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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 >>

Empiric Use Of Potassium Citrate Reduces Kidney-stone Incidence With The Ketogenic Diet

Empiric Use Of Potassium Citrate Reduces Kidney-stone Incidence With The Ketogenic Diet

Abstract OBJECTIVE: Kidney stones are an adverse event with the ketogenic diet (KD), occurring in ∼6% of children who are started on this therapy for intractable epilepsy. Potassium citrate (Polycitra K) is a daily oral supplement that alkalinizes the urine and solubilizes urine calcium, theoretically reducing the risk for kidney stones. METHODS: Children who started the KD from 2000 to 2008 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, with at least 1 month of follow-up, were evaluated (N = 313). From 2000 to 2005, children were treated with daily Polycitra K at 2 mEq/kg per day only in the setting of identified hypercalciuria, whereas, since 2006, it has been started for all children empirically at KD onset. RESULTS: Polycitra K was administered to 198 children preventatively overall, 4 (2.0%) of whom developed kidney stones, compared with 11 (10.5%) of 105 who did not receive Polycitra K (P = .003). Two children since 2006 refused Polycitra K, 1 of whom developed a kidney stone. Successful empiric administration of Polycitra K at KD onset resulted in a kidney-stone incidence of 0.9% (1 of 106) compared with administration only because of hypercalciuria, 6.7% (13 of 195; P = .02). Polycitra K resulted in less acidic urine (mean pH: 6.8 vs 6.2; P = .002) but not reduced serum acidosis. No adverse effects of oral citrates were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Oral potassium citrate is an effective preventive supplement against kidney stones in children who receive the KD, achieving its goal of urine alkalinization. Universal supplementation is warranted. Abstract OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to compare on a national cohort of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the concurrent use of ≥3 psychotropic medications between children in foster care and children who have disabili Continue reading >>

8 Natural Remedies To Fight Kidney Stones At Home

8 Natural Remedies To Fight Kidney Stones At Home

Kidney stones are a common health problem for many people. Passing these stones can be incredibly painful. And, unfortunately, people who have experienced kidney stones are more likely to get them again (1). However, there are a few things you can do to reduce this risk. This article explains what kidney stones are and outlines 8 dietary ways to fight them. Also known as renal stones or nephrolithiasis, kidney stones are composed of hard, solid waste materials that build up in the kidneys and form crystals. Four main types exist, but about 80% of all stones are calcium oxalate stones. Less common forms include struvite, uric acid and cysteine (2, 3). While smaller stones are usually not a problem, larger stones may cause a blockage in part of the urinary system as they leave the body. This can lead to severe pain, vomiting and bleeding. Kidney stones are a common health problem. In fact, about 12% of US men and 5% of US women will develop a kidney stone during their lifetime (3). What's more, if you get a kidney stone once, studies suggest you are up to 50% more likely to form another stone within 5–10 years (4, 5, 6). Below are 8 natural ways you can reduce the risk of forming another kidney stone. Kidney stones are firm lumps formed from crystallized waste products in the kidneys. They are a common health problem and passing large stones can be very painful. When it comes to kidney stone prevention, drinking plenty of fluids is generally recommended. Fluids increase the volume and dilute the stone-forming substances in urine, which makes them less likely to crystallize (3). However, not all fluids are equal for this purpose. For example, a high intake of water is linked to a lower risk of kidney stone formation (7, 8). Beverages like coffee, tea, beer, wine and oran 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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Nigeria: Furore Over Ketogenic Diet

Nigeria: Furore Over Ketogenic Diet

It is the latest weight loss fad in town. Some Nigerians have successfully used ketogenic or keto diet to achieve weight loss, but leaving them with sagging skin. Recent studies have shown that ketogenic diet, which is high in fat, could also help beat epilepsy and seizures, increase lifespan, and boost memory. However, there are fears that these benefits may come at a cost- constipation and kidney stones. CHUKWUMA MUANYA (Assistant Editor) and STANLEY AKPUNONU write. Can a low-carb, high fat diet help you lose weight, improve health, and beat diseases such as diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease? Assistant Director, Dietetics, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile Ife, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna, said that naturally, the ketogenic diet has its own advantages especially for children having common seizures like epileptic seizures, as it has been proven to help in frequent seizure. Ogbonna lamented that recently, so many adults are now going in to it because they want to use it as a weight reduction measure. The dietician, however, said one of the problems it might create is that the immediate effect would not be known because it is more fatty oriented. Ogbonna explained: "You must balance your diet because various nutrients have its functions in the body and fats are not supposed to be used as a form of energy really. "We discovered that in the keto, it is more of the fat, the fatty level is high and the carbohydrate is lesser than what it should be. The carbohydrate should be used as energy, so during the process the body might be tasked to use other forms of energy, we call it gluco-neogenesis. It produces more of its energy through that fats and that is not the best. "The long term effect is what people have not known and it is hazardous. The 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 >>

