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Brain Ketones Vs Glucose

Burn Your Own Fat For Fuel Using Ketones

Burn Your Own Fat For Fuel Using Ketones

Have you ever heard of a ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet means your body is using ketones for energy production rather than sugar. Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the body, and are produced when eating a high fat and low carbohydrate diet. This type of diet is called "ketogenic" because your body is in a state of "ketosis" meaning fueled by ketones rather than sugar (aka glucose). Here are 9 reasons why you want your body to be fueled by ketones instead of sugar: 1. You literally burn your own fat for energy Your body can run on either glucose or ketones. Which would you choose? Well, when you look at what this actually means: Glucose is produced from the breakdown of glycogen (strings of glucose), this means you are burning glycogen to produce fuel for your body. Ketones on the other hand are produced from the breakdown of fat (fatty acids), this means you are literally burning your own fat stores to produce energy. You can make ketones from eating very low carb (sub 50 net carbs), fasting, or consuming a product that can induce or supply the production of ketones (such as MCT oil). 2. No more “Hangry” You know that feeling when are so starving that every little thing is irritating, and you need to eat right. NOW? Terrible feeling right? Blame the carbs! After a blood sugar spike from eating carbs, this will trigger insulin whose job is to get that sugar out of your blood as fast as it can (because sugar in your blood is toxic and inflammatory), resulting in an even lower blood sugar than you started with. Low blood sugar (aka hypoglycemia) is that terrible anxiousness you are feeling. No bueno! And how do you make that feeling go away the fastest? Eating sugar. And the vicious cycle continues. Fat is the only macronutrient that won't raise blood sugar, Continue reading >>

Are Carbs Helping Or Destroying Your Brain?

Are Carbs Helping Or Destroying Your Brain?

Your brain is a complicated organ. Extremely complicated. In fact, the human brain is complicated enough that the human brain can’t even understand the human brain. Modern science has discovered many interesting factoids about how our brains function, including things like the location of our memory center, the location of our speech center, where long term memories are formed, and how sleep restores neurological function. Yet despite a very deep understanding of this mysterious organ, scientists routinely debate the answer to an incredibly basic question: Are carbohydrates good or bad for your brain? It’s a simple question, really. But the answer is complicated. Very complicated. Attempting to understand how to fuel your brain optimally is a challenging task indeed. Read 10 articles on the internet and you’re presented with 10 different answers. Read 10 more articles and you’re bound to get extremely confused. In the quest for understanding what foods fuel your brain optimally, there seem to be two main reoccurring themes, shown below. In order to get to the bottom of this debate, let’s dig into basic brain physiology. Theme #1: Your brain loves carbohydrates Your Brain Is A Glucose Hog Make no mistake, your brain is the most selfish organ in your body. Think of your brain as a metabolic pig – constantly taking energy from the bloodstream and storing none of it for itself. It’s no wonder that your brain is one of the hungriest organs in your body – more than 80 billion neurons are sending and receiving electrical signals 24 hours a day, creating complex thoughts and emotions. Even when you are asleep, neurons in your brain are busy sending a flurry of electrical signals from one region to the next, consolidating memories and information from the previou Continue reading >>

