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Inflammation, ketones and depression

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New theories on how inflammation may be a cause of depression, and how the ketogenic diet may be a novel treatment option

Depression is the most commonly diagnosed neuropsychiatric disorder, (Chen, 2017) characterized by persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest and hopelessness. Is it estimated that >16 million people in US have suffered from a depressive episode in the past year, which represents 6.7% of all American adults.

The cause of depression has typically been blamed on a chemical imbalance in the brain, specifically a decrease in the monoamine neurotransmitters (serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine). Most of the anti-depressant medications work by increasing the levels of these monoamines neurotransmitters. It is estimated that a third of depressed patients treated with these anti-depressant medications however, do not improve. (Miller, 2016) (Yamanashi, 2017) So maybe the pathophysiology of depression is not that simple.

Scientific evidence now suggests that inflammation plays a role in the pathophysiology of depression.

Psychosocial stress is a very common risk factor for the development of depression. Studies have shown that stress, especially early life-trauma, is associated with an increase risk for developing depression. (Miller, 2016) Stress has been shown to cause many pathological changes in the body including increased inflammation. When the body is stressed, the NLRP3 inflammasome is activated. When activated the NLRP3 inflammasome causes the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 1 beta, interleukin -6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha). These pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are markers for inflammation, have been noted to be significantly higher in the brains of patients with depression and in people who have committed suicide. The amount of inflammatory present correlates to the amount of life stressors that one experiences. This then directly correlates to a higher risk of developing depression. (Miller, 2016)

It is this increased amount of inflammation in the brain that is believed to be the underlying cause of depression. (Yamanashi, 2017) Inflammation may cause depression thru several different mechanisms. First of all, studies have indicated that the inflammatory in the brain causes a decrease in the amount of the anti-depressant monoamines neurotransmitters. Next, high level of inflammatory also results in the increase the amount of glutamate in the brain. Elevated glutamate level in the brain has also been correlated with causing depressive symptoms. (Miller, 2016) Not only does having increased inflammation increase depressive symptoms but also may limit the antidepressant medications from working as well. (Miller, 2016)

So does decreasing the levels of this inflammation result in improvement in the depression symptoms?

The answer is yes. Studies have indeed shown that blocking the release of these inflammatory cytokines can reverse the depressive behaviors induced by stress and the levels of inflammation in the brain. (Yamanashi, 2017) (Miller, 2016) Since the NLRP3 inflammasome is such a critical factor in the development of this inflammation, blocking of this inflammasome is a potential target. Ketones, specifically Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) has been shown to have to exert an anti-inflammatory effect via inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome. (Yamanashi, 2017) Ketones are the break down products of fats. They are produced naturally in your liver during times of starvation or while on a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet has been used since the 1920s as treatment for neurological disorders such as hard to treat seizures. Many believe that is the benefits of the ketogenic diet are due to the neuro-protective and anti-inflammatory properties of ketones.

To date the benefits of ketones or a ketogenic diet in depression have only been studied in animal models. The first study showed that rats that were pretreated with a ketogenic diet showed less depressive activities compared to the rats on a standard diet. (Murphy, 2004) In 2017, two studies were published using ketone supplementation in animal models of depression. One study by Chen showed that exogenous BHB improved depressive behaviors in mouse models. This improvement was similar to the benefits seen with treatment of the anti-depressant medication imipramine. (Chen, 2017) Another study, using rat models of stress, looked the anti- inflammatory and antidepressant effects of ketone supplementation with BHB. They found that the rats that were pretreated with BHB had less depressive and anxiety behaviors than would typically be seen with stress. Also the amount of inflammation in the brains of the stressed rats was decreased in the BHB treated rats. (Yamanashi, 2017)

Ketones have also been shown to have other benefits that may also help with depression symptoms. The ketone BHB has been shown to increase the levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been shown to be decreased in psychiatric diseases including depression. (Chen, 2017) Additionally, BHB has been shown to decrease the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and increase the levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA. This increased ratio of GABA to glutamate also reduces anxiety. (Ari, 2016)

These animal studies and research suggest that the ketone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, may have an antidepressant effect. So can something as simple as changing your diet, or using a ketone supplement* improve depression? That question in humans has not been formally studied. However wouldn’t it be worth a try? If you would like to give it a try, I will be happy to help.

