If you’re dealing with mild cognitive impairment, there are no miracles to offer you. But there is something called “Miracle-Gro for the brain.” It’s the protein BDNF. In today’s video, I explain the powerful protection that BDNF can offer against cognitive decline and dementia, and how to increase the level of BDNF in your brain.
If you want the cognitive activity tracker that I mention in this video, email me at email@example.com and I’ll be glad to send it to you.
Here’s the full transcript of today’s video
You know what Miracle-Gro is, right? You sprinkle it on plants and they grow like crazy. But our interest isn’t begonias, it’s brain health.
So today, let’s talk about BDNF – a wonderful protein that a Harvard professor has dubbed “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
If you’ve been diagnosed with MCI, increasing the level of BDNF in your brain can be highly beneficial to you.
BDNF stands for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. It’s an important protein produced in the body that helps protect neurons and plays a key role in memory. Dr. John Ratey gave it the nickname “Miracle-Gro for the brain” because when scientists put BDNF on nerve cells, they begin to grow.
This is the most important thing for you know. People who have higher levels of BDNF in their brain experience cognitive decline at a much slower rate and are less likely to develop dementia.
One recent study found older adults with the highest levels of BDNF had a 50 percent slower loss of memory and thinking skills than those with the lowest levels.
BDNF has even been shown to help protect the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. There was a study that followed 535 people with dementia. Even with people who had the highest levels of plaques and tangles in their brain, if they also had high levels of BDNF, they experienced less cognitive decline than those with lower levels of BDNF.
So if BDNF came in a box like this, you could just open it up and sprinkle some of that on your brain. Of course, it doesn’t come in a box, or in a pill bottle.
The way you get BDNF is through certain healthy lifestyle choices. Three things are strongly associated with the level of BDNF in the brain. They are: exercise, meditation
and social activities.
So if you can get your body moving, and if you can find a meditative practice that you do for 5, 10 minutes a day, and if you can look for more ways to spend time around other people and less time isolated and alone, you can give yourself a good chance to increase your level of BDNF and that can benefit you.
If you’re looking to do better in those areas, I’ve put together an activity tracker for that.
It’s drawn from a study in which 35 people with cognitive impairment were encouraged to spend less time sitting at home in front of the TV and more time being physically active and engaging in stimulating social activities. At the end of 6 months, they had shown no further cognitive decline.
This activity tracker is free when you sign up for my weekly brain health email, which is also free. If you want the tracker, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be glad to send it to you.
I hope to hear from you, and I look forward to seeing you next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.