My brain fog is gone, this is how I did that.

I noticed my daily brainfog has now lifted, it has been better for a year and a half now. I think I can name some things that helped this:

I have a strict diet called Homo Optimum. In this you get your energy from fats, not carbohydrates. Because of this I eat very little, thusly sparing digestive energy. I also stopped eating anything that upset my tummy or my brain. This includes 'healthy things' like all vegetables, milk, nutmeg, garlic, plant based oils. I'm not arguing with my body, if it upsets it I skip it. Symptoms are abdominal pain or excited brain

I now mainly eat egg yokes, cream, coconut oil, chocolate ganache and chicken soup (from scratch). With salt and vinegar.

No blood sugar peaks anymore. Eating a fat based diet helps this.

full spectrum supplements. All minerals aboard! Yes this makes for expensive pee. But my cells are missing nutrients and I need to offer them. Gradually I found some supplements don't feel good (B6, Calcium) and some I nééd (Magnesium, Lithium, VitD3). Adjust accordingly.

structural supplementing with hydrocortisone. My adrenals were not well, confirmed by tests. I've gradually aided them with hydrocortisone (5mg per day). Once I started supplementing structurally about a year and a half ago the brain fog lifted permanently (10 mg per day). It also put my adrenals out of commission six months ago, they stopped working altogether. This was a risk I took, I'm not whining. (In the future I'll see if they want to start again, for now I'm supplementing 20-30 mg HC daily and feel good on it)

serious downgrading of daily expectations. You know the Spoon Theory, I presume. I have about 5 spoons of energy for one day. Getting Up in the Morning, Getting Dressed, Getting to Bed at Night, Shower or Cook a Meal. That leaves one spoon for something else: Write a Letter, Call a Friend, Clean the House, Make a Drawing, Post a Letter. I choose one and only one of these each day. And am content when I achieve it.

serious resting. I need to go lay down 45 minutes after I had a meal. This is crucial for digestion. The 45 minutes between eating and resting are a Golden Hour, a little time I can be active. But after that: need to lie down. For about an hour. Or two. Under a woolen blanket because I'll get cold.

calming the system by supplementing enough body-identical Progesterone. This is not a sex-hormone. It is the precursor for all adrenal (medulla) hormones and a soothing neurotransmitter for the brain, in men and woman alike.

I've done most of these things from the moment I fell ill, in 2008 (6 years ago). I didn't get them balanced until a few years ago, that's when things really got better.
The first few years I had structural, debilitating brain fog. All day, every day. Couldn't keep my balance, couldn't remember my name.

I had the fortune though, of having two hours of alertness during the night. This is not illness-related. It's because of my natural tendency to have too much excitatory neurotransmitters ((nor)adrenaline, dopamine and serotonine) in my head. The very opposite of brain fog! It's because of a DNA mutation most people see as a burden (mao a)

This causes me to lie awake after 5 hours of sleep every night, I've had this from birth. (In fact, I'm using it to write you this)
Even when brainfogged during the day I would still have this alert insomnia episode at night, able to read medical journals and leave notes for the brainfogged-me to follow during the day.

I'd wake up and find a note with "magnesium!" on it. And have absolutely no idea what to do with that...
Nighttime-me quickly learned to write better notes: "order magnesium-citrate from and take half a pill in the morning and at night."

Because of this nightly trait I was able to do the following reasoning when I got ill:
  1. this is a system wide failing. There's no way to pinpoint cause and effect, all major systems are down.
  2. this also means it doesn't matter where I start to tweak the system. Anywhere will do. I choose nutrients. Cells and body need nutrients to work.
  3. what are the nutrients scientists give cells in their petri dishes? That's what I'll start feeding my cells.
  4. I notice my poo is light and floating. On this poo-site it says it lacks bile. Biology101 says bile is produced in reaction to stomach acidity. I need to acidify my stomach acid. Order betaine HCL (This might aid digestion too.)
  5. I notice my blood pressure is low (90/60). Hey, low blood pressure is a good thing, right? Oh merde, it actually means blood and nutrients aren't pushed into tissues and cells. I need to aid this, I need to raise my blood pressure. Or lower other demands on its system (like standing up). And/or "pulling" blood into the tissues by activating the back office system: the lymphatic system.
So that's what I started doing. Amend nutrients intake, uptake and delivery into the body cells. And removal of their waste.

On step 2, when I chose where to start helping my body: I had to choose one thing. I couldn't follow multiple subjects, I just didn't have the brain cells for that. But like I said, I deduced that it didn't matter which road I chose. The body would respond to any which one.

Other choice options I felt I had were: trying to restore Sleep; Hormones; Stress Level; Nervous System or Immune System. I touched upon all of these in the following years. I cycle through them it seems. Only DNA has been new to this list. And Immune System has never been much of a topic with me, it seems. Probably because of low cortisol = high immune activity. And initial tests didn't show Lyme etc.

In the first years, when so severely brainfogged, I had lots of notes on the fridge including which supplements to take and reminders to put on a woolen hat and the central heating and to make tea for myself often. Because I'd get cold and then felt extra miserable. But I would forget to put on the heating. Or felt I was not worthy to spend the money on heating. Yes, brain fog comes with silly notions.

