Adenosine and your amazing brain

Did you know your brain generates 15-30 watts of (electric) power while awake? That’s enough to light a lightbulb.

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Lighting up your brain

Are you aware you are forming new neurons in your brain every day? This is a process known as neuroplasticity. Our brain, one of the highest metabolic functioning organs, is constantly wiring and re-wiring itself in adapting to changes.

It functions much similar to a skeletal muscle and its performance is highly dependent on these three key factors: sleep, water, nutrients.

Sleep – the best time for your cerebral spinal fluid to flush out and remove metabolic waste build ups such as beta-amyloids, plaque forming compounds that’s directly related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Why we need sleep? To achieve adenosine homeostasis. Adenosine is one of the ATP metabolites, responsible for fatigue. When it’s build up in our brain, it binds to adenosine receptors to inhibit waking-active nuclei in the forebrain and cortex. Interestingly, the level of adenosine fluctuates diurnally. Similar to changes of melatonin, the falls adenosine level in daytime, to keep us awake and alert, and rises at night time or in the dark to keep us asleep.

During sleep, this is when all the magic happens. The interstitial spaces between neurons opens up by 20% more. Allowing more flow of cerebrospinal fluids into different compartments of our brain and flushing out waste products that’s accumulated extracellularly during waking time. This process is also known as lymphatic drainage. It usually requires about 6-8 hours to complete a full cycle.

Caffeine and theophylline (bronchodilator frequently used in asthmatic patients) are both adenosine receptor antagonists,  Hence, they promote wakefulness, delay toxin clean ups, make you more prone to having early onset of Alzheimers and other aging brain related symptoms.

If you are on any of the above mentioned, perhaps there are something deeper that driving your need for the morning coffee or overactive airway. Better to see a qualified naturopathic physician for more in-depth work up. Sometimes, the solution might be as simple as removing food that’s off setting your balance.

On the other hand, Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)  and Gota kola (Centella asiatica) are traditional herbs proven to support brain function, boost memory cells formation, and stabilize mood. Not only slowing down aging, also helps to increase blood flow and nourishing nerve cells.

Give it a try before you reach that cup of coffee to see how these simple changes can lighten up your brain.

Other helpful brain food: fish oils (EPA/DHEA), Vit D, cannabidiol (will discuss later), copper, zinc and activated B-vitamins.