Research on Chemo Brain (Chemo Fog)

chemo brainCancer treatment using chemo drugs (chemotherapy) is associated with problems that are referred to by chemo patients as “chemo-brain” and sometimes “chemo-fog”. It is one of the chemotherapy side effects.

For more information and the symptoms see Chemo-Brain

What is the Reason for this Problem?

In the past, some doctors thought that these side effects were due to many reasons such as anxiety over having cancer, the cancer itself, a form of depression, fatigue from the chemo and other drugs, hormonal changes due to the treatments with the drugs, and even the medications used to treat the other side effects of the chemotherapy drugs.

It is now believed that the drugs used in chemotherapy affect the brain’s metabolism. Recent imaging of the brains of people who underwent chemotherapy show very specific changes.

Breakthrough Research

Scientific research done at the Virginia University School of Medicine found that when the brain uses glucose (as glucose feeds the brain) a special type of PET/CT scan showed that certain parts of the brain will light up brightly. The bright areas showed the brain was metabolizing the glucose.

They found out in taking these scans on participants in the study before and after chemo that the brains of chemotherapy-treated patients still lit up, but they were much duller in brightness, indicating less activity.

Dr. Largos who participated in the study stated. “The study shows that there are specific areas of the brain that uses less energy following chemotherapy. These brain areas are the ones known to be responsible for planning and prioritizing.”

Article “Chemo Brain, A Real Thing”

What Does This Mean?

Finding a way to help the brain metabolize glucose will help when the “chemo brain: side effect is a problem. Building health is always recommended.

Research shows that there are two specific supplements that are known for helping with memory. They are alpha lipoic acid and acetyl l carnitine. There are studies done showing that it helps the brain metabolize glucose.

Acetyl L-Carnitine has been studied and found to have significant cognitive effects by helping the body use glucose.

Study: Acetyl-L-carnitine modulates glucose metabolism and stimulates glycogen synthesis in rat brain.

Alpha Lipoic Acid has also been known to help memory by increasing glucose metabolism

Study Alpha-lipoic acid: effect on glucose uptake, sorbitol pathway, and energy metabolism

Studies showed that taking acetyl L-carnitine and R-alpha lipoic acid together resulted in even greater improvements than either ingredient alone

Read about Alpha Lipoic Acid & Acetyl l-Carnitine

What can you do?

We always recommend you take the approach of building health – and Brain health no different


Alpha Lipoic Acid & Acetyl l-Carnitine


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