Is It Possible to Regenerate Your Brain?

April 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Build Mind Power

Success Contrary to popular belief, recent studies have found that there ARE some ways to regenerate your brain.

Studies  at the National Institute on Aging Gerontology Research Center and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have shown that both calorie restriction and intermittent fasting, along with vitamin and mineral intake, increase resistance to disease, extend lifespan, and stimulate production of neurons from stem cells.

Fasting has also been shown to enhance synaptic elasticity — possibly increasing the ability for successful re-wiring following brain injury. These benefits appear to result from a cellular stress response, similar in concept to the greater muscular regeneration that results from the stress of regular exercise.

Other research suggests that increasing time intervals between meals might be a better choice than chronic calorie restriction, because the resulting decline in sex hormones may adversely affect both sexual and brain performance. Sex steroid hormones testosterone and estrogen are positively impacted by an abundant food supply.

But if your not keen on starving yourself, there are other options. Another recent finding from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research and Iwate University in Japan reports that the herb rosemary contains an ingredient that fights free radical damage in the brain. The active ingredient (carnosic acid)  protects the brain from stroke and neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer’s, and from the effects of normal aging.

Simply using  rosemary in its natural state  is known to get into the brain, and has been consumed by people for over a thousand years. The herb was used in European folk medicine to help the nervous system.

Other brain boosters found in walnuts and fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, and lake trout) are thought to help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, they likely help prevent depression and have been shown to help prevent sudden death from heart attack.)

Turmeric, typically found in curry, contains curcumin, a chemical with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In India, it is even used as a salve to help heal wounds. East Asians also eat it, which might explain their lower rates (compared to the United States) of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to various cancers. If curry isn’t part of your favorite cuisines, you might try a daily curcumin supplement of 500 to 1,000 mg.

Physical exercise may also have beneficial effects on neuron regeneration by stimulating regeneration of brain and muscle cells via activation of stress proteins and the production of growth factors. But again, additional research suggests that not all exercise is equal. Interestingly, some researchers found that exercise considered drudgery was not beneficial in neuronal regeneration, but physical activity that was engaged in purely for fun, even if equal time was spent and equal calories were burned, resulted in neuronal regeneration.

Exercise can also help reduce stress, but any stress-reducing activity can help the brain. There is some evidence that chronic stress shrinks parts of the brain involved in learning, memory, and mood. (It also delays wound healing, promotes atherosclerosis, and increases blood pressure.)

It should go without saying that short-term cognitive and physical performance is not boosted by fasting, due to metabolic changes including decrease in body temperature, decreased heart rate and blood pressure and decreased glucose and insulin levels, so you’re better off not planning a marathon or a demanding work session during a fasting period.

As part of a healthy lifestyle the prescription of moderating food intake, exercising, and eating anti-oxidant rich foods is what we’ve long known will boost longevity, but it’s good to know that we can bring our brains along with us as we make it into those golden years without being the 1 in 7 who suffers from dementia. Try this for immediate brain health!!

By Rebecca Sato / Source: Daily Galaxy