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Bibliography

Ari, C. (2016). Exogneous Ketone Supplements Reduces Anxiety-Related Behaviors in Sprague-Dawley and Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rijswijk Rats. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 9, 1-10.

Chen, L. (2017). Beta-hydroxybutyrate alleviates depressive behaviors in micepossibly by increaseing the histone3-lysine9-Beta-hydroxybutyrylation. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 490, 117-122.

Miller, A. H. (2016). The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target. Nature, 16, 22-34.

Murphy, P. (2004). The Antidepressant Properties of the Ketogenic Diet. Biological Psychiatry, 56, 981-983.

Yamanashi, T. (2017). Beta-hydroxybutyrate, an endogenic NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, attenuates stress-induced behavioral and inflammatory responses. Nature, 7, 1-10.

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This products is not intended to are not intended to diagnose prevent treat or cure any disease

 

 

AAIC breaking news

The Ketogenic Diet Improves Cognitive Function

AAIC breaking news

Breaking NEWS!

The Ketogenic Diet Improves Cognitive Function

The first trial using the ketogenic diet (KD) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease was presented at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. It was presented in session of the Conference that was dedicated to the potential benefits of ketones called: Brain Ketone Metabolism, Ketogenic Interventions and Alzheimer’s disease.

As discussed in another blog post, it is know that in Alzheimer’s disease, the brain loses its ability to uptake and use glucose. This decreased glucose utilization results in decrease energy (ATP) production, causing an energy deficit in the brain. It is believed that this energy deficit then increases the risk of neuronal dysfunction and cognitive decline. Specifically, it has been shown that patients with early Alzheimer’s disease have 20-30% less glucose uptake and utilization in certain areas of the brains compared to cognitively normal older adults. Research by Dr. Cunnane, has shown that the uptake and utilization of ketones is the same in brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease compared to the brains of cognitively normal older adults. (Cunnane, 2016)

This research by Dr Cunnane shows that the even the areas of the Alzheimer’s brains that had decreased uptake of glucose had normal uptake of ketones. The implication of this is that the neurons themselves are not dead just not able to use glucose. The hope is that ketones can help improve cognition by improving this brain energy deficit. This was the basis of the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Ketogenic Diet study. The objection of the study was to see if by changing the fuel source from glucose to ketones thru the KD, would result in improvement of cognitive symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The KU Alzheimer’s Disease Ketogenic Diet Feasibility and Retention Trial

The KU Alzheimer’s Disease Ketogenic Diet Feasibility and Retention Trial, involved 15 patients with a diagnosis of mild Alzheimer’s disease. The 15 patients were placed on the KD and an additional triglyceride supplement for 3 months. The degree of ketosis was measured thru urine and plasma ketone levels. Cognitive function tests were assessed at baseline, at the end of the 3 months, and then a month later after back on a regular diet.

Out of the 15 patients, 5 were able to unable to achieve ketosis and dropped out of the study. The 10 that were able to get into ketosis and remain on the diet for 3 months, showed an improvement in cognitive function of 4.1 points on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cog (ADAS Cog) score. After returning back to a standard diet, the scores then dropped back down to their baselines values.

The author of the study, Dr. Swerdlow, was noted to say: “As far as Alzheimer’s studies go, a 4 point improvement in the ADAS Cog score is fairly robust.” “It suggests a meaningful improvement in cognition.” “It is greater than that seen in the cholinesterase inhibitors studies.” (Hughes, 2017)

Data from this study supports the need for further studies of KD in Alzheimer’s disease. The intervention was well tolerated without serious adverse event. The main limitation of the study was adhering to the KD. (Swerdlow, 2017)   Dr. Swerdlow noted that the KD is not an easy diet to be on, and potentially an easier way to get ketones to the brain may be with supplements, which does not require such a strict low carbohydrate diet.

