Alzheimer’s: 6 minutes of exercise a day to delay the onset of the disease
Six minutes of high-intensity exercise daily could extend the lifespan of a healthy brain. And therefore delay the onset of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
In research against neurodegenerative diseases, scientists are always looking for effective and affordable solutions so that everyone can have access to them for healthy aging. The discovery of a New Zealand team falls within this perspective.
Their work, published in The Journal of Physiologyshows that a short but intense cycle of physical exercise increases the production of a certain protein essential for learning and memory. And could therefore protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline.
This protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF for Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) indeed promotes neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to form new connections) and the survival of neurons. Animal studies have previously shown that increasing the availability of BDNF encourages the formation and storage of memories, enhances learning, and improves overall cognitive performance. So how do you make BDNF more available?
6 minutes of cycling
The authors therefore tested natural methods to increase BDNF levels: fasting for 20 hours, light exercise (90 minutes of low-intensity cycling) or high-intensity exercise (six minutes of cycling at an intense pace) . They found that brief but vigorous exercise was the most effective (4-5 times more effective than fasting).
The cause of these differences is not yet known. One of the hypotheses is related to the change in brain substrate and the metabolism of glucose, the brain’s main fuel source. Brain substrate switching occurs when the brain changes its preferred fuel source to another to ensure that the energy demands of the body will be met.
The increase in BDNF during exercise could also be due to an increase in the number of platelets (the smallest blood cell) which store large amounts of this protein.
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