BDNF = brain-derived neurotrophic factor
We have less BDNF as we get older.
Benefits of BDNF
- better sleep
- faster learning
- improved memory
- heightened alertness
- less aging
- decrease in depression
- protection from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases
- neuroplasticity (strengthening damaged neurons and protecting them from future harm)
- growth of new brain cells and neural pathways
What increases BDNF levels?
- exercise/increasing your heart rate
- deep sleep
- polyphenols (antioxidants from coffee, green tea, dark chocolate, blueberries, etc.)
- hypoxia (depriving your brain of oxygen, achieved by doing exercises such as the Wim Hof method)
- sunlight (10 – 20 minutes per day)
- intermittent fasting (eating during a specific period of time)
What can lower BDNF levels?
- sugar (use alternatives like monk fruit, yacon syrup, or swerve)
- social isolation (depression and lack of mental stimulation lowers BDNF)