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Ketosis Serotonin

5 Keto Mistakes You're Making Right Now (watch Out For #5)

5 Keto Mistakes You're Making Right Now (watch Out For #5)

It seems like the whole world has gone low-carb, high-fat. But there's a critical difference between a true ketogenic diet, and one that is simply low-carb, high-fat. Many people who think they're doing keto right just because they ditched the breads and pastas, might actually be doing more harm than good. Jason Wittrock of Bodybuilding.com shares The Top 5 Keto Mistakes in this short video. Mistake #1: Not toughing it out during the keto adaptation phase Mistake #2: Not eating enough fat Mistake #3: Eating too much protein Mistake #4: Inadequate trace minerals like magnesium Mistake #5: Hidden carbs Here's my take on this: Making the decision to commit to a ketogenic diet (make no mistake, it is a significant commitment) is an all-or-nothing proposition. Sure, training your body to rely on fat instead of carbohydrates will be an uncomfortable transition for the vast majority of people, but in many cases I suspect true ketosis is never achieved. How could this be? Ketosis Means You're Either In or You're Out Achieving ketosis means extreme diligence and intention with every meal you consume. Too many grams of carbohydrate from your side of spinach and broccoli, or the nuts you're snacking on can easily kick you out. This is a careful point because vegetables are typically considered "free foods" on most diets due to their trivial caloric content -- not so with ketosis. Trace carbohydrates, natural calorie-free sweeteners, or even the fiber from an avocado have the ability to halt ketosis. A High-Fat Diet Outside the Context of Ketosis is a Recipe For Disaster Everyone from fitness experts to health gurus agree that ketosis is a useful "band-aid" to treat many of the health issues of the modern age. This is true, ketosis has been shown to improve cognitive function, reve Continue reading >>

Silent Death – Serotonin Syndrome

Silent Death – Serotonin Syndrome

It started very slowly; at an almost non-existent rate. My mother, then about 84 years old, broke her ankle. She had been extremely active, playing table tennis regularly in a senior club; she was also a bridge champion almost all her life. She even joined online bridge groups and beat everyone on the internet too. When they asked how old she was, her partners and competitors just flipped that she was in her 80s and a bridge champion. She was sharp as a tack! The ankle that broke needed surgery with plates and screws. She was restricted to bed for 6 months and then to wheelchair for life. While her ankle was healing she was in bed and could not play bridge, she lost her skills and partner. She was also dependent on others and became depressed. I would rather say she was angry with life for what happened to her rather than depressed but she insisted that she was depressed. She paid a visit to a neurologist begging for an antidepressant. The neurologist prescribed half of the smallest possible dose of Mirtazapine, a simple serotonin that on its own is capable causing major damage but she received a very small dose. As she started taking the medicine, very tiny changes developed in her personality but they were so mild as to almost unnoticeable. In retrospect, we see what happened – hindsight is always 20/20. First Signs of the Impending Doom The first sign that she had too much serotonin in her brain was that rather than feeling calmer and happier she became more agitated; she was unhappy with people around her, criticized everything, nothing was good enough. Then bowel incontinence started and she had trouble holding her stool until she reached the bathroom; her bowel incontinence further limited where she dared going so she felt angrier. She became very easy to irrita Continue reading >>

