Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that works in the central and peripheral nervous system to promote nerve function and growth. It also works in the neurons of the brain both in forming neurons and in long-term memory formation.
What is BDNF?BDNF stands for a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. It is a type of protein called a neurotrophin. BDNF works in several ways:
- BDNF encourages new neuronal growth from stem cells
- it protects neurons from injury and cell death
- it improves neuronal function (important in learning and mood)
Studies on BDNF show:
- Chronic stress causes a decrease in BDNF.[ref]
- Low BDNF is linked to Alzheimer’s disease[ref] and Parkinson’s[ref][ref]
- People with depression usually have lower levels of BDNF.[ref][ref][ref]
- Mothers with postpartum or during pregnancy depression have low BDNF[ref], and older people with depression also have low BDNF.[ref]
- Low BDNF is linked to obesity.[ref]
BDNF Genetic variants:
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