Can the Ketogenic Diet Help with Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Can the Ketogenic Diet Help with Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

July 29, 2019 0 By William Morgan


– There is some really,
really intriguing science
pointing to the effectiveness
of the ketogenic diet
at helping alleviate some of the symptoms
of Alzheimer’s and dementia,
but also potentially
even reducing the risk
of getting Alzheimer’s and
dementia in the first place.
I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto Mojo,
and today we’re breaking down the science
of how the ketogenic diet
affects neurodegenerative diseases.
So the first thing that we have to look at
is the big overarching picture here
and that’s the fact
that when you’re dealing
with Alzheimer’s and dementia,
you’re usually dealing
with the brain’s inability
to process glucose as
as fuel source anymore.
So what ends up happening
is because of its impaired
ability to utilize glucose,
brain cells start to die.
The brain essentially starts to starve.
So in essence, it’s shrinking
because it no longer gets the fuel
or it inadequately uses the fuel
that it’s been used to using
for such a long period of time.
Now, the big picture here
is that by utilizing ketones
or fat as a fuel source,
we’re giving the brain an
alternative source of fuel
so it doesn’t have to use glucose
so that Alzheimer’s and
dementia doesn’t potentially
affect the brain the way
that it ordinarily would.
So let’s look at fasting for a second
because fasting utilizes ketones
and fasting has been
used to treat epilepsy
for a very long time.
In fact, that’s how the ketogenic diet
was originally discovered.
But researchers are now starting to find
that if we utilize the
same kind of evidence
and the same kind of science
as to why fasting and the
ketones that are produced
from fasting have been
so good for epilepsy,
we can determine that
it might just be strong
for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well.
But before I get into the recent science,
and I’m talking really recent
science like 2018 study,
I want to explain some of the biology,
some of the things that are
happening with a ketogenic diet
that could be leading
to why it’s so powerful
for helping out those with
Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The first one is
mitochondria in the brain.
You see, mitochondria is
where we create energy.
It’s where we create ATP.
And we have that mitochondria
in the brain as well,
every single cell within our bodies.
The cool thing is that mitochondria
can process ketones very efficiently.
Now interestingly enough,
beta hydroxybutyrate
which is the main ketone body
that we usually talk about
ends up carrying more
energy per unit of oxygen
than glucose does so what this means
is that beta hydroxybutyrate gives a brain
more energy with less
so the brain doesn’t have to work as hard,
but still produce just as
much, if not even more energy.
This means you’re less likely
to sort of wear the
brain out, if you will.
And this leads to less extra oxygen
floating around the brain
which leads me to the next point:
reactive oxygen species.
You see, ROS is just extra oxygen
that float around the brain
as what is called a free radical.
And these free radicals
float around the brain
and they cause oxidative damage.
Extra oxygen, O2, oxidative damage.
Exactly, do the math.
So when we have extra
oxygen floating around
through the brain, it
reacts with different things
and it makes it a very,
very inflamed environment.
They can also trigger a
lot of brain cells to die.
Now what is interesting
is ketones have been shown
to inhibit this extra
oxygen from occurring
so it actually stops
neurodegeneration right in its tracks
because we’re not dealing
with all the crazy reactive oxygen species
that we would normally deal with
if we were burning glucose in the brain
and that leads me to the
next biological reason
why ketosis could be contributing
to such an improvement with Alzheimer’s
and that’s the GABA glutamate scale.
You see, when you look
at how the brain works,
we have a sliding scale
of what is called GABA and glutamate.
GABA stands for gamma-Aminobutyric acid
and glutamate is glutamate.
Glutamate makes your brain wired
a little bit more high energy
and we need a little bit of both,
but studies have shown that brains
that are wired a little bit more
towards the glutamate scale
tend to be at higher risk for
neurodegenerative diseases,
but also chronic inflammation.
So if our brains are wired to
be hyperactive all the time,
it not only makes us feel
anxious and stressed out,
they can also wear out the brain.
So ketones have been shown
to actually stop the ability
to load up on glutamate
when it comes to brain cells.
So basically, when you’re
in a ketogenic diet,
you’re preventing the cells in the brain
from loading up on what
makes them hyperactive
and sliding it more towards the GABA scale
which makes a brain relaxed.
Basically, think of it
like an endurance race for your brain.
You want to preserve and pace it.
You don’t want to be using
all of your energy today
and wearing out your brain cells.
Now, this was actually published
in a journal called the
“Trends of Neuroscience.”
They literally found that
being on a ketogenic diet
made it so you had less
glutamate in the brain.
Now this leads me to the big
study that I want to talk about.
A very recent study published in 2018
in “Alzheimer’s & Dementia:
“Journal of Translational Research
“and Clinical Investigation.”
Now what this study did is it
took a look at 15 participants
that had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.
Okay, what they did is they
put all these participants
on a ketogenic diet for a few months,
and what they had them do is they had them
keep their calories the exact same
as what they were originally.
They didn’t change their calories,
didn’t increase or didn’t decrease,
but they also added MCT
oil to their daily diet.
So everyday, they had some MCT oil
so they would produce a little bit more
in the way of ketones.
Now full disclaimer, at
the end of the study,
five of the participants had dropped out
so there’s only 10 at
the end of the study.
Now what they found at
the end of the study
was that the ketogenic diet
truly does have a profound effect
on those that already have
Alzheimer’s or dementia.
They did a cognitive assessment
before they started the diet,
at three months into the diet,
and four months into the diet.
And at the end of the study,
they found that nine
out of 10 participants
that completed this study
had a huge improvement
in overall cognitive function.
Now they did this the very
specific, reputable test.
This test was known as the ADAS-Cog test
and it measures all kind of things.
It measures spatial
awareness, it measures memory,
it measures attention to
detail, task completion,
an a number of other things.
And what they found is on average,
there was a five point increase
which is a very significant increase
when they were on the ketogenic diet.
But here’s where it
gets really interesting.
When they went off the ketogenic diet,
their test scores went back
to where they were before.
They lost all improvement,
but this ultimately showed
was that when following a ketogenic diet,
those that have Alzheimer’s or dementia
can ultimately utilize a
different energy pathway
that allows them to regain
some of their memory
and have a little bit
more cognitive function.
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg
when it comes down to the research
that we’re starting to find
in the world of
neurodegenerative diseases,
but we’re finding a lot
of powerful evidence
that could show that
ketogenic diet is powerful
at preventing
(energetic rock music)
these diseases as well.
Now when it comes down to
truly being in ketosis,
the only way that you can figure that out
is by testing your blood.
Sure, there’s other mechanisms
but if you want the end all,
be all, the true gold standard,
you want to make sure
that you’re utilizing
the Keto-Mojo meter
so that you can actually test your blood
and determine where your
ketone levels are at
so you can know that you’re
getting the maximum amount
of beta hydroxybutyrate to fuel your brain
so you don’t have to need a glucose burner
so you don’t have to potentially deal
with neurodegenerative diseases.
As always, keep it locked
in here in Keto Mojo.
Move the guess work out of the equation
and use the measuring to the meter.
I’m Thomas DeLauer and I’ll see you soon.