Ketosis For Depression

Ketosis For Depression

Depression is so common these days that it seems hard to meet anyone who hasn’t experienced it in some degree. While this has perhaps become the new normal, it doesn’t need to be. Our eating choices not only affect our physical health but our mental health as well—so if you’ve been wondering whether the ketogenic diet can positively impact your emotional state, read on for the use of ketosis for depression. Diet and Depression It’s no secret that most people are overworked, under-rested, and living on a poor diet. It’s also no coincidence that the modern advice to eat a diet high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and with constant snacking or small meals throughout the day has coincided with a rise in diabetes, obesity, and mental issues like anxiety and depression. Let’s take a look at why this difference in diet could be causing these problems—and how ketosis and a ketogenic diet can help. Ketogenic Nutrition and Depression Most of us can agree that a high intake of sugar has a negative impact on mood. Just think of the sugar highs and crashes that result from eating high-carb foods. What follows is feelings of crankiness, low-energy, and maybe even depression. Now, think about how a steady intake of fats from a ketogenic diet could have a positive impact on mood and endorphin levels. Many people who start eating keto have come from a background of eating the Standard American Diet and not exercising enough. Starting a ketogenic diet, removing high-carb refined foods, losing weight, and eating whole foods is bound to help with mood and make you happier. This alone could have benefits for those with depression. In addition, there are some interesting links between ketones and many conditions of the brain similar to depression, including epilepsy and Alzheim Continue reading >>

5 Compelling Reasons To Stick With A Ketogenic Diet

5 Compelling Reasons To Stick With A Ketogenic Diet

Chances are if you’re like me, you can come up with a million reasons not to do something healthy. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could come up with a million reasons to change your life for the better? Well, it won't be a million. It’ll be five, and it’ll be about the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is helping people all over the world lose weight, get healthy and feel better. However, like with any lifestyle change, you’re going to experience some resistance. If you’re only armed with one reason to do something, you could get overwhelmed by the horde of self-sabotage that lurks in the corners of our brains. That’s why, for me, it’s important to come up with a smorgasbord of good reasons to keep doing something healthy. If the only positive I was getting from the ketogenic diet was simply weight loss, I think I could talk myself out of it just to indulge in the fleeting pleasures of an afternoon muffin. But armed with multiple, interesting and cool benefits of the ketogenic diet, I can keep those harlot muffins where they belong: in apocalypse-proof plastic wrapping, next to the rack of children’s sunglasses near my drugstore checkout line. Smile, Baby! The ketogenic diet is low-carb and very, very low in sugar. Sugar and refined carbs are the main culprits behind tooth decay, causing certain bacteria in your mouth to overfeed and release excess acid, which causes cavities. The absence of sugar and carbs keeps these bacteria from going bananas, and as a result, you have a much slimmer chance of developing cavities and gum disease. You might think that not getting cavities is not really that great of a reason, but have you paid for a cavity as an adult? It costs more than taking an entire family to Disneyland. I’d personally prefer to go on Space Moun Continue reading >>

Carbs And Serotonin, A Connection After All?

Carbs And Serotonin, A Connection After All?

A few weeks ago in Do Carbs Keep You Sane, I reported from a couple papers that disagreed with the textbook theory that a high carb, low protein and low fat diet would increase tryptophan in the brain. The Wurtmans from MIT have designed a whole pharmacologic diet around this theory, so it was interesting to read the rebuttal, especially since the rebuttal included data from Dr. Judith Wurtman's own papers. In short, the theory goes that carbohydrate ingestion stimulates insulin production, which in turn causes protein to be driven out of the bloodstream and into the cells. Tryptophan, the rarest amino acid in the diet and the precursor for serotonin, is mostly bound in the blood to another protein called albumin, which makes it immune to insulin's effects. Therefore a carb bolus will increase the ratio of tryptophan to other amino acids competing for the same receptor, tryptophan shoots into the brain, and you get a nice hit of satiating, serenity-making serotonin. If we follow the lines of this theory, a high protein diet will increase the amount of other amino acids and increase the competition for the receptor, leaving tryptophan a loser and the brain relatively "low" in serotonin. Fat in the diet will also delay gastric emptying and lower the overall glycemic index, lowering the insulin response and therefore reducing the insulin mechanism for driving tryptophan into the brain. Pretty simple. Except in nutrition, nothing is ever simple. Turns out this mechanism works a bit differently in rodents than in humans or other primates, and any natural food and even flour and potatoes should have too much protein for it to work in humans. You can get this effect after a night's fast by eating or drinking something that is pure carbohydrate - such as marshmallows or lemonad Continue reading >>

