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Ketosis And Brain Function

Ketosis

Ketosis

Not to be confused with Ketoacidosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body's energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis in which blood glucose provides energy. Ketosis is a result of metabolizing fat to provide energy. Ketosis is a nutritional process characterised by serum concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 mM, with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose.[1][2] It is almost always generalized with hyperketonemia, that is, an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood throughout the body. Ketone bodies are formed by ketogenesis when liver glycogen stores are depleted (or from metabolising medium-chain triglycerides[3]). The main ketone bodies used for energy are acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate,[4] and the levels of ketone bodies are regulated mainly by insulin and glucagon.[5] Most cells in the body can use both glucose and ketone bodies for fuel, and during ketosis, free fatty acids and glucose synthesis (gluconeogenesis) fuel the remainder. Longer-term ketosis may result from fasting or staying on a low-carbohydrate diet (ketogenic diet), and deliberately induced ketosis serves as a medical intervention for various conditions, such as intractable epilepsy, and the various types of diabetes.[6] In glycolysis, higher levels of insulin promote storage of body fat and block release of fat from adipose tissues, while in ketosis, fat reserves are readily released and consumed.[5][7] For this reason, ketosis is sometimes referred to as the body's "fat burning" mode.[8] Ketosis and ketoacidosis are similar, but ketoacidosis is an acute life-threatening state requiring prompt medical intervention while ketosis can be physiological. However, there are situations (such as treatment-resistant Continue reading >>

A Neurologist On Ketone Drinks & What The Ketogenic Diet Can (really) Do For Your Brain

A Neurologist On Ketone Drinks & What The Ketogenic Diet Can (really) Do For Your Brain

Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D. Deciding what to eat for optimal health can be confusing. There are so many different dietary approaches, and each is touted as the most beneficial to our health and waistlines, yet the actual nutrition advice often differs greatly or conflicts. It can be difficult to keep up with all the trends and fads, and sometimes it's hard to know who to trust. I'm often asked for nutritional guidance in my clinic, and recently I've been hearing a lot of questions about the ketogenic diet from my patients. Here's exactly what I tell them. Despite its current surge in popularity, the ketogenic diet has been around for a long time and is commonly used for refractory seizure disorders (epilepsy). In fact, evidence of its efficacy for epilepsy dates back as far as 1921. There are many different types of the ketogenic diet,including the classic version, the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) diet, the modified Atkins diet, and the low-glycemic diet. Because fasting is a rapid method of achieving ketosis, intermittent fasting diets can also be ketogenic depending on how it's accomplished. But what is ketosis? Here are five simple scientific facts that I often give to my patients: 1. In ketosis, human metabolism switches its main energy source from carbohydrates to fatty acids and ketones once the storage form of glucose (glucagon) is used up. 2. In ketosis, the fat cells break down triglycerides into fatty acids, and those fatty acids are used as the energy source by the liver and muscles. 3. The liver cells take the fatty acids and oxidize them into ketones, which are used as the energy source by the brain, muscles, and other tissues. 4. Ketones are in the specific forms acetoacetate, acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Therefore, checking beta-hydroxybutyrate seru Continue reading >>

Your Brain Doesn’t Need 130 G/carbs A Day: How A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet Protects The Brain

Your Brain Doesn’t Need 130 G/carbs A Day: How A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet Protects The Brain

Tweet A favorite argument of detractors of low-carb diets is that they don’t provide sufficient glucose for the brain to function. You’ve probably heard some well-meaning person say, “You need to eat 130 grams of carbohydrates a day for proper brain function.” Fortunately, this is not true. Just think how much trouble our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have been in if brain function was compromised every time carbohydrates were scarce. A daily intake of 130 grams of carbs is no small feat when you don’t have a local grocery store stocked with packaged grains, bread, cereal, and chips for your convenience. This widespread misconception is based on a misunderstanding of the brain’s fuel needs. The brain does require about 50 grams of glucose a day, but this doesn’t need to come from dietary carbs, and the brain can get the rest of the energy it requires from ketones, a byproduct of fat metabolism. It works like this: the body can get glucose from three sources other than dietary carbs: 1) Glycerol, produced from dietary fat or fat tissue in the body These substrates go to the liver where it turns them into glucose via the process known as gluconeogenesis. The glucose then travels via the blood to the brain where it uses it for energy. The rest of the energy the brain requires is derived from ketones. Ketones are produced when insulin levels are low due to carb restriction or low calorie intake. Fatty acids that are released due to low insulin travel to the liver, which turns them into ketones that can be used for energy in cells to produce ATP. Having the brain get energy from ketones improves brain function and is the reason that ketogenic diets are used to treat brain disorders. Having the brain run on ketones may have an anti-aging effect as well, protec Continue reading >>

