Healthy ageing and the production of new neurons in your Hippocampus is linked to exercise, and foods common in the Mediterranean Diet.
It has long been thought that you could not grow new nerve or brain cells once you reached a certain age, and that issues such as depression may have led to irreversible damage. None of this now turns out to be true.
Dr. Sandrine Thuret, Professor of Neuroscience at King’s College, London University leads the Adult Neurogenesis and Mental Health Laboratory there and has shown you can actually grow new nerve cells in the Hippocampus, an area at the centre of your brain. The Hippocampus is involved in Memory formation and mood regulation.
Dr Thuret has been involved in a number of research studies (1). In 2017 a team in the Laboratory showed how Temozolomide damaged Neurogenesis – ‘Depletion of adult neurogenesis using the chemotherapy drug temozolomide in mice induces behavioural and biological changes relevant to depression’.
In 2020 they showed that age-related cognitive decline could be inhibited and even reversed by the Mediterranean Diet. The paper states that ‘Alterations in aging neural stem cells (NSCs) are linked to age-related cognitive decline which can be modulated by lifestyle. Apparently, the brain has nutrient-sensing pathways and these are the link between lifestyle and cognitive decline. The pathways may well be in the bloodstream.
In a Ted Talk, Dr Thuret was very specific. Foods such as fish oils, resveratrol (from red grapes) and blueberries all could promotes greater numbers of new neurons in the Hippocampus, as could exercise and both Intermittent fasting and time restricted fasting. In fact, it has long been understood that resveratrol, calorie restriction and intermittent fasting can all promote Sirtuin 1 expression (2). This hormone is linked to longevity.
Resveratrol itself is a strong antioxidant, acts against pathogens and has anti-tumour properties. Of course there are negatives. Stress, bad oils and fats, and sugar can reduce the activity in the Hippocampus.
The importance of contributory factors such as exercise cannot be played down. It is not just the benefit of the Mediterranean Diet, but the Lifestyle Benefits of a genuine Rainbow Diet that are important.
- J Bio Chem 2013 Mar 8;288(10):6968-79.Keir F Menzies et al. York University Toronto. – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23329826/#affiliation-1