Good news… recent study has found evidence that a Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic diet improves brain function. At the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International
Conference researchers presented results from the first trial of a ketogenic diet on Alzheimer’s.
The results suggested that a ketogenic diet improves brain function. Although more study is warranted, this is good news. Especially since Alzheimer’s is epidemic in our elderly populations.
We have written about this before here.
A ketogenic diet is one that is very low in carbohydrates, i.e. typically less than 20 grams of carbohydrates/day. The typical American eats more than 200 grams of carbohydrates/day, thought to cause many serious problems including type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eating less than 20 grams per day lowers blood glucose and the liver responds by converting fats into energy in the form of ketones which circulate in the blood. The body then uses ketones (from fat) to provide energy for all the tissues. A small amount of required blood glucose is also made by the liver for those tissues that can’t use ketones.
It is thought that Alzheimer’s is partly due to loss of the ability to use glucose as a fuel in the brain. Since the brain can also use ketones, then function can be retained on a ketogenic diet.
Source: Get Fit for Your Brain website.
Cunnane, S. C. (2016). Can Ketones Help Rescue Brain Fuel Supply in Later Life? Implications for Cognitive Health During Aging and the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 9, 1-21.
Hughes, S. (2017, August 03). Boosting Brain Ketones Metabolism: A New Approach to Alzheimer’s. Medscape Medical News.
Swerdlow, R. (2017). The KU Alzheimer’s Disease Ketogenic Diet Feasiblity and Retention Trial: Results from a Pilot Study. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.