 

Bibliography

Cunnane, S. C. (2016). Can Ketones Help Rescue Brain Fuel Supply in Later Life? Implications for Cognitive Health During Aging and the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 9, 1-21.

Hughes, S. (2017, August 03). Boosting Brain Ketones Metabolism: A New Approach to Alzheimer’s. Medscape Medical News.

Swerdlow, R. (2017). The KU Alzheimer’s Disease Ketogenic Diet Feasiblity and Retention Trial: Results from a Pilot Study. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

 

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

 

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Can the ketogenic diet help prevent migraine headaches?

Can the ketogenic diet help prevent migraine headaches?

stop migraine dr deb

Migraine headaches are characterized by recurrent episodes of moderate to severe throbbing pain that are typically associated with nausea, vomiting, along with light and sound sensitivity. Currently, it is estimated that between 12-14% of the population, or over 37 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches. Migraines are more common in females of childbearing age. One out of four women will have a migraine sometime during their lives. Despite the fact that it is the 3rd most prevalent and the 6th most disabling illness in the world, there are still very few effective treatment options.

As a headache specialist I am always looking for better treatment options for migraine headaches. For those who know me, know that I prefer conservative treatment options, such as exercise or dietary changes. For the past two years I have been doing research on all the potential neurological benefits of ketones and the ketogenic diet (KD).

The ketogenic diet mimics fasting by restricting the amount of carbohydrates that are eaten. This triggers the break down of fats, producing ketones. Research has shown that ketones have many beneficial effects both for the brain and the body. Specifically, research has shown that ketones decrease inflammation, decrease brain cortical excitability, improves mitochondria function, and decrease the amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) thus reducing oxidative stress.

So why would the ketogenic diet or having ketones potentially help with migraine headaches?

Ketogenic diet has been used since the 1920’s for treatment for epilepsy. Many of the same medications are used to treat both conditions. Specifically, the anti-seizure medications, Topamax and Depakote are also used to prevent migraine headaches. Both migraine headaches and seizures involve paroxysmal excitability of the brain. So measures that decrease this excitability may improve both conditions. Ketones have been found to decrease the levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. (Stafstrom, C. 2016) Decreasing glutamate levels decreases cortical excitability and decreases central sensitization. Central sensitization is a condition of the nervous system that is associated with the development and maintenance of chronic pain syndromes such as chronic migraine headaches and fibromyalgia.(Pomeror, 2017)

Decreased cortical excitability has also been shown in rat models looking at cortical spreading depression (CSD). CSD is a wave of cortical excitability that is thought to correlate with migraine aura and may be a trigger for the start of a migraine. (Stafstrom, C. 2016) It has been shown that rats treated with a KD had decreased CSD. (Di Lorenzo C. , 2015) Why CSD occurs is unclear but one hypothesis is that it is due to dysfunctional mitochondria. Mitochondria are where the cells produce ATP needed for cellular energy. When the mitochondria are dysfunctional, this lead to decreased ATP production. This decreased ATP then increases the occurrence of CSD and potentially migraines. (Sparaco, 2006) Thus, another reason ketones may be beneficial in preventing migraines is that ketones have been shown to improve mitochondrial function. (Di Lorenzo C. , 2013)

Another reason that ketones or being on the KD would be helpful in prevention of migraines is because of the anti-inflammatory effect of ketones. Neuroinflammation is inflammation medicated by the release of neuropeptides of the nerve fibers in the brain. It is the physiological mechanism of a migraine attacks. Indirect evidence that inflammation is the mediator of a migraine attack is during a migraine attack is based on the increased levels of inflammatory peptides during a migraine and the fact that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often effective treatment for acute migraine headache.(Pietrobon, 2013)

There are several different mechanisms for the anti-inflammatory effects of ketones.   First of all, compared to glucose metabolism, ketone metabolism produces fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS contribute to inflammation. Secondarily, the neurotransmitter Adenosine is increased with the KD. Adenosine has been shown to decreases both central and peripheral inflammatory. (Masino, 2013) (Dupuis, 2016) Lastly, ketones have been shown to block the NLRP3 inflammasome. Activation of NLRP3 inflammasome leads to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. (Youm, 2015)

So what does this mean clinically? Can the KD decrease the frequency of migraine headaches?

