For a long time, neuroscientists thought "adult neurogenesis" -- the ability to regrow brain cells -- was impossible. Now, science has proven otherwise: Neurogenesis exists in adult brains. We even have a much better idea of how to grow brain cells -- and how brain-building nootropics might help.
The old neuroscientist belief: Once a brain reached maturity, the number of neurons were finite. The brain cells you have were all you could have. The advice: You better treat your brain cells with care! While it's true that you should treat your brain cells with care, as it turns out, the brain is far more flexible than we thought.
Since 1998's "adult neurogenesis" discovery, when brain study researchers found new brain cells growing in an adult hippocampus, neuroscientists have been exploring new ways to grow and maintain a healthy brain cell count.
Given the limitless complexity of the human brain, these explorations are early at best. However, one strategy for neurogenesis that keeps popping up again and again: Nootropics.
Therefore, let's review what we know so far on brain regeneration. Especially, how to grow brain cells with nootropics.
What is Neurogenesis?
Neurogenesis is the creation of fresh new brain cells.
Before a neuron is a neuron, it's a stem cell. Essentially, the stem cell is an undefined cell template that can differentiate into a specialized cell type, e.g., red blood cell, neuron, etc.
During embryonic stages, stem cells rapidly differentiate into all cell types to match the embryo's growing demands. However, the embryonic stem cell differs from the adult stem cell. Adult stem cells instead differentiate based on where they are located. Thus, neural stem cells localize near neural tissues.
Embryonic stem cells proliferate to create large masses of organs and systems. Adult stem cells, however, only develop their housing tissues. Adult stem cells, such as the neural stem cell, differentiate mainly for maintenance and repair purposes. But now we know: They can do more.
Neurogenesis is when stem cells differentiate into neurons.
Due to the body's difficulty in repairing neuronal damage, scientists believed that neurogenesis only occurred during early development. Yet, science has now proven: Neurogenesis does occur in the adults. It's not easy. But it does happen. Nootropics may help.
How Does Adult Neurogenesis Work?
The exact triggers to adult neurogenesis remain unknown. But the benefits are obvious. They are also critically important for overall brain health.
Depending on where neurogenesis occurs in the brain and throughout the nervous system, its bio-effects differ. For example, growing new brain cells in the hippocampus seems to directly improve memory and learning.
Neurogenesis in another part of the brain, the striatum, is linked to improved motor tasks, cognitive flexibility (e.g., multi-tasking), and motivational modulations related to the brain's reward pathways.
All-in-all, neurogenesis seems to play an important role not only in cognitive repair but in general brain health and longevity.
Under conditions that neurogenesis is disrupted, the opposite process occurs: neurodegeneration. This gradual decline in cognitive structures and performance often leads to age-related cognitive problems.
How to Grow Brain Cells: Nootropic Neurogenesis Support
Nootropics for neurogenesis tend to get clumped into two somewhat distinct, somewhat overlapping categories:
- Brain regenerators - nootropics that enhance neurogenesis, typically through boosting or enhancing Nerve Growth Factors (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF) while also raising levels of brain building blocks
- Neuroprotectors - nootropics that protect against neurodegeneration, indirectly "preserving" neurogenesis, so to speak, through more passive pathways.
- Brain energizers - nootropics that increase brain power production to meet the high energy demands of making new brain cells
Several nootropics double as neuroregenerators and neuroprotectors, enhancing and protecting the various mechanisms involved in neuronal development, maintenance, and repair. As a result, supplementing nootropics for neurogenesis may improve damaged cognition while also potentially protecting cognition against later damages.
Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for Neurogenesis
Out of the long list of nootropics, only a few assist with neurogenesis.
Since neurogenesis is key for both sharp mental performance and long-range brain health, Mind Lab Pro® is formulated to supply several of the best nootropics for brain regeneration.
Few natural substances have been found to improve brain growth and development beyond the standard measures of basic nutrition, such as oils and phospholipid-rich foods.
Yet, some natural nootropics stand out, and continue to stand out with more and more clinical research, for their profound brain building potential.
Here are some of the best natural nootropics found in Mind Lab Pro® that support healthy brain regeneration:
Citicoline is a key brain regenerator. There are two main bioactivities that explain how to grow brain cells with Citicoline. First off:
Citicoline is a Choline Donor.
This means it provides building blocks that are used by the body to synthesize two other cholines: Acetylcholine and Phosphatidylcholine.