Diet, Stress, And Your Neurotransmitters

Diet, Stress, And Your Neurotransmitters

Written by: Kevin Cann Stress and obesity have a strong link in our society. In order to combat the obesity epidemic effectively we need to recognize the connection and handle the underlying stressors. A group of hormones that are released when we are stressed are called glucocorticoids. These glucocorticoids remain in the blood for a significant time after the stressor is removed. Put a person under chronic stress and they will have constantly high amounts of glucocorticoids in their blood. The glucocorticoids initiate the release of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) which is a key player in our stress response. They also increase our cravings for sugary foods and they also act directly on increasing abdominal fat storage (Dallman, 2003). Dallman in her study concluded that “We believe people eat comfort food in an attempt to reduce the activity in the chronic-stress response network with its attendant anxiety.” This is due to the decreased CRF, catecholamines, and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal activity found in depressed people that overeat (Dallman, 2003). To understand these links more let us take a step back and look at what is going on in our bodies. There are two types of neurotransmitters; inhibitory and excitatory. The inhibitors are serotonin and GABA. These neurotransmitters are the ones that make us feel good and also are responsible for our self-esteem and sleep. These get depleted and we suffer from depression, insomnia, and even anger. The excitatory neurotransmitters are glutamate, catecholamines, PEA, and dopamine. These are responsible for making us alert, our thinking, focus, memory, ambition, and stress. To look at a few of these, if we have low dopamine we will generally be fatigued, have trouble with numbers, low libido, and decreased short Continue reading >>

Of The Keto Diet?

Of The Keto Diet?

There are many awesome benefits that come with adopting a low-carb ketogenic diet, such as weight loss, decreased cravings and even possibly reduce disease risks. With that being said, it’s also good to talk about possible ketosis side-effects when ingesting these specific ketone supplements, so you know fully what to expect when you get started on this mission. If you’ve already heard about some of the side-effects that come with this special diet and are starting to freak out, don’t panic. We’re going to break down everything you need to know when it comes to what your body will experience when using these supplements for the first time. It’s important to remember, not everyone experiences side-effects when starting a ketogenic diet and thankfully, the symptoms are all very temporary and it can pass very quickly. It varies with the individual, but just to make sure all your bases are covered, we’re going to break down each possible side effect that you could possibly experience. 1. Flu Symptoms Within the first 2-4 days of beginning this diet, a common side-effect is known as the “ketosis flu” or “induction flu” because it mimics the symptoms of the actual flu. This means you might experience: Headaches Lethargy Lack of motivation Brain fog or confusion Irritability​ Although these symptoms typically go away completely within a few days, they are also completely avoidable if you stay very hydrated and increase your salt intake and like always, be sure you're eating enough fat. 2. Dizzyness & Drowsiness​ As you start dumping water, you'll lose minerals such as salt, potassium and magnesium. Having lower levels of these minerals will make you tired, lightheaded or dizzy. You may also experience muscle cramps, headaches and skin itchiness. Fatigue Continue reading >>

Is Your Brain Two Quarts Low?

Is Your Brain Two Quarts Low?

I know, a brain isn’t quite like a car engine, but stick with me on this one. I learned the hard way what happens when you run your car engine when it’s low on oil. Years ago I somehow ignored that little red light on the dashboard and I managed to fry the engine on my beloved Jeep Wagoneer. As they say, live and learn. Neurotransmitters—Your Brain’s Natural Oil Of course your brain doesn’t run on oil. Nerve cells communicate with each other using chemicals called neurotransmitters. You are probably familiar with some of the more important ones like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemical messengers are stored in small sacks called vesicles located at the end of a long arm of the cell called the axon. When the cell is stimulated the neurotransmitters are released into the synapse, the narrow space between cells. These chemicals can then attach to receptors on the tree-like protrusions on adjoining cells called dendrites. The stimulated receptors then create an electrical action potential in the new cell. Of course this is a simplification of a very complex biological system. When you don’t have enough of these important chemicals, your brain cells can no longer talk to each other as intended and you get pesky neurotransmitter deficiency symptoms that interfere with your ability to function. If your serotonin is low you likely feel anxious and depressed, you don’t sleep very well, you are moody and irritable and you crave sweet and starchy foods. If your dopamine and norepinephrine levels are low, you will likely have problems concentrating and focusing, you will have poor impulse control, you will lack physical and mental energy and you will be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Just as your car engine needs oil to run properly, your br Continue reading >>

