Neurogenesis: How to Preserve Brain Health?

Neurogenesis: How to Preserve Brain Health?

Effectiveness in One's Passion, Personal Development, Healthy Motivation, and a Positive Mood – All Depend on the Health of the Nervous System and the Ability to Manage the Resources Given to Us by Nature. Until the age of 25, our bodies naturally maintain all processes because our brains develop on their own, without additional effort on our part. 

However, after the age of 25-30, these processes start to slow down. Life loses its vibrant colors, motivation weakens, and energy dwindles. Add to this a sedentary lifestyle and background stress. As a result, learning new material becomes more challenging, and with each passing year, this difficulty becomes more pronounced. The reason for this is that natural brain aging begins, where cell degeneration processes start to outweigh regeneration processes.

Is there a way to improve the situation? Strangely enough, yes. But it's a comprehensive solution that requires understanding and discipline.

What is Neurogenesis and How Does It Work?

The efficiency of brain function is built upon several components, with basic elements including blood flow to the brain, the efficiency of neurohormone synthesis, the number of neural connections, protection, and the speed of generating new nerve cells.

The process of forming new nerve cells in the mature central nervous system is called neurogenesis. The formation of new neural connections from these cells provides a boost to both intelligence and memory.

The Pineal Gland and Regulating Life Biorhythms

Neurogenesis is the process of growing new neurons in our brain, their dendrites (extensions that connect to each other, forming neural networks), and synaptic connections. There are several periods in life when neurogenesis accelerates and decelerates. It can be said that it occurs in waves, and the periodicity of these waves is controlled by the pineal gland.

The pineal gland is a small organ that regulates all of the body's biorhythms, starting from wake-sleep cycles and ending with periods of childhood, puberty, and aging. In fact, it is the pineal gland that reduces the release of sex hormones after a certain age period has passed. We may not feel this decline in the best way because sex hormones not only affect our sexual sphere but also our brain activity. The vitality, strength, and determination we literally breathed from ages 16 to 25 gradually diminish. Yes, compensatory mechanisms based on experience and acquired skills and knowledge are activated, but the ability to learn something new, acquire knowledge, and find the strength to achieve goals inevitably decreases.

Hormonal conditions in our lives change. But the necessary material for brain development is always present in our body. We are talking about cells that are precursors to neurons and are preserved throughout our lives. It is important to learn how to activate this resource correctly and thus increase neurogenesis.

BDNF and NGF: How They Affect Neurogenesis

BDNF is a group of proteins that support the existence and development of neurons. They send signals to precursor cells, telling them it's time to wake up and transform into new young neurons. Thanks to them, we acquire unconditional skills and long-term memory. The same group includes NGF, which ensures the function of sympathetic and sensory neurons.

BDNF and NGF are like foremen for building a house. Without their command, construction will not begin, even if all the workers are in place. We just need to prepare bricks and mortar and bring in the equipment to build the chambers of the mind. But what are these bricks, mortar, and equipment? What factors support brain health?

  • Blood circulation. Blood components, like workers, perform the task of transporting and installing useful elements—bricks. They are necessary for creating new cells and the proper functioning of existing ones. Problems with blood flow lead to a decrease in BDNF. We'll return to the specifics of this factor later.
  • Overall hormonal background. It naturally declines with age. And it's not only due to the peculiarities of the pineal gland's work but also a result of an imbalanced lifestyle, lack of sleep, and sunlight. Hormones are the very building mixture.
  • Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) Function. The BBB is a kind of border that prevents harmful elements from entering the brain while removing waste products. However, stress and inadequate blood flow also negatively affect the BBB's function and contribute to a decline in cognitive skills.

BDNF and NGF are the foundation of neurogenesis and brain health. They are the ones who command the brain to rejuvenate! Without them, you may experience a lack of focus, an inability to gather your thoughts, and everything that you are good at—surrounding yourself with old habits and behavioral patterns while only dreaming of new perspectives.

Oxidative Stress and Myelin Sheaths

Our central nervous system is very similar to the internet. The principle of neuron operation is the same as that of electrical wires. The wire itself is like a copper core covered with an insulating layer. By removing the insulation from wires, you contribute to a short circuit. Something similar happens in our brain. Each neuron is covered with a myelin sheath. Its main task is to protect the neuron and prevent signals from getting lost during transmission. Due to various factors, including aging and stress, the thickness of the myelin sheath decreases. This can lead to:

  • Confusion of thoughts. These are those vague forms and abstractions in your mind when you want to say something but can't express your thoughts in words.
  • Difficulties in assimilating new information. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. It's the same with the brain. Learning and relearning become increasingly difficult. And the results are not retained for long.
  • Development of diseases. In the worst case, myelin deficiency leads to the development of Alzheimer's disease. However, restoring myelin also allows for successfully reversing symptoms.

The main problem with any neurodegenerative disease is that a person feels symptoms when the disease has affected most of the neural networks. Everything that happens before that may seem like fatigue, poor well-being, and overwork. And nothing can save you from these diseases except timely prevention.

Brain Blood Flow and Its Impact

The brain is the most demanding organ in the body. It consumes approximately 20% of the body's oxygen and 40% of its glucose. Managing the intake of such substances and removing waste products is facilitated by an extensive network of blood vessels. No neuron is farther from this network than a couple of micrometers. However, there are nuances to brain nutrition.

  • The very shell that covers the brain's blood vessels is called the BBB (Blood-Brain Barrier). This dense endothelium protects the brain from toxins and pathogens. However, disrupted daily routines, inflammatory processes, and chronic stress weaken its strength, allowing substances that don't belong there to enter the brain with the blood.
  • The same chronic stress and emotional burnout affect the body's autonomic systems, which, in turn, cause blood vessels throughout the body to spasm. We don't feel the blood vessel spasm in the brain because it lacks pain receptors. However, less blood flows to it, and the brain begins to conserve nutrients, ceasing to create new neural connections.
  • Periodic alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of proper nutrition, and quality rest all erode the tone of blood vessels.

