BDNF……what is it? and why is it SO IMPORTANT for protecting and developing your brain
Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF) is a protein chemical hormone which is secreted into the brain and the body.
BDNF plays a significant role in increasing synaptic activity in the brain which in turn helps to maintain the function of existing neurons and also encourages the growth and differentiation of new nerve cells (neurons) and synapses in the brain. The brain has the ability to remodel and grow new neurons known as neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and BDNF is one of the most active chemicals in supporting this process. As an added bonus BDNF is also secreted by skeletal muscle in the body when you exercise and has been identified to assist in muscle repair, regeneration and differentiation. Research has also shown that BDNF is important for your long term memory.
So how do we get BDNF and more of it?
The answer is MOVE and Exercise!! When you exercise and importantly when you exercise vigorously (getting out of breath) your body secrets more BDNF!! It is well understood now that BDNF increases in brain tissue in response to acute exercise and exercise training and plays a main role in how exercise has been shown to protection against neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
The medical world is currently trialing drugs to increase BDNF levels however there is issues with side effects and correct dosage. However exercise can provide you with more BDNF so what are you waiting for?
Why has the discovery of BDNF changed the value of neurological rehabilitation?
Neurological rehabilitation and exercise is not just about trying to improve fitness, strength, range of movement or function for example, because there is now strong evidence to confirm that exercise protects your brain. Rehabilitation is aimed to increase neural plasticity and rebuilding of neural pathways as well as helping to assist in slowing deterioration.
So if you want to protect your brain health or try to assist your brain in repairing itself the answer is exercise. If you have a neurological condition and not sure what is the best exercise for you or how to maximize your potential please visit our “contact us” page.