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How gardening improves brain function

Gardening stimulates the activity of growth factors that make brain cells healthier and function better. According to a human study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, this also happens among people over 65 who work in a garden for 20 minutes.

How gardening improves brain function

Sin-Ae Park, a researcher from Konkuk University in South Korea, got 41 healthy people over 65 to garden for 20 minutes. The table below shows exactly what the test subjects had to do. Click it for a readable version.

Before and after the gardening session, researchers took a little blood and measured the concentration of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF). BDNF [spatial structure formula below] allows brain cells to form new connections, VEGF stimulates the formation of new blood vessels. PDGF grows blood vessels and plays a role in the survival of brain cells.

BDNF, VEGF and PDGF are all active in the brain and probably contribute to the maintenance of cognitive functions as people reach old age.

How gardening improves brain function

How gardening improves brain function

Gardening did not affect VEGF concentration. Gardening did increase the concentration of BDNF and PDGF in the blood.

How gardening improves brain function

Serine supplementation failed to prevent the animals in the HFD group from gaining weight.

"This study revealed the potential of a short-term gardening activity for memory improvement in senior individuals and provided scientific evidence of the therapeutic mechanisms of gardening for memory", write the Koreans.

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar 2;16(5):760.

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