You can grow new brain cells, and it does not matter how old you are, keep reading to find out how!
Neuroscientist, Sandrine Thuret, says that it is possible to grow new brain cells. Doctors have discovered practical advice on how to help improve brain performance and mood while preventing cognitive decline associated with aging and increasing memory formation.
In 2005, researchers stated: “the discovery that the adult mammalian brain creates new neurons from pools of stem-like cells was a breakthrough in neuroscience.”
In essence, the brain has several areas – and the process of new brain cell development is called neurogenesis. The development of brain cells is most active during pre-natal growth. However, two areas of the brain, so far, have been shown to continue developing new brain cells into adulthood.
These two regions are named the subventricular zone and hippocampus. Some studies have shown other parts of the brain displaying neurogenesis, but more research needs to be completed to explain these developments.
Joseph Altman pioneered the field of neurogenesis. In 1962 and 1963 he made significant discoveries, which, sadly, were consistently ignored. However, in the 1990s mainstream researchers began to pay attention to neurogenesis as a priority and probability. Essential functions of the brain such as learning and memory could be affected by neurogenesis, they found. In other words, neurogenesis shows hope in the areas of Alzheimer’s and depression and other mental illnesses.
How To Grow New Brain Cells
Exercising is directly linked to neurogenesis. A simple walk can help your body to produce new brain cells. A study showed that 45 minutes walking per day guide to new hippocampal tissue growth.
We all know that exercising is beneficial for the body. So knowing that it can also help the regeneration of brain cells makes us feel hopeful that it can offer protection against Alzheimer’s.
Some dietary measures are also known to help encourage brain growth. The first food that can help with neurogenesis is curcumin. Curcumin is an element of the spice turmeric.
Studies confirmed that in rats, curcumin helped brain development. Some researchers have revealed that curcumin increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression, an important factor as BDNF is vital to most neurologic functions.
Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting have also helped brain cells to survive in situations where they would usually die. As you can see, it is important to exercise every day, add turmeric into your diet and restrict your caloric intake occasionally.
Another process called autophagy is responsible for cell cleaning, getting rid of junk in the system. This process happens when we fast.
DHA helps to support neurogenesis. The omega-3 fatty acids play a significant role in keep brain cells growing. You can supplement DHA through flaxseeds or wild caught fish.
Another food that helps with brain cell growth are blueberries. The flavonoids in blueberries are beneficial. It is recommended to include blueberries in your diet as they are responsible for increasing neurogenesis while enhancing mood and cognition. Blueberries also have antioxidant properties.
Green tea is also linked to increasing neurogenesis. Especially, the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies show that “EGCG treatment significantly increased the number of 5-Bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeled cells in adult hippocampal neural progenitor cell (NPC) cultures and the dentate gyrus of adult mice.” What does this mean to the layman? It means that drinking green tea, or supplementing with EGCG in isolated form, will increase your rate of new neuronal growth.
You only need a few cups of green tea or EGCG to get the benefits of neurogenesis.
It is important to mention that too much neurogenesis can be just as bad as too little. Many new neurons born via neurogenesis die within two weeks. However, some neurons do move into the molecular layer.
Neurogenesis helps build a healthy brain. Moreover, with a healthy mind, you could reverse some of the damage caused by mental illness. However, you cannot rely on it because it does not replace a healthy well-balanced lifestyle. Stress, for example, is unhealthy. So the methods discussed above to increase new brain cell activity will be limited if you live in a negative and stressful environment.