Brain Volume

Brain Volume is important. Learn how to and you can impact it with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

All humans have a brain. If you didn’t, that would be a real problem! Your brain does everything for you. It makes you move, think, calculate, debate, laugh, feel, even breathe! It literally keeps your heart going. So yeah, your brain pretty much is you. That said, how much do you actually know about your own brain?

Not only do we all have a brain, every person has a unique brain anatomy. It’s like a fingerprint, no two people have the same exact brain. However, there are a few things we all have in common. Our brains are roughly the size of two clenched fists and weigh a little over 3 pounds. For comparison, a mouse brain weighs a few grams while sperm whales have 18lbs brains!!!

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From the outside, brains look like big walnuts. Billions of nerve cells or neurons make up our brain. Our brains process so much information, they take up to 20% of our total body energy. Just to think a person uses about 320 calories!

The more neurons you have, the more energy it will take to power your brain. This means that animals with huge brains like whales will need a ton of food to power their brains! Small animals like mice will need fewer calories to keep their brain up and running!

That said, if you look deeper than the weight of the brain, the story gets more complex. That is because different brains can have more or fewer connections. Brain scientists call the connections between neurons “synapses”. Humans have more connections between their neurons than any other animal. This means that right now, you have over 100 trillion connections in your brain that are working to make you as smart as you are. For comparison, fruit flies (not so smart) only have about 10 million connections in their brains.

The amazing thing about your brain is that you have so many connections in your brain and so many neurons just waiting to make even more new connections that you can’t possibly ever fill it up. Your brain is like an empty bookshelf that stretches onto infinity. You could read every book you ever came across in your lifetime and store it in that bookshelf and you would never come close to filling it.

Your brain is so amazing that even if you have a small brain compared to say an eight-foot-tall person with a giant head, it doesn’t matter! That’s because both you and the giant person have brains that have so much potential and capacity that the size of your brain doesn’t determine how smart you are.

That said, the size of your brain is important because your brain size will vary over the course of your lifetime. Just as our arms and legs change as we age, our brains will change as well. As we get older, our brains tend to shrink. When they shrink too fast or too much, it can cause issues. For example, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the brain often shrinks too much too quickly and this leads to issues. Below is an image of an example of how the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease looks compared to a young person’s brain. In the image, it becomes rather clear that there are differences in the brain structure between the two individuals.

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A healthy brain structure is important. For example, the brain structure that is critical for you to be able to remember where you put your cell phone or the name of your high school best friend is called the ‘hippocampus’. When this part of your brain shrinks, your ability to memorize very likely shrinks, too and you forget things more easily.

It’s normal for your brain to change as you age. But the fantastic part about your brain is that you can impact how it changes. A healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and regular physical exercise can help you to boost your brainpower!

Learn all about your own brain with BrainKey!