Ashwagandha and Brain Fog: Can It Help?

In this blog, we will look at the potential benefits of Ashwagandha on brain fog. Ashwagandha is a commonly used herb in Ayurvedic medicine believed to help with stress reduction but also cholinergic properties, both of which can be beneficial for ameliorating the symptoms of brain fog. Let’s explore brain fog, its causes, and the effect of Ashwagandha together!
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

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Ashwagandha and Brain Fog

Ashwagandha, an herb in Ayurvedic medicine, is believed to enhance cognitive function and mental clarity. Additionally, it has been shown to have cholinergic properties. It appears that regular use of Ashwagandha may have potentially beneficial effects on the reduction of brain fog and improving the focus and mental agility of individuals experiencing brain fog.

What Is Brain Fog?

Brain fog is a term referring to a cluster of symptoms related to cognitive dysfunction and mental symptoms [1].

Although it is not a medical term, it is used to refer to the symptoms people experience with various conditions [1].

The symptoms of brain fog include mental fatigue, sleepiness but also problems with concentrating or focusing on tasks [1]. In addition, people experiencing brain fog may be forgetful, particularly having problems remembering things. This may affect their daily communication and lead to frustration and anxiety. Overall, brain fog may lead to decreased productivity in both work and school [1].

Some individuals also report feeling disconnected from reality, which manifests as cloudy or daydreamy feelings [1].

Brain fog has been attributed as a symptom in some diseases including COVID-19, major depressive disorder, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and celiac disease [2].

Substances like Ozempic or Wellbutrin may cause brain fog, while others may be beneficial. For example, research suggests that creatine may potentially reduce brain fog.

What Causes Brain Fog?

Brain fog can be triggered by multiple factors, all of which have an influence on one’s well-being. Some of the common ones are chronic stress, which leads to mental fatigue and difficulties with cognitive functions like reasoning, focusing, and thinking [3].

Furthermore, having poor sleep can also increase your chance of having brain fog, especially if your sleep quality and the number of hours dedicated to sleep are reduced [3]. In particular, it may lead to problems with concentration and fatigue [3].

Diet and hormonal changes can also trigger brain fog. Some vitamin deficiencies, like deficiency in B12 and eating food you are allergic to, changes in progesterone and estrogen during menopause and pregnancy can cause forgetfulness, problems with concentration, and cloudy thinking [3].

In addition to this, some medications can also cause brain fog as a side effect. In case you have observed experiencing brain fog, contact your doctor as switching to another drug or lowering the dosage may improve your symptoms [3].

As mentioned previously, some diseases or conditions can also lead to brain fog. Namely, these include conditions associated with inflammation, fatigue, changes in blood glucose levels, fibromyalgia, or viral infections like COVID-19. We may observe persistent fatigue, mental fatigue, and fogginess [3, 4].

Can Ashwagandha Help With the Reduction of Brain Fog?

Although brain fog does not have direct treatment, one can try to manage the frequency and intensity of brain fog by improving their quality of sleep, having a balanced diet, and regular exercise. Other adjustments, like avoiding coffee or alcohol drinking, may also be beneficial [4].

But what about Ayurvedic medicine? Is there any evidence that it can help? Let’s look at it together.

Ashwagandha is a traditional herb used in Ayurvedic medicine [5]. It is believed that Ashwagandha helps with reducing stress and anxiety, and it has been hypothesized of its potential use in reducing brain fog and improving cognitive functions.

In a study examining 150 individuals who were given Ashwagandha for 6 weeks, the use of Ashwagandha reduced sleep latency, improved sleep quality, and the overall quality of life [5].

With these improvements, aswhagandha could have the potential in helping alleviate the symptoms of brain fog.

Another study reported the use of ashwagandha to be beneficial in improving cognitive function with improvements in both immediate and general memory as well as executive function, attention, and information processing speed [6].

In addition to this, Ashwagandha has been found to have cholinergic properties, which means that it can influence a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the brain. Because acetylcholine is implicated in maintaining cognitive functioning like memory and attention, having the ability to influence acetylcholine could help reduce brain fog [6].

However, research on specifically reducing the symptoms of brain fog with Ashwagandha usage have yet not been conducted. The abovementioned studies are just some examples of how Ashwagandha can potentially contribute to managing the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction.

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.