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Your Brain Health Is Directly Related to Exercise

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Can exercise help boost your cognitive faculties? Researchers increasingly say the answer is a resounding yes. Recent research reveals that exercise promotes a process now known as neurogenesis, i.e. your brain's ability to adapt and grow new brain cells, regardless of your age.

As reported by Forbes Magazine:

"Not only has research discovered that we can foster new brain cell growth through exercise, but it may eventually be possible to 'bottle' that benefit in prescription medication.

The hippocampus, a brain area closely linked to learning and memory, is especially receptive to new neuron growth in response to endurance exercise. Exactly how and why this happens wasn't well understood until recently.

Research has discovered that exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5... Over time, FNDC5 stimulates the production of another protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which in turns stimulates the growth of new nerves and synapses... and also preserves the survival of existing brain cells."

In essence, physical activity produces biochemical changes that strengthen and renew not only your body but also your brain-particularly areas associated with memory and learning.

Researchers Aim to Bottle Exercise Benefits...

Researchers at Harvard Medical School now believe they may be able to recreate the benefits of exercise by putting this protein, FNDC5, into a pill. Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, told Forbes:

"What is exciting is that a natural substance can be given in the bloodstream that can mimic some of the effects of endurance exercise on the brain."

They believe such a drug might be useful for those experiencing cognitive decline, including those with early-stage Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. So far, the hypothesis has only been tested on animals however.        

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