Exercise and Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)May 15, 2023
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein found in the brain that plays an essential role in neurons' growth, development, and maintenance. It is involved in memory formation, learning, and mood regulation. BDNF also helps to protect neurons from damage caused by stress or injury.
Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on BDNF levels. Studies have found that both aerobic exercise and weightlifting can increase BDNF levels in the brain. Aerobic exercise such as running or swimming can help to increase BDNF levels by increasing blood flow to the brain. Weightlifting can also increase BDNF levels by stimulating muscle growth.
In addition to increasing BDNF levels, exercise can improve cognitive functions such as memory and learning. This is because exercise increases the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are involved in memory formation and learning. In addition, exercise has also been shown to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol which can impair cognitive functions.
The timing of workouts may also be important for increasing BDNF levels. For example, studies have found that exercising fasting may be more beneficial for increasing BDNF than exercising after eating a meal. This is because fasting increases insulin sensitivity which helps to promote the release of BDNF from neurons. In addition, fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation which can help protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Intermittent fasting has also been studied for its effects on BDNF production and metabolism. Studies have found that intermittent fasting can increase BDNF levels while reducing body fat and improving metabolic health markers such as cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In addition, intermittent fasting may also help improve cognitive functions such as memory formation, learning, and mood regulation due to its effects on BDNF production and metabolism.
Overall, exercise has many benefits for brain health, including increased production of BDNF, which helps with memory formation, learning, and mood regulation while protecting neurons from damage caused by stress or injury. The timing of workouts may be necessary for maximizing these benefits, with studies suggesting that fasting fasted may be more beneficial than exercising after eating a meal due to its effects on insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation. Intermittent fasting has also been studied for its effects on BDNF production and metabolism, with studies showing it can help improve metabolic health markers while promoting cognitive functions such as memory formation, learning, and mood regulation.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor
Bathina, S., & Das, U. N. (2015). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its clinical implications. Archives of medical science : AMS, 11(6), 1164–1178. https://doi.org/10.5114/aoms.2015.56342
Cooke, S., Pennington, K., Jones, A., Bridle, C., Smith, M., & Curtis, F. (2020). Effects of exercise, cognitive, and dual-task interventions on cognition in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One, 15(5), e0232958.
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