There is some controversy in this question, since it is a new field of research. East phenomenon of production of new neurons is called neurogenesis. Until recently it was believed that in adulthood neurogenesis no longer occurred.
What was known is that the hippocampus, a gray structure located in the center of the brain, is an area very important for the production of memory and learning, but also influences mood changes and emotions. However, what has been discovered more recently, is that it is one of the unique structures of the adult brain where new neurons are generated.Hippocampus
Recent studies have shown that in the hippocampus every day up to 700 neurons are born. It may not seem like much to some experts, considering that we have billions of neurons in our brain, but by the time we turn 50, we will have changed each and every one of the neurons in this structure to neurons born exclusively in adulthood .
Why are neurons important?
Well, we know that they are very important, first of all for learning and memory, as we have said before. Scientists have found that if the ability of the adult brain to produce new neurons in the hippocampus is blocked, then we block certain memory skills. This feature can be seen especially in the visual visual recognition, for example to walk the streets of our city, or to find where we have parked our car in a parking lot of a shopping center. Well, it is very important the new generation memory, connected with these neurons that appear new.
Another important discovery about neurogenesis is the relationship that occurs with mood, and more specifically with the depression. In animal research, scientists have been able to observe that, in depressive animals, there is a lower level of neurogenesis. But if they were given antidepressant medications, they observed that the production of these new neurons was increased and, simultaneously, the symptoms of depression were reduced. The link between neurogenesis and depression has been established in this way. On the other hand, if the researchers simply artificially blocked the new production of neurons, then the effectiveness of the medicine antidepressant
Medications that inhibit cell production, including neurons, are administered in cancer treatments. And it has been found that Patients treated with these drugs have a high level of depression even after treatment.. Now it is thought that this would most likely be because the drug Against cancer, the production of new neurons stops for quite some time. And it takes a long time after finishing the treatment, to be able to generate new neurons that have normal functions.
Neurogenesis is important, both for our memory and for our mood, as well as in the prevention of cognitive impairment associated with age or stress.
Can neurogenesis be controlled?
The answer is yes. And best of all, we can do each and every one of us individually, without the help of devices or anything that is beyond our reach.
For example, it has been shown that the environment has an effect on the production of new neurons. With laboratory mice a study was carried out. On the one hand there was a control mouse that could not run inside its cage, on the other there was a mouse that had plenty of room to run. In the second case, the mouse experienced a much greater increase in neurogenesis compared to the first. So that regular physical activity influences the new production of neurons.
But that's not all, it has also been observed that depending on what we eat, we can produce a greater or lesser neurogenesis. There are nutrients, as well as feeding guidelines, which are scientifically proven to help foster the creation of new neurons. The effect of food on mental health, mood and memory is mediated by the new neurons created in the hippocampus. But it is not only what we eat, but also the texture of what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat. Apparently, everything influences.
Here is a simple table with the things that help favor neurogenesis and those that produce the opposite effect:
Meals that increase neurogenesis
- Restricting the level of calories ingested between 20 and 30% increases neurogenesis.
- Intermittent fasting
- Increase the time between meals.
- Flavonoid intake: found in bitter chocolate and blueberries.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: blue fish.
- Meals that need to be chewed.
Meals that decrease neurogenesis
- Food rich in saturated fats.
- Alcohol consumption
- Soft drinks
- Exercise, especially run
- Lack of sleep
- Get older
So you know, if you want to maintain a good production of neurons in adulthood, follow these simple tips. In addition, it will help you feel better emotionally, so that we will always win.
Infographic factors that favor or limit neurogenesis:
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