Can Ketones Help Rescue Brain Fuel Supply In Later Life? Implications For Cognitive Health During Aging And The Treatment Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Can Ketones Help Rescue Brain Fuel Supply In Later Life? Implications For Cognitive Health During Aging And The Treatment Of Alzheimer’s Disease

1Research Center on Aging, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada 2Department of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada 3Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada We propose that brain energy deficit is an important pre-symptomatic feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that requires closer attention in the development of AD therapeutics. Our rationale is fourfold: (i) Glucose uptake is lower in the frontal cortex of people >65 years-old despite cognitive scores that are normal for age. (ii) The regional deficit in brain glucose uptake is present in adults <40 years-old who have genetic or lifestyle risk factors for AD but in whom cognitive decline has not yet started. Examples include young adult carriers of presenilin-1 or apolipoprotein E4, and young adults with mild insulin resistance or with a maternal family history of AD. (iii) Regional brain glucose uptake is impaired in AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), but brain uptake of ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate), remains the same in AD and MCI as in cognitively healthy age-matched controls. These observations point to a brain fuel deficit which appears to be specific to glucose, precedes cognitive decline associated with AD, and becomes more severe as MCI progresses toward AD. Since glucose is the brain’s main fuel, we suggest that gradual brain glucose exhaustion is contributing significantly to the onset or progression of AD. (iv) Interventions that raise ketone availability to the brain improve cognitive outcomes in both MCI and AD as well as in acute experimental hypoglycemia. Ketones are the brain’s main alternative fuel to glucose and brain ketone uptake is still normal in MCI and in early AD, which would help explain why ketogenic i Continue reading >>

Ketones To Combat Alzheimer’s Disease

Ketones To Combat Alzheimer’s Disease

Despite decades of efforts to develop a drug that prevents or cures Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most prevalent form of dementia afflicting our aging population, there is currently no treatment for this devastating condition. Emerging research suggests that such a miracle treatment might already exist, not in the form of a pill, but as a simple dietary change. A growing number of studies report that interventions to improve metabolic health can alleviate symptoms and reduce brain pathology associated with AD. A popular theory posits that AD has multiple causes, but their common thread may involve metabolic dysfunction. Indeed, markers of poor metabolic health, such as diabetes, inflammation and high cholesterol, are major risk factors for AD. Just like our muscles, the brain requires energy to function properly. Both neurons and muscles have the unique capacity to metabolize ketones as an alternative fuel source when glucose is in short supply, for instance during fasting or on a low-carbohydrate diet. In the 1920s scientists discovered that a high fat diet promoting ketogenesis controlled epilepsy, and ketosis remains one of the most effective treatments for the condition. This raised the possibility that ketones may also be neuroprotective against other diseases that stem from aberrant neural metabolism, such as AD. Since then, research has confirmed that ketones do in fact alter brain metabolism in ways that reduce neuropathology and relieve behavioral symptoms. Ketones alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease Over the past decade, several studies have supported the clinical value of ketosis in cognitively impaired patients. In a 2004 study twenty individuals with AD or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) were treated with placebo or medium chain triglycerides, a t Continue reading >>