The Truth About The Ketogenic Diet

The Truth About The Ketogenic Diet

“Keto- what?!” You probably have either said this yourself or have heard someone else say this. The ketogenic diet, originally used to treat epilepsy in children and help reduce seizure frequency, has recently gotten more attention as a mainstream diet touted for weight loss. But what exactly is it all about and is it healthy? The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet with moderate amounts of protein. The ratio commonly used is 90% fat to 10% protein+carbohydrate. By reducing the amount of carbohydrate intake, the body is forced to use fat stores as its energy source instead of its preferred source of glucose. The fat from those stores is converted into ketones, which the body can utilize as energy. This process is referred to as ketosis. Precautions While the use of ketones produced from fat stores may sounds appealing for weight loss, it can actually be life-threatening. Ketones are highly acidic and when large amounts are produced in the body they begin to build up and “spill over” into the blood and urine resulting in ketoacidosis. At this point the chemical composition of your blood becomes completely out of balance and can cause potential negative effects on the heart, kidneys, bones, and central nervous system, possibly leading to a coma or even death. The brain prefers glucose as its primary energy source to fuel the central nervous system and the shift to ketones can cause brain fog. Potential Cons: Increased cholesterol levels, possibly leading to bigger risk of heart disease Increased risk for kidney stones due to acidic ketones Excessive excretion of calcium, raising risk for osteoporosis Constipation due to decreased consumption of fiber-containing foods Deficiencies in several vitamins and minerals due to extreme food restriction “K Continue reading >>

What Is The Keto Diet And How Does It Work?

What Is The Keto Diet And How Does It Work?

Forget, for a moment, talk of the New Kale, whatever that is, and consider the new Paleo. In fact, Vogue Australia made the call a few weeks ago, declaring, "Keto is the new paleo." That's keto as in a ketogenic diet, what basketball superstar LeBron James followed for 67 days in 2014 to stellar results, namely a seriously ripped midsection and, you know, his third NBA Championship ring. How does it work, what can and can't you eat, and will it do for you what it's done for James and other celebrities who've reportedly tried it? All your (fat-)burning questions, answered. What is the Keto Diet? In a nutshell, it's a high-fat, extremely low-carb diet with an "adequate" amount of protein thrown in, says Heather Mangieri, a Pittsburgh-based registered dietitian, sports nutrition specialist, and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The keto diet isn't new. Developed in the 1920s to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children, it's still used in that capacity today and is being investigated as a potential breakthrough treatment for a range of neurological disorders and diseases. In other words, it's not just a celebrity weight-loss trend! What does "ketogenic" mean and how does the diet work? The aim of the keto diet is to put, and keep, your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. Our bodies normally burn carbohydrates for energy. When you restrict the amount of carbs, the body will break down stored fat, creating molecules called ketones to use as fuel. (The Paleo diet is similar, but higher in protein and not as strict about certain foods and proportions.) Ketosis is a normal physiological process. There's nothing dangerous about it. "It's just that this particular eating style is keeping your body in that state all the time," says Mangieri. How low-car 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 >>

Extreme Diets: Life On 800 Calories A Day

Extreme Diets: Life On 800 Calories A Day

(CNN) -- Her death made headlines around the world: Samantha Clowe, a 34-year-old British woman, died suddenly this fall from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. At the time of her death, Clowe was following a plan called LighterLife, a very low-calorie diet designed to help obese and severely obese patients lose weight. She was consuming 530 calories a day. "Samantha came to LighterLife with a BMI of 37, weighing more than 17 stone [238 pounds]," says a spokesperson for the company. "Although she managed to lose 3 stone [42 pounds], her health may have already been compromised." An inquest determined that Clowe most likely died from cardiac arrhythmia but could not determine what role, if any, Clowe's diet played in the development of her condition, only that her death "may be related to her low calorie diet and weight loss." Very low-calorie diets have been used to help obese and severely obese patients lose weight for more than two decades. "Next to bariatric surgery, nothing is more effective for weight loss than a VLCD, including pills and other diets," says Dr. John Hernried, medical director for OTC Medical Weight Loss Group, a weight-loss clinic in California. But the diet "is not indicated for someone who wants to lose 10 pounds." Most programs screen potential participants to ensure they are psychologically and medically stable enough to begin the process. Gordon Heitman, 46, a California man, lost 233 pounds in just over a year on a VLCD that allowed him to eat an average of 800 calories a day. "This is a very specialized diet. We are taking on full responsibility for [the patient's] nutrition." "For the most part I wasn't hungry," says Heitman. "I was fine with what I was eating." The diets use a process called ketosis to prompt the body to burn stored 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 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 >>

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