Remarkably, science has shown that, contrary to previous, long-held dogma, we have the ability to create new brain cells throughout our lives via a process called neurogenesis. Yes, we can grow new brain cells even as adults! (Go ahead, text your kids, you are getting older AND getting smarter!)
Neurogenesis occurs utilizing a naturally occurring protein in the brain called BDNF, Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor.
Astonishingly, BDNF acts like a brain-fertilizer to grow new brain cells as well as to protect, strengthen, and repair brain cells. Recent discoveries have found that our brain cells are malleable, and can be changed and improved for enhanced memory, mood, and learning abilities.
With aging and an unhealthy lifestyle, we progressively have declining levels of BDNF. Fortunately, there are some immensely beneficial lifestyle modifications to increase our BDNF levels to new heights.
The higher our BDNF levels, the lower our risk of dementia!
This is powerful information!
Let’s look at what we can do to launch our BDNF levels to the maximum. The following modalities will literally activate our genes to turn on BDNF production:
EXERCISE is at the top of the list for impact on our BDNF levels. Do some exercise routinely, whatever you enjoy, and add some HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and some weight lifting sessions occasionally for peak impact. Even a walking program does wonders.
INTERMITTENT FASTING, periodically go 12 to 16 hour intervals without eating to amplify BDNF production. An easy formula is to stop eating after dinner each evening and delay breakfast “break fast” for at least 12 hours after finishing your dinner. The longer you wait to have your first meal of the day, the better for stimulating BDNF release. Extend your fasting interval gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the longer duration fasting period. Intermittent fasting and the resulting nutritional ketosis and lower blood sugar up-regulates BDNF release.
EAT HEALTHY FATS to encourage neurogenesis. Remember, our brains consist of at least 60-70 percent fat and require healthy fats for optimal brain function. Excellent examples include fats found in wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, grass-fed butter, olives, virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados. Add nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans to your diet.
SUPPLEMENT with Curcumin, Omega-3 fats from fish or krill oil, B-complex vitamins, CoQ10, Probiotics, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Resveratrol, Vitamin D, MCT oil and green tea to augment BDNF activation.
STRESS REDUCTION is imperative because chronic stress lowers our BDNF levels. Activate your relaxation response with meditation, deep breathing exercises, and walking, as effective examples. In addition, high-quality SLEEP is essential, ideally 7-8 hours per night since sleep disruption and sleep deprivation tank our BDNF levels.
LEARN new things, read, and engage socially with friends and family. Mental stimulation ramps up BDNF, while more BDNF generates optimized brain function for improved learning. Learning begets BDNF, BDNF begets learning.
AVOID all that depletes our BDNF including:
*Processed vegetable oils, sugars, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
The all too common high-stress trifecta of poor diet, sedentary living and sleep deprivation leads to excessive inflammation and elevated blood sugar levels that will drain BDNF production and halt neurogenesis.
Neurogenesis is another example of the remarkable, regenerative ability of the human body and what we can do with our lifestyle to achieve antiaging benefits.
Best of all, the costs of BDNF enhancement with exercise, fasting, stress reduction, quality sleep, meditation, and relaxation techniques are FREE!
While BDNF, neurogeneis and the subsequent brain improvements are PRICELESS.