Imorse surfade jag runt på Paleo f (x)’s hemsida och läste bl.a. artikeln “Eating and Exercising for Mental Health”. Väldigt intressant om hur fysisk aktivitet och kost har stor terapeutisk effekt på tillstånd som t.ex. ADHD, autism, bipolaritet och depression. Träning, omega-3, grönsaker och fisk verkar vara ett vinnande koncept för hjärnan!
A review of the molecular processes and mechanisms in the brain showed that depressed individuals have, among other symptoms, a smaller hippocampus (the brain’s memory center) than normal, smaller amygdalas (the brain’s emotion-processing center), and lower levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF – a hormone which triggers brain cell growth). The same physical manifestations were found in Bi-Polar patients, with larger activity in the amygdala and reduced activity in the orbitofrontal cortex (which plays a role on decision making). Similar physical issues are also seen in schizophrenia and ADHD.
These physiological symptoms have been the basis for a lot of the existing medications that are prescribed today. But how could a 30-minute training session or increasing certain nutrients help improve those problems?
Training increases the amount of circulating BDNF, increases blood-flow to the brain and neural plasticity (the rate at which the brain can change its signaling network). Increasing brain matter growth, blood flow and the capability for the brain to change its communication pathways are just some of the potential benefits in terms of mental health, which could explain the consistently positive findings exercise has on mood and learning.
Nutrition is the same. Omega-3 intake, through supplementation or fatty fish, has been shown to have therapeutic effects on mood disorders, including bi-polar disorder and depression. They also help improve mood and anti-social behaviour, and measures of Autism. These benefits may come from the fact that omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and supplements, are quite literally used to hold the brain together, helping forming cell membranes and regulate biochemistry in the brain. It also helps regulate the immune system by providing materials that make up certain immune cells.
Vitamin and mineral intake also play a major role in improving behavior and mood. It’s also shown benefit in stress and mild psychiatric issues. Mineral intake has also been shown to have a positive effect on psychological functioning in patients with mood disorders. Vitamins basically act like enzymes, speeding up chemical reactions in the body, which can include energy metabolism, immune systems function, cognition, or a host of other functions. Minerals, on the other hand, usually help nervous system through helping conducting electrical signals.”
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