The Ketogenic Diet Is Killing Your Gains

The Ketogenic Diet Is Killing Your Gains

Put down that coffee filled with butter and coconut oil or you’re liable to spit it out all over your keyboard (or smartphone) when you read this… I suspect I’ll get some disagreement from the ketogenic and very low carb communities out there (it’s because your low carb intake is negatively impacting your brain’s serotonin levels, but I digress…) Yes, low carb diets, the ketogenic diet in particular, does achieve the desired effect initially – weight loss – largely because it helps you achieve a negative calorie balance on a daily, weekly and beyond basis by removing carbohydrates from your diet. But eliminating a food group entirely – carbs in this case – is not a sustainable long-term strategy for most (you’re going to want to have a piece of cake eventually). Now, here’s a caveat: I would suggest a low carb approach (not entirely ketogenic as I’ll explain below) is effective for many demographics — obese, sedentary, type II diabetic, and the like. But if you’ve stumbled upon my site, you likely aren’t in any of these categories, nor are you in retirement doing water aerobics a few times a week as your primary form of exercise… …Put simply, the ketogenic diet is not for you. You want to build muscle and burn fat (so you look awesome), and resistance strength training changes your dietary needs completely. A good analogy is gas for your car. If you never push your car beyond the speed limit, throwing more fuel in it than it needs to get the job done does more harm than good. OK, I suck at analogies, but essentially if you load up on carbs in a sedentary state, it spills over the side (into your love handles, beer gut and double chin). However, if you put the pedal to the metal day in and out, you have to fill it up often. If you don Continue reading >>

Depression Treatment

Depression Treatment

Although the causes of depression can vary, depression treatment programs which involve changing the diet and healing a leaky gut can be very effective. More specifically, by removing grains and high carb foods from your diet, and making sure you get the right vitamins and minerals, you can heal your gut, heal your body, resolve behavioral issues, and lift your mood. The list of supplement recommendations at right is a good place to start. I want to reiterate that depression is linked to many different triggers, and a change in diet is by no means a comprehensive solution, but it is true that depression can be rooted in biochemical issues such as micro-nutrient deficiencies and fatty acid imbalances. Environmental factors and of course, tragic events over which a person has no control (death of a family member, for instance) are also major causes of depression, and in these cases, dietary changes may have a lesser effect. Gut Health and Depression Current research is linking depression to inflammation linked to a leaking gut. Leaky gut syndrome, a condition in which the lining of the intestines has been compromised by a food substance such as gluten. The damaged lining of the intestinal tract then leaks undigested food particles into the rest of the body, causing inflammatory responses from the immune system. This inflammation then leads to neurological changes which result in mood alterations. A paper by Kiecolt-Glaser et al. discusses how this inflammation in the body drives the symptoms of disease and depression. The authors state "Depression and inflammation fuel one another...Depression, childhood adversity, stressors, and diet can all influence the gut microbiome and promote intestinal permeability, another pathway to enhanced inflammatory responses." Does Followi Continue reading >>

Csf Levels Of Dopamine And Serotonin, But Not Norepinephrine, Metabolites Are Influenced By The Ketogenic Diet In Children With Epilepsy.

Csf Levels Of Dopamine And Serotonin, But Not Norepinephrine, Metabolites Are Influenced By The Ketogenic Diet In Children With Epilepsy.

