Research has shown how exercise helps brain health and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. This results from both improved blood flow with its load of oxygen and nutrients, but also from increased production of Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). Among its duties BDNF helps neurons grow, strengthen and avoid premature death.
Now research has found a hormone with brain health power.
Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD, led a large multinational research team in a study of hormone irisin. Dr. Arancio is a researcher at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Taub Institute for research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain. From the study: “Now evidence shows that exercise produces another hormone that may improve memory and protect against Alzheimer’s disease…”. Irisin is released into circulation during exercise. Previously, it was thought that the function of irisin involved energy metabolism. More recent research now indicates that irisin aids in growth of neurons in the hippocampus. As we’ve covered for years now, the hippocampus is critical to memory formation. In addition to research team members from Columbia University, the research group included scientists from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Queens University in Canada.
An attendant noteworthy finding is that researchers found lower levels of irisin in tissue samples from the hippocampus of Alzheimer’s victims.
From Dr. Arancio: “In the meantime (while researchers try to find a way to stimulate production of irisin) I would certainly encourage everyone to exercise to promote brain function and overall health”. Link to more information here.
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