I wonder if the energy delivered to brain per unit time to maintain brain processes is limited and fairly constant? Is all provided energy fully used?

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    $\begingroup$ Where have you read that energy supply is constant? Adding a reference to where you learned about this gives useful context for people to provide a better answer. Please edit your question accordingly. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Apr 7, 2020 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22436 $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2020 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ Third paragraph: Glucose is transported... $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2020 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "energy"? $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2020 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ Please edit your question accordingly. Comments are temporary and will be removed over time. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Apr 10, 2020 at 10:47

1 Answer 1


There is very little change in the overall brain energy metabolism with task.

This question has been answered previously at Biology.SE: https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/839/how-does-the-brains-energy-consumption-depend-on-mental-activity

The top-voted answer there cites this review:

Raichle ME, Mintun MA. BRAIN WORK AND BRAIN IMAGING. Annual Review of Neuroscience 2006 Jul;29(1):449-476.

which states:

the local energy consumption increase owing to a typical task-related response could be as little as 1%

Although this may not seem intuitive, it does start to make sense when you consider the way energy is used by the brain and how brain activity changes over time. Active processing results in changes in patterns of brain activity: which neurons are active, not which regions. There is always a baseline level of activity happening in the brain, even in areas not involved in the current task.

Additionally, most of the energy used to support neurotransmission is by the sodium/potassium pumps that maintain ion concentration gradients. These pumps are always active, working against passive leak as well as neuronal activity.


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