or just drink that and eat this for the whole day and this was around the same time that I was doing all these other gut health things. So, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what made the biggest difference, but all of it together seemed to make a big difference. So yeah.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. Any thoughts on leaky blood-brain barrier? Are you aware of any strategies that can help seal that up?
Jordan Fallis: I have read, I believe, resveratrol can help. Avoiding gluten for sure. It was a big part of it. So, the leaky gut, leaky brain avoiding that. Was a big part of it. A working theory, reducing inflammation in the gut overall. It was a good step to that. Trying to think of what else? I know, I, I think I came across some research about EMFs disrupting the blood-brain barrier, but I guess there’s not much people can really do it. They’re everywhere, right? So, I try not to worry too many people about that, but it is a concern. and yeah, I think that’s all I can think of right now. I wrote, I wrote an article with a bunch of different ways I can help, but I, I really can’t recall. We call them. All right.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. Well this has been, this has been great. Jordan, I’ve, I really appreciate your time here. I’m wondering if we can kind of sum up… You’ve gone very deep in this whole topic of brain health apart from brain fog specifically, but you know, really everything brain health related, in, in all of your research and what you’ve put together and all of the stuff you’ve taught in the articles you’ve written. How would you sum up, let’s say, apart from brain fog specifically, let’s say somebody just wanted to have a healthy brain for the rest of their life and avoid neurological diseases that are becoming such epidemics like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease? What would be your top three recommendations for those people to, to focus on in their effort to keep a highly functional, healthy brain for the rest of their life?
Jordan Fallis: Well, I would say exercise would be number one. I just think that’s a no brainer…
Ari Whitten: Forgive the pun… right?
Jordan Fallis: Yeah, I did. I just said it and I didn’t even realize. Yeah, I’m dealing with trauma and stress and just calming down as much as possible. I think that’s a big part of it because stress just destroys your brain. So that would be number two. number three. I’d say just having family and friends and socialize. And so that’s not much of like a, it’s not like it’s indirectly going to affect your brain out. So, I think even I have like a history of getting so caught up in my health and trying to figure out, but I kind of forgot about family and friends and I think it’s pretty critical. So that would be, those would be like three.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Good choice. On the last one, I agree with you that’s much-neglected factor and definitely a huge factor. And in health and you know, certainly there’s research on that, like, you know, kind of scary research, linking loneliness and social isolation to a variety of negative health outcomes including depression and all sorts of nasty brain related stuff.
Jordan Fallis: Yeah. Like, it’s like worse than smoking. I think I may have just read that one random news articles. I don’t know how accurate that is, but it’s pretty bad. Yeah.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Excellent. Well thank you so much Jordan. This has been a pleasure. I’m really glad that we finally got to connect and if somebody wants to reach out to you for further help, if they want to maybe do a consultation with you, or just follow your work, where can they get ahold of you?
Jordan Fallis: You can just search optimal living dynamic. So, it’s optimallivingdynamics.com. If you just search my name and should be one of the first couple of links on Google. So, yeah, that’s, that’s where I just published my work and some people like it, so I just keep doing it.
Ari Whitten: It’s good stuff. I like it. I highly recommend everybody listening to go follow Jordan’s work. he publishes a great blog and if you care about your brain. And you should. Definitely go check out his work.
Jordan Fallis: I guess I have a Facebook page too, and twitter. Yeah, if you go to my website, you’ll be able to find where you can find me.
Ari Whitten: Awesome. Well, thanks so much, Jordan. I really appreciate your time and have a wonderful rest of your day.
Jordan Fallis: Thanks. You too.
The Primary Causes Of Brain Fog And How To Get Rid Of Brain Fog Naturally With Jordan Fallis – Show Notes
The causes of Jordan Fallis’s brain fog (1:15)
Common brain fog symptoms (3:27)
The most common causes of brain fog symptoms (4:22)
The most common physiological mechanisms that cause brain fog (8:18)
Other common brain fog causes (11:21)
How to identify your personal causes of brain fog (21:17)
How nervous system dysregulation is linked to brain fog (24:22)
How hormone balance causes brain fog (25:48)’
How Anxiety, depression and brain fog are linked (35:03)
How to get rid of brain fog naturally (36:41)