Diabetes And Brain Fog: Exploring The Connection

Written by Dr. Kirilyuk Inna Anatolyivna on Mon, 28 August 2023 — Fact checked by Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna

Key Highlights

  • Our brains rely heavily on blood sugar to carry out their functions and enable those of the body.
  • High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves and blood vessels in the brain and disrupt the hormones that affect functioning and activity resulting in brain fog.
  • On the other hand, low blood sugar levels can directly cause brain fog with often immediate effects.
  • Brain fog is a condition that can be reversed and is not a disease. It is marked by the presence of fatigue, lack of concentration, memory loss, and mood swings.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regime, ensuring blood sugar levels are in check, and following the tips provided to cope with brain fog symptoms can help get through these symptoms and improve the quality of life of people with diabetes. 

Living with type 2 diabetes can put one at risk of many diabetes-related complications. These include diseases of the eye, nerves, kidneys, and heart. But also, among these diseases include the lesser acknowledged effects on the brain, such as brain fog.

That there is a connection between diabetes and brain health that has been known for over a hundred years. Yet the signs and symptoms of the effects of diabetes on the brain, such as lack of attention and confusion, were only recently identified.

Here we talk about the connection between diabetes and the brain, the causes of brain fog, the most prominent signs and symptoms of brain fog, and some tips for managing this symptom.

Diabetes and the brain

Diabetes and the brain

We are because we think. This can only be accomplished because our brain is considered the world’s most complex supercomputer. Our thoughts, feelings, ideas, talent, capabilities, and sense of worth exist because of our brains. It governs the functioning of the smallest cell in the body and is central to our emotional, physical, and mental health.

To perform all these functions, our brain relies on a steady supply of sugar through the blood. Yet, it can be easily affected by any changes in these blood sugar levels. An increase or a decrease in blood sugar levels can give rise to symptoms of brain fog.

Our body requires insulin to efficiently utilise the sugar from our diet for energy. However, in type 2 diabetes, the insulin present in the body is incapable of performing its role and can lead to high blood sugar levels. On the other hand, low blood sugar levels can be caused by medications, excessive exercise, or skipping meals.

Symptoms of brain fog from high blood sugar levels develop over a period of time. However, low blood sugar levels can almost immediately cause these symptoms.

Causes of brain fog

Causes of brain fog

Brain fog is not a disease in itself but a symptom. It can be caused by high and very low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

Brain fog is an important symptom, especially when it is caused by low blood sugar levels because it can help identify the situation and remedy it by taking timely corrective action. Unchecked low blood sugar levels can have detrimental consequences.

On the other hand, high blood sugar levels can affect hormones in the brain that are important for functioning and activity. It can also cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the brain in a similar way that it affects other organs, such as the kidneys and the eyes, and disrupt the normal functioning of the brain.

People with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of dementia.

Symptoms of brain fog

Brain fog from high as well as low blood sugar levels can have overlapping symptoms such as:

  • Feeling of fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Inability to put together simple words
  • Inability to understand simple concepts
  • Loss of memory
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings

Prevention and treatment of brain fog

Maintaining blood sugar levels within the target goal, as suggested by a treating physician, is the key to preventing brain fog. Too high or too low blood sugar levels can precipitate brain fog symptoms and lead to depression, significantly impacting the quality of life of one with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, engaging in exercise, adhering to medications as prescribed, regular eating patterns, and following a healthy diet as suggested by a dietician or physician can help keep blood sugar levels under control and prevent brain fog. Effective monitoring of blood sugar levels can help identify low blood sugar levels preventing brain fog.

Remembering that brain fog results from unsteady blood sugar levels is important. It is not a permanent disease and can be easily reversed by controlling blood sugar levels. It may require changing medications, diet, or exercise patterns, but talking to a healthcare professional can help clear up the fog.

Getting through brain fog

Getting through brain fog

There are several ways to get through the symptoms of brain fog while the change in medications and lifestyle interventions suggested by the healthcare professional take effect. 

These include:

1. Getting enough sleep

  • Sleep is important to give your body and mind enough rest to cope with the rigour of daily life. Following a sleep schedule can help improve sleep quality.
  • This includes going to bed at the same time every day, avoiding electronic devices before sleeping, using relaxation techniques to calm the mind, maintaining an ambient temperature, and dimming lights to facilitate sleep.

2. Engaging in social activities

  • Meeting people and interacting socially has been shown to improve brain function and prevent feelings of depression and isolation from creeping in.
  • Even simple things like meeting a friend or participating in a social event, such as a cleaning drive in the neighbourhood, can boost self-esteem, memory, and mood.

3. Including exercise in the routine

  • All healthcare professionals recommend regular exercise to improve not only physical but also mental health status. Thoughts and ideas are more free-flowing with pleasurable walks in nature.
  • Moreover, exercise has also been known to improve mood and give a sense of well-being.

4. Taking medications as prescribed

  • Taking medications as prescribed can help maintain blood sugar levels in control, preventing the highs and lows that can cause the symptoms of brain fog.

Taking medications as prescribed

5. Journaling

  • Journaling is important for all people. It helps not only pen down thoughts that were left unexpressed but also can help identify triggers for brain fog symptoms, including timings for food and exercise.
  • Identifying these triggers can help avoid them, preventing brain fog.

6. Focus on one task at a time

  • Completing one task at a time helps focus and concentrate.
  • A sense of fulfilment from completing a task can further help elevate the mood.

7. Using visual cues or repetition to enhance memory

  • When faced with memory loss, simple techniques such as notes, cards, or visual cues like symbols can help recollect your thoughts.
  • Playing memory games with children in the family or neighbourhood or even on apps can also further help the brain's functioning.

8. Engaging in new activities

  • Trying out novel things like a new hobby, food item, or even a new route on the way home can help stimulate the brain and clear brain fog.

9. Meditation

  • Meditation has been known to reduce stress levels, provide clarity of thought, and calm the mind to improve memory and mood.
  • Practising it daily can help clear the fog.

10. Eating a healthy diet

  • Eating a wholesome and nutritious diet at regular intervals can help maintain blood sugar levels and prevent brain fog.


Brain fog is a condition caused by unsteady blood sugar levels. However, it can be reversed by keeping blood sugar levels in check and following the healthcare professionals’ advice on medication, diet, and exercise. Following the tips mentioned here can also help you get through brain fog to live a physically and equally mentally active life.

In conclusion, the intricate relationship between diabetes and brain fog sheds light on the importance of maintaining stable blood sugar levels for both our physical and mental well-being.

The journey to clarity might involve adhering to medical guidance, adopting a balanced diet, and embracing an active lifestyle. By taking these proactive steps, not only can we navigate through the haze of brain fog, but we can also unlock the potential to lead a life brimming with both physical vitality and mental acuity.

Remember, with determination, knowledge, and support, the path to mental clarity is well within reach, offering a brighter and more focused tomorrow.


Dr. Kirilyuk Inna Anatolyivna

She is graduated from Vinnytsia National Medical University, in 2008.
2008-2010 resident, family practice.
2010-2015 General practitioner, family practice doctor.

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Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Aug, 28 2023

Written By

Dr. Kirilyuk Inna Anatolyivna

Fact checked By

Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna