Neuroplasticity is the ability of a particular part or region of a neuron to change in strength over time. It refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in:
- Neural processes
- Bodily injury
Neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ, and explores how – and in which ways – the brain changes throughout life.
One of the fundamental principles of how neuroplasticity functions is linked to the concept of synaptic pruning, the idea that individual connections within the brain are constantly being removed or recreated, largely dependent upon how they are used.
There are two largely recognized categories of plasticity: synaptic and nonsynaptic.
Synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity. Plastic change also results from the alteration of the number of neurotransmitter receptors located on a synapse. There are several underlying mechanisms that cooperate to achieve synaptic plasticity, including changes in the quantity of neurotransmitters released into a synapse and changes in how effectively cells respond to those neurotransmitters.
Nonsynaptic plasticity is a form of neuroplasticity that involves modification of ion channel function in the axon, dendrites, and cell body that results in specific changes in the integration of excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs). Nonsynaptic plasticity is a modification of the intrinsic excitability of the neuron. It interacts with synaptic plasticity, but it is considered a separate entity from synaptic plasticity.
There are a number of substances that have been studied and researched for their ability to enhance and increase neuroplasticity in the hippocampus. These substances are listed in the Table below:
Substances that Enhance Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity Substance Reference
Fish oil (DHA/EPA) 6
Grape seed extract 7
Green Tea (Epigallocatechin/Epigallocatechin-3-gallate) 8
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