At 47 or 87 your brain makes new cells (and you can boost production!)

Your brain doesn’t create any new brain cells after it fully develops at age 25 or so.

At least, that’s what you’ve been told most of your life.

And it’s a bleak prospect…

So many things damage (or even kill) brain cells — drugs, chemicals, air pollution, depression, dehydration, chronic stress.

If you can’t make any more, your life is just one long descent toward declining mental capabilities.

Luckily, plenty of new research proves that old assumption just isn’t true…

In fact, the latest study on the topic shows that not only do you continue to make new brain cells past your 25th birthday, but you also continue to make them past your 85th

47 or 87: Your brain is still making new cells

A recent study from Spanish researchers shows that your brain keeps pumping out new brain cells well into old age.

In the study, researchers examined the brains of recently deceased people ranging in age from 43 to 87.

They looked for a protein found in brain cells called doublecortin. This protein pops up in brain cells when they’re first developing, so finding it in a cell is a good sign that the cell is new.

And guess what?

People up to age 87 were still creating new brain cells.

The part of the brain researchers examined was the hippocampus too, which is responsible for learning and memory.

Related: 12 foods to save your memory

That means the “old dog new tricks” paradigm is BS, just like the “no new brain cell” paradigm. You’ve got the tools you need to keep learning and growing well into old age!

Researchers looked for signs of new brain cell activity in the hippocampi of people with Alzheimer’s too. Unfortunately, in their case, new brain cells weren’t being produced anymore.

How to keep the new brain cells coming

It’s great news that your brain isn’t in the state of decline that you’ve been led to believe.

But before you get too comfortable with the idea that your brain is just pumping out new brain cells, remember that your lifestyle plays a big part in how many brain cells you’re losing or regenerating.

If you want to encourage brain cell regeneration rather than loss, I’d recommend a few healthy habits, like:

  • Daily aerobic exercise. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Physiology found that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise causes the brain to produce more brain cells in the hippocampus. So, start jogging, power walking, swimming or doing something else that gets your heart pumping.
  • Squash stress. A 2013 study showed that sex boosts your brain cell count. Researchers concluded, however, that this phenomenon wasn’t limited to just sex. Any activity that relieves stress promotes new brain cells.
  • Daily “neurobic” exercise. There’s evidence that brain exercises (known as neurobics) can stimulate brain cell regeneration too. Try simple things like doing your daily habits (brushing teeth, hair, etc.) with your nondominant hand. Or play games like chess, sudoku or online memory games.
  • It wouldn’t hurt to consider these 10 best supplements for seniors or to avoid drugs that could give you dementia.

Sources:

  1. Evidence found of neurogenesis in people up to age 87 — MedicalXpress
  2. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is abundant in neurologically healthy subjects and drops sharply in patients with Alzheimer’s diseaseNature Medicine
  3. Can you grow new brain cells? — Harvard Health Publishing
  4. 10 Proven Ways To Grow Your Brain: Neurogenesis And Neuroplasticity — Huffington Post
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.