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BDNF - who knew!?!

May 15, 2018

Recently while doing some research into depression and anxiety I came across a couple of very interesting YouTube clips and a very interesting article. 

All about our brain, our gut, chronic inflammation (think cytokines) and the interaction between.


For a while now there has been a lot of talk about our gut being our second (if not our first equal) brain.

Typically I'm slow on the uptake (hence the SSRIs) so you may already know all about this.  However, I am going to share because to me it is just so interesting. 

And, depending on your viewpoint, a different viewpoint so worth a look.


I for one may be cleaning Countdown out of Tumeric this afternoon, missing a meal, (belatedly) hitting the skids for some exercise, and being far more mindful about all the processed not really foods that I eat that are more than likely, it seems, leaving me with a tired gut and a tired first brain.


So, in a nutshell, because the video explains it so much better...


We have in our brain, specifically our hippocampus and temporal lobes, a neurohormone called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor BDNF.  It's role: memory, neuroplasticity, weight, various neurogenic diseases, and it would seem, staving off depression.


When BDNF levels are low - so are we!


As the video explains, when we raise BDNF levels we feel better and our hippocampus grows.

Mooted in the video are 3 ways to raise BDNF: high intensity exercise (quite the thing at the moment anyway - so I'm told), intermittent fasting (also a thing), and Curcumin, from Tumeric.


Also a brief look at BDNF here: https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/a-comprehensive-list-of-natural-ways-to-increase-bdnf/ 


The article, which you will need to access yourself sorry, poses the point that our gut and brain are so tightly linked that what ever our gut is going through, it is affecting our brain.  Most interestingly; typically it is quite likely that high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemical signallers that prompt and entertain the inflammatory response), like those found in acute and chronic wounds and many immune diseases, are also playing havoc in our gut, and hence our brain... further studies are needed to make direct and solvable links between this idea of chronic inflammation and depression. 

But to me it seems symbiotic, same beast different day, with all the talk of the gut flora in newborns - the microbiome and so forth - totally fascinating!


M. Bates, "Gut Feeling: Researchers Are Discovering a Link Between Depression and Gut Bacteria," in IEEE Pulse, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 15-18, Nov.-Dec. 2017.
doi: 10.1109/MPUL.2017.2751118



All the best






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