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Ketosis And Brain Function

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 >>

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 >>

Do Low Carbohydrate Diets Make You Dumber?

Do Low Carbohydrate Diets Make You Dumber?

Low-carbohydrate diets, where carbohydrates constitute anywhere from 5 to 30 percent of total caloric intake (approximately 25 to 150 grams each day), are all the rage right now. For many, they're a successful impetus to sustained weight loss and improved health. But there could be an unforeseen toll. Because of the way that the human brain functions, low-carbohydrate diets may adversely impact cognitive ability. Does a low-carb diet really make you duller? To examine this question, let's first discuss its focus: the brain. There's no reason to beat around the bush, your brain is a pig. Though idle enough when observed outside its home cranium -- all pink, squishy, and squelchy; kind of cute really -- the brain is a charged biological machine. In an unseen electrical storm that would rival even the mightiest lightning display, 86 billion neurons fire -- almost nonstop -- to create the mosaic of thoughts, emotions, and mental images that we call the mind. The whole operation is an immense power suck, ravenously consuming roughly 250 to 300 calories each day, 20-25% of a human's base energy expenditure. As far as food goes, the brain is a fairly picky eater. Like a young candy-craving child, it prefers simple sugar molecules -- glucose to be specific -- and when the brain doesn't get glucose, it gets crabby and distracted. Since the body most easily creates glucose by metabolizing carbohydrates, it stands to reason that limiting carbohydrates could dampen cognitive function. When consuming low-carb diets in the short term, this is certainly true. In a 2008 study, psychologists placed 19 women on either a calorie restricted low-carb diet or a calorie restricted high-carb diet for 28 days. Throughout the study, participants' memory, reaction time, and vigilance were tested Continue reading >>

The Ketogenic Diet Improves Cognitive Function

The Ketogenic Diet Improves Cognitive Function

Breaking NEWS! The first trial using the ketogenic diet (KD) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease was presented at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. It was presented in session of the Conference that was dedicated to the potential benefits of ketones called: Brain Ketone Metabolism, Ketogenic Interventions and Alzheimer’s disease. As discussed in another blog post, it is know that in Alzheimer’s disease, the brain loses its ability to uptake and use glucose. This decreased glucose utilization results in decrease energy (ATP) production, causing an energy deficit in the brain. It is believed that this energy deficit then increases the risk of neuronal dysfunction and cognitive decline. Specifically, it has been shown that patients with early Alzheimer’s disease have 20-30% less glucose uptake and utilization in certain areas of the brains compared to cognitively normal older adults. Research by Dr. Cunnane, has shown that the uptake and utilization of ketones is the same in brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease compared to the brains of cognitively normal older adults. (Cunnane, 2016) This research by Dr Cunnane shows that the even the areas of the Alzheimer’s brains that had decreased uptake of glucose had normal uptake of ketones. The implication of this is that the neurons themselves are not dead just not able to use glucose. The hope is that ketones can help improve cognition by improving this brain energy deficit. This was the basis of the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Ketogenic Diet study. The objection of the study was to see if by changing the fuel source from glucose to ketones thru the KD, would result in improvement of cognitive symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The KU Alzheimer’s Disease Ketogenic Diet Continue reading >>

Ketosis To Improve Brain Function

Ketosis To Improve Brain Function

Ketones as a fuel source can make you smarter, more creative, less hungry, boost energy levels, and help you lose weight. You may have heard of ketosis in the context of fat loss and dieting. It’s been popular and infamous in the dieting world to varying degrees since Dr Atkins told everyone to overdose on bacon. Ketosis is a natural state when your body is using fat as fuel instead of glucose. Your body and brain use blood sugar (glucose) as the first source of fuel, but can easily be adapted to utilise a second source of fuel, ketones, when your glucose stores run out. Ketones are made in the liver from fat. Ketones then move around your body and are used by your body and brain as fuel. When your body is in ketosis, it becomes a fat burning machine, which is obviously great if you have fat to lose, but even if you don’t, you might find you feel better fuelling your brain with ketones, at least for some of the time. Your body shifts into ketosis in a number of ways, the most commonly known way is through eating a low-carb diet, which can be difficult for some people to stick to. Another way is through fasting and certain dietary supplements can assist with entering a “keto” state. Since we’re all about making life easier and better, we’ll share the easiest and least disruptive ways to test your brain and body in ketosis. It’s important to point out that being able to use fat for fuel is an important survival mechanism. The body can only store glucose for about two days. After that it could eat away your muscles to produce more glucose, but a more efficient fuel source is to turn fat into ketones. Our clever little brains and bodies adapted to ensure survival with fat stores that can last for weeks (if not months), without topping up on carbs. More researc Continue reading >>

