Exercise and Neurogenesis
I’ve been posting over the past several years about the relationship of Alzheimer’s disease to inflammation, and the process of inflammation in general. More recently we’ve seen information relating LPS, a chemical in the gut, also being related to inflammation. Interestingly, LPS is elevated Alzheimer’s disease as well.
The article that we are looking at in this video blog looks at the relationship of LPS to the process of neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells. We see in elderly laboratory animals that when LPS is elevated these animals are less able to grow new brain cells – again, that’s the process of neurogenesis. But what is so intriguing about this report is that when these laboratory mice are given a wheel to exercise on, then LPS is less likely to compromise their ability to grow new brain cells.
For me, the take home message is the importance of aerobic exercise, in this case being able to offset the damage to the brain caused by inflammation as a result of higher levels of LPS in the bloodstream. So when we see LPS higher in the blood of Alzheimer’s patients (and again LPS comes from what we call gram negative bacteria that live within the intestines) it’s telling us two things: 1) inflammation has been amped up, and 2) the gut has become somewhat leaky, allowing this intestinal chemical, LPS, to make its way into the bloodstream. How empowering it is to know that this process, the loss of neurogenesis, may be offset by engaging in aerobic exercise! Now again, it’s a laboratory animal and it may be seen as a leap to generalize this to humans, but hey, that’s my job! I want to give you the information and I hope you will find this research as intriguing as did.