When a focus supplement isn't enough?

Hey everyone,

Due to depression/anxiety, I often suffer from feeling tired all the time (especially rainy grey days) and brain fog. Like I can’t focus on one thing at a time sometimes not even for more than a minute before a thought kicks in like another task or this random thing I wanted to look up on the internet or a “quick check” on social media. Or sometimes I’m just overthinking something else to a point where I forget what I’m doing and have to be like OH I was in the middle of this!

I wasn’t always this way. I used to be able to work full days without having to “slack” off on other non-dev related sites very often unless it was lunch.

I’ve been having trouble for the last two weeks. With things going on in my personal life, and not eating right, I’ve been thrown off my routine. Having a hard time getting back on it.

But anyway, I’d been going the natural route and taking Now Foods Vitamin D3 and Phosphatidyl Serine.



They’ve been working up until now, until the last 2 weeks, it doesn’t seem like they work as well as they used to. Should I find a new supplement or maybe something else needs to be implemented (whether supplement or otherwise)? I also work remote full time so that may play a part as that’s still pretty new to me.


I know that state of mind… What’s on top of my todo list?.. Oh I got an email… It’s the first of the month today, do I have enough money in my checking account for rent? … I should start work on that task… How did my fantasy team do last night ? … :confused:

I’ve been taking vitamin D supplements as well. I take them all year long. It was suggested to me after a blood test.

I do think it helps as it seems to be scientifically proven that vitamin D deficiency has significant medical and psychological consequences.

I’d like to say it helps me stay functional but I really can’t prove it.

I’ve never been able to be successful working from home. When I do work outside office hours, I usually go to cafés around my place (there are plenty around here… some are opened until midnight). There’s something about having people working around me that gives me energy. And sometimes I get to talk to people.

When I worked from home as a consultant, my life schedule would quickly become erratic. I would work at night and sleep during the day. People would call me thinking I’m available because i’m at home. I would take breaks and do the dishes or the laundry. I had a hard time with boundaries.

One thing that I would do now as a consultant that wasn’t available to me back then would be to find a co-working desk somewhere. You get the benefits of leaving the house and sharing your environment with other professionals without spending a ton of cash.

Now i’m off topic…

I’ve never heard of Phosphatidyl Serine before. I’m also interested in any natural supplements that could help.

Let me know if you get results and good luck!

Vitamin D, yes played with it, but I’m not sure about many things like dosage, timing, etc. My GP said, take it anytime, could be 20k IUs once a week or 3k IUs per day. In contrast Dave Asprey writes that timing matters for him. TBH I don’t feel a difference, even if I skip it for a couple of weeks.

@Rachie: What helps me to regain focus is fast walking at around 3.5mph. Also other sports like swimming, body weight training, but walking is like fast food, you can have it any time ;-).

@monkeypatching The phosphatidyl serine was recommended to me by someone I knew who suffers from anxiety and brain fog as well. It really does help although I tend to skip it on the weekends or days I don’t really need to code, but I’ve been taking it more consistently as of late. The bottle recommends taking it twice a day, but I only take it in the mornings. When I asked my friend whether I should take it morning or evening, she said:

“Well that depends, do you want to keep from strangling your co-workers or do you want a better night’s sleep?”

I chose co-workers so I take it in the morning haha although I’ve been recently trying half a pill at night because I’m starting to have those nights where my mind is racing so much, I can’t sleep. And I’m tossing and turning and in a cold sweat, and I’m thinking of all the million bad things in life that can happen and it’s not every night, but often enough that I should start considering what to do about it. The supplement is supposed to be for memory and focus, and even recommended for Alzheimers and Dementia patients. All it does is replicate a chemical in our brain for memory and focus that we already naturally have.

Before I was taking this, I would look at my computer and code looked like gibberish. Logically I KNEW I should know what this code was, but my brain was so scattered and emotionally I just wasn’t there, I couldn’t work. And I’d only get more frustrated to the point where I want to cry. So this pill definitely helped.

@Mart From what I understand on Vitamin D3 - and it has to be D3 not the synthetic stuff, is it helps manage depression symptoms as well as energy. We get D3 from the sun and since we humans don’t get as much sun as we did decades ago where we weren’t spending all our time sitting in an office chair all day - we need to replicate it somehow. So as far as energy - this helps. Sometimes I need something more, like a walk or chai tea. But it has helped.

I really do need to get myself in the habit of walking everyday. My remote job has tempted me to be a hermit so I really need to force myself haha. The cold outside def doesn’t encourage me either but I guess if it’s a quick 5 to 10 minute walk, I’ll survive. :wink:

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I’ll have my significant other help me and push me out the door at the same time every day in case I have an excuse. Like “Go outside now and don’t come back for at least 10 minutes” :smile:

I would strongly suggest you see a health professional. If you have physiological symptoms and causes, it’s important that you get proper medical attention. That being said, here are some things that help me when I have focus and attention issues (including feeling foggy):

  1. Exercise, especially weightlifting, is probably the best thing to clear my head. A good workout at least every other day is essential to keeping my brain working smoothly. I feel more alert, have a better time concentrating, and feel calmer emotionally.
  2. Healthy meals. Essentially cutting out carbs and sugar, anything that’s deep fried. It doesn’t have to be 100% (a pizza now and then is fine) but I’ve found that eating mostly paleo helps me feel physically lighter and mentally sharper.
  3. Having a morning routine. I’ll often wake up feeling cranky, scatterbrained, a little cranky and stressed out if there’s a lot on my plate. It’s very easy to get caught up in those thoughts and spend the whole day flitting from one thing to another. To counter-act that, I try to stick a morning-routine: get up, make myself a protein breakfast and coffee, watch a little TV while eating, get showered and dressed and then pack my bag and head out to work. Essentially this gets my brain into the routine of focusing on small individual things at a time, and by the time I’m out the door, I’m calm and focused enough to tackle bigger problems.
  4. Planning out a social life. Personally, I make it a point to sit down and schedule social activities and put them into my calendar. It makes it easier for me to sit down and spend the day working if I know I’ll have a chance to be social and have a good time later on.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.


It does help a lot - thanks! It’s def the routine part that I’m failing at as well as cheating with the healthy meals. Also getting harder to go outside now that it’s getting cold so I have to find an inside alternative so I can move about without freezing haha.

I am trying to make an appointment this month. I have a counselor who is awesome but I think it’s time to speak to someone who can diagnose me officially as a start. I haven’t been diagnosed since over a decade ago where I was diagnosed with clinical depression. So I need to know if I’m dealing with the same or a new “monster” so to speak and that will likely help a lot.

Thanks and take care. :slight_smile:

Glad that helped. It’s good to hear you’re looking to get professional help. There are a variety of bodyweight exercises you can do indoors that are a good workout and can get those endorphins flowing.

@vibranium’s list is pretty much what I would suggest. I am also trying to replace black coffee with tea, just because it feels less intense for me.

I know how it is, sometimes I start the day work really well for a bit and get easily distracted… Sometimes I even change my git commit timestamps :frowning:

Some things I have done to fix this are:

-Quiet music just to keep me going and in the zone ( my favorite for this is the artist C418 who did the minecraft soundtrack)

-Dr Ahmen Focus and energy supplement: I take this maybe 4 days a week and it always seems to do the trick, sometimes I even can code now for 9 hours straight.

Also, have you considered working at maybe a quiet public library, since everyone is working I think it oftentimes forces you to focus a little more and not get distracted like in your comfortable home.