Low-carb Iq Boost? Ketosis And Cognitive Function

Low-carb Iq Boost? Ketosis And Cognitive Function

I’ve been sticking to quite a low carbohydrate diet while enjoying this enforced running hiatus and awaiting my MRI results. Good news is, rather than gaining weight after going from 50+ miles a week running to zero, I’ve actually lost a few pounds over the past month and a half, while putting on some muscle mass by way of weight training. The most surprising aspect of this for me has been, however, an amazing increase in steady mental focus, sharpness and creativity in the past few weeks. It’s like I got a bonus 15 IQ points that I can turn on whenever I want, in meetings, while writing, brainstorming, etc. This was not an effect I was expecting or looking for, and has been pronounced enough for me to be sure it’s not my imagination. I was curious as to why this might be the case. If you Google around you can find plenty of information about low-carb diets and brain function. For example, when you first embark on a low-carb diet you’re likely to endure the keto-flu — a few days where you’re body isn’t getting the sugar/carbohydrate it’s used to burning, but hasn’t adapted to burning fat for fuel instead. You feel foggy-headed, or worse. Some people even feel as though they have the actual flu. This passes in a few days. Following that transition, your body has been converted into a fat-burning machine. At this point, why would you get mentally sharper? According to this explanation on the Scientific American blog, it’s because once you’re in ketosis, your brain actually gets more energy delivered to it than it did before. “BHB (a major ketone) may be an even more efficient fuel than glucose, providing more energy per unit oxygen used. A ketogenic diet also increases the number of mitochondria, so called ‘energy factories’ in brain cells. Continue reading >>

How To Create A Diet That Enhances Brain Function: The Role Of A Ketogenic Diet In Alzheimer’s Disease And Cognitive Decline – An Interview With Andrea Glaser, Rd, Ld

How To Create A Diet That Enhances Brain Function: The Role Of A Ketogenic Diet In Alzheimer’s Disease And Cognitive Decline – An Interview With Andrea Glaser, Rd, Ld

Kirk’s video overview of his interview with Andrea Glaser, RD, LD (13:20 min) Andrea Glaser is a licensed registered dietician at Resilient Health in Austin, Texas, working in partnership with supervising physician Sharon Hausman-Cohen, MD, on a dietary approach to improve cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease patients, with collaboration from Dale Bredesen, MD, neurologist, creator of the Bredesen Protocol™, and author of the newly released best selling book “The End of Alzheimer’s Disease“. This therapeutic dietary approach creates a mild ketosis which is beneficial to cognitive function and brain repair, and maintains a significant reduction in insulin secretion and need, as well as reduced blood sugar levels. This diet differs from many popular ketogenic diets in that it strives to keep cardiovascular risk low, or in check, by keeping animal fats low (saturated fat) while increasing unprocessed plant-based fats and foods to assist in creating the ketosis. The diet is a whole food diet with an emphasis on reducing saturated fat, especially in ApoE4 genotypes; a liberalization of “healthy” vegetable fats, and fats from nuts and fish; a reduction or elimination of complexed healthy carbohydrates (legumes, sweat potatoes, squash, except whole soy foods like edamame and tofu which can be consumed liberally if non-sensitive); elimination of all grains and processed/refined carbohydrates and free sugars; a HIGH intake of non-starchy vegetables, especially GREENS; black coffee and tea are encouraged (without sweeteners) all in an effort to maintain a mild ketosis measured as a beta-hydroxybutyrate level between .5-2.0 mM, while also maintaining fasting insulin levels below 4.5, keeping fasting blood sugars between 70-90, and a hemoglobin A1c < 5.6. Ms. Gl 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 >>

Keto Diet Supplements Significantly Boost Endurance, Brain Function, And Energy Levels

Keto Diet Supplements Significantly Boost Endurance, Brain Function, And Energy Levels