The first report of using the KD for migraine was in 1928. That study, 9 of the 28 patients reported some improvement, despite the fact that there was low compliance with the diet. (Stafstrom, 2016) More recently a larger observational study was done in 96 obese females. In this study, the females were randomized to either eat a KD or standard diet (SD) for 1 month. During the month on the ketogenic diet, there was a significant decrease in the frequency of migraine, the number of days with migraine, and medications used to treat migraine headaches. After that month all were transitioned back to a SD, during which their headaches again worsened. (Di Lorenzo C. , 2015) 

headache study

So, if you have migraine headaches, and would like to try something conservative as a means to decreasing the frequencies of your headaches consider starting a ketogenic diet. If starting making this significant dietary changes scares you, consider jumping in the easy way by starting a ketone supplement*. Other benefits that you might notice when you have ketones in your system include fat loss, improved energy, and improved mental focus. When was the last time you heard those ‘side effects’ when discussing medication options for migraines?!?

Bibliography

Di Lorenzo, C. (2013). Diet transiently improves migraine in two twin sisters: possible role of ketogensis. Functional Neurology, 28 (4), 305-308.

Di Lorenzo, C. (2015). Migraine improvement during short lasting ketogenesis: a proof of concept study. European Journal of Neurology, 22, 170-177.

Dupuis, N. P. (2016). Anti-inflammatory Effects of a Ketogenic Diet. In S. Masino (Ed.), Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Therapies (pp. 147-155).

Masino, S. (2013). Ketogenic Diet and Pian. Journal of Child Neurology, 28 (8), 993-1001.

Pietrobon, D. M. (2013). Pathophysiology of Migraine. Annual Review of Physiology, 75, 365-91.

Pomeror, J. L. (2017). Ketamine Infusion for Treatment Refractory Headache. Headache, 57 (2), 276-282.

Sparaco, M. (2006). Mitochondrial dysfunction and migraine: evidence and hypotheses. Cephalalgia, 361-372.

Stafstrom, C. (2016). Dietary Therapy for Neurolgical Disorders. In S. A. Masino (Ed.), Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Therapies. Oxford.

Stafstrom, C. (2012). The ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 3, 1-8.

Youm, Y.-H. (2015). Ketone body Beta Hydroxybutrate blocks the the NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease. Nature Medicine, 21, 263-269.

 

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
*These products are not intended to are not intended to diagnose prevent treat or cure any disease. If you are under medical supervision for any allergy, disease, taking prescription medications or you are breastfeeding contact your medical provider before adding any new supplements to your daily regimen.

 

Ketones as a treatment for seizures

The treatment of recurrent seizures (epilepsy) thru the use of dietary changes, specifically starvation, has been reported since Biblical times. The metabolic benefits of starvation are due to the shift to fat metabolism resulting in ketone body production. Since the ketogenic diet has the same metabolic effects of starvation, it has been used for the treatment of epilepsy first by Dr. Russell M. Wilder from Mayo Clinic, in the 1920s. Dr. Wilder observed a reduction of seizures by 50%. (Keene, 2006)

The diet fell out of favor as anti-seizure medications were developed. Since 1994 there has been a renewed interest in the ketogenic diet after the publicity of a young boy named Charlie who was treated very successfully with the ketogenic diet. He remains seizure free today off medications despite now being off the ketogenic diet.

The anti-epileptic effects of the ketogenic diet have been well studied. It is most commonly used kids with medically intractable seizures. A meta-analysis of the studies that have been preformed since 1990 was published in Pediatric Neurology in 2006. This study found 15.6% of the children who were treated with ketogenic diet for 6 months became seizure free and a third had greater than 50% reduction of seizures. Of significance, is that these patients were intractable, meaning they continued to have frequent seizures despite being on multiple antiepileptic medications before starting the diet.(Keene, 2006) The ketogenic diet is has been shown to be effective for all types of seizure disorders both in kids and adults. What is amazing is that some of the patients treated with ketogenic diet can actually maintain a significant reduction in seizures frequency or remain seizure free even after discontinuing the diet. (Baranano, 2008)

The difficultly with this this treatment is not whether the ketogenic diet works but keeping people compliant with it. It is a very rigid diet composed of eating very high fats (as high as 80- 90% fats) and very low carbohydrates (5%). This requires detailed meal planning, prepping, and weighing of foods. If this is not maintained, such that amount of carbohydrates are increased even a slight amount (such as by eating an half of a banana), they will be kicked out of ketosis. Thus losing the anti-epileptic benefits of the ketones until they get back into ketosis, which may take several days.

