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Quieting The Bipolar Mind: Can A Ketogenic Diet Stabilize Mood?

Quieting The Bipolar Mind: Can A Ketogenic Diet Stabilize Mood?

Disclaimer: Please note that I am in no way endorsing nutritional ketosis as a supplement to, or a replacement for medication. There is very little data actually supporting the use of a ketogenic diet as a treatment for bipolar, and a well-documented case where a bipolar patient on valporic acid developed full-blown mania with psychosis after starting a ketogenic diet (thanks to @neurocritic for pointing me to this report; read about it below). This post talks about the theory behind using keto for bipolar disorder and a few recorded clinical cases. Bipolar disorder is often described as a dizzying, sinister and emotionally draining roller-coaster ride. It is marked by dark periods of severe depression interspersed with mania or hypomania – insane energy levels, difficulty concentrating, distorted thinking, euphoria and thoughts that tumble around and around in the brain. To date there is no cure for bipolar disorder, but mood swings can be managed effectively with lithium or anti-seizure medication, such as valporic acid. While effective in many cases, these drugs unfortunately come with a price: in some women lithium may lower thyroid levels causing rapid cycling of depressive-maniac cycles; valporic acid may increase the level of testosterone in young women leading to disruption of menstrual cycles and excess body hair. Many drugs also suffer from the “rebound effect”, where suddenly stopping the medication may worsen bipolar symptoms. In many cases, using a lower drug dose may minimize side effects, but sometimes at the cost of decreased efficacy. What if there’s an alternative way –say, a diet – to stabilize mood in conjunction with drugs? Lucky for mood clinicians, there is in fact a successful pre-existing case: the use of the ketogenic diet to treat Continue reading >>

Sugar Alcohol Facts

Sugar Alcohol Facts

Sugar alcohol sweeteners (also known as polyols) usually contain less calories than regular sugar, and have virtually no impact on blood sugar and dental health. Sounds great, except for some disclaimers: since they can't be digested in the human digestive system, these sweeteners can cause gut issues such as flatulence, bloating and diarrhea. In addition, most of these sweeteners are excreted in the urine, which increases the amount and frequency of urination. This increased urination will result in a higher loss of body minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium and possibly cause muscle cramping. At higher intake amounts, this effect is more pronounced, and in rat studies, has resulted in changes in kidney function and structure. (See this reference: Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995, page 22). Some people with blood sugar issues may experience blood sugar spikes after eating these sweeteners, but this is an individual response. Since all of these types of sugar substitutes contain some calories and carbs, be sure to count them into your daily totals if you are on a low carb diet plan. Below is an overview of the most common sugar alcohol sweeteners: Erythritol Erythritol has about 3/4 the sweetening power as regular sugar, with only a tenth of the calories. One cup of erythritol contains about 10 grams of carbohydrate, and 40 calories. This sugar alcohol is best used in conjunction with other sugar substitutes such as stevia, sucralose and glycerin. Lauren over at the Healthy Indulgences Blog suggests using erythritol in desserts which are of a moist consistency for best results, since erythritol does not attract moisture as regular sugar and some other sweeteners do. Hence, it has a tendency to dry out the foods to wh Continue reading >>

Is Spinach A Performance Enhancing Food? On The Role Of Dietary Nitrates As Ergogenic Aids

Is Spinach A Performance Enhancing Food? On The Role Of Dietary Nitrates As Ergogenic Aids

Do you remember Popeye the Sailor Man and the secret behind his super-human strength? Before punching the bad guys in the face, he used to gulp down a can full of spinach. And, yes, I’m aspiring to write quite seriously about a cartoon. Does it mean that vegans are right and that therefore we should all ditch animal protein and replace it with vegetable sources of incomplete chains of amino acids? Clearly not, and that would be a misinterpretation. The right answer behind Popeye’s physical performance is this: nitrates. A science-based blog where you can find plenty of whole-food based recipes for fueling your physical performance! What Are Nitrates? Nitrates are anions (negative ions) which, once ingested, provide a plethora of significant benefits to the human body. They’re decomposed into nitrites by the action of the bacteria contained in the saliva. These littler molecules then function as “raw material” for producing nitric oxide (NO) upon further redox.[1][2][3] Also, nitrates tend to optimize the rate at which the body is capable of producing ATP from food. Needless to say, more ATP, more available energy![12] Which Foods Contain Nitrates? Unfortunately, it is impossible to find nitrates in a supplement form because of the regulation against sodium nitrate. Therefore, the only possible way to introduce more nitrates in your organism -even if it is still possible to enhance circulating NO trough citrulline supplementation [13]– is by eating more nitrate-rich whole food, green vegetables in particular. The most used veggies which provide an appreciable amount of nitrates are spinach and beetroot (juice, in particular, is the preferred source in the athletic context) [14][15]. However, there are two issues with these sources: Spinach is also rich in oxa Continue reading >>