Abstract The ketogenic diet (KD) is a non-pharmacological treatment of medically refractory epilepsy in children. Its mechanisms of action are still unclear but monoamine neurotransmitters have been proposed to be involved. Norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin are known to modulate seizure susceptibility in many animal models. We examined whether the concentrations of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin metabolites were affected by the KD in children with pharmacoresistant epilepsy. The metabolites of norepinephrine, HMPG, of dopamine, HVA, and of serotonin, 5-HIAA, were analyzed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) before and 3 months after starting the KD. Twenty-six children (mean age 5.9 years) participated. Twenty-one children had generalized epilepsy and five partial. CSF was sampled by lumbar puncture. Seizure frequency before and during the diet was determined. Highly significant changes were found for HVA (p=0.0002) and 5-HIAA (p=0.004), which were both decreased during the KD compared to before diet. The levels of HMPG were unchanged. However, no differences were found between response groups. Valproate medication affected the levels of HMPG during diet with decreased levels in children on valproate and increased in those not on valproate (p=0.04). Our study indicates that the KD significantly alters the levels of metabolites of dopamine and serotonin but with a stable ratio HVA/5-HIAA in the CSF of children with refractory epilepsy, which finding may be of importance for the mechanism of action. Continue reading >>

Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part Ii)

Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part Ii)

When I wrote part I of this post, I naively assumed this would only be a two-part series. However, so many great questions and comments emerged from the discussion that I realize it’s worth spending much more time on this important and misunderstood topic. In terms of setting expectations, I suspect this series will require at least four parts, after which I hope to get back to finishing up The Straight Dope on Cholesterol series. So, back to the topic at hand…. (You may want to read or maybe reread part I for a biochemistry refresher before diving into part II.) Is there a “metabolic advantage” to being in ketosis? Few topics in the nutrition blogosphere generate so much vitriolic rhetoric as this one, and for reasons I can’t understand. I do suspect part of the issue is that folks don’t understand the actual question. I’ve used the term “metabolic advantage” because that’s so often what folks write, but I’m not sure it has a uniform meaning, which may be part of the debate. I think what folks mean when they argue about this topic is fat partitioning, but that’s my guess. To clarify the macro question, I’ve broken the question down into more well-defined chunks. Does ketosis increase energy expenditure? I am pretty sure when the average person argues for or against ketosis having a “metabolic advantage” what they are really arguing is whether or not, calorie-for-calorie, a person in ketosis has a higher resting energy expenditure. In other words, does a person in ketosis expend more energy than a person not in ketosis because of the caloric composition of what they consume/ingest? Let me save you a lot of time and concern by offering you the answer: The question has not been addressed sufficiently in a properly controlled trial and, at bes Continue reading >>

Probiotics Over Prozac: Ketogenic Eating For The Best Brain. (featuring, Your Microbiome, Butter Coffee, Anxiety, Fasting, Grain-free, Dopamine And More)

Probiotics Over Prozac: Ketogenic Eating For The Best Brain. (featuring, Your Microbiome, Butter Coffee, Anxiety, Fasting, Grain-free, Dopamine And More)

There are a lot of subjects here. They are important. And they connect a lot of what we’ve been talking about here, in separate strings, for a long time. Many of the newest learnings in health are related to the significance of the microbiome. From personal experience, I regularly feel what I can only describe as the health of my brain. Chemicals, transmitter-stuff, certain states. Which drives me into these subjects searching for ifs, and if-so-what, is going on. Because there is always a reason for why we feel the way we do. (These topics are also of significant personal importance to me in how they relate to anxiety, which is something I’ve had to handle my entire life. More on that in point 5, below.) Otherwise, this is all just more of the same: learn, live better, prosper. Shall we? 1. We are our microbiomes. I’ve said it; you know it, but a few refreshers JIC: 2. Our microbiomes are best supported by probiotics, live food and excellent digestion via which to absorb the goodness. 3. Our microbiomes are responsible for not only our physical wellbeing, but also our psychological health. Here we go. You have neurons both in your brain and your gut – including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain. “Mounting research indicates that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. “The gut-brain connection is well-recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, so this isn't all that surprising, even though it's often overlooked. “There's also a wealth of evidence showing intestinal involvement in a variety of neurologi Continue reading >>