The anti-epileptic effect of the ketogenic diet is believed to be from the ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone) that are produced by the body when on ketogenic diet. Thus the next question is, if giving the ketones exogenously, as an oral ketone supplement, would it have the same benefits as the ketogenic diet? The simple answer to this question is yes.

There have been 3 studies using different animal models of seizures. They have all shown that the use of exogenously given ketone bodies has an anti-epileptic effect. One study looked at preventing grand-mal seizures induced by central nervous system oxygen toxicity. (D’Agostino, 2013) Another looked at rats treated with a pro-convulsant agent PTZ. (Viggiano, 2015) The third study used a mouse model that represents human temporal lobe epilepsy. Importantly, this study also documented that the administration of ketone bodies has a direct positive effect, independent of the hypoglycemia. (Kim, 2015)

The mechanisms underlying the anticonvulsant effects of ketone bodies are not completely clear. Research indicates multiple possible mechanisms including thru the neuro-protective properties of ketones. Ketone bodies also have been shown to decrease the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and increase the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Others potential benefits include increasing intracellular ATP levels, decreasing reactive oxygen species, and improvement of mitochondrial function.

For more information of the ketogenic diet check out my other blog posts including potential benefits in Alzheimer’s dementia. For more information on a commercially available exogenous ketone supplement click this link.

Please, if you do want to use the ketogenic diet for treatment of your epilepsy make sure you are under medical supervision and do not stop or alter your anti-epileptic medication without approval of your Neurologist.

Bibliography

Baranano, K. W. (2008). The Ketogenic Diet: Uses in Epilepsy and Other Neurologic Illness. Current Treatment Options Neurology , 10 (6), 410-419.

D’Agostino, D. E. (2013). Theraputic ketosis with ketone esters delays central nervous oxygen toxicity seizures in rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol , 304, R829-R836.

Keene, D. (2006). A Systemic Review of the USe of the Ketogenic Diet in Childhood Epilepsy. Pediatruc Neurology (35), 1-5.

Kim, D. Y. (2015). Ketone Bodies Mediate Antiseizure Effects through Mitochondrial Permeability Transition. Annuals of Neurology (78), 77-87.

Stafstrom, C. E. (2012). The ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders. Frontiers in Pharmacology , 3, 1-8.

Viggiano, A. D. (2015). Anticonvulsant properties of an oral ketone ester in a pentylenetetrazole-model of seizure. Brain Research , 50-54.

 

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Closeup of bulletproof coffee with cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and grass fed organic butter on wooden table, part of ketogenic diet

Ketogenic Diet Basics

What is the Ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, high fat diet. Yes, I said high fat. Don’t worry: eating fats are no longer the enemy; they are actually our friend if you want a healthy brain and body. (Glucose and carbohydrates are actually the enemy). When you decrease the amount of carbohydrates and increase the amount of fats in your diet, your body goes into the metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is the process by which your body starts the break down fats and turns it into ketones. Ketones are another fuel source for our bodies, which then can be used as a fuel instead of glucose.

What are the potential benefits of eating a Ketogenic diet?

The research on the uses of the ketogenic diet is extensive and is still growing. The ketogenic diet has been used for the treatment of poorly controlled seizures since the 1920s. Research now shows potential benefits for many other neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, along with traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, ADD, and even autism. Besides the brain benefits, the ketogenic diet has been shown to help many medical issues including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.

How do I start the Ketogenic diet?

A standard ketogenic diet consists of having your diet consist of 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 75% fats.

