12/04/2013 08:39 am ET

Hormones That Are Increased During Exercise Could Be Good For Memory


Hormones that are increased when you exercise could be a boon to memory, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine found that these hormones, called growth factors, seemed to predict accuracy on a memory test.

The growth factors evaluated in the study were brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Researchers noted that the effect of these growth factors on the brain have been looked at in other studies; for instance, BDNF is known to play a role in stimulating the growth of neurons in the hippocampus and regulating communication between neurons.

The study, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, involved looking at levels of growth factors in the blood of healthy young adults, who underwent an aerobic fitness exercise and a recognition memory task (in order to see the impact of the hormones from the aerobic exercise on the memory task).

Researchers found that low levels of BDNF accurately predicted poorer performance on the memory test. Meanwhile, high levels of BDNF accurately predicted better performance on a memory test. They found a similar association between IGF-1 and performance on the memory test, though there was no association found between VEGF and the memory test.

Need more proof that exercise does a brain good? Check out the slideshow below: