Your Brain and Cell Regenerating
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Your brain is the command center of your nervous system and the center of all of your body’s functions and systems. Brain health is essential for your memory, learning, mental energy, and mood, and the prevention of mental health issues and neurodegenerative disorders.
Most of your brain cells are formed in the womb and during infancy, new research suggests that your brain is able to regenerate and create new cells throughout your life. This means that you can keep your brain healthy, mental energy, and memory even as you age.
About Brain Cells and Regeneration
Until recent decades, doctors believed a certain level of brain degeneration was inevitable because your brain had a limited capacity to regenerate. However new research from the last two decades suggests that your brain is actually able to create new cells throughout your lifespan, and brain cell regeneration is possible. Your brain actually still creates about 700 new neurons per day in the hippocampus.
BDNF ( Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) are proteins produced inside your nerve cells to help your brain communicate and function properly. They protect neurons, encourage their growth, improve their functions, and help them to survive by protecting them from premature cell death. They also strengthen the signal between neurons by binding to the receptors at the synapses.
BDNF is essential for optimal brain function and a key player in brain regeneration. It plays an important role in learning and memory. It regulates various body functions, including eating and drinking.
Brain Cell Degeneration
The brain degeneration is a serious problem that our aging society is facing today.
Neurodegenerative or brain degenerative diseases cause brain and nerve deterioration over time. They lead to memory issues, confusion, personality changes, and other symptoms depending on the type of brain degeneration. Some brain degenerative disorders, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease develop and worsen over time as you age, while others, such as Tay-Sachs disease are genetic and develop at an earlier age.
Brain degenerative problems are on the rise. About 5 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s
disease, 1 million with Parkinson’s disease, 400,000 with multiple sclerosis (MS), 30,000 with Huntington’s disease, and 30,000 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) ( also known as Lou Gehrig’s Syndrome) in the United States alone.
Symptoms of Brain Cell Degeneration
• Memory loss
• Mood changes
• Loss of inhibition
Causes of Brain Cell Degeneration
Blood Sugar Imbalances
If your diet is high in processed carbs and refined sugar and low in vegetables, healthy fat, and clean protein, you are setting yourself up for blood sugar imbalances.
Blood sugar imbalances may lead to memory issues, brain fog, irritability, mood fluctuations, lightheadedness, cravings, and fatigue. Eating a high-carb quick snack or meal may give you a burst of energy, but it will also lead to a sugar drop soon after characterized by brain fog and tiredness.
Toxins are unfortunately all around us in our polluted air, municipal tap water, non-organic and processed foods, plastic products, moldy indoor spaces, and conventional beauty, body, and household products. The problem is that all these environmental toxins may have a serious impact on our brain and overall health.
Environmental toxicity may lead to memory problems, brain fog, dementia, neurodegenerative diseases, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and mental health issues
What is Environmental Toxicity?
We live in a world full of toxins and potential toxic exposures. Toxins are in our air, water, food supply, homes, businesses, and possessions. When these toxins enter our bodies and cannot be detoxified and eliminated, significant symptoms may develop. In fact, some toxic exposures can even mimic the symptoms of Fibromyalgia Chronic Fatigue, and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. Other exposures can cause severe illness, disability, or death.
An inactive lifestyle can be a great hazard to your health. In this year 2020, it is on the rise and we need to find ways to be more physically active.
You may think that exercise and movement are only important for your physical strength, toned look, or cardiovascular fitness. The truth is that they are critical for your brain health as well.
Regular movement is especially crucial for the areas of your brain that are important for memory formation. Leading a sedentary lifestyle may increase your risk of memory problems, learning troubles, and cognitive decline.
Chronic Stress and Poor Sleep Habits
The amygdala in your brain is responsible for emotional processing. When you are under stress, your amygdala signals your hypothalamus which response will increase your heart rate, heighten your senses, lead to heavier breathing and greater oxygen intake, increase cortisol levels, and rush adrenaline across your system. The problem is that if you are experiencing chronic stress, this stress response never ends which leads to cortisol build-up.
Cortisol is not only important for your stress response, but it also helps your hippocampus, the part of your brain where your memories are processed and stored. When there is too much cortisol in your system due to chronic stress, it can wear your brain down. It can impair brain and memory function, disrupt synapse regulation, and kill brain cells. Chronic stress has a seriously negative effect on your memory and learning and increases your risk of brain degeneration.