Obesity And Fitness Are Revolutionized By Reddit, Not Doctors

Obesity And Fitness Are Revolutionized By Reddit, Not Doctors

From reading the article I get the impression that the author isn't that familiar with the scientific literature at all. The evidence he presents against the usefulness of cardio for weight loss compares a group of weightlifters against a group of runners who ran only 20km per week and they still lost marginally more weight than the weightlifters! Cardio really should be a minimum of an hour per day, at least 5 days a week if weight control is the goal. Health benefits accrue much sooner, though. Science certainly hasn't weighed in on favor of high protein diets or abandoning cardio unless you cherry pick specific smaller studies to get what you're looking for. On the other hand there are HUGE studies supporting cardio, both for weight loss and for health. I've written about this many times before on HN: According to the 32,000 person study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1999), "fit persons with any combination of smoking, elevated blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol level had lower adjusted death rates than low-fit persons with none of these characteristics". The same study found that aerobic fitness had a far more important impact on longevity than obesity did. Fantastic Voyage, Kurzweil and Grossman, Chapter 22. Here's a report on a study that monitored over 100,000 people: Paul Williams, Ph.D., author of the study, found that men who ran two or more marathons per year were 41 percent less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, 32 percent less likely to have high cholesterol, and 87 percent less likely to be diabetic than non-marathoners. Those who ran only one marathon every two to five years also had significantly lower risk for these conditions than non-marathoners. The benefits of running marathons were largely independent of total number Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

I’ve put together a very-low-carbohydrate Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet for loss of excess weight. Why ketogenic? Your body gets its energy from either fats, or carbohydrates like glucose and glycogen. In people eating normally, at rest, 50–60% of the energy comes from fats. In a ketogenic diet, the carbohydrate content of the diet is so low that the body has to break down even more of its fat to supply energy needed by most tissues. Fat breakdown produces ketone bodies in the bloodstream. Hence, “ketogenic diet.” Also called “very low-carb diets,” ketogenic diets have been around for over a hundred years. There are several practical advantages over other diets (disputed by some authorities): simplicity unlimited access to many high-protein and fatty foods less trouble with hunger better short-term weight loss than many other diets lower blood sugar levels, which is important to people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, and metabolic syndrome reduced insulin levels in people who often have elevated levels (hyperinsulinemia), which may help reduce chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, and coronary heart disease improved levels of HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which may reduce risk of heart disease it obviously works well for a significant portion of the overweight population, but not for everybody better adherence to the program compared with other diets, at least for the short-term Why Mediterranean? The Mediterranean diet is widely recognized as the healthiest diet. Despite an emphasis on bread, pasta, fruits, legumes, and certain vegetables, the Mediterranean diet has several healthy components compatible with a very low-carb eating style: Although cheese is a component of the traditional Mediterranean diet, I can’t argu Continue reading >>

Causes Of High Uric Acid, Associated Problems, And Fixes

Causes Of High Uric Acid, Associated Problems, And Fixes

While a healthy level (on the high side) of uric acid might correlate with intelligence, elevated uric acid levels can be harmful. Read this post to learn if you should check your uric acid, testing options for it, why uric acid is good or bad, and what to do about it. Contents High Levels of Uric Acid and Diseases Associated with It Causes of High Uric Acid How to Lower Uric Acid Naturally Part 2: Causes of High Uric Acid, Associated Diseases, and Fixes Uric acid (urate) is an end-product of purine degradation in humans. Purines are generated as a final product in the digestion of certain proteins and DNA in the diet, but some are synthesized in the body (R). Uric acid has antioxidant properties but can be pro-oxidant depending on its chemical environment (R). In normal conditions, uric acid is eliminated via urine (R). However, many factors affect the ability of the kidneys to eliminate it efficiently. This results in abnormal blood uric acid levels (too high or too low) High uric acid levels have been linked to (R): Kidney stones Gout High blood pressure Kidney disease Obesity Diabetes Cognitive dysfunction Source: (R) Uric acid is the last step in the breakdown pathway of purines. Purines are converted to hypoxanthine, then to xanthine and finally, to uric acid. For the last two steps in conversion, we need the enzyme xanthine oxidase (uricase). Humans have a mutation that prevents the production of the enzyme that destroys uric acid (uricase) (R). Consequently, humans have higher urate levels (around 240–360 μM) compared to other mammals (around 30–50 μM in mice) (R). Source: (R) Uric acid is removed via the kidney and the gut: through urine (70%) and feces (30%) (R). A uric acid blood test is the most common test used to monitor people who have (R): Gout Lik Continue reading >>

