Can we, as adults, grow new neurons? Neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret says that we can, and she offers research and practical advice on how we can help our brains better perform neurogenesis—improving mood, increasing memory formation and preventing the decline associated with aging along the way.
- Sandrine Thuret is an eminent neuroscientist who claims that we, as adults, can grow new neurons. She provides a research and tips on how to stimulate the growth of new neurons and help our brains function better, in terms of increasing memory and mood as well as preventing the decline linked with age.
If you are familiar with the field of neurology, this article might seem ridiculous, but the surprising fact is that adults CAN grow new brain cells, regardless of their age. As researchers noted in 2005, “the discovery that the adult mammalian brain creates new neurons from pools of stemlike cells was a breakthrough in neuroscience”.
It was initially believed that the human brain is “fixed”, meaning that once the brain cells are depleted or lost, they couldn’t be re-grown. But, this was shown to be untrue. Neurogenesis is the process of developing new brain cells and it is most active during pre-natal development. However, the brain has two parts which keep developing in adulthood, too. They are named the sub ventricular zone and the hippocampus. Although additional research might reveal other regions that demonstrate neurogenesis, science has yet to show any developments.
Joseph Altman is the one who must be given credit for his work in the field of neurogenesis. Although his work was initially considered ridiculous, mainstream research started to regard this process as a priority in the 1990s.
In addition to memory and learning, some neuronal effects are found in the regulation of stress and some beneficial mechanisms of certain antidepressants.
Tips on How to Boost Neurogenesis
Even walking has been associated with increased neurogenesis. A study found that walking for about 45 minutes daily resulted in the growth of new hippocampal tissue.
What’s more, many other studies have shown that exercise could be useful for neurogenesis. This means that it could also decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
2. Practice intermittent fasting and/or minimize your consumption of calories
Practicing intermittent fasting and minimizing the total calorie consumption has been found to contribute to brain cell survival. In short, start consuming turmeric, and then practice intermittent fasting or minimize your intake of calories occasionally.
3. Dietary Measures
Proper nutrition helps promote brain growth. Turmeric is able to directly influence neurogenesis, and in turn, increases the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a fact that is totally important because BDNF is necessary for various neurological functions.
4. Consume more blueberries
It is advisable to eat more blueberries because the regular consumption of this food has been connected to improved mood and cognitive function and neurogenesis. The high amount of flavonoids present in blueberries makes them an excellent brain food. Even though you should keep your sugar consumption at minimum, particularly when trying to support neurogenesis, blueberries are an exception since they are low in sugar and offer more benefits compared to other fruits.
Docosahexaenoic acid is preferable over all forms of omega-3 as DHA helps in neuro-genesis.
6. Drink green tea
The regular consumption of green tea has been found to help increase neurogenesis. Namely, the compound called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) present in green tea has been connected to new brain cell growth. Studies have suggested that the EGCG treatment had a positive impact on neurogenesis in adult mice. In other words, consuming green tea or taking an isolated EGCG supplement helps elevate the level of new brain cell growth.
When comparing animal to human studies, ensure that the data is physiologically relevant. This means that you should use dose-relevant amounts. In addition, the EGCG amount that has been examined to be useful is actually obtainable by normal means in humans. Simply a standardized extract of EGCG or several cups of green tea can have beneficial effects on neurogenesis.