Monday, May 19, 2008

Fasting AND Memory

I just read an interesting article on Scientific American about the possibility that HGH might be able to reduce the brain damage caused by the abuse of opiate drugs.

In case it wasn't obvious, abusing drugs can damage cells in the brain. The cool thing is that Growth Hormone has the ability to help new cells grow in that area (neurogenesis).

Now here is the interesting part, the area in the brain that opiates disrupt is in the hippocampus, which is tied to memory.

So an interesting hypothesis that doesn't involve drug use would be that while you are young growth hormone keeps neurogenesis moving smoothly and thus your memory working smoothly. Once old age hits and GH levels drop, this leads to less neurogenesis and memory starts to decline.

So based on this hypothesis, GH could be related to age associated memory loss.

This theory seems to hold some weight too. Elderly patients treated with synthetic growth hormones have experienced improved memory.

My thought is this: Rather than immediately turning to injecting synthetic drugs, we could look to more natural ways of increasing Growth Hormone and thus preventing age associated memory loss.

Fasting for instance.

If you've read Eat Stop Eat then you know that even short periods of fasting can increase GH levels.

So yet another possible benefit of incorporating flexible intermittent fasting into your life may be improved memory.

Fasting - It's not just for weight loss.


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Dr. Matthew Mintz said...

I will be interviewed on local public TV regarding the Acai berry, and thought your blog readers might be interested

Anonymous said...

But only if you remember to fast ;)

Anonymous said...

"Except under conditions of starvation, it was thought that the brain always had an ample supply of glucose...While this is the case in terms of consciousness, the new findings suggest that glucose is not always present in ample amounts to optimally support learning and memory functions," said Gold, who is director of the Medical Scholars Program in the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

I worry that if I try alternate day fasting my mental performance will suffer?