Brain, Livin’ On Ketones – A Molecular Neuroscience Look At The Ketogenic Diet

Brain, Livin’ On Ketones – A Molecular Neuroscience Look At The Ketogenic Diet

Edited October 3, 2013: A 2.0 version of this post can be found at Scientific American MIND Guest blogs, here. And here’s me talking about it. Feel free to check it out! WARNING: Wall of text on the yummy neuroprotective effect of ketosis from a molecular neuroscience point of view. Proceed with caution. Remember when your high school biology teacher said that the brain absolutely NEEDS glucose to function? Well, that’s not entirely true. Under severe carbohydrate restriction, the brain can adapt and start burning ketones as fuel. Originally devised as a therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy in children, the ketogenic diet (keto) has been gaining popularity lately. It’s a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet (LCHF) designed to force the body to go into a state called metabolic ketosis. With the advent of books like “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why we get fat”, LCHF diets are increasingly touted as the magic bullet to weight loss. While there is considerable interest in the medical community in using the ketogenic diet to manage metabolic syndrome or prevent cardiovascular disease, more attention has focused on its role in drug-resistant seizure management and (potentially) neuroprotective effects in brain damage. In the last decade, keto has been shown to improve memory in patients at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, stabilize mood in type II bipolar disorder, reduce symptoms in Parkinson’s disease and even ameliorate some behavioral and social deficits in autism. Keto also seems to decrease brain cancer progression. ALL without observable side effects. Although most of these studies were unblinded (hence placebo can’t be ruled out), the effect is still amazing. What is going on in the brain? And why aren’t pharmaceutical companies Continue reading >>

10 Proven Health Benefits Of Low-carb And Ketogenic Diets

10 Proven Health Benefits Of Low-carb And Ketogenic Diets

Low-carb diets have been controversial for decades. They were originally demonized by fat-phobic health professionals and the media. People believed that these diets would raise cholesterol and cause heart disease because of the high fat content. However… times are changing. Since the year 2002, over 20 human studies have been conducted on low-carb diets. In almost every one of those studies, low-carb diets come out ahead of the diets they are compared to. Not only does low-carb cause more weight loss, it also leads to major improvements in most risk factors… including cholesterol. Here are the 10 proven health benefits of low-carb and ketogenic diets. 1. Low-Carb Diets Kill Your Appetite (in a Good Way) Hunger is the single worst side effect of dieting. It is one of the main reasons why many people feel miserable and eventually give up on their diets. One of the best things about eating low-carb is that it leads to an automatic reduction in appetite (1). The studies consistently show that when people cut carbs and eat more protein and fat, they end up eating much fewer calories. In fact… when researchers are comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in studies, they need to actively restrict calories in the low-fat groups to make the results comparable (2). Bottom Line: When people cut carbs, their appetite tends to go down and they often end up eating much fewer calories without trying. 2. Low-Carb Diets Lead to More Weight Loss Cutting carbs is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight. Studies show that people on low-carb diets lose more weight, faster, than people on low-fat diets… even when the low-fat dieters are actively restricting calories. One of the reasons for this is that low-carb diets tend to get rid of excess water from the body. Bec Continue reading >>

Celebs Over 40 Are Obsessed With The Keto Diet. Here’s Everything You Need To Know Before Trying It.

Celebs Over 40 Are Obsessed With The Keto Diet. Here’s Everything You Need To Know Before Trying It.