Ketones Are Transported By The Brain Vs Glucose

Ketones Are Transported By The Brain Vs Glucose

There is a tremendous amount of information about what is the “preferred fuel source” for the brain. What we do know is the sugar/glucose leads to Alzheimers aks “Type 3 Diabetes” Ketones are transported into the brain via a different set of transporters than those that transport glucose, and their uptake is independent of glucose uptake. The ketone transporters are ubiquitously expressed at a basal state, and therefore will be taken up if present in the blood. These transporters will be upregulated with increasing levels and duration of ketosis, but even in a normal non-ketotic state, the transporters are present (they also transport other metabolites which are always present, such as pyruvate and lactate). It has been demonstrated that ketones are taken up and metabolized by the brain in direct proportion to their arterial concentration. Thus, elevating blood ketones will result in tissue uptake and utilization, irregardless of glucose concentration or glycogen capacity. References here: Link: Am J Physiol. 1996 May;270(5 Pt 1):E746-51. Changes in cerebral blood flow and carbohydrate metabolism during acute hyperketonemia. Abstract During starvation, brain energy metabolism in humans changes toward oxidation of ketone bodies. To investigate if this shift is directly coupled to circulating blood concentrations of ketone bodies, we measured global cerebral blood flow (CBF) and global cerebral carbohydrate metabolism with the Kety-Schmidt technique before and during intravenous infusion with ketone bodies. During acute hyperketonemia (mean beta-hydroxybutyrate blood concentration 2.16 mM), cerebral uptake of ketones increased from 1.11 to 5.60 mumol.100 g-1.min-1, counterbalanced by an equivalent reduction of the cerebral glucose metabolism from 25.8 to 17.2 mumo Continue reading >>

Your Brain On Ketones

Your Brain On Ketones

Ketogenic diets have been prescribed for seizures for a long time. The actual research diets used in the past were pretty dismal and seemed to involve drinking a lot of cream and eating a lot of mayonnaise. At Johns Hopkins, pediatric patients were admitted to the hospital for a 48 hour fast and then given eggnog (minus the rum and sugar, I'm guessing) until ketosis was achieved (usually took about 4 days). In addition, ketogenic diets were calorie restricted to just 75-90% of what would be considered a child's usual calorie intake, and often they were fluid-restricted too (1)! If we're talking soybean oil mayonnaise, you could see how someone could get into trouble with mineral deficiencies and liver problems pretty quickly. To understand "dismal," some of the latest research showed that a "modified Atkins protocol" was just as good as the classic ketogenic diet, and so much more liberating, as the patients were allowed up to 10 grams of carbohydrates daily, and they didn't begin with the fast, and they weren't calorie restricted (2)(3). While the classic ketogenic diet was 4:1:1 fat to carbs to protein. If you use MCT oil for 50% of your calories (have to add it in slowly though to prevent vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping!), you could increase the carbohydrates and proteins to a 1.2:1:1 fat:carb:protein and still get the same numbers of magical ketones circulating. And while "MCT oil" sounds nice and yummy when it is gorgeous coconut milk, this MCT Oil 100% Pure 32 fl.oz doesn't look quite as appetizing, especially when that is going the be half of what you eat for the foreseeable future (4). You can see why researchers consider ketogenic diets (especially the original versions) to be extremely difficult and unappetizing (they were), whereas seasoned low-carbers (who Continue reading >>

Keto Diet: Ketones Vs Glucose For Brain Function | Advanced Nutrition

Keto Diet: Ketones Vs Glucose For Brain Function | Advanced Nutrition

Ketosis is a metabolic state where the liver takes proteins and fat and produces molecules to use for energy. Ketosis allows a starving person to survive for days (or even months). Some athletes see improvements while others feel miserable whenever they are in a condition that is ketogenic. Is a ketogenic diet right for you? Ketogenic Diet and the Brain Your brain is about 2 percent of your body mass, even though it requires approximately 20 percent of your basal metabolic rate, more if you are a thinker. Various parts of your brain use different amounts of glucose, and almost twice as much in the morning. You will need to fuel your mind more if you are using your mind working hard through the day and solving problems. If you’re working more on engine control, (state a skill involving precision or equilibrium), then you will use less glucose. Many people can attest to how much energy is used by the brain when challenged. Although sugar is run off by our brains rather than fat, they are also able to run off of ketones as an alternate fuel source. People who market diets tend to be aware the simple fact that an increase in ketones improves repair and the healing of neurons and increases the neurotransmitter GABA. (GABA makes it possible to sleep. It’s also the main neurotransmitter that sleep drugs and antipsychotic drugs influence.) Due to the impact of ketones on the brain, a ketogenic diet can really help those with seizures. Of course, ketosis means you’re burning far more fat, (in the form of ketones), for energy compared to glucose, and also, for the most part, that’s usually great thing. You won’t venture to some harmful diabetic ketosis amount as long as you are generating even only a tiny amount of insulin. So as long as you are not Type 2 or a Type 1, Continue reading >>

The Fat-fueled Brain: Unnatural Or Advantageous?

