We previously discussed the very plausible idea that our brain functions like a quantum computer. Supporters of this hypothesis have been around for decades; some even say that the human brain is more complex than the galaxy! Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) In our complex brain one very important protein carries the name brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. This is a nerve-stimulant and affects a wide range of important functions, including
  1. protection of cells
  2. growth of neurons
  3. growth of synapses; and
  4. support of cognitive functions.
In today’s world, in which demand on human resources is on the rise and the body is increasingly taxed, these factors have become important focal points. Maintain BDNF levels Maintaining adequate BDNF is very important, not just for brain health, but for overall physical and mental functioning. The BDNF stimulation tweaks listed below will not dramatically increase bioactive levels in one day. This requires a multi-month process of investment. 7 Tips for Boosting BDNF Intensive training The greater the intensity of physical training, the more BDNF is produced. This is a mechanism separate from the endorphin release brought about by the same effort. Tip: Try weight training. This allows you to easily fit in 2-3 short (20-30 minute) sessions of intensive training a week. Intermittent fasting or caloric restriction Intermittent fasting and/or calorie intake restriction is generally known to be healthy. These methods work via different mechanisms, including BDNF production. Tip: Try one of the several ways of intermittent fasting. You can plan several days a week without much effort or additional lifestyle modifications. Adjusting your diet Eating lots of refined sugars and bad fats sabotages any effort to increase BDNF. Tip: Eat as few processed foods as possible. Go with fresh, organic and locally produced foods. Sunlight (Vitamin D3) Exposure to sunlight not only ensures adequate vitamin D3 level, but also offers a broad spectrum of light frequencies, with a range of beneficial effects including BDNF stimulation. Tip: Go outside as much as possible and expose as much bare skin as possible to direct sunlight. Do this in a responsible way and make sure you do not get a sun burn. Or take a cod liver oil product, which also naturally contains vitamin D. Supplements There are several supplements that support BDNF production. Tip: Re-assess your current dietary supplement line-up. It may well be that there is already a product in there that has a positive effect on BDNF levels. Lose weight Being obese reduces BDNF production in the brain. This is probably linked to an associated lack of strenuous exercise, diet, and the non-engagement of calorie restriction. Tip: Put your current body composition under the microscope and if needed select a weight loss method that is easy to stick to in the long run. Quality time One of the more pleasant ways to increase BDNF levels is through social interactions. This also applies to small children! Tip: Spend more time with friends and family; this is quality time for all but also specifically for your biology! Include your children.