Intermittent Fasting Series – The Hippocampus
Cortisol and the Limbic System
The Hippocampus is a major part of the brain’s Limbic System, acting as the “hard drive” of the brain and affecting the emotional, memory, and learning processes. It is rich in cortisol receptors, so when our systems experience a flood of cortisol triggered by things like chronic stress and certain medications, this region of the brain can become severely damaged.
Chronic stress can cause the hippocampus to shrink by nearly 50% in size, leading to a greater risk of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and depression. In order for our bodies to shift out of the destruction of an overactive stress state and into the natural peace and abundance we were meant to experience, we must learn how to take responsibility for our health by finding optimum balance.
BDNF and the Hippocampus
The modern diet, toxins, stress, and sedentary lifestyle are all responsible for lowering the levels of BDNF and creating a direct correlation with several degenerative diseases. These diseases can all be linked directly back to the Hippocampus.
Research shows that when the flight-or-fight response is triggered, stress hormones flood this highly sensitive area of the brain, causing atrophy of the hippocampus. Atrophy can result in a high-risk factor for poor cognitive function and the development of degenerative neurological disease. However, when BDNF is abundant in the hippocampus, the miracle of neurogenesis starts the process of repairing this vital part of our brain. Again, ketones come to the rescue, stimulating the restorative processes of BDNF.
With the aid of yoga, meditation, therapy, physical exercise, and a healthy diet, we can start to contribute to the overall wellbeing of our mind and body. Simple dietary interventions of intermittent fasting, the epigenetic diet, and a sustained exercise routine will trigger the production of BDNF which then calms our HPA axis.
These simple, yet life-changing interventions prompt the production of neural stem cells, enabling neurogenesis; repairing and regenerating the hippocampus to allow us to live a blissful life with an upgraded brain. The reward for learning how to heal from stress
How to Rebuild the Hippocampus
- Implement the 18:6 ratio of daily intermittent fasting for a period of 8-10 weeks.
- Add a minimum of 2,000-4,000mgs of Omega-3 into your daily routine through diet and supplementation.
- Exercise daily. Cardiovascular, aerobic, and yoga-based exercises are all ideal options.
- Maintain a nutrient-rich, green diet and drink plenty of water.
- Avoid alcohol, pharmaceutical medications, and the use of any chemicals during this period.