The Fat-fueled Brain: Unnatural Or Advantageous?

Disclaimer: First things first. Please note that I am in no way endorsing nutritional ketosis as a supplement to, or a replacement for medication. As you’ll see below, data exploring the potential neuroprotective effects of ketosis are still scarce, and we don’t yet know the side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. This post talks about the SCIENCE behind ketosis, and is not meant in any way as medical advice. The ketogenic diet is a nutritionist’s nightmare. High in saturated fat and VERY low in carbohydrates, “keto” is adopted by a growing population to paradoxically promote weight loss and mental well-being. Drinking coffee with butter? Eating a block of cream cheese? Little to no fruit? To the uninitiated, keto defies all common sense, inviting skeptics to wave it off as an unnatural “bacon-and-steak” fad diet. Yet versions of the ketogenic diet have been used to successfully treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children since the 1920s – potentially even back in the biblical ages. Emerging evidence from animal models and clinical trials suggest keto may be therapeutically used in many other neurological disorders, including head ache, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, autism and brain cancer. With no apparent side effects. Sound too good to be true? I feel ya! Where are these neuroprotective effects coming from? What’s going on in the brain on a ketogenic diet? Ketosis in a nutshell In essence, a ketogenic diet mimics starvation, allowing the body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis (key-tow-sis). Normally, human bodies are sugar-driven machines: ingested carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is mainly transported and used as energy or stored as glycogen in liver and muscle tissue. When deprived of d Continue reading >>

Ketones: Your Brain’s Preferred Fuel Source

Ketones: Your Brain’s Preferred Fuel Source

Ketones have long been touted as a superior fuel source for the brain that possesses a wide array of cognitive benefits. Our brains are made up of two types of cells, neurons, and glial cells, and both are imperative for our brains to function properly (1). Under normal physiological conditions, the principle energy source utilized by the brain cells is glucose (2). Glucose transporters saturate brain capillaries to allow glucose to cross the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, glucose is metabolized to pyruvate which enters the mitochondria of the brain cells to ultimately generate energy through aerobic metabolism (3). However, ketone bodies may also provide energy to the brain through different mechanisms. Brain Fuel In addition to glucose, brain cells can derive energy from monocarboxylates which include lactate and the ketone bodies beta-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) and acetoacetate (AcAc) (2). It is controversial whether or not lactate can be used as a fuel source in the brain; however, many laboratories have reported that BHB is a major fuel supplier for the brain, especially under specific physiological conditions (3,4). BHB and glucose do not nourish the brain uniformly but rather have specific areas of localization. BHB accumulates primarily in the pituitary and pineal glands, as well as in portions of the hypothalamus, and the lower cortical layers (4). Physiological conditions that elevate BHB and consequently provide increased energy to the aforementioned areas of the brain include starvation, fasting, pregnancy, prolonged exercise, uremia, during the prenatal period, infancy, during the chronic consumption of a high fat/low carbohydrate ketogenic diet, and possibly even ketone supplementation (4). Ketones: Brain’s Utilization Capacity Low circulating gluc Continue reading >>