Low-carb Diets And Brain Function

Low-carb Diets And Brain Function

How you eat affects virtually every aspect of your health, including the health of your brain. And while a well-designed low-carb plan should supply all the nutrients you need for healthy brain functioning, you've likely heard that lack of carbs decreases your brainpower. That seems to be true for some people, but other evidence suggests that eating low-carb might have a neutral or even positive impact on your brain function. Video of the Day Carbohydrates and Your Brain If you've ever been told to carb-load for a game, race or a tough workout, you know carbs are key for boosting your energy. Your body turns them into glucose, which also directly fuels your brain. Your brain cells can actually only use glucose for energy, which makes carbs absolutely essential for powering brain function. That's not the only way carbs affect brain function, though. Eating carbohydrates signals for your brain to produce serotonin, a hormone that's involved in mood regulation, appetite control and the sleep cycle. That may be one reason that carbs are considered "comfort food" and why you might crave carb-rich foods when you're upset or stressed. Can a Low-Carb Diet Diminish Brain Function? Low-carb diets have a bad reputation for affecting your brain function. And it makes sense -- because your brain needs carbs for energy, lowering your carb intake might affect your brainpower. You might experience fuzziness or "brain fog" if you're not getting enough carbs through your diet or have trouble concentrating due to general fatigue from lack of carbs. Researchers have looked into this effect in low-carb dieters. One study, from a 2009 issue of Appetite, examined the effects of a low-carb weight-loss diet on brain function in study subjects during their first three weeks on the diet. They fou Continue reading >>

Is The Keto Diet Really Good For Your Brain?

Is The Keto Diet Really Good For Your Brain?

The average American consumes 66 pounds of added sugar every single year! This is unprecedented in human history. Never before has so much refined sugar been so readily available to so many people. And it is taking a toll on our health. Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, auto-immune disease, and many other common neolithic diseases are linked to excess sugar consumption. Most Americans have sugar with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then also indulge in sugary snacks between meals. You may be thinking, “hold on there, I don’t eat sugar with all of my meals!” Well you may be right, but it is important to remember that all carbohydrates are ultimately metabolised into sugar. Whether it is a bagel, a french fry, or a candy bar, it’s all sugar. Sugar Metabolism All of this excess sugar consumption has altered the fundamental metabolism of our bodies. In the past, people would occasionally eat large amounts of sugar in the summer and fall when harvests were abundant with carbohydrate rich plants, but there would also be more austere times in the winter and spring where carbohydrates were more scarce and proteins and fats were more abundant. God equipped our bodies to deal with these times of austerity by giving us the ability to use multiple forms of energy, including our own body fat! Fat Metabolism When dietary intake of glucose is low, certain cells like muscle cells, are able to utilize body fat as an energy source. This puts the body in a state of ketosis. A diet that promotes ketosis is called a ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets are well known for their ability to promote fat loss and balance blood sugar levels, hence why Dr. Colbert recommends a modified ketogenic diet for his Slender System weight loss protocol. There is, however, another interestin Continue reading >>

Being Ketogenic Increases Brain Function

Being Ketogenic Increases Brain Function

Being Ketogenic Increases Brain Function Lacking energy is a familiar feeling for most of us. Many of us find ourselves running on fumes, nearing the end of our “tank”. As time goes on we become more tired and sluggish – we see our mental performance and physical drive decrease. Don’t give up hope. Research has demonstrated those who follow a ketogenic lifestyle can increase mitochondrial function and decrease their free radicals. The purpose of mitochondria is to process food and oxygen to produce energy. When you have an increase in mitochondrial function you have more energy for your cells – and more energy for you. Free radicals develop when oxygen affects certain molecules in your body. They are dangerous and determined to do damage to our mitochondria. When this occurs, cells often function badly and die. When we can lower the production of free radicals this can result in better neurological stability and enhance cellular performance and the consequence your body becomes more energy efficient. Then your body will focus on repairing the damage done by free radicals and your body’s inner wisdom will focus on producing more energy. Combining the ketogenic diet with exercise will help increase mitochondrial function and will produce more mitochondria to help compensate for any increased energy demands. A common indication of the standard American diet is a deficiency in mental clarity – commonly referred to as brain fog. The lack of ability to focus on a job or recall information is frustrating. Two molecules that have are involved with this are glutamate and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). Glutamate is the molecule responsible for exciting neurotransmitters which promotes stimulation in your body and GABA inhibits the neurotransmitter which reduces sti Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diets And Alzheimer’s Disease