Foods to eat:

  • Meats: Red meats, sausage, bacon, ham, pork, game meat, chicken, etc. Also eat the fat on the meat as well as the skin on the chicken.
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna
  • Eggs: Yes you can eat the whole egg!
  • Oils: Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
  • Butters, creams, and cheese: Use full fat options and all natural grass fed butter
  • Nuts: Walnuts, almond, macadamia nuts, flax seed, and pumpkin seeds
  • Vegetables: Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant and spinach
  • Avocados 

Foods to avoid:

caution-carbs-

Basically any food that are high in carbohydrates should be limited, especially watch for hidden carbs in the so-called ‘low fat foods’.

 

  • Foods high in sugars: soda, fruit juices, smoothies, candies, pasties etc.
  • Grains: wheat, pasta, oatmeal, cereals, and rice
  • High carb vegetables: potatoes, corn, and carrots
  • Beans: kidney beans, chickpeas, and refried beans
  • Artificial sweeteners and processed foods
  • Unhealthy fats: margarines and vegetable oils
  • Alcohol
  • Fruits 

Are there any side effects from the Ketogenic diet?

Often people notice symptoms when first starting a ketogenic diet called “the keto flu”. These symptoms of nausea, digestive discomfort, increased hunger, headaches and fatigue, typically improve after a few days. There are several suggestions that can help.  One is going a little slower with both decreasing off the carbohydrates and increasing the fats. Another suggestion is drinking more water. I also recommend adding some more minerals to your diet such as by adding Himalayan salt to your water along starting a magnesium supplement.

Are there any supplements that I should take?

As discussed above I typically recommend taking magnesium supplement. There are a couple of other ways to increase your ketone levels including adding MCT oils to your coffee or drink. Second there is a ketone salt supplement that I highly recommend which helps to keep you in a state of ketosis even when your diet is not 100% on tract.

Do you want help starting a ketogenic diet? Message me by filling out form below.

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Kick Start to a Ketogenic Lifestyle

Are you ready to try a ketogenic lifestyle but do not know where to start? Then it is time for you to join my next “Kick Start to a Ketogenic Lifestyle” private Facebook group.

The research surrounding the medical benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle is impressive including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s dementia, cancer, diabetes and as a natural treatment for inflammation.

Are you ready to feel better, have a better mood and more energy?   Are you ready to  have have fewer cravings and lose more fat?  Are you ready to reduce inflammation, decrease pain, and have better recovery from your workouts? Then join me for the next 30 days in my “Kick Start to a Ketogenic Lifestyle” private Facebook group.

Fill out this application and I will get back with you shortly.

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fuel pump

Benefits of fueling your body with ketones

Why Ketones are a better fuel source than glucose

Where do our bodies get the energy to fuel our activities of daily living? 

Glucose is the main fuel source of our bodies, but there is another type of fuel that is available to our bodies, ketones.  Ketones are a natural by-product of fat metabolism.  When the body has run out of glucose to use as fuel it will switch fuel sources and start converting fat into fatty acids and then into ketones.  Our bodies were designed to use this duel source of energy based on how we lived in the caveman days.  In the summer and spring when food was plentiful, cavemen would eat more food and pack on the extra and store it as fat.  Then in the fall and winter when food was scarce, the cavemen would live off that extra stored fat.   Nowadays, since food supply is plentiful all year around and there is no physiological need or demand to live off the stored fat, thus we may just keep packing it on, all year around.

What are the differences between ketones and glucose as a source of energy?

Research suggests that ketones are a better, cleaner source of energy for the body and actually provide more energy than glucose.  Unlike glucose, ketones do not depend on insulin to get into the cells for use. Ketones produce less carbon dioxide and free radicals than when the body uses glucose as a fuel source thus are less toxic for our body, making it a cleaner fuel source. Unfortunately, ketones are harder energy source for our bodies to tap into since they require your body to be in either a starvation mode or at least be in a state of very low in carbohydrates.  Nowadays, the most common way of getting the body to produce ketones, or be in a state of ketosis, is by being on a very low carb diet i.e. a ketogenic diet.  Typically, a ketogenic diet consists of 5-10% carbohydrates, 20-25% protein and 65-75% fats.  As you can imagine this is not easy to achieve.

