Health Advice



Exercise and the brain

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Myron Rolle played football at Florida State University (and graduated in two and a half years) and was headed for the NFL when he became a Rhodes Scholar. So he postponed his football career a year to attend Oxford University. Afterward, he was picked by the Tennessee Titans in the 2010 draft. An outstanding safety, nonetheless, he headed back to FSU in 2017 to get a medical degree before doing his residency in neurosurgery at Harvard. Clearly, athletics and brain power were a winning combination for him. And now, thanks to researchers from Harvard, we know why.

It turns out that a protein called irisin is released from your muscles when you exercise -- and it may be the reason why exercise plays an important role in burning fat, strengthening bones and protecting against neurodegenerative diseases.

In their most recent investigation of irisin, the Harvard researchers discovered (in mice) that the protein's tiny molecules can pass through the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, they help protect and even regrow nerve connections, which may be why exercise keeps your memory sharp. The research also found that, independent of exercise, irisin is present in nimble brains but in short supply in those with Alzheimer's.

To avoid cognition problems, try this five-part plan: manage stress, exercise regularly, eat noninflammatory foods (skip added sugars, red/processed meat, and egg yolks), respect sleep and play speed-of-processing games. You'll win a scholarship in good health and sharp thinking, and take five steps up the "Great Age Reboot" preparatory stairway to extended longevity.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit (c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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