Ketosis Makes Your Brain Work Better

Ketosis Makes Your Brain Work Better

Every morning for the last four and a half months, I’ve broken off a large chunk of grass fed butter (usually around 50 grams or just over three tablespoons) and a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and thrown them in a blender with my morning coffee. You might have heard of this idea, dubbed ‘bulletproof coffee’ and created by a guy called Dave Asprey. 1 (this essay was originally posted at Aaron’s blog HERE) You might ask why the hell somebody might want to put butter in their coffee, but all you’d be proving is that you haven’t tried it (because it tastes amazing) and according to Dave Asprey, apparently will help make you healthier, feel better, perform better, think better – everything short of give you superpowers. Now, I didn’t want to like Dave Asprey… he’s just a little bit too charming – especially once you realize he’s created a whole line of supplements and other consumables that meet his extra-special toxin-free super-executive standards. I tried his upgraded mycotoxin free coffee beans and didn’t notice any difference between them and any other local fancy-shmancy coffee I’ve purchased since – not that I doubt that some people are more sensitive to these toxins, I just didn’t notice a difference. Nevertheless, I do like him. He does a good podcast and he clued me into something that I previously would have thought was completely insane, but now am starting to think is key to keep my brain working optimally – eating a high fat diet. A diet that is high in fat (60-70% of calories), is almost by definition low in carbs, and this means that when eating a high fat diet, it is likely that one is at least partially and some of the time in a state of ketosis. For those of you who don’t know, ketosis is what it is called when the Continue reading >>

Ketones Suppress Brain Glucose Consumption

Ketones Suppress Brain Glucose Consumption

Go to: 1. INTRODUCTION Neurodegeneration after oxidative stress limits the recovery of tissue response and appears to be caused by impaired glycolysis. If indeed there is a defect in glucose metabolism it might be beneficial to supplement energy metabolism with an alternate substrate. It was suggested that brain can supplement glucose as the principal energy substrate with ketone bodies1–3 without altering oxygen consumption4,5. Classic studies of ketosis induced by fasting or starvation in humans showed that brain function was maintained which was attributed to the utilization (oxidation) of ketone bodies as alternate energy substrates to glucose by the brain6. Rats that have been fasted for 2–3 days showed no difference in cerebral blood flow (CBF) or CMRO27. One mechanism by which ketosis might be beneficial is through the metabolic step where ketones enter the TCA cycle at the level of citrate bypassing glycolysis, the step after pyruvate dehydrogenase complex where the enzyme activity is often impaired. Through feed-back regulation, ketones are known to down regulate glycolytic rates at various levels such as citrate, phosphofructokinase and/or hexokinase. In addition, particularly in brain, ketones are a carbon source for glutamate (anaplerosis) and thus help to balance glutamate/glutamine homeostasis through stabilization of energy metabolism in astrocyte following recovery from a hypoxic/ischemic event. Based on our experiments and evidence in the literature, we have developed the hypothesis that ketones are effective against pathology associated with altered glucose metabolism, the rationale being that ketosis helps to regulate glucose metabolism. In this study, the effects of ketosis on the local cerebral metabolic rate of glucose consumption (CMRglu) were Continue reading >>

Ketosis In An Evolutionary Context

Ketosis In An Evolutionary Context

Humans are unique in their remarkable ability to enter ketosis. They’re also situated near the top of the food chain. Coincidence? During starvation, humans rapidly enter ketosis; they do this better than king penguins, and bears don’t do it at all. Starvation ketosis Humans maintain a high level of functionality during starvation. We can still hunt & plan; some would even argue it’s a more finely tuned state, cognitively. And that’s important, because if we became progressively weaker and slower, chances of acquiring food would rapidly decline. Perhaps this is why fasting bears just sleep most of the time: no ketones = no bueno..? Animals with a low brain/carcass weight ratio (ie, small brain) don’t need it. Babies and children have a higher brain/carcass weight ratio, so they develop ketosis more rapidly than adults. Is this a harmful process? No, more likely an evolutionary adaptation which supports the brain. The brain of newborn babies consumes a huge amount of total daily energy, and nearly half comes from ketones. A week or so later, even after the carbohydrate content of breast milk increases, they still don’t get “kicked out of ketosis” (Bourneres et al., 1986). If this were a harmful state, why would Nature have done this? …and all those anecdotes, like babies learn at incredibly rapid rates… coincidence? Maybe they’re myths. Maybe not. Ketosis in the animal kingdom Imagine a hibernating bear: huge adipose tissue but small brain fuel requirement relative to body size and total energy expenditure. No ketosis, because brain accounts for less than 5% of total metabolism. In adult humans, this is around 19-23%, and babies are much higher (eg, Cahill and Veech, 2003 & Hayes et al., 2012). For the rest of this article and more, head over to Pat Continue reading >>