Serotonin (5-ht) Affects Expression Of Liver Metabolic Enzymes And Mammary Gland Glucose Transporters During The Transition From Pregnancy To Lactation

Serotonin (5-ht) Affects Expression Of Liver Metabolic Enzymes And Mammary Gland Glucose Transporters During The Transition From Pregnancy To Lactation

Abstract The aim of this experiment was to demonstrate the ability of feeding serotonin (5-HT; 5-hydroxytryptamine) precursors to increase 5-HT production during the transition from pregnancy to lactation and the effects this has on maternal energy metabolism in the liver and mammary gland. Pregnant rats (n = 45) were fed one of three diets: I) control (CON), II) CON supplemented with 0.2% 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) or III) CON supplemented with 1.35% L-tryptophan (L-TRP), beginning on d13 of pregnancy through d9 of lactation (d9). Serum (pre and post-partum), milk (daily), liver and mammary gland tissue (d9) were collected. Serum 5-HT was increased in the 5-HTP fed dams beginning on d20 of gestation and remained elevated through d9, while it was only increased on d9 in the L-TRP fed dams. 5-HT levels were increased in mammary gland and liver of both groups. Additionally, 5-HTP fed dams had serum and milk glucose levels similar to the CON, while L-TRP had decreased serum (d9) and milk glucose (all dates evaluated). Feeding 5-HTP resulted in increased mRNA expression of key gluconeogenic and glycolytic enzymes in liver and glucose transporters 1 and 8 (GLUT-1, -8) in the mammary gland. We demonstrated the location of GLUT-8 in the mammary gland both in the epithelial and vascular endothelial cells. Finally, phosphorylated 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (pAMPK), a known regulator of intracellular energy status, was elevated in mammary glands of 5-HTP fed dams. Our results suggest that increasing 5-HT production during the transition from pregnancy to lactation increases mRNA expression of enzymes involved in energy metabolism in the liver, and mRNA abundance and distribution of glucose transporters within the mammary gland. This suggests the possibility that 5-HT may Continue reading >>

The Neuropharmacology Of The Ketogenic Diet

The Neuropharmacology Of The Ketogenic Diet

Go to: Introduction Since the early 1920s, the ketogenic diet has been used successfully to treat patients with intractable epilepsy. The diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrate and protein, providing sufficient protein for growth but insufficient amounts of carbohydrates for all the metabolic needs of the body [1]. Energy is derived largely from fatty acid oxidation in mitochondria. During high rates of fatty acid oxidation, large amounts of acetyl-CoA are generated, leading to the synthesis, primarily in the liver, of the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone (Fig. 1). The metabolic efficiency of the Krebs cycle is reduced, and excess acetyl-CoA is shunted to the production of ketone bodies. Ketone bodies spill into the circulation, causing serum levels to rise severalfold, and then are utilized as an energy source in extrahepatic tissues, including the brain. Glucose is ordinarily the sole fuel for the human brain; fatty acids cannot be used because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier. Ketone bodies do enter the brain, in proportion to the degree of ketosis. Ordinarily, utilization of ketones by the brain is minimal. During the ketogenic diet, however, ketone bodies partly replace glucose as fuel for the brain. The ketone bodies are converted to acetyl-CoA by D-β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase, acetoacetate-succinyl-CoA transferase, and acetoacetyl-CoA-thiolase and then enter the Krebs cycle within brain mitochondria, leading to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (Fig. 2). It has been known since the time of Hippocrates that fasting is an effective treatment for seizures, and the ketogenic diet was designed to mimic the fasting state [2]. However, despite intensive research in recent years, the mechanism by which the Continue reading >>

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