- Phosphatidylcholine (PC): The most important phospholipid for forming and stabilizing brain cell membranes, PC is needed for neurogenesis (creation of new brain cells), as well as for the ongoing repair and rejuvenation of brain cell membranes. Citicoline “activates” the bio-synthesis of phospholipids within brain cells.
Any good nootropic stack should include a choline source for its brain-building support. Cognizin Citicoline is the best choline source there is. Next up:
Citicoline is a Brain Energizer.
In fact, the Cognizin form found in Mind Lab Pro® has been shown in clinical research to boost brain energy by nearly 14%. Citicoline achieves these energizing effects by optimizing brain cells’ powerhouse mitochondria for efficient peak performance.
Citicoline's brain energy effects are especially significant because the brain is your most energy-guzzling organ, consuming 20% of the body’s overall power supply. Creating, repairing and maintaining brain cells -- including neurogenesis -- are especially energy-intensive functions.
Cognizin® Citicoline boosts the brain a lot of ways.
But perhaps most of all, it is the ultimate nootropic for neurogenesis because it:
1. Increases neural building blocks that are needed to create, repair and maintain brain cells;
2. Increases brain energy levels to meet the high power demands of brain regeneration
Supplying two main ingredients for new brain cell creation, Citicoline is an ideal nootropic starting point for brain regeneration.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
A cornerstone fungus in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Lion's Mane Mushroom delivers long-valued restorative and therapeutic brain building benefits.
As food, Hericium erinaceus (better known as Lion's Mane Mushroom for obvious reasons) is prized for its seafood-like taste, a unique flavor for a mushroom. However, in recent decades, the mushroom has globally garnered even more attention for its unique, well-research status as a natural neural regenerator.
Here's what we know so far on how to grow brain cells with Lion's Mane Mushroom:
Lion's Mane Mushroom boosts Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
In human neuronal samples, the combination of lion's mane mushroom extract with exogenous NGF was effective at increasing neurite outgrowth by 60.6%.<1> According to animal research, this boost on neuroregeneration may benefit brain building in two ways:
- Enhanced formation and regulation of myelin sheaths around nerve cells.<2>
- Quicker speed of neural recovery following neuronal injury.<3>
By effecting these brain bio-benefits, Lion's Mane Mushroom may potentially improve cognition slowed by the natural decline in NGF and by acute brain injury.
Lion's Mane Mushroom supplies Hericonenes and Erinacines.
Which active compounds in Lion's Man Mushroom are responsible for its neuroregenerative status? Until we receive more exact science on the mushroom, it's hard to say at this point. Currently, the compounds hericenones and erinacines seem to significantly stimulate NGF synthesis, which in turn promotes neurogenesis
For nootropic purposes, it's best to supplement a Full Spectrum Extract of Lion's Mane Mushroom, so as not to miss out on any of its neuroregenerative and neuroprotective bio-activities.
Other Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits: Through unknown mechanisms both related and unrelated to NGF-enhancing action, Lion's Mane Mushrooms seems to possess significant mood boosting potential.<4>
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Supplying a rich complex of active proanthocyanidins, Maritime Pine Bark Extract supports mental performance and brain longevity through multiple antioxidant and neurotrophic pathways.
Lion's Mane Mushroom is mostly brain-building, but also brain-protective. Maritime Pine Bark Extract, on the other hand, supplies more balanced brain building and protective benefits. This is due to the botanical's rich spectrum of bio-active proanthocyanidin antioxidants.
Traditionally, maritime pine bark helped combat scurvy for sailors at sea, due to an antioxidant status estimated to be 50x greater than vitamin C's.<5> However, the herb only recently took hold of the nootropic community. New research continues to identify maritime pine bark brain benefits. One exciting find: improvements on brain regeneration.
Maritime Pine Bark flavonoids stimulate brain regeneration and brain plasticity.
In support of overall brain health and longevity, pine bark flavonoids seem to have several brain-building activities. Possible bioactivities that explain how to grow brain cells with Maritime Pine Bark extract:
- Improved neural connectivity and strength.
- Enhanced Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) activity.
- Reduced apoptosis by neurotoxic species.
- Increased rate of neuronal survival.<6>
These brain benefits may improve cognitive and behavior measures related to memory, learning, and performance. They may also help with symptoms of age-related cognitive decline.<7>
Other Maritime Pine Bark Extract Benefits: Brain restoration is only one of maritime pine bark extract's many benefits. It is also good for attention, cerebral circulation, and brain energy.
Naturally concentrated in the brain, phosphatidylserine (PS) is a cell membrane phospholipid required for the formation and maintenance of fluid, strong cell membranes and healthy neurotransmissions.
