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What does exercise do for the brain? 6 Benefits

This post was last updated on October 30th, 2019 at 06:52 pm
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I often remark that if a drug were to be developed that mimicked the effects of exercise, it would absolutely be a blockbuster drug.
Physicians would be prescribing it to the young, to the old, to the sick , to the healthy. And yet all of us have the ability to take advantage of exercise every single day.

David Perlmutter, Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention

Regain Your Brain was a world premiere online video event featuring all-new interviews with 12 of the world’s leading brain experts. The series was the latest cutting edge discoveries in brain health & neuroscience. I really enjoyed it and found it fascinating to hear from so many experts over the number of days.

I am also happy that things look to have advanced a lot in the area – some of the experts are actively treating patients now at the earlier stages of Alzheimers. For the more advanced stages, there is yet some progress to be made.

Instead of treating the symptoms, the 21st century is about addressing the root causes. Multiple areas need to be paid attention to and targeted in order to restore health.

What does exercise do for the brain? 7 Benefits

Exercise has an incredible list of benefits and every single one of these is meaningful when it comes to alzheimers prevention. Exercise impacts nearly every system in the human body. It is truly remarkable how exercise affects the brain.

1. Reduces inflammation

Exercise quells inflammation at its source. It combats inflammation through multiple pathways.
One way is that it calms down the immune system so not as many inflammatory proteins. It also turns on body’s production of anti-oxidants which protects our bodies from damaged chemicals called free radicals.

2. Improves your insulin sensitivity

You are improving your insulin sensitivity just by using your muscles.

3. Increases your brain derived neuro trophic factor

BDNF is a powerful fertilizer for brain cells. Exercise is actually the thing that grows the brain. When we exercise , there is a lot of hormones and chemicals created in our body. BDNF goes and makes connections between brain cells. These connections determine the speed of processing,
your brain strength and resistance, against disease.
And so when BDNF is circulating in the body the brain actually makes these connections.And you can increase your BDNF significantly within hours of exercise.

4. Increases blood flow

Exercise increases blood flow which helps your body clean up the messes it makes.

5. Decreases risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease

There is a very interesting new paper in PNAS showing that exercise is able to fend off genetic pre-disposition even in people with genetic mutations that cause alzheimers disease. This references a very large study in Columbia in South America which is one of the countries with the highest density and frequency of genetic alzheimers mutations. The study shows how , in people that do carry this genetic mutation, and those who were very physically active throughout their life, have a delayed onset of dementia compared to people from the same families carrying the same genetic mutations who do not exercise.
So if exercise can delay onset in people genetically pre-disposed, it can be even more powerful for those who do not carry the gene.

6. Allows for better brain blood flow

Gets rid of toxic by products that has accumulated by the day. The brain is an oxygen rich tissue. It has to get oxygen to stimulate its function. Exercise brings more oxygen and allows for trophic factors(cell renewal).

6 Little Changes to Make – What is Good for Brain Health?

1. Take a Curcumin Supplement

Research led by Dr Cole found that turmeric increased BDNF and decreased plaque in the brain. The study found that those who ate high amounts of turmeric curries, had a lower risk of dementia.

Enhanca’s Curcumin was recommended to take as a supplement. For those with brain defects high dosage of 3000mg was recommended. However, for those people just interested in keeping their brain healthy, 1800mg should be more than enough.

2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Exercise was recommended as the number 1 way of enhancing the brains ability to rejuvenate itself. Growth of the hippocampus has been shown in those who exercise.

The concept that the brain can grow new cells is relatively new. Today we understand that not only do we have the opportunity to grow new brain cells, we can even enhance the process. One chemical that allows us to amplify the growth of new brain cells is BDNF.

Science tells us that when we amplify the chemical BDNF, the brain can rejuvenate itself. Aerobic Exercise is the most powerful way to change your DNA so that your brain begins to express BDNF. Your degree of participation in aerobic exercise is directly corelated with the growth of new brain cells, the increase in the size of your brains memory centre and beta cognitive function. Resistance exercise is also effective.

Exercise can be whatever you like – dance, walking, swimming, cycling, jogging. The Key is caloric expenditure.

Ideally 7 days a week is recommended. If it is 6 that is OK. 20 mins a day, is reasonable. But research is indicating 45 Minutes – 1 hour to be optimal. That is an investment in the future of your brain.


3. Optimize your diet

What we eat affects our brain health. US Dietary Recommendations have changed. Fish oils, the oils that are found in nuts and seeds are terrific for us. They decrease inflammation and increase BDNF.

Gut health = Brain health. We need to nurture the gut bacteria and decrease inflammation. We need to increase levels in our diet of Pre-biotic Fibre. (Fibre rich foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus.)

B vitamins are also important.

4. Take DHA & coffee fruit concentrate

Some other powerful ways to enhance the brains ability to rejuvenate itself are taking DHA(in fish oils) and coffee fruit concentrate(the pulp of the coffee berry which has now been studied and is a powerful source.)

The vegan substitute for DHA Omega 3 is quill oil. Note that there is Omega 3 in human breast milk.

5. Optimize your Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is very important. “In the normal range” is not appropriate. It needs to be optimized which is at around 80 or 90. Get some blood testing done and find out if you need to optimize and by how much.

6. Resolve any mould issues in your home immediately

Get any mould issues in your house sorted immediately. Mould is one of the leading causes of alzheimers today.

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General health freak extraordinaire obsessed with health research and optimal health performance. Note, I have other loves in my life, these include travel, good coffee, red wine, films & yoga.

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