That's why I had my mum or my husband or even strangers write notes: "put on heating! enjoy a warm foot bath. You are allowed to." To battle these weird thoughts.
There would be love notes there too, just to remind me someone loved me. That I love me. Picture of a pet.

Nowadays I am free of brainfog on a daily basis. I do get fogged now and then but it's always tracing back to something I ate or when I did too much. It lifts when I go rest or sleep. When it's because of food it may take a few days to subside. Or two weeks if I really messed up (aged cheeses, delicious gluten bread, having a piece of cake on a birthday, experiencing life stress). I avoid this now, it really is not worth my time.

I realize this is only what worked for me. Strongly based on my personal signature of this disease. For example, in time I learned I am Progesterone deficient and have excess of those excitatory neurotransmitters and have a belly that doesn't like gluten and an immune system that's going strong. This will be different for everyone on these Forums. (I'd say I have CFS, not ME)

What is the same for everyone though is that we need the substrates for our cells (take salts and minerals) and that we need the bloodpressure to get them to our cells (lie vertical, take salt or HC). We need to eliminate waste from our cells (stretch and yawn while you lie in bed, drink warm water, get bile flowing) and we need help when brainfogged (have a supportive list on the fridge, then try and remember to look at it)

And most of all, I remember the difficulty of getting through the day when severely brain fogged. In the end I did so by only trying to get through the next half hour. That was all I needed to do. Survive the next half hour. That's doable. You can do that. And remember: you're worthy of a warm body, wear your hat.


interesting post.

"4.I notice my poo is light and floating. On this poo-site it says it lacks bile."

You may want to check info on that again. I could be wrong but I always thought that floating poo was often to do with the fat content in it.

.. but yes as the bile thing goes that apparently affects the colour of it eg so as you said, it could be abnormally pale
Yes, you are absolutely right. Fat makes it float. Bile breaks down fat. Bile reacts to acidity of the stomach. Cortisol determines the acidity of the stomach. Adrenals make the cortisol.

Bile also expells waste from the body.
There is quite a bit of evidence that 5mg is the 'sweet spot' for Cortisol supplementation, and that if used temporarily can improve endemic production. Most studies using 10mg or over show that suppression occurs.
Could you provide a research/medical reference re Cortisol affecting stomach acid and bile?
I have seen stuff indicating ACTH affects stomach acid, but as yet no firm evidence.
It's in the wiki on cortisol. It's not particular ACTH, it's more directly the cortisol that affects stomach acid excretion.
See Dr.Selye for references, he noticed the changes in intestines in stressed out rats.

For relation stomach acid-bile, see any basic source on biology, digestion or internal organs. It's quite interesting how our intestines alternate in acid and base environment. This has influence on which bacteria can/ought to live where too. The small intestine should be bacteria-free, for instance. Aother example: the stomach sphinxter will not release into the small intestine if it's content is not acid enough. Nor will the small intestine accept food, it will send it back into the stomach. By reverse motility! I am so impressed how this all works.
Hey WoolPippi,

I think I've found my forum kindred spirit! I react to basically all food and can't tolerate most herbal supplements. My understanding is that something is triggering to much neuronal excitability and as a result there's just too much glutamate excitotoxicity going on. I'm at the stage when I am trying to get hold of some hydrocortisone. Do you have any recommendations of how I could get my doc to prescribe this to me in the UK? As he said he would need some convincing..which frankly in my severely brainfogged state is nigh on impossible. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

All the best,
not sure I can help you, I had a broad spectrum hormone test done (in Brussels, dr. Thierry Hertoghe, expensive endo) and he prescribed the hormones. My GP just accepted it and provides me with maintainance doses, he trusts me to treat my symptoms now that he has seen me making a recovery all by myself by doing what I do.

my HC was clearly needed because 24hr urine levels and blood levels showed cortisol too low. You could try and ask for blood tests and hope you don't have a sudden spike just as they test you.

The thing is to mention "optimal functionality". They probably only want to test you for yes/no adrenal function (your GP can order this, just the standard 8 AM cortisol bloodtest). But you want to tweak the system so it functions optimal. Just being in range is not sufficient for you. Convince him of that.
Then offer to start on very low dosage, such as 5 mg per day. Just to finetune the system. He knows that serious supplementation starts at 20 mg per day (for that you need to have adrenal malfunction, below range test results, Addison's disease) so perhaps he will accomodate your request.

How HC is going to help with glutamate excitotoxicity I do not know. I calm down my system by avoiding all known triggers, by having no insuline spike ever (ketogenic diet) and by de-activating the automatic stress-response with NLP-techniques (Gupta Amygdala). I can almost make it work :s
When you say, "... body-identical Progesterone. This is not a sex-hormone. It is the precursor for all adrenal (medulla) hormones and a soothing neurotransmitter for the brain, in men and woman alike" do you mean pregnenolone? That's the 'mother hormone' and precursor for all adrenal hormones... I thought.
I love this post. Good for you. And you deserve to be warm and wear a hat, Woolpippi. I suggest you don one if you feel the need. ;)
One of the things that helped me sleep was to place a heated blanket between two of the blankets on my bed. There are few feelings more delicious than slipping into a pre-heated bed at night. It's almost sinful! I do this even in the summer, because I know it helps blood flow, and if I sweat a little, I sweat a little.

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