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Nutr Health. 2011;20(3-4):165-9.

Collaborative effects of diet and exercise on cognitive enhancement.

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  • 1Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Certain dietary factors, such as omega-3 fatty acids and curcumin, are reviewed in their context of stimulating molecular systems that serve synaptic function, while diets rich in saturated fats do the opposite. In turn, exercise, using similar mechanisms as healthy diets, displays healing effects on the brain such as counteracting the mental decline associated with age and facilitating functional recovery resulting from brain injury and disease. Diet and exercise are two noninvasive approaches that used together may enhance neural repair. Omega 3 fatty acids and curcumin elevate levels of molecules important for synaptic plasticity such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), thus benefiting normal brain function and recovery events following brain insults.

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