Brain Fog in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Published: July 13, 2012

Brain fog is a classic part of CFS and fibromyalgia, presenting as:

  1. Difficulty with word finding (e.g., remembering someone's name),
  2. Word substitution (e.g., calling your husband by the wrong name!), and
  3. Loss of short-term memory.

It can be very severe and even frightening, leaving people with CFS concerned that they are developing Alzheimer's. But they're not. CFS brain fog is when you keep forgetting where you left the keys — Alzheimer's is when you forget how to use the keys!

The good news? Brain fog responds very well to the SHINE Protocol. Especially helpful are the following nutrients:

  1. B vitamins, magnesium amino acids, and zinc — All in a good multivitamin powder.
  2. Fish oil.
  3. RiboseD-Ribose, 5 grams 3 times a day for 3 weeks, then twice a day, not only increased energy an average of 61% in a study of 257 CFS/FMS patients, but also improved mental clarity an average 30% and overall well being 37%.

Optimizing sleep and thyroid support and eliminating candida also dramatically helps brain function.

So you CAN get your brain back!

Meanwhile, the "you're crazy — it's all in your mind" school of thought on CFS continues to recede into ancient history. There were those who attributed the brain fog (and all of CFS) to depression — which was, well, crazy! Here is another new study showing that the brain fog of CFS and depression are NOT related.

Study: The role of depression in cognitive impairment in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

In the test, 57 women with CFS were evaluated for cognitive function using neuropsychological tests that measure mental acuity in areas such as ability to pay attention, to count forward and backward, auditory-verbal learning skills, executive functions, and psychomotor skills.

Participants were divided into two groups, with one group including those CFS patients who suffered depression (based on clinical assessment to determine scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and the other including those CFS patients who were not determined to be depressed.

The results showed no difference between the two groups in their levels of cognitive deficit in performing attention and executive functions. Researchers therefore concluded that there was no link between depression and the cognitive impairments exhibited by patients with CFS.


The role of depression in cognitive impairment in patients withchronic fatigue syndrome. Santamarina-Pérez P, Freniche V, Eiroa-Orosa FJ, Llobet G, Sáez N, Alegre J, Jacas C. 2011 Mar 12;136(6):239-243. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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