If you are experiencing poor sleep on a regular basis, it may have a serious impact on your brain and overall health. Poor sleep may increase the likelihood of chronic stress, high cortisol, fatigue, and chronic inflammation. These factors may contribute to brain fog, memory troubles, learning difficulties, mood swings, and low mood. Sleep deprivation may also increase the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
This connection between your gut and brain not only happens when short-term exciting or stressful events occur, but the communication between these two organs is ongoing, long-term, and intimate. Gut dysbiosis and gut infections lead to an imbalance in your entire body and increase chronic inflammation.
Gut microbiome imbalance and consequent chronic inflammation may lead to brain degeneration. They may increase your risk and symptoms of brain fog, memory problems, learning difficulties, cognition, mental health issues, mood imbalances, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Ways To Regenerate Your Brain Cells
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrient-dense foods is critical for your brain health. Begin by removing all inflammatory foods, including refined sugar, gluten, refined oils, deep-fried and processed foods, conventional dairy, grain-fed meat and eggs, soda and sugary drinks, and foods that you are sensitive to.
Instead, eat an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of greens, vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, herbs, spices, healthy fats, grass-fed meat, and wild-caught fish.
Intermittent fasting is a fasting strategy that cycles between fasting and eating over a period of time. It helps cellular repair, autophagy, immune regulation, inflammation levels, and insulin sensitivity, and decreases the risk of chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.
Extended fasting is another way to improve brain autophagy. Extended fasting goes a step beyond intermittent fasting. While intermittent fasting only goes for anywhere between 12 to 23 hours of fasting a day, extended fasting least for at least a day, usually several hours, and in some cases even longer.
Extended fasting normally involves no food for the fasting period, only calorie-free liquids, including water and herbal tea. I only recommend extended fasting to those who are experienced with and do well on more advanced intermittent fasting protocols.
Ketosis From Time to Time
Most people’s body creates energy by breaking down glucose from dietary carbohydrates. However, when your body doesn’t receive enough glucose supply, it turns to dietary or stored body fat for energy. These fats are converted in the liver into ketones that enter the mitochondria inside your cells to be turned into energy.
This process of ketosis helps to enhance autophagy, reduce inflammation, improve mitochondrial biogenesis, improve brain health, and increase mental sharpness. The best way to experience ketosis is through the combination of the keto diet and intermittent fasting.
Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes minimally 5 times a week. Try a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength and resistance training, and low-impact exercise. Aim to stay active throughout the day by choosing to take the stairs, taking a walk at lunch, stretching regularly, gardening, and dancing to your favorite song.
Reducing your stress levels is non-negotiable for brain regeneration and mental health. To reduce your stress, try regular meditation, daily prayer, breathwork, journaling, regular exercise, relaxation recordings, daily gratitude, and nature walks. Practice positive self-talk and affirmations for a powerful mindset and mood shift.
Prioritizing good-quality sleep is critical for your brain regeneration and mental health. It is essential for rest, repair, and cellular rejuvenation. Develop a regular nighttime routine that relaxes your body before sleep and works for you. Avoid sugar and caffeine throughout the day, especially in the evening.
As you’ve learned, your brain and gut are closely connected, hence supporting your gut is absolutely necessary to heal your brain cells. Eating a gut-friendly, anti-inflammatory, and nutrient-dense diet is a must.
Additionally, support a gut microbiome balance with healthy bacteria by eating probiotic-rich foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, and taking a daily probiotic supplement.
Neurobics is a term used to describe the physiological effects of unique and non-routine ways of thinking and moving and their effects on the brain to improve memory, learning, mood, and mindset. These exercises can help stimulate brain regeneration by challenging the brain to think and move in unique ways. Neurobics exercises include balancing on one leg, crossword puzzles, trying a new instrument, using your non-dominant hand, barefoot walking, and journaling.
Reduce Your Toxic Load
To optimize your brain health, you cannot forget about reducing your toxic load. Eat organic foods as much as possible. Remove conventional beauty, body, and household products, and replace them with organic, natural, or homemade alternatives.
One of the key nutrients to address for proper brain regeneration is magnesium. Magnesium is critical for brain health, mental health, relaxation, and stress relief.
Autophagy is your body’s natural method of detoxification. It allows your body to recycle and get rid of old and unhealthy cells leaving room for the creation of new and healthy cells to replace them.
Matcha green tea
FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS THAT ENCOURAGE BRAIN CELL GROWTH
Certain nutrients actually have neurogenerative properties.
Most of these nutrients can be obtained directly from food and are also available as supplements.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids promote the production of new neurons.
Omega-3 fats are found mainly in cold-water, fatty fish.
Or you can get them from a fish oil or krill oil supplement.
Flavonoids are highly potent antioxidants that occur naturally in some plant foods.
The flavonoids found in blueberries, cocoa, and green tea are particularly effective at stimulating the formation of new brain cells.
