Can the degree of synaptic plasticity be altered by environmental factors such as diet and exercise?

Marie-Elizabeth Barabas on Nov 18, 2016 • 1 answer
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Synaptic plasticity is the cellular mechanism that underlies learning and memory. There are plenty of supplement ads that claim that they can enhance learning and memory in adults or at the very least, slow age-related memory loss. Is one born with a set limit to synaptic plasticity or can one actually alter their range even in adulthood through supplements/diet, brain training, etc.?


There is no neuroscience based research supporting any supplements, but good news is that unless someone is very deprived of basic nutrition, the brain will throughout life respond with neuroplastic boosting of any neural networks e.g. memory or skills that are ACTIVATED. It is simply the activation of the set of neurons connected together holding the information that activates the neuroplastic construction - more dendrite connections and myelin. You can read about cognitive reserve (no supplements needed) as a potential benefit reducing the impact of degenerative neural diseases such as those associated with Alzheimers.

Judy Willis on Nov 18, 2016
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