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  • Writer's pictureNarelle

Want to learn faster improve your memory and age more slowly?

Isolation is either stressful or isolating depending on whether you are alone or with your family. Remote learning here in Melbourne is taxing for the kids and the supervising adults. In fact the entire pandemic has been a little exhausting and mind numbing. And I certainly feel I have aged....

So how can we improve our brain functioning and the kids as well- Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF.

BDNF is a power protein that stimulates your production of new brain cells, helps develop new connections, repairs failing brain cells and strengthens and protects existing ones. High levels of BDNF help you learn faster, remember better, age more slowly and rapidly re-wire your brain.

BDNF is all about promoting protective pathways and inhibiting damage to existing pathways. Higher levels make it easier to learn, easier to retain memories and people feel happier. Lower levels can cause learning difficulties, dementia, Alzheimers and depression. As we age our BDNF levels naturally fall and we find it more difficult to do complex tasks. Stress, high sugar diets and social isolation all block BDNF too. Sounds like Melbourne in Iso at the moment.

Some daily habits to get your brain releasing more BDNF:

  • Exercise

Studies in rats showed exercise increased BDNF levels and brain function in rates and reversed age related cognitive decline.

  • Diet

Studies in rats showed those eating the standard American diet had lower levels of BDNF. For optimal brain function we need the right foods and to avoid sugary processed foods.

  • Fasting

Research is showing restricted feeding or intermittent fasting may increased BDNF. Resting our guts triggers hormonal changes which boost or body’s repair mechanisms.

  • Mental Stimulation

Exercise your brains and encourage new neural pathways.

  • Oily Fish

Diet high in Omega 3’s can improve BDNF levels.

  • Relationships

Close nurturing relationships boosts BDNF so spend time with your family and friends.

  • Sunshine

Getting some sun can post BDNF but you need to be sunsmart.

  • Turmeric, Red Grapes and Blueberries

Curcumin found in turmeric and (less so) in curries, boosts BDNF. Resveratrol in red grapes, and anthocyanin in blueberries also increase BDNF.

  • Reduce Stress

People under a lot of stress produce less BDNF so take the time to unwind.

  • Meditation

  • Sleep

BDNF is reduced with sleep deprivation.

There are also many adaptogenic herbs and nutritional supplements available too for those with foggy thinking, poor memory and a general case of the “blahs”. Don’t hesitate to contact me or book an appointment. Keep in mind that levels will not increase overnight and research suggests it can take several months before deficient BDNF will normalise So better to start now so when this all ends we are firing on all cylinders.

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