(Dr. Michael Wheeler/ The Conversation) — In many aspects of life where we need to use our brain power, we also tend to sit down: at school, at work, sitting exams or concentrating on a crossword. In a new paper, we explore how prolonged sitting may affect the brain’s fuel supply and have a negative impact on brain health.
The brain is a glucose hungry organ. It weighs about 2% of body mass but demands about 20% of our resting energy requirements, which is mostly in the form of glucose, the primary brain fuel. If this energy supply is disrupted it can impair and even damage brain cells. Therefore, the availability of glucose to brain cells may have implications for brain health.
Exposure of the brain to both high glucose levels and low glucose levels can increase the risk of developing dementia. Also, switching between a high and low glucose level, known as glucose variability, is important, as higher glucose variability has been associated with lower cognitive function. This indicates that tight control of glucose is essential for brain health.
Too much sitting can increase the risk of early death. It’s estimated that 60-75 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise is required to offset the increased risk of death associated with more than eight hours a day of sitting. (…)