Are you familiar with the Keto Diet? The meal plan essentially teaches your body to generate energy from ketones (organic compounds, which are naturally the most energy-efficient source of fuel) by ditching pretty much all carbs and replacing them with fat. In short, your body begins to rely on fat for its main source of ketogenic energy. Want to know more? Read: The Truth Behind the Keto Diet, the World’s Most Cutting-Edge, Fat-Burning Performance Meal Plan and The ‘Eat This Not That’ Guide to the Keto Diet. The Science The diet can get you in the best shape of your life, help fight cancer, and eradicate diabetes; but dammit if it isn't difficult. Luckily, new research from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology says simply supplementing with ketones can do a number on your exercise performance and cognitive function. The new research was done in order to see if ketones would be beneficial for the body's muscles and brain in times of stress (like endurance exercise). Researchers raised circulating ketone levels in rats by feeding them a ketone diet: kibble supplemented with compounds called (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, which accounted for a third of their daily calories. Control rats ate a moderate-carb, moderate-fat diet of the same amount of calories (a third of which was) supplemented with corn starch or palm oil. They were fed the specific diets for five days, then tested: The rats ran on a treadmill and completed a maze. Compared to control rats, ketone-fed rats ran 32 percent further on a treadmill, completed an 8-arm radial (shape of a wheel) maze test 38 percent faster, and had more energy available during increased workload (based on heart rate). Their exercise endurance, cognitive function and ability to make more cor 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 >>

Ketogenic Diet: 25 Proven Benefits And How To Know If It’s Right For You

Ketogenic Diet: 25 Proven Benefits And How To Know If It’s Right For You

The ketogenic diet has been touted for its many health benefits such as weight loss, cognitive function, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. In this post, we cover: Different ways to get into ketosis Physiology and pathways that are changed when you are in ketosis, which explains how the ketogenic diet derives its benefits Genetic factors that may affect the safety and effectiveness of ketosis 17 Health conditions that may be helped by the ketogenic diet Negative effects of ketosis and how to mitigate them Ketogenic Diets Improve Cognitive Function and Brain Health Ketogenic Diet as a Cancer Treatment Ketogenic diets are defined by a low carbohydrate (typically under 50 grams/day) and high fat intake, leading to an elevation of free fatty acids and ketone bodies in the blood (R). The first ketogenic diets in the medical literature are noted in publications in the 1920s, although wider popularity and increased research was not seen in medical literature until the 1960s (R). Variations of the diets have remained popular for the past 20-30 years, with proponents claiming that the diets boost weight loss and energy while offering protection from certain metabolic diseases (R). A ketogenic diet and fasting affect the body similarly. Both deplete the body’s glucose reserves, so the body starts turning fatty acids into ketones (R). When the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates from food, it burns fat by producing ketones or ketone bodies (R, R). In non-diabetics, ketosis can be achieved in 3 ways, i.e. Fasting or severe caloric restriction (R) Prolonged physical exercise in fasted state, depending on intensity and duration (R, R2) Nutritional ketosis, i.e. by consuming a very low carbohydrate diet Supplementation, such as by supplementing with medium chain triglyceri 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 >>

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 >>

These Mice Stopped Eating Carbs So You (maybe) Don't Have To

These Mice Stopped Eating Carbs So You (maybe) Don't Have To

In the ever-more masochistic world of wellness-boosting, pound-shedding diets, the latest trend involves putting your body into a controlled state of starvation known as “ketogenesis,” by cutting out nearly all carbs. If that doesn’t sound like your particular brand of torture, guess what? You’re already on it. Well, at least while you’re sleeping. Two independent studies published Tuesday in the journal Cell Metabolism raise hopes that ketogenic diets, if followed full-time, do more than just slim waists. They also appear to improve the odds of living longer and remembering better … if you’re a mouse. The same effects have yet to be proven in humans, and plans for that are in the works. But in the meantime, self-experimenting biohackers (i.e. dieters) are collecting anecdotal evidence all around the world. Every time you wake up from a solid snooze and exhale out the fiery iron breath of a thousand rotting apple cores, that’s the taste of the “keto” lifestyle. That smell is acetone, and a little bit of it in the morning is a normal sign of a healthy metabolism. Over millennia, humans evolved a backup energy production system, for when glucose—your body’s main fuel source—gets depleted. Like during a famine, or just a good long nap. The goal of keto diets is to switch your body over to to this alternative metabolic pathway not just at night, but during your waking hours as well. By limiting carbs to just a few grams per day, your body begins to rely on its fat stores instead, and voila, epic weight loss. That works pretty well for things like your heart and lungs and muscles. But your brain—that electrical power suck, which consumes about a quarter of your daily calories—can’t burn fats. So in the absence of glucose, it snacks on somethin 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 >>

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