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Understanding the miracle gro of the brain.

The more you learn about something called brain derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, the more you’ll realize why it’s often referred to as the MiracleGro of the brain.

And why you need to find as many ways as you can to grow as much of it as you can.

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BDNF is a protein that’s essential to not only protecting existing brain cells but helping to grow new ones.

And it can’t be created by the brain so it has to be derived from other activities, and in particular certain foods and supplements, and certain types of exercises.

BDNF is also thought to help with the repair of brain cells and even help with brain injury and depression, and with learning and memory.

Low levels of BDNF have been linked to a variety of diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, anxiety and depression, obesity, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder to name a few.

So clearly plenty of reasons to find plenty of ways to encourage the creation of BDNF. According to neuroscientists, these are some of the better ways to trigger an increase in BDNF:

  • Exercise. And while intense aerobic and resistance training is best for triggering an increase in BDNF, any kind of exercise or movement will help including running and walking. The more and more intense exercise, the more BDNF is released.
  • Stress. Getting a grip on stress is essential because stress destroys brain cells which also reduces the production of BDNF.
  • Meditation. Speaking of stress, one of the best ways to manage it is through mindfulness and meditation, another of the 15 pillars.
  • Intermittent fasting is also known to trigger an increase in BDNF.
  • Sunshine is also thought to help trigger the formation of BDNF.
  • Listening to music is also thought to increase BDNF production.
  • And of course there’s food, and especially following the mind diet.

A word of caution though. If you’re ever offered supplements that claim to increase the production of BDNF, be very wary. Neuroscientists don’t believe that BDNF can be effectively delivered through these supplements.