Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), is a protein involved in neuroplasticity, learning and memory.
The following study evaluated the isolated and interactive effects of 20-h fasting, 90-min light exercise, and high-intensity exercise on peripheral venous BDNF in 12 human volunteers. (Gibbons TG, et.al., 2023).
The researchers found that fasting for 20 h had no effect on BDNF. Plasma BDNF however was increased from 336 picogram (pg) to 390 pg by 90-min of light cycling at 25% of peak oxygen uptake.
Six 40-second intervals at 100% of peak oxygen uptake increased plasma and serum BDNF levels 4- to 5- fold more than light exercise did. High intensity exercise is by far the most effective way to increase BDNF. You will also save a lot of time.
Travis D Gibbons, James D Cotter, Philip N Ainslie, Wickliffe C Abraham, Bruce G Mockett, Holly A Campbell, Emma M W Jones, Elliott J Jenkins, Kate N Thomas, Fasting for 20 h does not affect exerciseinduced increases in circulating BDNF in humans, J Physiol. 2023 Jan 11