Brain regeneration is an important concept that is critical in today’s environment. Your brain is the command center of your nervous system and the center of all of your body’s functions and systems. The health of your brain is essential for your memory, learning, mental energy, and mood, and the prevention of mental health issues and neurodegenerative disorders.
Even though most of your brain cells are formed in the womb and during infancy, new research suggests that your brain is able to regenerate and create new cells throughout your life. This means that you can keep your brain health, mental energy, and memory even as you age.
In this article, you will learn what brain regeneration, BDNF and neuroplasticity are and why they are important for brain health. You will understand the most common things that can damage your brain. I will also share 11 powerful ways to heal your brain cells and support your brain health naturally.
What is Brain Regeneration?
Your brain is one of your most important organs. It is the center of all of your body’s functions and systems. It serves as a command center for your nervous system that perceives stimuli, activates responses, and obtains and sends signals across your body to keep you safe and healthy. Your brain is also the place where your memory is stored and learning, cognition, and individual growth is happening.
Clearly, the health of your brain is critical and should be protected. You may think that it is normal for your brain to decline with age, however, that is not necessarily the case. Nutrition, lifestyle habits, and other factors all affect your brain health. More importantly, and contrary to old beliefs, your brain is able to generate new brain cells.
How Brain Regeneration Works
Most of your brain cells are formed while you were in your mother’s womb. Other neural cells of your brain developed during infancy. Until recent decades, doctors believed a certain level of brain degeneration is inevitable because your brain had a limited capacity to regenerate. Now we know better.
New research from the last two decades suggests that your brain is actually able to create new cells throughout your lifespan and brain regeneration is possible. Your brain actually still creates about 700 new neurons per day in the hippocampus. This allows the hippocampus to maintain its central function.
The science of neurogenesis suggests that aerobic exercise, brain exercises, stress relief, and other lifestyle habits can encourage brain regeneration, improve your brain health, and may help to prevent or treat degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, or reverse damage from traumatic brain injury.
BDNF and Synaptic Plasticity
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF is a protein produced inside your nerve cells to help your brain to communicate and function properly. It protects neurons, encourages their growth, improves their functions, and helps them to survive by protecting them from premature cell death. It also strengthens the signal between neurons by binding to the receptors at the synapses.
BDNF is essential for optimal brain function and a key player in brain regeneration. It plays an important role in learning and memory. It regulates various body functions, including eating and drinking.
Brain Regeneration and Synaptic Density
Synapses are junctions between neurons that allow communication. Synaptic plasticity is the change that happens at synapses and affects the quality of the communication between two neurons. Short-term synaptic plasticity is a rapid, sub-second change that reverts to normal quickly.
Long-term synaptic plasticity is a longer change that may last for minutes, hours, days, or years. Long-term synaptic plasticity is critical for our brain’s ability to store information and for our memory.
Research has shown that BDNF is critical for long-term enhancement of synaptic efficacy. It improves neural development and synaptic plasticity, hence it may lower the risk of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington disease, and depression.
Things That Damage Our Brain
Your diet, lifestyle, and overall health has everything to do with your brain health. Let’s take a look at the things that can damage our brain.
Blood Sugar Imbalances
Eating a diet high in processed carbs and refined sugar and low in vegetables, healthy fats, and clean protein can lead to blood sugar imbalances. Blood sugar imbalances may lead to irritability, lightheadedness, cravings, fatigue, mood fluctuations, memory issues, and brain fog.
You may experience constant cravings and fatigue. A quick carbohydrate-rich snack or meal may seem to give you quick energy, but soon, you will experience a sugar drop characterized by fatigue and brain fog. Blood sugar imbalances can increase your risk of diabetes, blood vessel problems, and compromised brain health.
Toxins are everywhere. They are in our polluted air, our tap water, non-organic and processed foods, plastic products, moldy indoor spaces, and conventional beauty, body, and household products. Unfortunately, these environmental toxins may have a serious impact on our brain and overall health.
Neurotoxins, such as ethanol (in alcohol), glutamate, heavy metals, nitric oxide, botulinum toxin (in Botox), tetrodotoxin, and tetanus toxin, are particularly damaging to your neurological health. Environmental toxicity may increase brain fog, memory problems, anxiety, depression, mental health issues, fatigue, mood swings, irritability, dementia, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Movement is, of course, critical for your health. But it’s more than your physical strength, toned look, or cardiovascular fitness. Movement is crucial for your brain health as well, especially for those areas of your brain that are important for memory formation.
A sedentary lifestyle causes brain cell degeneration. Research has found that a sedentary lifestyle may increase your risk of memory problems, learning troubles, and cognitive decline.
Chronic Stress and Poor Sleep Habits
When you are experiencing stress, the amygdala, the area in your brain that partakes in emotional processing, signals your hypothalamus. As a response, your hypothalamus increases your heart rate encourages deeper intake of oxygen and heavier breathing, heightens your senses, rushes adrenaline in your body, and increases your cortisol levels. When the stress is over, everything should return to normal. However, when you are under stress, this stress response is never over.
Chronic stress leads to a build-up of cortisol in the body. Among many other functions, cortisol helps your hippocampus, where your memories are stored and processed. When you are under chronic stress and there is too much cortisol, it wears your brain down, impairs brain and memory function, disrupts synapse regulation, and kills brain cells. Chronic stress has a seriously negative effect on your memory and learning.
