Four Vitamins and Minerals that Boost Focus, Improve Productivity, and Lift Brain Fog

Rootine TeamFeb 02, 2022

Have you ever had a day where you feel like your brain is running in slow motion? Where did you put those car keys? What is the word you’re trying to think of? Why is it taking you twice as long to do simple tasks?

It probably comes as no surprise that what you eat affects every part of your body – especially your brain. Many of those tracking their micronutrient intake see improvements across energy levels, sleep, and skin & hair health, but did you know micronutrient intake can also play a role in your brain health by boosting productivity, improving focus, and lifting brain fog?

While not a medical condition in itself, brain fog describes a series of symptoms marked by hazy or slow thinking, confusion, forgetfulness, or trouble concentrating. Brain fog is especially common in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, celiac, fibromyalgia, postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and other neuropsychiatric disorders [1].

Brain fog, however, can also be caused and exacerbated by nutrient deficiencies. Learn how these four vitamins and minerals can lift the fog and help you gain back mental clarity for a more productive lifestyle!

Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the major minerals in your body and is important to many processes, including DNA repair, ATP metabolism, muscle contraction, immune system response, bone strength, and cognitive function. Magnesium can be found in foods like leafy greens, almonds, and pumpkin seeds [2].

One study found that magnesium deficiency may contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome, which in turn may cause brain fog and hazy thinking. Magnesium supplementation helped patients with mood and energy, indicating magnesium, when taken in the right amounts, may help boost cognitive function [3]. Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to higher stress levels, which affects proper cognitive function and contributes to brain fog [4].

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is important for bone health, muscle function, and nerve transmission. Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, but it is also found in supplements and foods like fatty fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms [5].

Vitamin D plays an important role in brain health and cognitive function, with studies confirming a link between cognitive impairment and vitamin D deficiency [6]. Because there are many vitamin D receptors in brain tissue, the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D) plays an important role in brain health, which includes the clearance of amyloid plaques, misfolded proteins that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease [7].

Vitamin D supplementation can help keep our brains healthy and maintain cognitive function, especially as we age! [8]

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble micronutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body by fighting free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that are toxic to our cells. Vitamin C is also important for immune system function, cognitive function, and collagen production, which helps strengthen your bones and maintain healthy hair. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruit, red pepper, broccoli, cantaloupe, and strawberries, among others. [9]

Having enough vitamin C in your dietary intake helps boost cognitive performance, and some studies have found that vitamin C supplementation is helpful in reducing anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue, and mood imbalance, which can lead to better focus, productivity, and mental function. [10].

Iron

Iron is a mineral that the body uses to make hemoglobin, a protein involved in sending oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is also important for energy metabolism, nervous and immune system function, and more! Iron is found in many foods, such as lean meat and seafood, but also in dietary supplements [11].

Iron deficiency anemia, in which the body lacks healthy red blood cells, contributes to fatigue, brain fog, and memory issues. Iron deficiency without anemia may also be associated with impaired cognitive function.

Supplementation may help fight these effects, as well as improve concentration, attention, and IQ, although further research is needed [12] [13].

What can you do to get started?

Knowing your proper vitamin and mineral intake can make a big difference to improving focus, productivity, and overall cognitive function. Leverage your personal health data like your blood, lifestyle, and DNA to determine exactly what your body needs and get started with a Rootine membership today!

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[1] Theoharides TC, Stewart JM, Hatziagelaki E, Kolaitis G. Brain "fog," inflammation and obesity: key aspects of neuropsychiatric disorders improved by luteolin. Front Neurosci. 2015 Jul 3;9:225. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00225.

[2] Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

[3] Cox IM, Campbell MJ, Dowson D. Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome. Lancet. 1991 Mar 30;337(8744):757-60. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(91)91371-z.

[4] Cuciureanu MD, Vink R. Magnesium and stress. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507250/

[5] Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/

[6] Anjum I, Jaffery SS, Fayyaz M, Samoo Z, Anjum S. The Role of Vitamin D in Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review. Cureus. 2018 Jul 10;10(7):e2960. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2960.

[7] Soni M, Kos K, Lang IA, Jones K, Melzer D, Llewellyn DJ. Vitamin D and cognitive function. Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl. 2012;243:79-82. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2012.681969. PMID: 22536767.

[8] Lau H, Mat Ludin AF, Rajab NF, Shahar S. Identification of Neuroprotective Factors Associated with Successful Ageing and Risk of Cognitive Impairment among Malaysia Older Adults. Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res. 2017;2017:4218756. doi: 10.1155/2017/4218756.

[9] Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/

[10] de Oliveira IJ, de Souza VV, Motta V, Da-Silva SL. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2015 Jan;18(1):11-8. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2015.11.18.

[11] Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/

[12] Falkingham M, Abdelhamid A, Curtis P, Fairweather-Tait S, Dye L, Hooper L. The effects of oral iron supplementation on cognition in older children and adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr J. 2010 Jan 25;9:4. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-4.

[13] Jáuregui-Lobera I. Iron deficiency and cognitive functions. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014 Nov 10;10:2087-95. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S72491.

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