You might still hold the belief that you cannot grow any new brain cells once you hit adulthood. It seems though, that this belief doesn’t hold true anymore.
According to neuroscientist Sandrine Thures adults are fully capable of growing new brain cells, regardless of their age. This was also the understanding of other researchers came to similar conclusions back in 2005 when they stated that the “adult mammalian brain creates new neurons from pools of stem-like cells”. This means that our brains aren’t as fixed as we once believed them to be.
The process of developing new brain cells is called neurogenesis and is most active during pre-natal development, continuing through adulthood (that’s why those years are so crucial for later on).
Growing Brain Cells
That’s all fun and games and good to know. But how can you grow new brain cells as an adult? Here’s the quick fix:
- Exercise! Already something as easy as a walk has shown to increase neurogenesis. Around 45 minutes a day seem to be enough to great new tissue in the hippocampus.
- Diet has an impact too. Curcumin has been shown to enhance neurogenesis and cognition (but only in rats). In another rat study, curcumin seemed to reverse impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and increased BDNF in chronically stressed rats (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, it’s important for long-term memory and can promote protective and inhibit damaging pathways that contribute to the brain’s neurogenic response by enhancing cell survival! In short good BDNF is very important).
Both caloric restriction (i. e. maintaining a caloric deficit) and intermittent fasting have been shown to increase brain cell survival. While not directly impacting neurogenesis, those too will lead to autophagy, which cleans up your body cells and gets rid of any damaged junk.
So combining those some exercise with more curcumin while restricting calories at time (and intermittent fasting makes this easy), you increase your chances of a healthy brain and body. If you want to read more about curcumin, have a look at my natural supplements article about turmeric.
Brain Cells: Neurogenesis Optimization & Limitations
If you look for ways to optimize your diet for neurogenesis, here a few key points:
- maintain a lower carb (but definitely a low sugar) diet
- get enough omega-3 fatty acids
- eat blueberries (my favourite berry and low in sugar with lots of other benefits)
- get some EGCG (here or drink plenty of high-quality green tea)
While this sounds great, you won’t turn a genius doing all of the above. What you get is an increase in life quality which seems to me, is a very desirable outcome.
How do you feel about this, what is your experience? Let me know and make sure to share this information with your friends.
This article is part of the Short Tao series. These are posts, articles, reviews and similar content, provided to you in a short and easy to digest format. This means, I cut to the chase quickly and aim to make it as short and informative as possible. The content, especially when it comes to science, is up to date when I publish it, but times change. So, if anything you read here has been seen changes, make sure to let me know. Ultimately, this is for your entertainment and education. Comment below to share your thoughts and make sure to let your friends know of this