Brain Fog in Lyme Disease: You Can Fix It

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How to treat brainfog in Lyme disease by Marty Ross MD image

Brain Fog in Lyme Disease: What is it?

There are two kinds of brain fog in Lyme disease. Some people have both forms.

  • The first kind is a feeling or sensation of cloudiness or fogginess of the head.
  • The second type is a problem with brain function where a person cannot think. People with thinking problems usually can have problems with short term memory, confusion, poor attention, word finding, or concentration.

Brain fog that is a sensation of cloudiness or fogginess is due to a build up of cytokine inflammation chemicals and another chemical made in brain infections called quinolinic acid.  It can also be due to a build up of toxins in the blood from mold or yeast overgrowth in the intestines.

The poor brain function type of Lyme disease is due to

  • cytokines,
  • direct effect of Lyme and the coinfection bartonella, or
  • toxins from Lyme, mold, or yeast overgrowth in the intestines.

This written and video article has steps to improve brain fog in Lyme disease by

  • treating infections,
  • lowering cytokines and quinolinic acid,
  • detoxing,
  • repairing nerve injury
  • and fixing mitochondria cell energy factories.

Step One: Treat Infections

Determine which infections you have and treat them to lower brain fog in Lyme disease.

For information about how to diagnose Lyme, yeast, bartonella, or mold toxin problems see:

For more information about treating Lyme, yeast, bartonella or mold toxicity see:

Watch Marty Ross MD Discuss Brain Fog in Lyme Disease

This video was recorded during Conversations with Marty Ross MD in January 2017 when Dr. Ross practiced in Seattle, WA.

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Step Two: Lower Cytokines and/or Quinolinic Acid

Curcumin is a component of turmeric that lowers both cytokines and quinolinic Acid which improves brain fog. Take a liposomal form of curcumin to increase the absorption. Liposomal means that it is microscopically wrapped in fat to increase its absorption.

  • Curcumin 500 mg (liposomal) 1 pill 3 times a day.

For more information about cytokines and additional supplements see Control Cytokines: A Guide to Fix Lyme Symptoms & The Immune System. For more information about curcumin see Curcumin.

Step Three: Repair Nerve Damage and Fix Mitochondria


To repair the nerve tissue raise glutathione. Glutathione is the master reparative anti-oxidant made in all of our cells. It is particularly helpful in nerve injury. It is important to use an oral brand that microscopically wraps the glutathione in a type of fat called phospholipids. These increase the absorption of this powerful anti-oxidant. It is called liposomal glutathione when it is wrapped in fat. If you cannot tolerate glutathione, another option is to take N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC). NAC is a building block for glutathione in the cells. For other ways to take glutathione including nebulized breathing treatments or intravenous IV forms read Glutathione: The Great Fixer.

  • Glutathione (liposomal) 500 mg 1 time a day or
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine 500 mg 3 times a day

NT Factor Phospholipids

Use phospholipid fats and mitochondria vitamin complex called NT Factor to repair the outer membrane of the injured nerves and to improve the functioning of the energy factories found in our cells. These energy factories are called mitochondria. One study shows there are average energy improvements of 40% by 2 months of using NT Factor and clearer thinking. In chronic infections the outer membrane of the mitochondria are injured by excess oxidizing agents made in cells. When the outer membrane is damaged the chemical reactions that create cell energy do not take place efficiently. This can starve the nerve cells of energy they require to heal. Mitochondria phospholipid fats are phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl serine.

  • NT Factor 750 mg 2 pills 3 times a day for 2 months, then decrease to one pill 3 times a day for 4 more months.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant used to make energy in cell mitochondria. It is involved in transporting electrons in the chemical reactions that generate cell fuel. It is also critical for nerve function.

  • Coenzyme Q10 400 mg 1 pill 2 times a day. (NOTE: Do not take this if you are on mepron or malarone for treating babesia. These two medicines will not work if you take Coenzyme Q10.)

Acetyl L Carnitine

The power plants in cells require fat and sugar to create cell fuel. The fat is brought to the inside of mitochondria using a transport vehicle called carnitine. I find the form called Acetyl L Carnitine is the most effective. People who do not have 1-2 servings a week of red meat in their diets may have low levels of this critical vitamin.

  • Acetyl L Carnitine 500 mg 1 pill 2 times a day for 1 month then decrease to 1 pill 1 time a day. (You only need this supplement if you do not eat red meat regularly.)

Where to Start

Treat the infections first with antimicrobials for a few months while using a multi-vitamin and curcumin. If this is not effective then add the glutathione, NT Factor phospholipid fats, and Coenzyme Q10 (include Acetyl L Carnitine too if you do not eat red meat.)  In addition to these ideas, take steps to remove toxins that decrease brain function.


For detox take the multivitamin recommended above. For more information about detoxification see three other articles on this site: Far Infra-Red Sauna Detox: More Than SweatMTHFR and Detoxification. A Lyme Byte., and Mold and Lyme Toxin Illness. For information about diet, bowel and liver support for detox see the Far Infra-Red Sauna Detox article.

Give It Time

Note that you will need to give these treatments time. It can take a few months on this regimen to see sustained improvements. Take these treatments while using antimicrobials to kill the germs causing the nerve injury.

Hyperbaric Oxygen

At times even the supplements and anti-microbials are not effective. In these situations treatment with hyperbaric oxygen can be helpful. This requires a minimum of 40 dives to a depth of 2.4 atmospheres.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

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About the Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice. 

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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