Exercise Can Help Preserve Your Mind

September 30, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Send to a friend

* Required fields

  or  Cancel

 Exercise Can Help Preserve Your Mind
There is an epidemic of early onset cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease in the American public, a public health catastrophe that will only be getting worse as the wave of baby boomers enters their 60s. A new study indicates there is a simple way for you to prevent this problem – exercise1.

Researchers studied mice that have been genetically altered to produce amyloid plaque and thus develop Alzheimer's disease. The mice were put on an exercise treadmill for 16 weeks. The results were rather sensational.

1) Factors relating to the formation of amyloid plaque were significantly decreased.
2) Exercise turned off multiple gene signals that induce brain cell death.
3) The important nerve repair compound, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was elevated, protecting against new brain cell damage and helping to restore antioxidant function in brain cells.
4) The stress defense system of brain cells was improved, meaning they had an overall better ability to tolerate stress.
5) The exercise also benefited total cholesterol, insulin and glucose levels.

If any drug could do any one of these things without adverse side effects it would be a blockbuster. Yet, all of these benefits can be obtained by simple aerobic exercise. If you really want results combine exercise with a healthy diet and stress management.

The study authors concluded, “Taken together, these results suggest that exercise training represents a practical therapeutic strategy for human subjects suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, this training has the potential for use in new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of other chronic disease including diabetes, cardiovascular and Parkinson's disease.”

You may say this is only an animal study, which is true. The value of the study is that it is documenting clear biochemistry at the genetic level explaining how exercise works to preserve your mind.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Exercise Helps Alzheimer's in Animal Study  Int J Mol Med.  Um HS, Kang EB, Leem YH, Cho IH, Yang CH, Chae KR, Hwang DY, Cho JY.

Search thousands of health news articles!