BRAIN HEALTH: Exercise rejuvenates brain
August 05, 2020 • 1 min read
-- Exercise stimulates production of little-known protein that appears to boost brain
The smartest thing you could do today is to get off the couch and break a sweat.
Exercise prompts the liver to pump out a little-known protein, which scientists say could help rejuvenate human brains and memories.
Researchers made both young and elderly mice run for six weeks, then transfused blood from both groups into elderly, sedentary rodents.
With ‘exerciser’ blood running through their veins, inactive mice performed better on cognitive tests and showed spikes in the creation of new neurons in their brain memory centres.
The results echo rat studies that suggest gym bunnies could be lifting their way to bigger brains.
Using sophisticated mass spectrometry, scientists identified proteins only seen in the blood of active mice, zeroing in on one little-studied protein called GPLD1.
Produced in the liver, GPLD1 triggers a cascade of changes to tissues that incite the production of yet more proteins, some of which eventually lead to direct changes to neurotransmitters, genes, and cells in the brain itself.
Could the brain benefits of exercise come in a pill? Possibly. Even so, researchers say pharmaceutical GPLD1, even if effective for brain health, would not replace the benefits of exercise.