There was once a time when low-fat cookies, chips, and peanut butter were considered “healthy choices.” Oh, how times have changed! Ever since studies began surfacing showing that low-carb, high-fat diets can be more effective for weight loss than low-fat plans, more and more health-conscious folks have fully embraced fat. Sales of whole-fat milk and yogurt have soared in recent years, and most nutritionists now tell their clients to incorporate fatty foods like fish, avocado, and olive oil into their diets. The reemergence of all this creamy goodness has led to a century-old diet making a major comeback: the ketogenic diet. Celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Mick Jagger are both rumored to have taken the plan for a test drive. (Got 10 minutes? Then you've got time to lose the weight for good with Prevention's new 10-minute workouts and 10-minute meals. Get Fit in 10: Slim and Strong for Life now!) Those following the keto diet plan eat a lot of fat and just a few carbohydrates. More specifically, 80% of the diet is comprised of fat, 15% is protein, and a mere 5% of calories come from carbohydrates. For someone on a 1,500-calorie diet, that translates to 19 grams of carbohydrates per day, which is less than what you find in a cup of green peas. (For some context, most people’s diets contain 55% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 15% protein.) The idea is that if you deplete yourself of carbohydrates, the brain’s preferred fuel source, your body will start breaking down fat for energy. When this occurs, the body goes into a state of ketosis. But does this really fuel weight loss or make us healthier? According to one Spanish study of 20 obese adults, the answer is yes. For the study, participants were put on a low-calorie keto diet and lost an average of 40 pound Continue reading >>

What Is The Ketogenic Diet? A Crash Course To Eating Keto

What Is The Ketogenic Diet? A Crash Course To Eating Keto

The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet that provides substantial amounts of protein. Although it has recently gained a great deal of popularity, the keto diet has been used for treating various illnesses for thousands of years. Ketogenic diets and similar versions have been traced back as far as 500 BC. In 1910, the first studies were performed on fasting as a treatment for epilepsy in France. It was concluded that seizures ceased completely during fasting. Later studies revealed that starvation enhanced mental activity significantly. However, fasting cannot go on indefinitely.In 1924, Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic developed a treatment plan for patients with epilepsy using a ketogenic diet. He had previously used it to prolong ketosis in diabetic patients. Around the same time, physicians at Johns Hopkins Department of Pediatrics, Howland and Gamble, noted that “prayer, a water diet and three to four weeks of fasting” reduced seizures in one pediatric patient. The diet became commonly prescribed treatment for epilepsy by the 1930s. A study performed by Dr. Livingston at Johns Hopkins found that 1000 patients following a ketogenic diet confirmed that their seizures were under control. Treatment using ketogenic diets began to decline with the development of anti-seizure medications. What is Keto? Keto is derived from and commonly used to refer to the word ketone. A ketone is an organic compound composed of a carbonyl group bonded to two hydrocarbon groups. There are many different types of ketones including sugars. In the body, ketones are produced when fat is broken down to supply energy. They are essentially small fragments of carbon. Typically, the body gets energy from carbohydrates in the diet. If there is a deficiency in carbohydrates, 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 >>

Epilepsy Miracle Diet Cuts Seizures Drugs Can't

Epilepsy Miracle Diet Cuts Seizures Drugs Can't

(CBS) What do you call a father who makes his grade-schooler eat heavy cream, butter, bacon, eggs, and whole-fat yogurt mixed with coconut oil? If the child has epilepsy, you might call him a good dad. Sounds implausible, but research has shown that a super-high fat, low-carbohydrate diet can cut the frequency of seizures in kids with epilepsy. One dad familiar with the diet, Fred Vogelstein, wrote about it recently in the New York Times. His nine-year-old son Sam has epilepsy, and before going on the diet he had as many as 30 seizures a day - and they couldn't be controlled with antiseizure medication. Sam's diet - which is almost 90 percent fat - "tricks" the body into starvation mode, which causes it to burn fat, and not carbohydrates, according to Vogelstein. "Remarkably, and for reasons that are still unclear, this process - called ketosis - has an antiepileptic effect," he writes. The ketogenic diet - "keto" for short - is not some fringe treatment. It was developed almost 80 years ago, according to the Epilepsy Foundation website. And it helps two out of three children who try it, preventing seizures completely in one out of three. But the diet has its downsides. Sam has to drink lots of water to avoid kidney stones, and he has to use stool softeners to cope with chronic constipation, according to his dad. Plus, he has to take a daily multivitamin and calcium-magnesium supplement. Otherwise, "his growth would be stunted, his hair and teeth would fall out, and his bones would become as brittle as an 80 year-old's." But for Sam and his dad, those problems are a small price to pay. Three million Americans have epilepsy, including more than 325,000 children under the age of 15, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet Faq: All You Need To Know

