Is The Ketogenic Diet Advantageous For The Brain?

Is The Ketogenic Diet Advantageous For The Brain?

July 28, 2019 36 By William Morgan


did you know your brain is 60% fat so
what happens when you eat a lot of it
the ketogenic diet is an unorthodox high
fat low carb diet which conflicts with
everything we’ve ever been told about
nutrition which is popular through tech
startup entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley
people who want to lose weight people
who want to improve their cognitive
health people who just want to eat more
comfort foods while they lose weight and
also elderly people who have cognitive
impairments I’ve really come to realize
that blood glucose is quite parallel to
your willpower let’s explore why that is
and whether the evidence actually
supports us so your body usually uses
glucose as its primary source of fuel
the difference with the ketogenic diet
is that when you restrict your
carbohydrates all the way down to 5% you
increase your fat and you keep your
protein at a moderate amount your body
begins to use what is called ketones
with fuel because I can’t use fat
directly just like it can with the off
product of carbohydrates fat are
metabolized in the liver into something
we call ketones
so the ketones hydroxy butyrate or BHB
a store s8a and acetone are released
into the blood after they are
metabolized in the liver and they’re not
taken up by the brain and the body which
then fires ketone bodies into the
mitochondria so the mitochondria are
basically powerhouse plants of the cells
that’s what they’re called so that’s
where all the energy is produced
mitochondria act like a mini digestive
system and they take in nutrients they
break it down into energy rich molecules
for cells through cellular respiration
so when you’re on the ketogenic diet
your brain still needs glucose for
certain areas of the brain which it
can’t use ketones effectively for even
though you only have 5% of your
macronutrients coming from carbohydrates
the medium amount of protein which
you’re consuming can be turned into
glucose through a process called
gluconeogenesis if you wake up in the
morning and you don’t really have much
of an appetite
chances are that you’re in nutritional
ketosis and this is a good sign that you
have a strong metabolism but basically
anytime we fast which the most common
example is sleeping or anytime we can go
without food for a significant period of
time even in a 24-hour period our body
shifts into nutritional ketosis the
difference with the ketogenic diet is
that you go into this more permanently
you could say and you become keto
adapted so you
can go into nutritional ketosis as
someone who doesn’t do the ketogenic
diet just by fasting but it doesn’t mean
your key to adapt it key to adapt it
implies that your body’s primary source
of fuel becomes the ketones which are
metabolized in the liver from fat rather
than glucose another way you can enter
ketosis is also by exercising and this
is especially exacerbated if you’re
already in a fasted state running your
brain and your body of ketones is very
neuro protective meaning it can
alleviate or even reduce the risk of one
developing a cognitive impairment such
as Alzheimer’s disease which is which is
great obviously we don’t have much time
between our meals right and the past
kids would play outside for a while now
a sedentary now we’re all eating more
and we’re eating more frequently so this
goes against the dogmatic myth and had
the idea that you have to eat frequently
to boost your metabolism so I think it’s
the problem that we’re eating frequently
with fasting lists and we’re not really
going into ketosis often additionally
we’re sleeping less how we used to sleep
for nine hours in 1910 and now it’s
around six hours on average so we’re
getting no time in between meals and
we’re not naturally going into a state
of ketosis which is newer protective and
rates for Alzheimer’s have gone up so I
think there’s a distinct correlation
there maybe not a causation but there’s
something – it’s something worth
exploring
so the ketogenic diet was shown to
increase the expression of genes which
encoded from mitochondria enzymes in the
hippocampus and we know that the
hippocampus is an area of the brain
responsible for learning and memory
they’re efficient because they leave
less mitochondrial waste behind as
opposed to glucose and when there’s less
waste it’s easier to restore memories in
the brain and so free radicals are
reduced free radicals being a direct
cause of cognitive impairment and
oxidation so oxidants in the brain have
a single electron which makes them
really really reactive and this means
and we can see clearly that in epileptic
patients in their brains they have a lot
of oxidants and this leads to X I so
toxicity so excited toxicity leads to
epileptic brain damage
right because neurons basically they
basically fizzle out due to the
excitement of these oxidants in the
