Exercise is quite helpful and can help to not just lose weight but also can help in getting relief from stress and also helps in improving heart health. But the most beneficial part is that exercise helps in healing, offers protection and also supports the brain. In fact, it is found that the benefits of exercise are plenty and it is one of the main reasons why it is prescribed for Parkinson’s, for Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression.
BDNF or brain derived neurotrophic factor is a protein produced in brain can help in some important functions of the brain which includes:
- Development of new connections between the neurons
- Repairs all failing neurons
- Protects the healthy neurons
- Helps in keeping the brain from different neurodegenerative diseases
Healthy BDNF means positive mood, good memory and learning ability as well. If BDNF is low, learning becomes difficult and suffers. The individual gets into depression and there is high risk for various kinds of degenerative disorders which includes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well.
It is known that BDNF declines slowly as one ages. Thus, we often feel that certain tasks which were easily done during our young ages, is now more difficult. That’s not all – it is known that 1 in every 3 American, suffers from the condition of low BDNF due to genetic factors.
If there is a need to maintain and improve brain functions, it is necessary to do everything that is needed for supporting BDNF production through life.
Exercise Helps in Improving Memory and Learning
Scientists have revealed that exercises have improved cognition for several decades. Exercise helps in releasing different molecules from liver tissues, muscles, fat and proteins which can impact BDNF levels. This initiates the forming of neurons and neurogenesis.
Exercise also helps in promoting the developing of new blood vessels. It helps in increasing the flow of blood to brain. It increases hippocampus volume, which is the learning and memory area of brain. This helps in improving plasticity. This also helps in the learning ability of the brain as there is formation of newer connections between the different neurons.
So, is exercise the latest prescription for those suffering from brain degenerative diseases and depression?
Several studies and research have revealed the many benefits of exercise for those who suffer from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s symptoms as well as depression, which makes it quite like prescription for such conditions.
But why wait for such a situation? You can try it and see the various effects it has on the brain function.
Get in touch with my office and integrate the functional and also neurology rehabilitation so that your efforts get great push. All your physical activities will get a great push and you are able to get motivation and also energy which will help in developing an exercising habit.
Parkinson’s – Patients who suffer from Parkinson’s exercise and witness great improvement in gait and balance. It helps in displaying the plasticity or the ability of the neurons of the brain to develop new connections, once the symptoms have appeared.
According to a recent study, it showed the effects of exercise in mice suffered who suffered from Parkinson’s diseases. It revealed that exercises increased the dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia region. Such brain structures are crucial for emotion, movement and also learning.
Dopamine Receptor loss is considered to be a hallmark of Parkinson’s. According to a human study, it was revealed that patients who would walk on treadmill, at least three times a week and for at least 8 weeks, would have increased dopamine receptors on basal ganglia.
Mouse studies revealed that exercise played a major role in maintaining dendritic spines and projections on neurons which branch to and also connect with other neurons. This helps in modifying the progression of disease.
Alzheimer’s: Studies reveal that exercise can help in preventing Alzheimer’s in case of those who carry APOE-ε4 allele. This is the gene variant which is usually link with the late-onset stage of disease.
There are many other researchers who try to mimic the benefits of exercise with dementia. This is usually by increasing BDNF pharmaceutically or genetically. Thus, this might be a good option in case of patients who are not able to exercise.
Different Ways of Boosting BDNF:
Here are some methods which we recommend in functional neurology that can be helpful in supporting healthy BDNF levels and also functions of the brain.
Exercise: If one exercises in moderate intensity, it is known to increase or improve cognitive flexibility and also working memory. High-intensity training or exercise helps in improving the speed by which information is processed. However, it is seen that low-intensity exercises do not have the same kind of effect. Thus, you need to work hard so that your workouts count. But remember that you shouldn’t overdo, as it might increase the inflammation which can degenerate and inflame the brain. You need to be careful and understand the effect which exercise has on the brain and find a comfortable level of intensity and also duration.
If you wish to boost BDNF you can try a 7 minute workout early in the morning, as you get up.
You need to keep away from high-fructose corn syrup, different kinds of processed foods and also excessive sugar. Consumption of such food can cause systematic inflammation and it will also reduce BDNF in brain.
Intermittent Fasting: It has been revealed in many studies that dietary restriction stimulates protein production which include BDNF. This helps in enhancing brain plasticity. It also causes resistance to oxidative and also metabolic harm.
Mental Stimulation – Our brain is quite like a muscle. Use it or you might lose it.
Omega 3 fatty acids – Consuming a diet which is rich in Omega-3 fats is known to boost brain functions. Omega 3 fats is found in high quantity in flax seeds, in chia seeds, walnuts and cold-water fish.
Social Time: It has been revealed through animal models that with meaningful social connection, there is an improvement in BDNF levels of brain.
Resveratrol and Curcumin: Curcumin is said to be an anti-inflammatory factor present in resveratrol and spice turmeric and found mainly in red grapes which are known to increase BDNF. If consumed together, it is known to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Stress Reducing Habits: When an individual is under great stress, there is lesser production of BDNF. BDNF can be supported with a daily routine, which includes several stress busting activities like walking in park, sitting meditation and chi gong.
Getting Enough Sleep: It is known that when there is sleep deprivation it reduces BDNF levels. One should try and sleep for at least 8 hours each night. Screen time should be lessened so that the brain is able to adjust to the sleep mode.