BDNF

People understand a broken leg, anything that is persistent or constant. We aren’t so good at understanding or taking the time to understand all the variety of ways to help with a ‘condition’.  I know that as this condition (I don’t like the word “disease” ) progresses, I will have to make some changes, but so will every other human being as they age. Again…I’m blessed! That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it…

This post consists of information regarding BDNF, that I have found in my quest (and extracted and compiled, in an effort to share the fruits of my efforts).

 “BDNF is a brain healthy chemical that can be generated via rigorous cardio. It not only helps dopamine production, but can be neuro-protective and delay disease progression. It stands for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. Listen to your body. If you’re doing an intense 45 minutes every day, a light day here and there may be beneficial to give your body a restorative break “

Improved Cognitive Function Through BDNF

By Joe Cohen, November 9, 2018. What You Need To Know About BDNF

“Researchers now recognize that the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.

Neurotrophins are chemicals that help to stimulate and control neurogenesis, BDNF is one of the most active.

In the brain, BDNF is active in the hippocampus, cortex, and forebrain—areas vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking. Hence, BDNF is important for long-term memory.

BDNF has been shown to play a role in neuroplasticity, which allows nerve cells in the brain to compensate for the injury, new situations or changes in the environment.

BDNF helps to support the survival of existing neurons and encourages the growth, regeneration, and creation of new neurons and synapses.

Increasing BDNF can potentially help a number of devastating brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Huntington’s Disease (HD). “

10 Ways to Boost Brain Function with BDNF to see research, go to: https://drjohnday.com/10-ways-to-boost-brain-function-with-bdnf/

“By this point in the article it is pretty clear that for optimal brain and heart function we want more of this substance around.  How can we increase BDNF levels beyond just exercise?  Let me give you 10 scientifically proven ways to raise BDNF levels.

1. Exercise

Exercise is the very best way to boost BDNF levels.  As seen from the studies already discussed in this article, even short bursts of exercise can dramatically raise BDNF.  We must create a lifelong habit of exercise to keep our brains and hearts functioning optimally.

2. Avoid Sugar, Processed Foods, and HFCS

Just as exercise can raise BDNF levels, sugar, processed foods, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) all do the exact opposite.  Many studies have now shown that rats fed the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is high in sugar, bad fats, and HFCS, have lower levels of BDNF.  These lower levels of BDNF from the Standard American Diet result in rats which are not as smart and have memory difficulties.  Clearly, for optimal brain function we have to eat the right foods to increase BDNF levels.

3. Intermittent Fasting

Interestingly, there is a growing body of data that time restricted feeding, or intermittent fasting, may also increase BDNF.  Intermittent fasting is merely the act of resting our guts periodically which then triggers a cascade of hormonal events in our bodies which boost our body’s repair mechanisms.

Intermittent fasting does not have to be hard.  Studies show that even fasting as short as 12 hours can have a beneficial effect. To fast for 12 hours is really as simple as skipping that pre-bedtime snack and not eating again until breakfast the next day.  To learn more about the role of intermittent fasting please read my article Intermittent Fasting, Weight Loss, and Longevity.

4. Mental Stimulation

Exercising our brains with mental stimulation also increases BDNF.  Like everything else, the old adage “use it or lose it” also applies to the brain.

5. Eat Oily Fish

Recent data have shown that a diet high in omega 3s can improve BDNF levels and boost brain function.  Unfortunately, studies also show that up to 95% of Americans are deficient in the omega 3 fatty acids.

The best studied way to get more omega 3s is to include oily fish in your diet.  My favorite way to do this is with the very affordable wild Alaskan salmon that we buy at Costco. (I get mine at Aldi’s)

While there are certainly non-fish forms of omega 3s, like those found in walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc., these have not been studied as well and may not be as critical as the DHA and EPA forms of omega 3s found in oily fish.

Fish oil supplements can certainly boost omega 3 levels in the body.  However, omega 3s, in the form of fish oil supplements, can easily go rancid, they may increase the risk of prostate cancer, and they may even accelerate heart disease and dementia in the 25% of the American population that carries the ApoE4 gene. Thus, given these concerns with fish oil, I recommend that my patients try to get their omega 3s from real fish sources.

6. Be with Family and Friends

Close nurturing relationships have been shown to boost BDNF.  These are the relationships that come from real friendships or spending time with family members.

7. Get Some Sun

Even something as simple as getting some sun each day can boost BDNF levels.  Look for opportunities to get out of your home or your office building and feel some of the sun’s healing effects each day.  Of course, one always has to be sun smart to avoid skin cancer.

8. Eat More Curry/Turmeric, Red Grapes, and Blueberries

Curcumin, which is found in turmeric and to a lesser extent in curry, has been shown in to increase BDNF and can even prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.  Learn to use these spices with the foods you make to protect your brain.

Do you like red grapes?  If so, you may just be in luck.  Resveratrol, found primarily in red grapes, has also been shown to boost BDNF levels.  If red grapes aren’t your thing then the anthocyanin in blueberries have also been shown to raise BDNF levels. (I take the three kings formula)

9. Do Something to Reduce Stress

Managing stress is key to optimal health.  BDNF is no exception.  People who are under a lot of stress produce less BDNF.  Could this be why people often don’t think as clearly when they are feeling very stressed?

Stress is a part of modern life.  Find something, anything, that you can do each day that helps you to keep life in perspective and allows you to unwind mentally. (…like sauna while reading scriptures)

10. Get At Least 7 Hours of Sleep

As with stress, sleep is critical for health.  As you might expect, BDNF is reduced with sleep deprivation.  If you struggle with getting at least 7 hours of sleep, like me, this study suggests that regular exercise can help to keep BDNF levels up even if your sleep is compromised.”