The Amazing Biochemistry Of Muscle & Exercise Strikes Again!:
Most of us were raised to believe quicksand and sharks in swimming pools would be daily hazards in adult life.
Similarly, we were also raised to think that we’re born with a certain number of brain-cells and do nothing but lose them thereafter.
That may be true for “Florida Man”, but it’s not so for everyone else.
The only downside to her results was that it appeared weight-lifting exercise didn’t help.
A team from IU looks like they might have a little light at the end of that tunnel…
The Short Answer:
- First it seemed you couldn’t grow new brain cells.
- Several researchers have proven that you can; especially with cardio.
- Exercise is one of the most powerful “drugs” that medicine has.
- This also includes weightlifting.
- People who lift and do cardio already outlive those who do only one.
- To test the brain benefits of weightlifting a few teams did some research.
- IU’s Beckman team found that the biochemical products of muscle increase the rate & synchronization of brain-cell activity.
- These products can circulate all through the body and make it into the brain, even outside of experiments.
- U.Sydney’s team found that weightlifting also protects the brain’s memory center.
- Adults with MCI (Pre-Dementia) showed improvement as they got stronger and retained the brain-gains for at least 12 months.
- The very same test and others also showed cognitive improvements in areas like the prefontal cortex also.
- Since two of the products of exercised-muscle are powerful anti-inflammatories, they may be the main culprits in the protection.
- Previous studies on meds showed reversal of MCI when prescription anti-inflammatories were tested.
- All available research suggests the brain-health effects of cardio and weights are completely different from eachother.
- Cardio also cleans up the brain and supports new brain-cell growth.
Read on to find out the details…
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One of the things we all realize with time is that we’re not perfect and we have problems & mistakes.
So how do we fix them?
In the health & wellness world, that hope is pinned on Regenerative Medicine of one type or another.
Luckily with the right tech, we’ll be able to fulfill those dreams in maybe a decade or so; perhaps with the right stem cells.
But for now, one of the most powerful “drugs” SCIENCE has is actually exercise.
As an encouraging supplement to Sandrine’s findings, muscle turns out to be very healthy indeed.
This isn’t limited to just extending people’s lifespans if they already do cardio.
-Or slowing down the aging process due to some other amino-acid-based wizardry.
So to test the ongoing magic of muscle, an IU team started with a simple truth.
Exercised muscle sends out lots of different chemical signals into the body & bloodstream.
Some of those chemicals can make it into the brain.
To test what effect they might have, the team extracted some test muscle cells and had them do their thing in one environment.
They then took the muscle cells out of there and put in some cells from the brain’s memory center.
Amazingly, those neurons immediately increased the frequency & strength of their electrical activity.
And within a few days they started to synchronize as if they were operating inside a little structure.
The great thing about this test is it shows the products of weight-bearing exercise may also help improve brain health in addition to what we know about cardio.
Previous work has shown that despite Dr. Sandrine’s results, weightlifting also has a type of protective effect on the brain’s memory center,
Even if it doesn’t make those cells grow 10x as fast as normal the way running does.
It shows in the case of a U.Sydney study to improve cognitive scores, even in adults with Pre-Dementia (MCI).
The adults who took part in that workout study also retained their improved scores for at least 12 months after the tests!
How this happens has got to be similar to some of what the IU results show.
We already know from other work that weightlifting moves strong natural anti-inflammatories throughout the body.
So in the case of that MCI study, maybe those powerful chemicals are making their way into the brain, too?
In that way, they could be stopping some of the characteristic inflammation that can lead to MCI and eventually Alzheimer’s.
As an aside, we already know from other work that cardio provides a similar environment to some anti-depressants.
It encourages brain-cell growth, cleans up the brain’s environment, and also adds the support chemicals to retain the new cells from being pruned away by the brain’s cleanup routine.
It may be wishful thinking to assume there is a mild version of the cardio effect also going on.
Even though weightlifting does also improve cognitive function in the prefrontal cortex.
The small amount of research suggests weightlifting affects the brain in ways that are distinct from those of cardio.
Some research also shows that its effects can protect the memory-center, and others on mice shows it appears to even reverse memory-loss that’s similar to Alzheimer’s.
In addition to the fact that muscle mass keeps you young, now with the new IU results in, we have another set of data points showing that whatever the collection of things muscle does for your body & brain health,
All those little chemical products of weightlifting are helpful in ways we only begin to understand.
• Sources: IU Beckman | U. Sydney
• Source Studies:
•Neuroscience – Astrocyte-mediated Transduction of Muscle Fiber Contractions Synchronizes Hippocampal Neuronal Network Development
•J.AmGerSoc – Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training