If you’ve been taking vitamin B12 for memory, give yourself a mental high five- vitamin B12 is beneficial for maintaining healthy brain mass and sustaining healthy cognitive skills. Now, scientists have discovered another excellent brain booster, only it’s not a vitamin…
Flex your brain muscles!
Recently, researchers from Dartmouth College released the results of a study aimed at proving the effect that exercise can have on cognition.
They gathered 54 adults between the ages of 18 and 36; all were healthy (normal vitamin B12 levels) and didn’t have memory loss, but didn’t lead physically active lifestyles either.
•For the first phase of the study, test participants answered questions for a mood test designed to reflect their anxiety levels.
•Next, they took blood screenings for the existence of brain-derived neurotropic factor, or BDNF- a protein scientists believe can affect the cognitive benefits (such as memory) derived from frequent exercise.
•Next, all 54 test subjects performed a memory test- object recognition- in which they were asked to view a set of computer images and remember them later. Unlike most studies based on memory, vitamin B12, and exercise, this one focused on the perirhinal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for remembering objects and where you saw them last (think TV remote control).
•Next came a 4-week phase in which subjects were randomly divided into two groups: a sedentary group that was told not to exercise for the following month; and a separate group of individuals who agreed to follow a supervised workout routine consisting of 30 minutes of walking or jogging four times per week.
•Additionally, some of the test subjects from each group were instructed to exercise on the day of their return marking the 4-week period. Half of the sedentary participants and half of the physically active participants were required to run or jog for at least 30 minutes before returning for their second memory test.
And the winners are…
After reviewing the repeat memory tests and mood tests, scientists were gratified to see that frequent exercise does indeed enhance your mood and improve your memory.
•Most of the volunteers who ran or jogged for 30 minutes 4 times per week performed better on the memory test and reported increased feelings of well-being and less stress.
•Of the participants who exercised the previous month but not on the date of the exam, most fared better than the sedentary group, but not as well as the people who exercised that day.
•Scientists were surprised to learn that individuals who were sedentary during the 4-week phase but exercised on the date of the exam felt anxious and moody, more so than they felt at the initial exam four weeks earlier.
•Using the blood tests, researchers also noted that subjects who displayed low BDNF production following exercise saw no improvement in memory skills.
Boost your memory now!
For optimum brain health, doctors recommend regular exercise, stress reduction techniques, and taking various vitamins (such as vitamin B12) in order to avoid memory loss caused by vitamin B12 deficiency.
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