Tips to Reduce Brain Fog & Mental Fatigue with Dr. Stephen Gundry
"I want you to not just eat food that you love, but food that loves you back."
Dr. Steven Gundry
How do you overcome and fix the mental fatigue that holds you back?
We’re excited to have Dr. Stephen Gundry back on our show. Dr. Gundry is a distinguished cardiothoracic surgeon and is a pioneer in nutrition. He’s written multiple New York Times best-selling books, including The Plant Paradox and The Longevity Paradox.
In his brand-new book, The Energy Paradox, Dr. Gundry walks you through how you can regain your energy by understanding how your body creates energy and learning how to eat to maximize that process.
In our previous show, listen HERE, we talked about understanding how the body creates energy and how to reset that process. And in this conversation, we’re going to go into more detail, focusing on some actionable Kwik Tips to tackle reducing brain fog and mental fatigue. Listen in as Dr. Gundry goes into more detail.
Brain Fog Is A Warning Sign
- When you feel mental fatigue or brain fog, it’s a sign that you have neuroinflammation.
- When you get the flu, inflammation is what makes you feel terrible. You don’t want to move, eat, or think.
- Just like the flu, you can get inflammation in the brain. And this inflammation also makes you not want to move, eat, or think.
- The danger in neuroinflammation is that many cognitive impairment diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dementia are all traced to inflammation in the brain.
- Brain inflammation actually starts from inflammation in the gut.
- Thanks to sophisticated testing, we know that most people who have brain fog have a leaky brain from a leaky gut.
- Our neurons normally communicate to other neurons through these outposts called dendrites.
- When inflammation occurs, these dendrites start being nibbled away by the police keepers of the brain called the microglia.
- Microglia are the bodyguards of the brain. If they sense danger coming up to the brain, they actually chop away the outpost, the dendrite, to protect those neurons.
- You can look at this process like guards calling the forces stationed at the lookout posts back to the castle and then pulling up the drawbridge.
- Once the dendrite is chopped, the neuron is safe, but it hinders neural communication.
- Mental fatigue and brain fog are early warning signs that this process is happening in your brain.
The Energy Equation
- This process all depends on how we eat, when we eat, and the state of our microbiome. Which makes it a fixable problem.
- In The Energy Paradox, Dr. Gundry has an energy equation E = M² + C².
- M²stands for microbiome and mitochondria.
- C² stands for chronotime consumption—when you eat.
- You can maximize your energy by maximizing your microbiome.
- Giving your microbiome what they want to eat, in turn, will maximize your mitochondrial production—or ATP.
- If you lessen the amount of time your microbiome has to work after eating, the better your energy levels will be.
- The brain has to go through a rest cycle.
- No animals can survive without sleep. In fact, the longer you go without sleep, the worse your decision making will become.
- When we sleep, our brain goes through a wash cycle, where it literally cleans out the inflammation and debris.
- This is called the glymphatic system and it occurs during deep sleep. And most deep sleep happens early in the sleep cycle.
- Digestion takes a huge amount of energy.
- When you’re digesting food, huge amounts of blood flow get diverted to your guts.
- Our sleep cycle also takes a huge amount of blood flow during our sleep cycle to perform the wash cycle.
- When you eat all day and late into the night, two to three hours before bedtime, you’re diverting all your blood flow to the gut, when it should be directed to our brain.
- This means your brain cannot clear the inflammation and debris, so it builds up.
- You can relate this to exercise.
- If you continually exercise, you’re putting stress on the muscles. If you don’t give your muscles time to repair, you risk injuring them.
- It’s the same things with your brain.
- The more time you can give the brain to repair itself, the better. And one way to do that is to reduce the amount of digestion time.
- Jim encourages everyone to listen to our last episode with Dr. Gundry HERE, where chronotime is discussed more as well as probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics, and how important they are to digestion, energy, and the brain.
Quality Matters For Your Grey Matter
- Beyond the timing of when you eat impacting your energy, the quality of the food matters too.
- 60-80% of the food many people eat is ultra-processed.
- When you eat whole foods, it takes a considerable amount of time for the sugars, proteins, and fats to be broken down.
- However, in a modern diet, food is made with incredibly quick acting sugar, protein, and fats.
- When you eat these foods, you end up with a literal rush hour traffic jam in your digestive system, and the energy producing mitochondria can’t process all of these things hitting simultaneously.
- This is what leads to feeling groggy and like your brain just can’t process anything at 2pm after eating a fast-food lunch.
- The more you eat for your microbiome, the more your microbiome will provide energy enhancing postbiotics, which are actually used by your brain.
- A study out of Japan researched how important the microbiome is, by seeing what was different in the microbiome of people with Parkinson’s Disease.
- They found people with Parkinson’s have a gut microbiome that doesn’t produce hydrogen gas, which is essential in making ATP.
- They gave these patients hydrogen water—water with hydrogen gas dissolved in it—and the patients symptomatically improved dramatically once they had hydrogen gas in their system.
- Jack LaLanne used to say, “If it tastes good, spit it out.”
- This doesn’t mean food shouldn’t taste good. It means you should eat with the health of your microbiome as priority, not your tongue.
- Eat more prebiotic foods, like sweet potatoes, and more fibrous foods, like asparagus, leeks, onions, and cruciferous vegetables.
- You can completely change your microbiome from an energy sapping microbiome to an energy producing microbiome in three days.
- It’s a matter of changing your mindset to relating eating to being energized and focused.
- A patient once summed it up perfectly: “Feeling well has never tasted so good.”
- Food can be nutritious and delicious. Eat food you love, but that loves you back.
- What you eat–and when you eat–matters for your grey matter.
- Finally, stop eating three hours before you go to bed and watch what happens.
Share With Us
- Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@drstevengundry & @jimkwik), and share your small, simple step to reduce mental fatigue and brain fog.
- I’ll be reposting my favorite posts and will gift one lucky listener a copy of Dr. Gundry’s new book.
- Get Dr. Gundry’s book, The Energy Paradox, here.
- Connect with Dr. Gundry and get more information on how to reclaim your energy, here.
Related Kwik Brain Episodes You Might Enjoy
Episode 88: Eating for Your Brain with Dr. Lisa Mosconi
Episode 171: How Your Blood Sugar Affects Your Brain with Max Lugavere
Episode 204: Eating Smarter for Your Brain with Shawn Stevenson
Episode 207: Your Food & Mental Health with Dr. Uma Naidoo