Curcumin is the main bioactive component in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa).
It provides many brain benefits, including increasing BDNF and stimulating neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, increases brain cell growth, but alcohol decreases it.
This inspired neuroscience researcher Dr. Sandrine Thuret to call red wine a “neurogenesis neutral” drink.
Olive oil may encourage the growth of brain cells by boosting levels of both brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor.
But make sure you are using high-quality, extra virgin olive oil.
Apigenin is a phenolic compound that promotes neurogenesis.
It is found in many fruits and vegetables, but its best sources are parsley, celery, and chamomile tea.
While not common, apigenin supplements are available.
L-theanine is a compound found almost exclusively in all true teas (Camellia sinensis).
It’s mostly associated with green tea but is found in comparable amounts in black, white, and oolong teas as well.
L-theanine is highly regarded for its unique ability to induce a desirable state of “relaxed focus.”
It increases BDNF and NGF to stimulate the growth of new neurons.
You can get l-theanine from drinking tea, or by taking an l-theanine supplement.
Citicoline, a precursor of choline, is a naturally occurring compound found in every cell of the body.
It protects and repairs existing brain cells while promoting the growth of new ones.
It’s found mainly in foods that few find appealing.
So unless you’re up for eating liver or brain, you’ll probably want to take a citicoline supplement instead.
Lion’s mane mushroom is a culinary delicacy that tastes like shrimp or lobster.
These unique compounds encourage the formation of nerve growth factors.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are not readily available, so most people ingest lion’s mane as a supplement.
Gotu kola is an herb that not only activates the release of BDNF and NGF, it also contains other compounds that promote the growth of neurons.
Gotu kola is both an important traditional herbal remedy and a versatile cooking ingredient in Asian countries.
But in most Western countries, it’s available only as a supplement.
And finally, certain nutritional deficiencies can impair new brain cell growth.
Inadequate intake of vitamin A, B vitamins (thiamine and folate), and zinc can decrease the production of new brain cells and make them less likely to survive.
However, supplementation with a high-quality multivitamin can help boost your brain cell production back to normal.
Best Brain Cell Regeneration Foods
Diet plays a huge role in our body’s regeneration cycles. That’s because food choices are like building materials. The quality of the replacement cells relies on the building materials available when the new cells are being created. Makes sense, doesn’t it? It stands to reason that by eating the right foods, newly formed cells can be stronger and healthier than the old cells they replace.
1. Berries. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all help build up the powerful antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD). This is excellent for reducing oxidative stress, a key factor in liver support, and the prevention of joint pain. Berries are also rich in flavonoids that reduce inflammation and repair cellular damage. You can’t go wrong here!
2. Broccoli. Broccoli may not be a kid’s favorite, but this cruciferous vegetable is rich in sulforaphane, a chemical that increases enzymes in the liver, which work to neutralize the harmful toxins we breathe. Further, all cruciferous vegetables are packed with a unique molecule called indole-3-carbinol that reduces inflammatory agents in the blood.
3. Ginger root. Ginger root does more than settle stomach issues. The knobby root combats painful inflammation by inhibiting the effects of arachidonic acid, a necessary fat that triggers the inflammatory response.
4. Nuts and seeds. These handy snacks have healthy fats and protein to keep you full longer and satisfy your cravings. Their benefits don’t end there: Nuts like walnuts and almonds, and seeds such as flax, hemp, and chia are high in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat. Seeds also contain plant sterols, also reputed for their anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Mushrooms. Long a staple in traditional medicine, mushrooms like shiitake and maitake are high in polyphenols. These are nutrients known to help protect liver cells from damage. Supporting the liver is critical in fighting inflammation because this is where we filter out toxins and break down our hormones.
6. Fatty fish and seafood. A must for any healthy diet, seafood contains eicosapentaenoic acid, a powerful anti-inflammatory type of omega-3 fatty acid. Studies show the oil in fish can act in an anti-inflammatory manner.
March 6, 2000 (Boston) — Here’s hope for those who fear they lost too many brain cells to youthful dissipation: Researchers at Cornell University have demonstrated that cells from an area of the brain essential for learning and memory can regenerate in a laboratory dish. In the future, the discovery might lead to strategies for replacing brain cells lost to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Until recently, conventional medical wisdom held that we are born with all the brain cells or neurons, that we’ll ever have, and when they’re gone, they’re gone for good. Over the last few years, though, researchers have shown that in at least one area of the brain, a region known as the hippocampus, there is a continual turnover of cells throughout most of our lives.
Yes, brain cells can and will regenerate if you follow the above recommendations. Diet, sleep, and exercise have always been key to your body’s natural healing powers and staying healthy.
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