brain going the tiki toasters from time
to time is a very natural thing let’s go
back to Paleolithic times for example
it’d be very
common or at least occurring that a
tribe would go without food for a while
and naturally shift into ketosis and it
would appear from the scientists who are
exploring the cognitive benefits of
ketosis that there is an evolutionary
argument to why it has your protective
properties and that’s because that’s
just part of nature it’s not natural to
have a fridge next to you and constantly
be able to eat now let’s move on to what
the science is saying about how ketones
actually affect your brain directly so
in studies of rats ketones were shown to
increase in gaba gaba improves your
sleep and improves your focus your
concentration
we know that intelligent people have
more gaba in their brains naturally
something also interesting to note is
that in many recreational drugs like
cigarettes and nicotine
this increases gaba in the brain so you
like improving your ability to feel
euphoric but it’s an unnatural way from
a dietary intervention rather than
something that’s going to be addicting
and clearly degenerative to your health
so that’s also fascinating in itself now
I’m not going to go into the topic of
saturated fat in too much detail but
basically when you’re on a ketogenic
diet and you’re trying to fuel your
brain with fat clearly you’re eating
more fat and a lot of this is going to
be saturated fat now I’ve covered this
in another video exploring the reason
why I set rated fat isn’t actually that
unhealthy but basically it’s because
think about infant milk human milk has
six times the amount of cholesterol an
average person consumes an infant milk
you have saturated fat monounsaturated
fat polyunsaturated fat out of all those
fats saturated fat is proportionately
larger than followed by monounsaturated
fat and polyunsaturated fat if
cholesterol and fat was something that
we really did not need and it was
cancerous to us and it caused death why
would nature intend for the first sip of
drink and food for a baby to consume be
something that’s going to fundamentally
harm it and oppose our true nature so
just some food for thought for you um
but if you want to learn more in depth
about this topic and specifically why
saturated fat is it bad all in the
description and there will be a video
there for you to watch but just keep
that example in mind when you come
across someone who is telling you
something different as long as you’re
maintaining an adequate amount of
polyunsaturated fats and making sure to
maintain an appropriate balance between
omega-3 and omega-6
favouring omega-3 and specifically DHA /
EPA
then you’re going to be involved in your
protective properties so on cognitive
impairment we know conclusively that
inflammation is a huge problem Phyllis
as it is with obesity and obesity
generally goes hand-in-hand such as
diabetics with cognitive impairment so
what researchers are now calling
Alzheimer’s disease is type 3 diabetes
why is it called type 3 diabetes because
it’s basically insulin resistance in the
brain it’s inflammation and insulin
resistance in the brain the hormone
insulin isn’t properly processing
glucose in the brain and so this leads
to inflammation release leads to so many
problems and it’s one of the most
fundamental causes of cognitive
impairment dementia Parkinson’s all
these things it’s all interlinked with
inflammation and of course the ketogenic
diet lowers inflammation that lowers
oxidation in the brain it lowers all
these markers of cognitive impairment
and when you’re running your brain of
ketones is so much smoother it’s so much
more efficient it’s like running your
brain of electric versus gasoline if
we’re going to give an analogy for a car
now many of the studies have been done
on animals and there hasn’t been that
much conclusive research on whether
there’s a there’s a definite more
protective effect but all the research
which is coming out right now
again and again and again is solidifying
these suspicions people have had about
inflammation but insulin resistance in
the brain and the way that diet
specifically affects this now this isn’t
to say any other type of diet can’t do
this but it appears that the ketone
brain the fat fueled brain has some
distinct advantages compared to its
glucose counterparts but if you’re
looking to like hack your brain and
you’re looking to optimize your
performance cognitively and perhaps in
terms of endurance training then the
ketogenic diet might be something you
consider if you’re brave enough to enjoy
the 5% carbohydrates which honestly
isn’t that difficult because the moment
you insulin drops the moment your
insulin sensitivity goes up the moment
inflammation goes down the moment your
keto adapted or even a nutritional
ketosis all your appetite and your
cravings go away so it becomes a piece
of cake
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