A Diet To Protect The Brain

A Diet To Protect The Brain

Most people go on a “diet” to lose weight, but research has found that certain diets confer special benefits beyond weight loss –the proper diet can go so far as to help treat diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and even brain cancer. Fasting has been used since ancient times to treat epilepsy. The ketogenic diet (KD), a low carbohydrate, high fat diet introduced in the early twentieth century, was developed as an alternative to fasting. The KD was subsequently found to induce weight loss, paving the way for the low-carb weight loss movement, e.g. the Atkins diet. Overall, clinical studies of epilepsy and the KD show that about half of patients with epilepsy who try the KD experience significant relief from their seizures. Epilepsy is a condition characterized by the occurrence of repeated seizures over the course of a person’s lifetime. Seizures are caused by abnormal bursts of activity in the brain that can lead to convulsions or other stereotyped mannerisms such as lip-smacking, arm waving, or even just blank stares. Close to 2 million Americans have epilepsy and about one third of cases are not alleviated by the use of antiepileptic drugs. Despite the fact that the KD has been around for over a century, it is often recommended as a last resort for patients with epilepsy. A high fat, low carbohydrate, low protein diet is quite different than the average western diet and can cause digestive tract discomfort, making it difficult to maintain. For example, an example meal for someone on the KD would be chicken breast served with mayonnaise or a slice of turkey with gravy made from coconut flour, rather than a wheat derived flour that has many more carbohydrates. The KD allows for about 10g of carbohydrates a day, roughly a quarter cup of cooked chic Continue reading >>

The Fat Burning Brain: What Are The Cognitive Effects Of Ketosis?

The Fat Burning Brain: What Are The Cognitive Effects Of Ketosis?

41 Comments Although mainstream sources still mistake “the brain needs glucose” for “the brain can only run on glucose,” regular MDA readers know the truth: given sufficient adaptation, the brain can derive up to 75% of its fuel from ketone bodies, which the liver constructs using fatty acids. If we could only use glucose, we wouldn’t make it longer than a few days without food. If our brains couldn’t utilize fat-derived ketones, we’d drop dead as soon as our liver had exhausted its capacity to churn out glucose. We’d waste away, our lean tissue dissolving into amino acids for hepatic conversion into glucose to feed our rapacious brains. You’d end up a skeletal wraith with little else but your brain and a hypertrophied liver remaining until, eventually, the latter cannibalized itself in a last ditch search for glucose precursors for the tyrant upstairs. It would get ugly. That’s adaptation. But is there an actual cognitive advantage to running on ketones? Maybe. It depends. It certainly helps people with neurodegeneration. People whose brains suffer from impaired glucose utilization see cognitive benefits from ketones. In Alzheimer’s disease, aging-related cognitive decline, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease, brain glucose uptake is depressed—even before any actual cognitive decline appears. Despite high glucose availability, the aging, epileptic, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s brain can’t utilize enough of it to handle cognition. Enter ketones. Ketones act as an alternative energy source for the glucose-starved brains. It’s no coincidence that ketogenic diets can improve symptoms (and in some cases abolish them) and cognitive function in all four conditions. Okay, but those are in unhealthy people with existing (or looming) neurological d Continue reading >>