Ketogenic Diets And Alzheimer’s Disease

Abstract Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by decline in cognitive functions and associated with the neuropathological hallmarks of amyloid β-peptide plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Cerebral glucose uptake and metabolism deteriorate in AD and this hypometabolism precedes the onset of clinical signs in AD. The early decline in brain glucose metabolism in AD has become a potential target for therapeutic intervention. This has led to investigations assessing the supplementation of the normal glucose supply with ketone bodies which are produced by the body during glucose deprivation and can be metabolized by the brain when glucose utilization is impaired. The present review provides a synopsis of preclinical studies and clinical trials assessing the efficacy of ketogenic diets in the treatment of AD. Both the direct administration of ketone bodies and the use of high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets have been shown to be efficacious in animal models of AD and clinical trials with AD patients. The mechanism underlying the efficacy of ketogenic diets remains unclear, but some evidence points to the normalization of aberrant energy metabolism. At present there is only limited evidence of the usefulness of ketogenic diets in AD. However, this dietary approach seems to be promising and deserves further clinical investigations. © 2017 Beijing Academy of Food Sciences. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. Continue reading >>

How To Use The Ketogenic Diet For Productivity And Mental Performance

How To Use The Ketogenic Diet For Productivity And Mental Performance

Beginning in the 1920’s, the ketogenic diet, or “keto” diet — which involves eating mostly fat and protein as an energy source with low intake of carbohydrates — has been used by many for weight loss and in helping patients with diabetes or epilepsy. But there’s another less-talked about benefit of this diet: ketosis for mental performance. If you’re experiencing brain fog, lack of productivity, or poor mental performance, ketosis might be a solution for you. We’ll go over some of the ways ketosis can have a positive effect on cognition and may help you be more productive throughout your day. KETOSIS FOR MENTAL PERFORMANCE First, let’s start with a little refresher around ketosis and energy. The basis of the ketogenic diet is that it uses specially designed macronutrient balance to get a certain response from the body. Those on the keto diet eat normal amounts of protein, higher amounts of fat than the average person, and they keep their carbohydrate intake very low, less than 50 grams per day. When carb intake is this low, it triggers a response in the body that is similar to how it would act during starvation. Instead of simply utilizing glucose, the primary source of energy, the brains pulls from its alternative energy source: fat. But before fats can be used by the body, the liver has to first convert them to ketone bodies. Then, these ketone bodies are used as energy for the body and brain when there is lack of glucose. This is how ketosis works. Now that we’ve understood that, let’s talk about how ketosis might be used as an advantage for your mental state and productivity. KETONES IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION The standard Western diet is deficiency in many areas, including the very important essential fatty acids. This is detrimental to health bec Continue reading >>

Ketosis Supports Good Brain Function

Ketosis Supports Good Brain Function

The ketogenic diet has been used since the 1920s as a proven medical therapy for epilepsy control. Nutritionist today consider burning ketones to be a much “cleaner” way to stay energized compared to running on carbs and sugar. Following a keto menu plan, your fat storing hormone levels drop greatly which turns your body into a fat burning machine. Studies have shown that this kind of nutritional approach has a solid physiological and biochemical basis. After reaching a state of ketosis, you'll be amazed at how much energy you have, and chronic fatigue symptoms should get better. Ketone bodies have been shown to be beneficial in stabilizing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which can also result in better mood control. An effective keto diet for weight loss should be based on real food. One of the most efficient ways to train your body to use fat for fuel is to remove most of the sugars and starches from your diet. Protein can induce an insulin response in the body when consumed in high amounts, so you want just the right amount in your menu plan. Fat is what makes you feel full or satiated, gives you energy when in ketosis, and satisfies your taste buds. Healthy fats include saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and certain types of polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. A common mistake on a low-carb, high-fat diet is being fooled by creative marketing like special “low-carb” foods. Eating a healthy high-fat, low-carbohydrate menu plan filled with real foods and moderate to low proteins, which allows your body to enter nutritional ketosis. It can take 3 to 4 days to reach ketosis based on your normal exercise regimen. To learn more about how a personalized menu plan can help you lose weight and keep it off forever, contact a Metab 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! 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 racing to package keto into a convenient treat-all 3-a-day pill? How does the body go into ketosis? Source: Simple speaking, strict carbo Continue reading >>

