Whether you are looking to increase your cognitive function, help improve your memory, boost your mood, prevent mental decline or simply want to stay alert and sharp you are going to want to read this. There is a relatively new discovery that is still somewhat unknown to most people. Its called BDNF. BDNF stands for Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor. There are numerous studies on it and all of them lead to the same conclusion: BDNF is like Miracle-gro for the brain! So, here are just a few ways that BDNF can help you have a better brain.
1. BDNF Helps Improve Learning and Memory
Over the years, research has shown very clearly that our brains’ aren’t stagnant and unchanging, but rather are dynamic and are capable of changing. Thinking that we are doomed for an inevitable slow and steady cognitive decline as we age is just plain wrong. Our brains’ literally have the capacity to rewire themselves, change structure and improve their function! This concept is known as neuroplasticity. It means that we can literally mold our brains for the better and create the best brain possible. This should be welcomed news for us. One of the natural consequences of improved wiring within our brain is a boost in our ability to learn and more effectively retain what we have learned. BDNF is an important player in helping our brain in this wiring process.
2. BDNF Helps Improve Mood
Another great benefit of boosting BDNF levels is that it helps to boost our mood. Several studies have shown the critical role that BDNF can play in helping to combat not only depression but several other harmful mood disorders.
3. BDNF Helps Combat Stress
Over the years, studies have shown a very clear relationship between BDNF and stress. Particularly in the way of stress on the brain itself. It appears that BDNF plays an important role in protecting brain cells from the negative effects of stress.
4 Simple Ways to Boost BDNF Levels
There are many other amazing benefits that come from increasing BDNF levels but at this point I am sure that most of you are wondering how we increase BDNF levels...Well, it’s actually quite easy.
1. High Intensity Exercise
Numerous studies have shown a very clear relationship between high intensity exercise and BDNF. High intensity exercise done over a short period of time, also known as H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training) is a great way to easily boost BDNF levels in the brain.
2. Simple Dietary Tweaks
This may not come as a big surprise but dramatically reducing or eliminating carbohydrates from our diet has a very powerful effect on boosting BDNF levels. In addition to this, intermittent fasting has also been shown to be an effective way of increasing BDNF levels.
3. Better Positive Social Interaction
Studies have shown that simply interacting in positive social situations can also help to boost BDNF levels. So get out and get social, its great for your brain!
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D levels have been shown to have an effect on BDNF levels. So, if you live in an environment that provides you with the natural sunshine version of vitamin D, get out and get some sun. If not, start increasing your vitamin D levels. The form of vitamin D that you will want to supplement with is D3. The most up to date research suggests around 1,000 IUs per 25lbs of body weight. This is WAY higher than what you typically hear, but again, the best research supports these higher levels.
So there you have it. BDNF is amazing! Not only do you now know some of the wonderful things it does for your brain but you have a simple set of things you can immediately do to start boosting BDNF levels so that you can enjoy the benefits of a better brain!
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452202001239 (BDNF and Diet, levels are decreased with high fat & refined carbohydrates)
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/neu.2004.21.1457?journalCode=neu (Omega 3 Fatty Acids can help normalize BDNF levels)
http://www.molecularbrain.com/content/4/1/11 (BDNF and its role in sleep)
http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-VEGF.aspx (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor)