Let's Grow Some New Brain Cells a/k/a/ Neurogenesis

Once upon a time, it used to be thought that you were born with a certain number of brain cells, and if they died, they died. You didn't get any new ones.

Nowadays, we are much more sophisticated and know that you can actually generate new neurons. And who doesn't want a fatter, stronger, more robust brain?

So, how can we increase the production of new brain cells?

It's diet and clean living all the way, you guys.

This stuff will DEFINITELY increase rate of neurogenesis (new baby brain cells): blueberries, omega 3 fatty acid, green tea, curcumin/turmeric, whole soy, ginseng, ginkgo, vitamin e, DHEA, 5-htp, melatonin, mulberry, wolfberry, rhodiola, lithium, and some other weird stuff that I’ve never heard of.

This stuff MAY increase rate of neurogenesis: vitamin D, alpha-lipoic acid, ashwaghanda root, resveratrol, milk thistle, cinnamon, phosphatidylersine, l-carnosine, and some other weird stuff that I’ve never heard of.

This stuff will DECREASE rate of neurogenesis: high sugar, carbs, unhealthy fat, overeating, inflammatory foods, ETOH, caffeine, b-vitamin deficiencies. So basically all the fun stuff.

Also, stress. The bad kind. The chronic, psychological kind. No es bueno for your brain.

AEROBIC EXERCISE increases neurogenesis by 4-5 times the normal rate. Stupid exercise.

INCREASED FASTING in between meals will also increase rate of neurogenesis (i.e. 12-14 hours in between dinner and breakfast). Why? By decreasing metabolic syndromes which lead to cognitive decline.

We touched on diet a bit here. It’s complicated, remember? Don't beat yourself up too much.

Also, physical touch, restorative sleep, music, nature, silence, creativity, meditation and new experiences spark new neurons. This is SCIENCE, you guys.

Happy brain building!


The Neurogenesis Diet and Lifestyle by Dr. Brant Cortright

DISCLAIMER: Thanks for reading the above, but whoever you are: unless you are living in my household (which I think I would have noticed), it’s very unlikely that I have any idea what sort of medical history, medication regimen, allergies, and any other health intricacies you carry. Therefore, you should NOT interpret the above as medical advice for yourself, and instead present this information to your personal clinician for consideration.

Another DISCLAIMER: Obviously, the best way to get the best nutrition is through FOOD, not supplements. But for those of us who are still getting the hang of this work-life balance thing, supplements are a way to stay sane when you don’t have time & dinero for meal-planning & organics. Again, don’t beat yourself up!


A Mother's Reckoning

I read this book over the weekend with so. much. grief.

The intro by Andrew Solomon alone had my stomach in gloomy knots.

Typically at the end of a book, you have some resolution. Some explanation. The author or main character will explain how the conflict was ok because it was meaningful and there were life lessons and so on.

But there's none of that here. Ms. Klebold continues to be heartbroken and stunned and struggling for absolution.

And as the reader, I'm left with more apprehension than when I started because it's only reiterated that no one is safe from mental illness (no matter the parenting style, or religious practice, or exposure to substances, or trauma, or ANYTHING) and there is no cure.

What if one day it's my child that causes so much hell? What if one day it's my patient?