Brainfog and fatigue until the late afternoon or evening

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My name is Sem (male, 31 from Belgium), suffering from brainfog and fatigue for a long time (6 years) and hope to get some help on this forum. I will try to keep it short. (sorry for my english)


- I get up in the morning and after about 1-2 hours I get hit by brainfog (headache, pressure in my head, feeling heavy, problems to concentrate,feeling low...) and fatigue. Mostly these symptoms get better in the late afternoon. During the evening I feel normal most of the time. The difference between morning/afternoon and evening can be very big. When I go to sleep I feel pretty normal. After a good night of sleep (no sleeping problems) I wake up and the same pattern repeats itself. The severity of the symptoms can vary greatly depending on the period. One week I feel like a zombie all the time and can hardly function, the other week I feel tired but a lot better. I have no idea why. (I have tried to link it with food or sleep or stress but there is no clear correlation). The symptoms have a serious negative impact on my life.

In this 6 years I'v tried many things to figure out what is the problem:

- Endless blood tests. They where always fine.

- Urine tests. 

- Sleep study. No problems with sleep.

- Cortisol saliva test

- Ultrasound scan of the blatter and the kindeys

- eEg research

- CAT scan of the sinuses

- EMG research (not sure of the translation)

- CEIA bilan (not sure of the translation)

- Endless diets: Low-histamine diet, low-sugar diet, no-gluten diet, no-diary diet,...

- I tried a lot of supplements (for more then 3 months) but there is nothing that gives me a better feeling.

- Psychotherapy 

- Allergy test: I am allergic to histamine and mercury

- Food intolerance test: this is the only test where they found a potential cause of the symptoms. According to the test i'm intolerant to almond nuts, diary, gluten, yeast, eggs,  and bananas. I avoided these foods for 3 months without any results.

Is there somebody out there with similar symptoms? Is there somebody that can give me advice in my search for a better health? How can I get rid of these headaches and the fatigue?

Especially the difference between morning/daytime and eventing is very striking. It reminds me of adrenal insufficiency (the symptoms are very similar) but i have tested this and they seem to work normal (blood test and saliva test). 

I have no idea why this happens to me. I eat healthy (vegetarian, lots of vegetables, no fast food, a lot of whole foods, not a lot of sugars, not a lot of processed foods,...) and I do sports at least twice a week (only during the evening because during daytime it is difficult).

Hope to get some help here! Thanks in advance!



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51 Replies

  • Edited

    One thing you didn’t mention is exercise. Do you ? If so, do you notice any change in your symptoms after? 
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    • Edited

      Hi Joe,

      I do exercise. (1-3 times a week, mostly during evenings because the tiredness is much less then) I also ride my bike almost daily.

      If I exercise during the evening I feel very good after.  Exercise during daytime isn't always possible because of the tiredness. If I do exercise (when I have a better day), I feel mostly better after but sometimes it can make things worse. Difficult to say. 

      Why did you pose this question? 

      Thanks for the reply!

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    • Posted

      thats really interesting. due to our circadian rhythm being out of synch. I guess thats is why we are more tired in the day.

      I never thought to try do some excercise at night.. which might help when I totally cant get to sleep.

      I so yoga stretches before bed and vagus nerve and deep breathing to open my lungs and make my rib cage feel less tight.

      Wow you have good energy and focus to ride your bike.. hopefully when i get a baseline I can do more..

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  • Edited

    Sem--Based on your post, it's hard to say what's going on. The red flag for ME/CFS is post-exertional malaise (PEM)--that is, when you do an activity, you get fatigued far beyond what is normal. Sleep problems (which you don't have) are also very common with this illness. The best way to get a diagnosis of ME/CFS is to first get bloodwork tests, which you've already done. If the tests come back normal, and you suspect this illness, you should go to a specialist (like a rheumatologist or Infectious Disease Specialist). Most primary care doctors don't have the knowledge to diagnose ME/CFS. Also, go to the "solve ME/CFS Initiative website and see if the symptoms sound familiar to you. It's a bit complicated, because fatigue can be a symptoms of many illnesses. But ME/CFS is a very specific illness. In the meantime, in case you do have this illness, don't push beyond your energy envelope, as that can make you worse. By the way, your English is excellent.

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  • Posted

    I get this too, it's like my brain is over sensored and can't concentrate. I get very fatigued from it with the head pressure but mine starts in the afternoon. It's like mental exhaustion mixed with physical exhaustion.

    I am also stumped, still going to specialists to find an answer. Please let me know if you find the cause to this.