It may seem like we're surviving in this world by some miracle. But the body has many compensatory systems. It can exist while being ill, incomplete, or impaired. It can exist. However, it won't progress further or become more efficient.

The Comprehensive Boost in Productivity through Neurogenesis

All of the above demonstrates that several processes are at work in the brain, and a disruption in even one of them can reduce mental clarity and productivity. If we approach this consciously, we can restart neurogenesis, restoring productivity and a thirst for activity, as in our younger years. So, what can help us with this?

Neuron Protection

Let's begin by building protection. Myelin sheaths break down due to oxidative stress. We can't eliminate it because its cause is oxygen. However, we can provide the body with a resource that will neutralize the harm caused by active oxygen. L-Theanine comes into focus.

  • Initially, L-Theanine was considered a stress-reducing agent. It effectively protects neurons and synapses, preserving the integrity of the myelin sheath. Thanks to this, the body finds it easier to combat stress states.
  • Oxidative stress also occurs when the brain is oversaturated with glutamate. Glutamate itself is responsible for alertness and the ability to switch between tasks, but in excess, it leads to anxiety and restlessness. L-Theanine has been used as part of psychotherapy, and it was noted that patients felt significantly better, and the therapy itself was more effective. All of this is thanks to L-Theanine reducing the concentration of glutamate.
  • Additionally, L-Theanine was tested on patients with generalized anxiety disorder, one of the causes of which are those "random glitches" in the brain provoked by the depletion of myelin sheaths. As a result, the well-being of the patients improved significantly.

In essence, L-Theanine works to organize thoughts and prevent the leakage of resources into futile activity. In simple terms, L-Theanine brings a soft focus to conscious work. However, for successful assimilation of new knowledge, a little more than just balance is needed.

Brain Nourishment

So, brain protection is activated. This already allows us to maintain productivity. However, it's important to create conditions for nourishing and developing new cells. We need a tool that can provide an adequate blood supply to the brain without crossing the line of increased pressure and excessive stimulation of the central nervous system.

To find such a substance, it's worth turning to comprehensive meta-research. Meta-research is when an independent group of scientists gathers all articles on a specific drug and conducts a comprehensive analysis of its effectiveness. Such research was conducted on Rhodiola rosea.

In essence, Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen that regulates the internal state of the brain and gently tones the central nervous system. Initially, the plant was used to reduce stress. Protection from stress is provided by the inflow of oxygen to the brain. In particular, this research shows that Rhodiola increases muscle tissue endurance without increasing oxygen consumption. In other words, cells absorb more oxygen from the blood with the same amount of blood received.

But for a comprehensive effect, it's necessary to engage all the main mechanisms that improve brain nourishment. In conjunction with Rhodiola rosea, Ginkgo biloba has proven itself. With regular intake, it contributes to the restoration of cognitive functions. This effect is achieved because Ginkgo improves microcirculation in the brain, thereby ensuring the brain is supplied with all the necessary substances and, in addition, normalizes the production of neurotransmitters. The "gateway to brain vessels" opens up, providing neurons with everything they need for rapid and high-quality growth.

Initiating Neurogenesis

The brain is protected, nourishment is provided, and now it's time to focus on the neurons themselves. Simply providing them with resources does not start neurogenesis; it only enriches the soil for future growth. To ensure that neurons grow rapidly and effectively, we may need the following components.

  • Gotu Kola. This is an activator of the BDNF and NGF protein structures. Gotu Kola is known for its potential in Alzheimer's disease therapy. This plant significantly increases neuronal trophism, directly affecting the processes of nerve cell division and promoting their protection from death. This is because Gotu Kola effectively modulates BDNF and NGF factors.
  • Bacopa Monnieri. It initiates dendrite growth mechanisms, allowing brain cells to form more complex neural connections, helping you absorb information more quickly and learn new things. Below this list, you'll find an image from the article "Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri" by Sebastian Agüero and Thomas Borowski. The image demonstrates dendrite growth in a neuron during a course of Bacopa Monnieri.
  • Hericium Erinaceus. It has been proven to enhance cognitive processes. This mushroom contains special compounds called erinacins, which stimulate the production of NGF. In fact, Hericium Erinaceus provides continuous neurogenesis, followed by improved memorization and increased efficiency. Along with this, the mushroom promotes myelin synthesis, ensuring stable and reliable central nervous system function. Together with Bacopa Monnieri, Hericium contributes to enhanced neurogenesis. While Hericium positively affects overall neurogenesis, Bacopa specifically influences neuronal branching.


Neuron Images of the Basolateral Amygdala

A – Group of control rats that did not receive the drug.

B – Group of rats receiving Bacopa Monnieri for 6 weeks at a dosage of 20 mg/kg.

C – Group of rats receiving Bacopa Monnieri for 6 weeks at a dosage of 40 mg/kg.

D – Group of rats receiving Bacopa Monnieri for 6 weeks at a dosage of 80 mg/kg.

This trio of drugs creates all the conditions for healthy neurogenesis. Learning new skills and memorizing information becomes easy. It especially facilitates entering a flow state and maintaining it during work.

Is there a need to worry about neurogenesis?

Worrying about neurogenesis is as pointless as worrying about your health. Just worrying won't change anything; it will only hinder your life. Instead of being upset that "your memory isn't what it used to be," it's much more effective to take the situation into your own hands. Especially since there is already a tool to address the issue. Ask Red Cap coaches about what would work for you.

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