Ketogenic Diet Faq: All You Need To Know

Below is an list of the most commonly asked questions about the ketogenic diet. Simply click on the question you're interested in and it will take you right to the answer. If you have any more questions, please let me know by leaving a comment and I'll add it to the list! KetoDiet Basic Facts Foods & Diet Plans Health Concerns Troubleshooting 3 free diet plans to help you kickstart your diet, lose weight and get healthy Recipes, giveaways and exclusive deals delivered directly to your inbox A chance to win the KetoDiet app every week KetoDiet Basic Facts Why is it that conventional diets don't work? Most of us would say we get fat simply because we get lazy and eat more. But what if it's the other way round? What if we just get fat and as a result we eat more and become lazy? For the last decades we have been given wrong advice about nutrition and effects of fatty foods on putting on weight. What if the main problem is that due to our modern diets we cannot satisfy our appetite? A study on this subject concluded with a surprising result: the fatter people get, the more inactive they become, not the other way round. And what if the interests of the authorities offering advice are influenced by economic reasons? To learn more about this, I recommend you watch The Food Revolution on Youtube Ketogenic diets are, in fact, closely related to the Paleolithic diet. Both exclude carbohydrates and aim at eating real food. Today carbohydrates make the majority of our diet and have significant implications for our health including hormone balance. For example, insulin, which is responsible for storing fat in our body, is greatly affected by excessive carbohydrate consumption. Carbohydrates are without doubt the most fattening element in our diets. Based on studies performed over th Continue reading >>

Lemon Water And Ketosis? You Better Believe It

Lemon Water And Ketosis? You Better Believe It

Just so we are all on the same pager here… Yes, you need to be drinking lemon water daily if you are on this high fat diet. When you are going keto, your PH balance actually decrease meaning your body is becoming more acidic. This is due to a couple of reasons Ketones are actually an acid Some of the food you eat, lead to higher levels of uric acid in the body Both of which effect your body’s PH levels This build up of uric acid can come from a handful of different foods we eat. Uric acid is the byproduct of certain proteins called purines. Some common sources of purines are: Game Meats Turkey Beer Seafood Caffeine These sources coupled with getting into Ketosis, which also boost uric acid can be a driving force behind elevated uric acid levels.. When uric acid levels get too high in the body, they can crystalize or even turn into gout (sever joint pain)… which is not good for anybody The other reason why lemon water is so important is because it counter acts kidney stones. Eating certain healthy foods… like the ones we generally eat on keto.. Kale Spinach Nuts Lentils/legumes (not so keto) ..are actually high in oxalates and when combined with calcium in the kidney you can develop kidney stones.. Thankfully the citric acid in lemon (and lime) juice is the remedy for both of these issues. When consumed, lemon juice actually turns into an alkaline substance in the body… …Which not only alkalizes your PH but also neutralizes uric acid crystals as well as dissolves/prevents kidney stones. The reason this is important is because consuming lemon water actually let’s you continue to eat all the foods listed above with no issues down the road. Not to mention, lemons are also a fantastic source of vitamin C which play a huge role in the body.. Most importantly str Continue reading >>

The Paleo Diet And Kidney Stones

The Paleo Diet And Kidney Stones

A long time ago…well, it was actually only about 3 years ago, but it certainly feels like a long time ago…when I first began my Nutritional Odyssey, one of the first stops on my quest, was the Ketogenic diet. I read Lyle McDonald’s book “The Ketogenic Diet”, and promptly lost 24lbs of pure body-fat over the next two months. I wasn’t interested in the Ketogenic Diet as it pertains to the form of the diet that some progressive doctors are prescribing to children with Epilepsy, I was more concerned about the weight-loss and body-building applications as they pertained to me. It was obvious to me at the time, that the general consensus was that there is a high risk of Kidney stones while on a Ketogenic diet, and that Potassium supplementation was highly recommended to combat this heightened risk. Why is there a higher risk of Kidney Stones while on a Ketogenic Diet? Kidney stones are a frequent occurrence on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. [1, 2, 3] About 1 in 20 children on the ketogenic diet develop kidney stones per year, compared with one in several thousand among the general population. [] On children who follow the ketogenic diet for six years, the incidence of kidney stones is about 25% []. A 100-fold odds ratio is hardly ever seen in medicine. There must be some fundamental cause of kidney stones that is dramatically promoted by clinical ketogenic diets. Just over half of ketogenic diet kidney stones are composed of uric acid and just under half of calcium oxalate mixed with calcium phosphate or uric acid. Among the general public, about 85% of stones are calcium oxalate mixes and about 10% are uric acid. So, roughly speaking, uric acid kidney stones are 500-fold more frequent on the ketogenic diet and calcium oxalate stones are 50-fold more frequent. Continue reading >>

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