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 stem-like 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
Any type of exercise, even walking, is directly associated with neurogenesis. It has been scientifically shown that walking for about 45 minutes daily leads to new hippocampal tissue growth.
Exercise provides a wide range of mental and emotional benefits as well. Multiple studies have shown that exercise is extremely beneficial to neurogenesis, even protecting against Alzheimer`s disease.
Curcumin has been shown to affect neurogenesis, at least in rats. It increases neuropathic factor expression, which is essential for various neurological functions.
According to one study, flavonoids in blueberries are extremely beneficial. Given that the link between increased neurogenesis and increased mood is obvious, it makes sense to eat blueberries on a regular basis. Not only you will be enjoying their taste, but you will reap their cognitive effects, too.
4. Green Tea
Green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been associated with the growth of new brain cells. It has been scientifically shown that that “EGCG treatment significantly increased the number of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeled cells in adult hippocampal neural progenitor cell (NPC) cultures and in the dentate gyrus of adult mice.” This means that drinking green tea, or supplementing with EGCG in isolated form increases your rate of neuronal growth.
Note: It is worth mentioning that neurogenesis resembles taking a supplement. While increasing your intake of foods/ supplements that promote neurogenesis is beneficial, it will have little effect if your diet and lifestyle is poor.