Do you know what neurogenesis is? Neurogenesis is the process of creation of new neurons in the brain which starts when we’re babies and continues in our childhood, but gradually slows down as we enter adulthood. Scientists believed that neurogenesis completely stops when we’re adults, but according to a new study, we can still regrow neurons regardless of our age.
Dr. Sandrine Thuret has recently revealed that we can regrow neurons in our brain regardless of age, and her discovery was based on a far-fetched theory which seems as though it came out of a sci-fi novel. The process of neurogenesis occurs in two parts of the brain – the hippocampus and sub-ventricular zone. Although some scientists believe that the process includes other areas of the brain as well, nothing has been confirmed so far.
Joseph Altman is a pioneering neurology scientist whose work in the 60s has been largely ignored until recently. Altman claimed that neurogenesis continues well into adulthood, and that by activating certain parts of our brain we can regrow neurons.
However, his work was not recognized until the early 1990s, when mainstream research finally started regarding neurogenesis as a possible treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and depression. Furthermore, there’s also the possibility that brain functions such as memory and learning are affected by this influential process.
Some neuronal effects may play a part in regulation of stress, which means that the process can treat neurological problems. Altman and Thuret’s theories suggest that by growing the hippocampal region we can boost the process of neurogenesis and significantly affect the function of our brain.
There are many methods which can do this, and even walking has a direct link to neurogenesis. Besides the physical effects of this simple exercise, it obviously has a role in mental and emotional benefits, and almost all studies done on neurogenesis have shown that physical activity can make the hippocampal tissue grow.
Calorie restriction and intermittent fasting have also been known to help our brain cells survive. Intermittent fasting is especially effective, as is adding a bit of turmeric to your meals, due to the spice’s positive effects on our brain. The paleo community says that omega-3 fatty acids are also important for the process of neurogenesis.
In general, DHA is the most preferable form of omega-3s – supplementing with DHA or eating fish rich in it will assist in the regrowth of neurons and create new ones that can surely improve your brain function.
Blueberries are another food linked to neurogenesis. As one study indicates, the flavonoids in these berries can improve your cognitive state, so make sure to eat a handful of blueberries every day. They also contain compounds which can improve your cardiovascular health, which is why you should eat them more often. Plus, blueberries are low on sugar unlike other fruits, so they won’t harm your health and cause weight gain.
Besides the aforementioned foods, you can boost neurogenesis by drinking green tea as well. Green tea contains a compound known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG has been associated with new brain cell growth by increasing the number of BrdU cells in adult hippocampal tissue in studies done on mice.
By drinking a couple cups of green tea a day, you will definitely increase the rate of neuronal growth and make your brain function better.
However, before you get excited about neurogenesis making you a genius, there are some downsides and realistic outcomes of regrowing neurons that should be taken into account. As some studies have found out, too much neurogenesis can be harmful, and most new neurons generated by the process die off in 2 weeks.
It’s not like you’ll get a completely new genius brain. The important of neurogenesis is certainly huge, but science is still trying to find out how much control we have over it. There are different theories on how we can boost our intelligence, and there are also many factors which can influence the process both positively and negatively.
In general, think of neurogenesis as taking a supplement. It is surely beneficial to increase the intake of certain nutrients in order to stimulate your brain, but if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle and diet and you’re often stressed, these methods will do almost nothing to boost the growth of your brain cells.