Scientists have told how to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

(ORDO NEWS) — Neurodegenerative diseases scare many people, and scientists are constantly looking for effective non-pharmacological means of their prevention. One such means may be short but vigorous physical training every day.

Our brain contains a specialized protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that stimulates and supports the development of neurons.

It plays a key role in the brain’s ability to form new connections. Animal studies have shown that increased BDNF content in the brain improves memory, learning and cognitive abilities in general.

It is not surprising that experts who study aging processes and related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, became interested in the protein’s obvious neuroprotective properties.

BDNF production is known to increase in response to intermittent fasting and exercise, so researchers from the University of Otago (New Zealand) decided to compare the effectiveness of light and intense exercise with a 20-hour fast.

A new study of physical activity

12 healthy people, six men and six women, aged 18 to 56, took part in the experiment.

Each trial consisted of three phases: a 20-hour fast, an hour and a half of low-intensity exercise, and six minutes of vigorous exercise on an exercise bike.

Before each stage of the participants, blood samples were taken to measure the concentration of BDNF in the blood plasma.

Reducing the risk of dementia

The most effective way to increase the concentration of BDNF turned out to be short intense training: after a 20-hour fasting, no visible effect was observed, an hour and a half of “lazy” training led to only a slight increase in the concentration of the necessary protein, and only six minutes of active physical activity increased the content of BDNF almost five times.

More research is needed to understand the reason for these differences, but scientists suggest that they are related to our brain’s “switching” to additional energy sources and an exercise-induced increase in the number of platelets – blood cells that contain large amounts of BDNF.

In the future, the researchers plan to study the effects of longer fasting (up to three days), as well as the combined effects of intense training and food restrictions.

It is possible that combining intermittent fasting with intense exercise can achieve the highest concentrations of BDNF in the brain.

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