Glucose Vs Ketones For The Brain - Ray Peat Q&a

Glucose Vs Ketones For The Brain - Ray Peat Q&a

I wouldn't care if keto is proven to be the best all around diet for health and longevity, I still wouldn't choose it. I hate the idea of becoming so sensitive to carbs that they would put you in a coma if you decided to eat a big carb meal. I think you can have the best of both worlds if you play your cards right. Lately I'm hearing a lot of people raving about a 40 40 20 (Carbs, fat, protein) macro ratio. Throw in some resistant starch to make some butyrate and you've got a high carb and hight fat diet that has ketone like brain fuel, while having plenty of carbs to promote higher thyroid, and fat for making hormones, fuel and structure for some tissues. It makes sense why a diet with this ratio would feel so good. You don't need to make glucose, because you're eating all you need from fruit, potatoes and rice. You don't need to make protein, because you're eating enough of the good quality animal ones your body has many uses for. You don't need to make fats, because you're eating types your body can easily put to use. Throw in some good quality egg yolks and your body doesn't need to make as much cholesterol either. I find when I eat like this I don't have to eat quite as much as when I restrict one macronutrient or dietary cholesterol and still feel energetic and strong. Low fat I need about 3500 calories or more. On 40 40 20 (with cholesterol), I feel good at about 2500 calories. Continue reading >>

Ketone Bodies

Ketone Bodies

Ketone bodies Acetone Acetoacetic acid (R)-beta-Hydroxybutyric acid Ketone bodies are three water-soluble molecules (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and their spontaneous breakdown product, acetone) that are produced by the liver from fatty acids[1] during periods of low food intake (fasting), carbohydrate restrictive diets, starvation, prolonged intense exercise,[2], alcoholism or in untreated (or inadequately treated) type 1 diabetes mellitus. These ketone bodies are readily picked up by the extra-hepatic tissues, and converted into acetyl-CoA which then enters the citric acid cycle and is oxidized in the mitochondria for energy.[3] In the brain, ketone bodies are also used to make acetyl-CoA into long-chain fatty acids. Ketone bodies are produced by the liver under the circumstances listed above (i.e. fasting, starving, low carbohydrate diets, prolonged exercise and untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus) as a result of intense gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources (not including fatty acids).[1] They are therefore always released into the blood by the liver together with newly produced glucose, after the liver glycogen stores have been depleted (these glycogen stores are depleted after only 24 hours of fasting)[1]. When two acetyl-CoA molecules lose their -CoAs, (or Co-enzyme A groups) they can form a (covalent) dimer called acetoacetate. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a reduced form of acetoacetate, in which the ketone group is converted into an alcohol (or hydroxyl) group (see illustration on the right). Both are 4-carbon molecules, that can readily be converted back into acetyl-CoA by most tissues of the body, with the notable exception of the liver. Acetone is the decarboxylated form of acetoacetate which cannot be converted Continue reading >>

Keto Diet: Ketones Vs Glucose For Brain Function | Advanced Nutrition

Keto Diet: Ketones Vs Glucose For Brain Function | Advanced Nutrition

Ketosis is a metabolic state where the liver takes proteins and fat and produces molecules to use for energy. Ketosis allows a starving person to survive for days (or even months). Some athletes see improvements while others feel miserable whenever they are in a condition that is ketogenic. Is a ketogenic diet right for you? Ketogenic Diet and the Brain Your brain is about 2 percent of your body mass, even though it requires approximately 20 percent of your basal metabolic rate, more if you are a thinker. Various parts of your brain use different amounts of glucose, and almost twice as much in the morning. You will need to fuel your mind more if you are using your mind working hard through the day and solving problems. If you’re working more on engine control, (state a skill involving precision or equilibrium), then you will use less glucose. Many people can attest to how much energy is used by the brain when challenged. Although sugar is run off by our brains rather than fat, they are also able to run off of ketones as an alternate fuel source. People who market diets tend to be aware the simple fact that an increase in ketones improves repair and the healing of neurons and increases the neurotransmitter GABA. (GABA makes it possible to sleep. It’s also the main neurotransmitter that sleep drugs and antipsychotic drugs influence.) Due to the impact of ketones on the brain, a ketogenic diet can really help those with seizures. Of course, ketosis means you’re burning far more fat, (in the form of ketones), for energy compared to glucose, and also, for the most part, that’s usually great thing. You won’t venture to some harmful diabetic ketosis amount as long as you are generating even only a tiny amount of insulin. So as long as you are not Type 2 or a Type 1, Continue reading >>

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