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Aerobic Exercise on a Bicycle may improve cognitive function and the protein BDNF.

One of the many benefits exercise has on our body and health is improving and fertilizing our brain;

Exercise helps our body beyond the physical aspect; it elevates serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a protein encoded by the BDNF gene, found in the brain and spinal cord.

The role of this protein (BDNF) are endless and essential from;

regulating glucose and energy metabolism
to promoting the survival of nerve cells, growth, maturation and maintenance of cells
neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons from stem cells)
the production of new cells and regulation of synaptic plasticity (SP) and neurotransmitter release

SP is important for learning and memory in the brain.

Low levels of BDNF have been linked to depression, anxiety, poor memory and brain degeneration, playing a deteriorating factor in conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

In one study by Sleiman et al. found that exercising mice produced more B-hydroxybutyrate in their liver, which travels to the brain through blood.

This process can help inhibit histone deacetylases, an enzyme that might be able to reverve the activation of tumor suppressor genes.

At least 10 minutes of aerobic training can be a brain booster and increase levels of BDNF and other neurotransmitters like serotonin.

Overall, research points to the original hypothesis that regular exercise has a positive effect on BDNF serum levels and may benefit mood of patients experiencing depression.


  1. Bathina S, Das UN. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its clinical implications. Arch Med Sci. 2015 Dec 10;11(6):1164-78. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2015.56342. Epub 2015 Dec 11. PMID: 26788077; PMCID: PMC4697050.

  2. FERRIS, LEE T.1; WILLIAMS, JAMES S.1,2; SHEN, CHWAN-LI3 The Effect of Acute Exercise on Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels and Cognitive Function, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 4 - p 728-734 doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31802f04c7

  3. Sleiman SF, Henry J, Al-Haddad R, El Hayek L, Abou Haidar E, Stringer T, Ulja D, Karuppagounder SS, Holson EB, Ratan RR, Ninan I, Chao MV. Exercise promotes the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) through the action of the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate. Elife. 2016 Jun 2;5:e15092. doi: 10.7554/eLife.15092. PMID: 27253067; PMCID: PMC4915811.

  4. Pietrelli A, Matković L, Vacotto M, Lopez-Costa JJ, Basso N, Brusco A. Aerobic exercise upregulates the BDNF-Serotonin systems and improves the cognitive function in rats. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2018 Nov;155:528-542. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2018.05.007. Epub 2018 May 23. PMID: 29800645.

  5. Martinowich, Keri, and Bai Lu. “Interaction between BDNF and Serotonin: Role in Mood Disorders.” Neuropsychopharmacology 33, no. 1 (2007): 73–83.

  6. Hashimoto, Kenji, Eiji Shimizu, and Masaomi Iyo. “Critical Role of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Mood Disorders.” Brain Research Reviews 45, no. 2 (2004): 104–14.

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