When you’re serious about nootropics, you’re serious about brain health. It’s now more important than ever to take steps to reduce the chances of suffering through the consequences of inflammation, pollution, and poor mental performance. Most of the key ways that nootropics help us achieve better and more efficient cognitive performance is through keeping the brain as healthy as it can be, now and in the long-term.
Recently published in the Journal of Physiology, a research team has found that preventing neurodegeneration due to aging relies on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein. BDNF helps the brain remain healthy and form the connections between neurons that are necessary for brain health. There are nootropics which can boost BDNF, but the research team made an important discovery: six minutes of exercise boosts BDNF!
For the best results, six minutes of vigorous, high-intensity physical activity boosts BDNF by four to five times. The researchers compared BDNF growth with light exercise, high-intensity exercise, fasting (20 hr time period), or a combination of exercises and fasting. Fasting didn’t show any benefits for BDNF, and neither did light exercise.
While they are still investigating why this occurs, the team believes it may have to do with the brain changing from using glucose to lactate during bouts of high-intensity exercise. When exercise occurs, more platelets are present in the blood streams which stores BDNF and can increase by 20% during exercise. Again, fasting failed to show an increase in platelets.
The participants in this study performed six minutes of high intensity bicycling. With the benefits of exercise for the brain which we already knew, adding this one in is a sure way for biohackers to make the most of boosting BDNF—outside the supplement bottle!
Travis D. Gibbons, James D. Cotter, Philip N. Ainslie, et al. Fasting for 20 h does not affect exercise‐induced increases in circulating BDNF in humans. The Journal of Physiology, 2023; DOI: 10.1113/JP283582