As a key building block nutrient for brain health, phosphatidylserine may be one of the most versatile and evidence-backed cognitive enhancers on the market. Often supplemented to improve memory performance and concentration, PS seems to only increase in value over time, as age related degeneration takes a heavier and heavier hit on overall brainpower and thinking capacity.
Here are some theories on how to grow brain cells with PS:
- PS supplies cell membrane building blocks - phospholipid units required for brain regeneration and repair, as well as synaptic plasticity and myelin sheath formation.<8>
- PS maintains cell membrane fluidity and permeability - cell membrane optimization for stronger cell-to-cell transmissions required for memory, learning, thinking, etc.<9>
The gradual decline in phospholipids like PS has been associated with age-related brain degeneration.
Supplementing a quality source of phosphatidylserine may help with the natural breakdown of brain cell membranes. This breakdown has been linked to PS deficiency or imbalance.
However, healthy PS levels may improve the brain's regulatory abilities to identify and neutralize dead, toxic neurons, keeping cognition cleaner for the long run.<10>
Other Phosphatidylserine Benefits: In addition to its age-related memory benefits, phosphatidylserine may also double as a sports nutrition nootropic for its noted reduction in perceived stress by golfers.
This basic essential B-Vitamin plays a crucial role in energy metabolism within the brain. Since robust neurogenesis requires a lot of energy, it has been theorized that Vitamin B12 might help to power overall brain regeneration.
Vitamin B12 is also a raw material nootropic vitamin that is used to form myelin, the fatty sheathing that surrounds and protects brain cells.
Finally, some research has suggested Vitamin B12 seems to help maintain the size of the brain during the aging process (the brain usually shrinks in senior populations), which may suggest further roles in brain cell regeneration and upkeep.
How to Grow Brain Cells with Lifestyle Changes
First, do no harm. Try to avoid brain cell-killing activity. Next, start with nootropics to prime your brain for growth. And finally, the one lifestyle change that brings it all together most of all:
Start an aerobic exercise program.
Multiple scientific studies have shown that Aerobic exercise produces neurotrophins (a type of BDNF), which are like a fertilizer for the brain. In addition, neurotrophins promote new synapses and make the brain cell membranes more supple. Consequently, healthier neural membranes promote better cognition and brain health.
Now imagine combining BDNF-boosting Lion's Mane Mushroom with BDNF-boosting aerobic exercise. This is how to grow brain cells to the max: Begin a brain-healthy overall lifestyle, nootropics and beyond.
Mind Lab Pro® nootropics for neurogenesis raise building blocks and energy levels needed for healthy brain regeneration.
Only recently neuroscientists began taking adult neurogenesis seriously. Since the 1998 study that verified adults are capable of regenerating brain cells, new, groundbreaking findings on neurogenesis seem to appear every year.
And with these new, groundbreaking findings come new, promising nootropic compounds that enhance natural brain-building processes with smart, brain-nourishing bioactivities.
In conclusion, the right nootropics, in addition to an overall brain-healthy lifestyle (with aerobic exercise), may help you to grow new brain cells while supporting brain health and cognition.
Mind Lab Pro® supplies the best brain-building nootropics backed by the strongest clinical research. The Mind Lab Pro® formula grows with the latest research to provide the best nootropics for neurogenesis.
- Lai PL et al. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013; 15(6): 539-54.
- Kolotushkina EV et al. The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro. Fiziol Zh. 2003; 49(1): 38-45.
- Wong KH et al. Neuroregenerative potential of lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012; 14(5): 427-46.
- Nagaono M et al. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical Research.2010; 31(4): 231-237.
- Shi J et al. Polyphenolics in grape seeds-biochemistry and functionality. J Med Food. 2003 Winter; 6(4): 291-9.
- David Vauzour et al. The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects. Genes Nutr. 2008 Dec; 3(3-4): 115–126.
- Spencer JPE et al. Flavonoids and cognition: The molecular mechanisms underlying their behavioural effects. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2009 Dec; 492(1–2): 1-9.
- Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015 Jun; 31(6): 781-786.
- Hanahan DJ, Nelson DR. Phospholipids as dynamic participants in biological processes. J Lipid Res. 1984; 25: 1528–1535.
- De Simone R et al. Apoptotic PC12 Cells Exposing Phosphatidylserine Promote the Production of Anti-Inflammatory and Neuroprotective Molecules by Microglial Cells. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2003 Feb; 62(2): 208-16.