The human brain is an extremely complex organ. Despite rapid scientific progress, the knowledge about how the brain works in still evolving.
The brain contains about 100 billion neurons, which are highly specialized nerve cells responsible for communicating information throughout the body. For each neuron, there are roughly anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 synapses. A synapse is the connection between neurons that permits a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron. Hormones and neurotransmitters are examples of chemical signals.
The old adage of humans only using 10% of our brain is not true. Every part of the brain has a known function. Humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity. When you learn something new, your brain undergoes physical changes. The brain keeps growing in the frontal and temporal lobes well into middle-age, which can be associated with better emotional development and wisdom.
The brain is, in fact, very much like a muscle which can be “bulked up” through exercise. Hence, it is possible to stimulate and challenge your brain as you get older to promote its continued growth. This means that the opposite also holds true – drug use, poor nutrition, or other assaults on your brain can interfere with its development and health. This may be the explanation why Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia cases are skyrocketing in the U.S. and many developed countries.
So even if you haven’t been leading the healthiest lifestyle thus far, making some positive changes now may still provide Synapse xt your brain what it needs to stay healthy as you age. The following are tips on how to keep your brain young and healthy.
Control Your Blood Glucose Levels
Latest studies show that people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared with people who are non-diabetic. There is increasing evidence that even pre-diabetics are already at increased risk of cognitive decline.
Diabetes is normally associated with insulin resistance, a condition by which the cells in the body have become unresponsive to insulin. Recently, researchers have discovered a new type of insulin resistance called brain insulin resistance.
In this case, the brain is unable to access the insulin in the blood. As a result, brain cells are unable to utilize glucose which is its main source of fuel, causing them to degenerate and die. As neurons in the brain are lost, the brain shrinks, and memory and cognitive skills decline. Scientists are now labeling this new type of brain insulin resistance type 3 diabetes.
Lifestyle choices are a major contributing factor to insulin resistance. Being overweight, consuming excess foods loaded with carbohydrates (sugar, fruits, grains, legumes, starchy vegetables), and being sedentary are all known factors leading to insulin resistance.
Lose Your Spare Tire
There is a connection between abdominal fat and your brain. The deeper layer of visceral fat cells around your waist is like an active organ producing hormones that can cause higher insulin levels.
The brain has a lot of insulin receptors and they are concentrated in the hippocampus, which plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term to long-term memory and spatial navigation. Scientists found that the enzyme that breaks down insulin also breaks down beta-amyloid, the sticky protein that mucks up the brains in people with Alzheimer’s.