For those who do achieve ketosis, the benefits to the body and the brain are impressive.  Here are just a few of the benefits that are suggested by the research:

1) Better Brain Function

As a Neurologist this is the benefit of ketosis I have to list first.  If ketones are available, then they are the preferred fuel for the brain over glucose.  Subjectively, this means improved focus and mental cognition.  Objectively, it has been shown to improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.  A ketogenic diet has been used for over 80 years in the treatment of difficult to control seizures.  It is also being studied in: Parkinson’s disease, ALS, traumatic brain injury, and hypoxic brain injury.  Ketosis has also been shown to be beneficial in patients with migraine headaches, ADD, PTSD and depression.

2) Better Athletic Performance

Forget carb loading, for better athletic performance.  Ketones are a better energy source for your workouts.  Ketones provides  more ATP (adenosine triphosphate) than glucose.  Subjectively, many people who achieve ketosis report feeling of increased energy levels.  Having more ATP means more energy to workout longer and harder. Objectively, several studies on endurance athletes have shown that athletes who are in ketosis are able to perform at a higher level for a longer period of time.

3) Fat Loss

When your body is in ketosis it is now literally a ‘fat burning machine’.  Without having carbohydrates/glucose around for energy, your body starts releasing stored fat, which then will be turned into ketones for energy. Thus, inches drop off faster than with a low-fat high carb diet because you are actively burning up your stored fat.  Additionally, high fat diet have a protein (muscle) sparing effect so if you are calorie restricted, your body will be protected against breakdown of skeletal muscle as a source of fuel.

4) Improved Diabetes

Diabetes is either due to a decreased insulin production (type 1 diabetes) or insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is required to transport glucose into the cells for use.   In type 1 diabetes, there is not enough insulin around for the amount of glucose in the body. In type 2 diabetes, the cells are ‘resistant’ to the insulin that is around, and the cells are not able to process the glucose. Since all carbohydrates we eat break down into glucose, treatment of diabetes is often focused around lowering the glucose level, thus eating a low carb diet is recommended. Studies in individuals with type 2 diabetes using either, a very low carbohydrate or a ketogenic diet have had impressive results. These studies have showed that the participants were able to decrease or completely withdrawal off of the use of insulin, along with having major weight loss in a matter of just a few weeks. Also, it has been reported that eating a high fat, ketogenic diet can also improve insulin sensitivity, meaning the insulin that is around works better.

5) Less Inflammation

One of the ketones produced by the body is beta-hydroxybutyrate, has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Reports show individuals eating a ketogenic diet have some symptomatic improvement from rheumatoid arthritis, polycystic ovary disease, migraine headaches, eczema, and other conditions caused by inflammatory processes.

If ketosis is so good for you then why isn’t everyone doing it?

Well, first of all, most mainstream nutritionists and the USDA still recommend carbohydrates as a main staple of our diet.  Second, we live in a world that is addicted to carbohydrates.  Thus, most people simply cannot adhere to the strict diet that is required to get into and stay in ketosis through nutritional adjustments of eating so few carbohydrates.

So what if there was a supplement of exogenous ketones that could put you in therapeutic ketosis within an hour, despite your diet, and allow you to potentially to tap into the above-mentioned benefits without having to be on a strict ketogenic diet?  Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?   Luckily, such a supplement was developed under US Department of Defense commissioned research for use in Navy Seal divers to prevent seizures that could occur in association with using high-oxygen re-breathers (oxygen toxicity).   A ketone supplement that was inspired based on that research and has been released for sale to the public.  If you would like more information about this new ketone supplement check it out.

If you would like some help starting a ketogenic diet I would be happy to help.

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Bibliography

Di Lorenzo, C. e. (2015). Migraine improvement during short lasting ketogenesis: a proof-of concept study. European Journal of Neurology (22), 170–177.
D’Agostino, D. P. (2013). Therapeutic ketosis with ketone ester delays central nervous system oxygen toxicity seizures in rats. American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 304, R829–R836.
Paoli, A. E. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (67), 789-796.
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