How To Grow New Brain Cells Regardless Of Your Age
We used to believe that we were born with all the neurons that we were going to have. However, in the 1960s, the growth of brain cells, or neurogenesis, was observed in the hippocampus region of the brain in mice. Even then, researchers were skeptical about the neurogenesis that occurs in people. In the 1990s, neurogenesis was confirmed in the brain of primates and people.
According to the prominent neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret, new brain cells, called neurons, can be re-grown. Contrary to the common belief, she provided evidence that loss brain cells can be re-grown and showed the ways in which we can improve mood, promote neurogenesis, improve memory and slow down age-related decline.
WHAT IS NEUROPLASTICITY?
Neurogenesis is closely related to the ability of the brain to physically affect neural pathways and synapses, also known as neuroplasticity. It happens as a response of the input the brain obtains. The information, emotions and thoughts we rarely use can cause a decrease in the neural pathways, until they are completely lost.
WHAT IS NEUROGENESIS?
The brain consists of several brain regions. Namely, neurogenesis indicates the process of producing brain cells, which usually occurs after the post-natal development. It is thought that the neurogenesis occurs in the adulthood only in the hippocampus and sub-ventricular brain regions.
Before showing the ways in which you can support the growth of new brain cells, it is important to mention the factors that are damaging your brain cells. These include:
• Leaving stress unchecked
Stress can damage the brain cells. You should try to protect your brain cells by regulating stress levels.
• Not getting enough sleep
Researchers think that sleep detoxes the brain, meaning that it flushes out the waste products related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, evidence shows that sleep deprivation kills locus ceruleus neurons, which play a vital role in keeping us awake and alert.
• Following a poor diet
Consuming a diet loaded with refined grains, industrial fats and refined sugar can damage your brain.
WAYS TO PROMOTE NEUROGENESIS OR THE GROWTH OF BRAIN CELLS
You can use these easy methods to grow new brain cells and promote cognitive ability and neurogenesis:
1. Exercise regularly
Improved neurogenesis is linked to walking. Recent studies have found out that 45-minute walking a day can promote the tissue growth in the hippocampus. Endorphins released during physical activity act as powerful antidotes to the stress hormone – cortisol.
In addition, regular exercise, like running, aerobic exercise, yoga, cross fit, interval training, is thought to be beneficial for promoting neurogenesis. Furthermore, regular exercise may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Avoid or limit the intake of calorie-high foods
By avoiding or limiting the intake of calorie-high foods, you can prolong the longevity of the brain cells. Therefore, avoid consuming foods rich in calories, practice fasting and include turmeric in the diet.
3. Use omega-3 fatty acids or eat wild-caught fish
DHA (Dososahexaenoic acid) is one of the most beneficial types of omega-3 fatty acids for promoting neurogenesis. Studies confirmed that it can enhance neurogenesis. Therefore, use omega-3 fatty acids or eat wild-caught fish on a regular basis.
4. Eat dark chocolate
It is considered that dark chocolate prolongs longevity of the brain cells. Furthermore, due to its high content of flavonoids, it promotes neurogenesis or the growth of new brain cells.
5. Consume green tea
It is considered that the consumption of green tea also enhances neurogenesis. Namely, EGCG (epigallocatechin) found in green tea stimulates the growth of new brain cells. Studies have shown that EGCG or green tea has beneficial effects on the growth of new brain cells in mice.
6. Include curcumin in the diet
Curcumin is considered to promote neurogenesis. Furthermore, curcumin is an active compound of turmeric, which also supports the growth of new brain cells.
In addition, recent studies have shown that curcumin can reduce brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that is vital for many brain functions.
7. Consume more blueberries
It is of utter importance to include blueberries in your diet, because they improve cognitive ability, promote mood and enhance the growth of new brain cells.
Blueberries are loaded with flavonoids, which support neurogenesis. While promoting the growth of new brain cells, it is important to control the levels of sugar in the body. Due to their low amount of sugar, blueberries are beneficial for supporting neurogenesis.
Evidence shows that mediation has positive effects on the brain. It is found that meditation increases the grey matter density in different brain regions, particularly in the hippocampus. Moreover, meditation may also increase melatonin, which has beneficial effects on both the brain and the growth of new brain cells.
9. Psychoactive substances
• Antidepressants are thought to support neurogenesis in people.
• Psilocybin is considered to stimulate the growth of new brain cells, as it reduces fear and stress. In addition, psilocybin has been shown to treat depression.
• Cannabinoids are thought to reduce depression and support neurogenesis.
10. Having sex
Sex helps enhance the production of endorphins – ‘feel good’ hormones that control the perception of comfort, mood and pleasure.
Maintaining the endorphin production helps keep the brain working at its highest level.
DOES NEUROGENESIS HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
Although neurogenesis has positive effects on the overall well-being, it is also important to be aware of its adverse effects. Health experts believe that neurogenesis may have negative effects on the overall health just as reduced neurogenesis.
Nevertheless, certain new neurons formed during neurogenesis may die within 14 days. It is considered that many of the brain neurons can be saved from death by learning. Recent studies have shown that they can be kept alive by learning and incorporating them in the brain circuits.
It is of utter importance to consume foods and take food supplements that support neurogenesis. Not getting enough sleep as well as poor diet and nutrition can negatively affect neurogenesis.