Grow Your Brain
What is BDNF?

BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factors. BDNF plays a key role in maintaining the brain’s neuroplasticity and in determining how effectively your brain can adapt and learn, in order to conquer new challenges. BDNF is like a fertilizer for the brain’s neurons, making them grow more quickly and develop stronger connections. Essentially, BDNF is the “Miracle Grow” of the brain. Just like putting Miracle Grow on your plants or flowers can cause them to shoot up in size or to have more blooms, BDNF can help create more neurons, more connections and ultimately,

a bigger brain. BDNF levels primarily rise with vigorous exercise, and to a lesser degree, with consuming coffee, blueberries, and taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Track your exercise, diet, and sleep progress
Make it a goal to do something active 5 out of 7 days of the week.

4 Ways Our Brains Can Grow

New Synapses

Building new synapses is one way the brain can grow in size. Synapses are the trillions of contact points between the more than 100 billion neurons in our brains. Synapses direct the intricate communication network in your central nervous system and transfer information between cells. 

The brain can build new synapses when we challenge it to go outside of its comfort zone — for example, by learning new information or a hobby, as well as when we provide the brain with essential nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids.

New Highways

Fiber bundles are the super highways of the brain, connecting the different regions of the brain — from front to back, side to side, or top to bottom. Fiber bundles can either blossom or wither away, depending on our lifestyle choices. Some ways we can expand the volume of this intricate communication network include: increasing blood circulation to the brain, reducing stress, using neurofeedback to harmonize the brainwave patterns or electrical activity in the different regions of the brain, and consuming a diet that stimulates the production of a healing brain protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. 

New Neurons

The hippocampus is among the few areas of the brain where brand-new neurons can grow. In fact, scientists have discovered that, on average, 400 to 700 new neurons are born in the hippocampus daily. These “stem cell,” premature neurons get incorporated into the hippocampal circuitry only if they’ve been nourished and matured. The best way for us to boost this neurogenesis is through vigorous exercise. How do you know if you are engaging in vigorous exercise? The activity should increase your heart, breathing, and perspiration rates. Other ways for us to mature and nourish newborn neurons are to increase blood circulation to the brain, reduce stress, and eat a diet that lowers inflammation, increases omega-3 fatty acids, and stimulates levels of the protein BDNF.

New Blood Vessels

The capillaries and various other components of the blood circulation system in the brain can become larger in size within weeks. Like a tree that can create new branches, the blood vessel branches in our brains can grow and become more elaborate. The best way to increase the production of new blood vessels in the brain is to exercise.