Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. It can even help boost a person’s mental capacity. But for the latter, experts don’t really know how and why. But recent research indicates that this might have to do with regular exercise providing some extra energy supply to the brain.
Researchers from the University of South Carolina have discovered that regular exercise may help boost not only the body’s energy supply, but also that in the brain. According to J. Mark Davis, a physiologist from the University of South Carolina, says that the body responds to the demands of physical exertion by producing mitochondria in the muscles, tiny structures that are formed within cells that supply the body with energy.
Davis and colleagues wanted to determine whether the same thing might be happening in the brain cells during exercise. They found out while studying mice that quantities of a signaling molecule that is also known as a master regulator of mitochondria increased in the brain after having mice undergo half an hour a day of treadmill running. In addition, the researchers discovered that the brain cells in the mice also contained more mitochondrial DNA which is different from the regular cellular DNA that is found in the nucleus. This provides good evidence that the brain is making more mitochondria.
It seems that the brain is able to also adapt to regular exercise by making more energy powerhouses within the cells. The increased energy supply allows the brain to work faster and more efficiently in the process. The findings will help scientists further understand how regular physical exercise can delay age related declines with regards to brain function. Naturally neurons lose mitochondria as people age. With exercise found able to encourage and promote the growth of mitochondria in the brain cells, it may also help researchers look more into how exercise may help in improving other brain functions such as mood regulation and even dementia. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Source: Scientific American