What You Actually Eat On A Ketogenic Diet

What You Actually Eat On A Ketogenic Diet

Under "normal" physiological conditions, we tend to fuel a significant portion of our metabolism, particularly the energy needs of our brains, from carbohydrates. I put "normal" in quotation marks because the frame of reference for studying our metabolism is our modern, consistently overfed world. This overfed state is not, in fact, normal, healthy, or optimal, as the genetics governing our metabolism were forged in an environment in which access to food was inconsistent and the activity level to procure this food was reasonably high. If the brain can only run on glucose (as most health care providers claim), we must have a consistent supply of dietary glucose or we will "bonk" (experience serious cognitive problems due to low blood sugar) and cannibalize the proteins in our body to produce glucose for the brain. What is it and why is it the answer? The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb style of eating (typically 30 to 50g of carbs per day, not counting fiber) with moderate to low protein (between 75 and 100g per day). When we are either fasting or eating at a significant caloric deficit, our body tends to mobilize our stored body fat for energy. If carbohydrates and proteins are sufficiently limited, fat enters our mitochondria (specifically in the liver) in large amounts. Without sufficient glucose (or protein), our bodies shift into the process of ketosis. Ketosis takes the high-energy fat molecules stored in our bodies and converts them to a form that can fuel the heart, muscles, organs, and, perhaps most important, the brain. This provides an almost limitless supply of brain-friendly fuel in the form of ketones while decreasing the need for our metabolism to use our muscles and internal organs to produce glucose. If we think about this, it’s really smart eng Continue reading >>

Ketosis Fundamentals

Ketosis Fundamentals

What is ketosis? Ketosis is the physiological state where the concentration of ketone bodies in the blood is higher than normal. This is generally agreed to be at beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) concentrations greater than 0.5 mM. How to achieve ketosis? Ketosis occurs either as a result of increased fat oxidation, whilst fasting or following a strict ketosis diet plan (ENDOGENOUS ketosis), or after consuming a ketone supplement (EXOGENOUS ketosis). When in a state of ketosis the body can use ketones to provide a fuel for cellular respiration instead of its usual substrates: carbohydrate, fat or protein. Why does ketosis exist? Normally, the body breaks down carbohydrates, fat, and (sometimes) proteins to provide energy. When carbohydrate is consumed in the diet, some is used immediately to maintain blood glucose levels, and the rest is stored. The hormone that signals to cells to store carbohydrate is insulin. The liver stores carbohydrate as glycogen, this is broken down and released between meals to keep blood glucose levels constant. Muscles also store glycogen, when broken down this provides fuel for exercise. Most cells in the body can switch readily between using carbohydrates and fat as fuel. Fuel used depends on substrate availability, on the energy demands of the cell and other neural and hormonal signals. The brain is different as it is dependent on carbohydrates as a fuel source. This is because fats cannot easily cross the blood-brain barrier. The inability to make use of energy within fat poses a problem during periods where there is limited carbohydrate in the diet. If blood glucose levels fall to low, brain function declines. Relatively little energy is stored as carbohydrate (2,000 kCal) compared to fat (150,000 kCal). The body's store of carbohydrates runs Continue reading >>

3 Reasons Why Keto Is Better For The Brain

3 Reasons Why Keto Is Better For The Brain

The rigors and stress of life often leads us astray when it comes to our diet. Whether it’s a lack of proper nutrients or consuming either too few or too many calories – this can put our bodies out of equilibrium. With a failure to maintain an equilibrium, the body’s energy levels decline and performance on day to day tasks can suffer. We also observe deterioration in more complex tasks. Plus, as we age, it becomes more important to maintain a balance to perform and succeed in daily life. The keto diet is the answer to this! We’ll go over three reasons why the ketogenic diet is great for you and your brain. Increased Energy A lack of energy is an all too familiar feeling for most of us. As many of us try to squeeze more time out of each day, we find ourselves constantly running on fumes, nearing the end of our “tank”. As each day passes, we progressively become more fatigued and sluggish – we see that our mental performance and physical drive declines. But, there’s good news! Research has shown that those who follow a ketogenic (ketone) based diet can develop an increase in mitochondrial function and a decrease in free radicals. (1) What does this mean for you? In a nutshell, the major role of mitochondria is to process the intake of food and oxygen and produce energy from that. An increase in the mitochondrial function equates to more energy for your cells – which leads to more energy for you. Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules in the body. They are highly reactive and the danger comes from the damage they’re able do to our mitochondria. When this occurs, cells may function poorly or die. Reducing the production of free radicals can lead to better neurological stability and cellular performance, leading to more ene Continue reading >>

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