    Someone told me it could be iron/copper dysregulation. When they are unbound and not bioavailable to the body it gets stored in the liver, brain and organs and act as a heavy metal. Something to look into.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sem,

    Kinda have the same fatigue/malaise going on for +3 yrs. 

    Have you gotten any closer to the root cause and/or symtomatic relief in the last couple of months?

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  • Posted

    Hi Sem,, you said your vego ,have you had your iron tested ?? ,,and also im allergic to Salicylates,, its in all veges and herbs and nuts etc ,, i can only eat i vege and no fruit,, i am amine intolerant too ,,all the best <3 Guava

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  • Edited

    I have almost identical issues as yourself sem. After lifting heavy weights for months in the evening, my condition deteriorated. I got new symptoms such as breathlessness/exhaustion doing very minor things. Everything I had previously was amplified. After this, I got diagnosed with CFS/ME. I think you have the same condition but it's not as severe as it could be.

    You've had far more tests conducted than myself. I wish us luck. I will bookmark this page and check back in months, or years. Please keep us updated.

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  • Edited

    Hi Semi,

    I'm new to this blog, but realized my symtoms are similar to yours. I get up in the morning then start having intermittent brainfog and fatigue and in the evening time about 6 PM I'm back to my normal self until the next day when the cycle begins again. I was wondering if you had any recent updates.

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    • Edited

      check the basics first:

      • Iron, TIBC and ferrtin
      • liver panel
      • kidney panel - with electrolytes
      • testosterone /hormones/ cortisol
      • thryoid function
      • CBC with differential + CRP

      Rule out any of these as potential causes before exploring anything else. interpretation of results preferably by a internal medicine specialist - cost permitting

      if all is ok with the above, I'd look into :

      • Cavitations ( JAW )
      • parastic infections - best via blood and stool
      • Possible low grade infection /Inflammation somewhere in the body
      • sleep apnea/ sleep quality

      I'm not a specialist and dont know your situation, but these would be the areas I'd cover firstly in uncovering chronic last lasting fatigue and tiredness - when any form of therapy does not alleviate it

      if you have any questions and/or would like some guidance on test results i will be glad to assist

      God Bless

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  • Edited


    I realise this is an older post, but I wondered if you had any update on this please? I am having similar symptoms. This first started five years ago and lasted for a few months, since then I have had a few similar bouts, lasting a few weeks at a time, and am currently going through a month long bout of this. Like you I wake up feeling fine, and then by early afternoon start to feel pretty off. I have difficulty concentrating and reading, and can tell that I am mentally very sluggish. I then have an hour or so of feeling very foggy and experience speech difficulties, including finding the correct word to use and remembering what something is called. I can also feel quite dizzy and clumsy during this. After a while this resolves and I feel fine by the early evening, and generally feel really good then. Again I spend the evening feeling fine, and wake up feeling fine the following morning, only to have the same pattern the following day. I have found that in addition to the foggy feeling it feels like the lining of my nose is very swollen (but I am not congested/sneezing/having allergies) and I can experience some tingling and numbness in my left cheek.

    This was initially diagnosed as migraine. I had experienced migraines previously, but these were quite different in that I would get lots of visual issues (tunnel vision, stars etc.), followed by an incredibly painful headache lasting a few hours, which would generally resolve after vomiting. These were few and far between, and certainly not happening every day. I saw a neurologist who thought it may be being caused by muscle spasms (due to the left cheek issues). Brain MRI was normal. All bloods are also normal. I also suspected adrenal fatigue, but my saliva cortisol is high throughout the day, and never low. This could possibly indicate stress as a cause, and I feel it may be a contributing factor, but not the sole trigger, as I can be under times of great stress and not have these symptoms.

    The fact that the symptoms are only present for part of the day and follow such a regular pattern makes me wonder if it is caused by some sort of hormonal rhythm/cycle. I had thought perhaps female cycle issues (my problems first started after coming off birth control pill), but given that you are male experiencing a similar thing, this seems to discount that.

    I would appreciate any thoughts or updates that anyone has on this please. Thank you for reading.

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  • Posted

    Hey Sem, your symptoms match mine almost perfectly. Did you ever get an answer for this? I just got diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope from a positive tilt table test. However nothing the doctors have asked me to try has alleviated the daily fatigue - so I'm not sure that's it. Did you get a diagnosis or find a fix for these issues?

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    • Posted

      I got diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope too. I had 4 fainting spells in a year, all brought on my triggers (not eating enough, alcohol etc)

      But on the 4th faint I hit my head and have only experienced the symptoms you mentioned since then. So ive not been able to tell if it was the NS or a head injury thats the cause.

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