Regular poor sleep can also have a serious impact on your brain health. It may increase chronic stress, fatigue, and chronic inflammation, which may lead to brain fog, memory troubles, mood swings, low mood, and learning difficulties. According to research, sleep deprivation may even increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Gut Infections and Dysbiosis
Have you ever experienced stomach problems before an important event, public speaking, or a new date? The connection between our brain and our gut is clear. However, our gut and brain not only affect each other short-term during stressful or exciting events. The communication between the two is on-going, long-term, and intimate.
Gut dysbiosis and gut infections can increase inflammation in the gut and the entire body. Chronic inflammation affects your entire body, not just your brain. Gut microbiome imbalance to mood cognition, and mental health. Digestive problems, gut dysbiosis, and gut infections may increase your risk and symptoms of brain fog, memory problems, learning difficulties, anxiety, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Top 11 Brain Regeneration Strategies
Chances are, you want to say good-bye to brain fog, memory issues, learning troubles, mental fatigue, and low mood. You certainly want to protect your brain from neurodegeneration, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Read on to learn the top 11 ways to protect and heal your brain cells naturally. Practicing some form of all of these strategies is important for optimizing your mental health and keeping your brain healthy and strong.
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrient-dense foods is critical for your brain health. Begin by removing all inflammatory foods, including refined sugar, gluten, refined oils, deep-fried and processed foods, conventional dairy, grain-fed meat and eggs, soda and sugary drinks, and foods that you are sensitive to.
Instead, eat an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of greens, vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, herbs, spices, healthy fats, grass-fed meat, and wild-caught fish.
Intermittent fasting is a fasting strategy that cycles between fasting and eating over a period of time. It helps cellular repair, autophagy, immune regulation, inflammation levels, and insulin sensitivity, and decreases the risk of chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.
Getting Into Ketosis From Time to Time
Under the regular circumstances, most people’s body creates energy by breaking down glucose from dietary carbohydrates. However, when your body doesn’t receive enough glucose supply, it turns to dietary or stored body fat for energy. These fats are converted in the liver into ketones that enter your mitochondria inside your cells to be turned into energy.
This process of ketosis helps to enhance autophagy, reduce inflammation, improve mitochondrial biogenesis, improve brain health, and increase mental sharpness.
Regular Movement and Exercise
Regular movement and exercise are not only part of a healthy lifestyle, but are essential for brain health. They may help to lower chronic inflammation, reduce stress levels, and decrease the risk of memory problems, learning troubles, and cognitive decline.
Reduce Stress and Practice Gratitude
Reducing your stress levels is non-negotiable for brain regeneration and mental health. To reduce your stress, try regular meditation, daily prayer, breathwork, journaling, regular exercise, relaxation recordings, daily gratitude, and nature walks. Practice positive self-talk and affirmations for a powerful mindset and mood shift.
Practice daily gratitude and prayer. Keep a daily gratitude journal and count your blessing throughout the day. Remember, when you are in a state of gratitude, negative energy, stress, and anxiety have no room.
Prioritize Good Sleep
Prioritizing good-quality sleep is critical for your brain regeneration and mental health. It is essential for rest, repair, and cellular rejuvenation. Develop a regular nighttime routine that relaxes your body before sleep and works for you. Avoid sugar and caffeine throughout the day, especially in the evening.
Turn off your electronics several hours before bedtime. Engage in relaxing activities. Meditate, journal, reading, read, stretch, and sip on some herbal tea. Make sure that you have a comfortable bed, bedding, and pillows. Try some black-out curtains or a sleep mask.
Support Gut Health
As you’ve learned, your brain and gut are closely connected, hence supporting your gut is absolutely necessary to heal your brain cells. Eating a gut-friendly, anti-inflammatory, and nutrient-dense diet is a must.
Additionally, support a gut microbiome balance with healthy bacteria by eating probiotic-rich foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.
Neurobics is a term used to describe the physiological effects of unique and non-routine ways of thinking and moving and their effects on the brain to improve memory, learning, mood, and mindset. These exercises can help stimulate brain regeneration by challenging the brain to think and move in unique ways.
Neurobics exercises include balancing on one leg, crossword puzzles, trying a new instrument, using your non-dominant hand, barefoot walking, and journaling.
Reduce Your Toxic Load
To optimize your brain health, you cannot forget about reducing your toxic load. Eat organic foods as much as possible. Remove conventional beauty, body, and household products, and replace them with organic, natural, or homemade alternatives.
Spend time in nature as much as possible. Getting good water filtration is also especially important.
One of the key nutrients to address for proper brain regeneration is magnesium. Magnesium is critical for brain health, mental health, relaxation, and stress relief.
Use Autophagy Enhancing Herbs
Autophagy is your body’s natural method of detoxification. It allows your body to recycle and get rid of old and unhealthy cells leaving room for the creation of new and healthy cells to replace them. To heal your brain cells, I recommend autophagy-enhancing herbs, including matcha green tea, ginger, turmeric, resveratrol, citrus bergamot, oregano, sage, rosemary, and quercetin.