Study Points to Ketogenic Diet as Potential Alzheimer’s Treatment

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by TDB
Thursday, Apr 18, 2024 - 18:15

Originally published via Armageddon Prose:

In a bit of practical physiology that I never learned in public school but have since via the internet, when the body depletes its blood sugar, after it’s sucked whatever it can out of glycogen stores in the muscles, it turns to fatty acid-derived compounds called ketones, manufactured in the liver, that oxidize fat into usable forms of energy as an alternative to glucose.

Via Stat Pearls:

“Ketone bodies are prominent fuel sources for all evolutionary domains of life. The body can use ketones as a source of energy in the absence of a carbohydrate source. Ketones make up 5% to 20% of the human body's total energy expenditure. The liver converts fatty acids into ketone bodies that travel to other organs via blood. This process is especially important when an individual's blood glucose has decreased, and they must maintain an energy source for organs such as the brain.”

When the body is fully turned over to ketones as the primary fuel source (which happens generally within 48 hours of near-zero carb intake), the new metabolic state is “ketosis.” Healthy ketosis is achieved through deprivation of carbohydrates in the diet, typically less than 50 grams of net carbs per day — an eating regimen called a “ketogenic diet.”

Recently published research in mice suggests a ketogenic diet may ameliorate the development of Alzheimer’s disease, possibly by elevating levels of a particular ketone body called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).

Via Science Alert:

“We know that a host of factors play into Alzheimer's risk, including the makeup of our gut bacteria. So, it makes sense that our diets might have some influence.

A new study found a chemical elevated by 'ketogenic' diets – which are low in carbs and higher in proteins and fats – can delay the early stages of Alzheimer's-related memory loss in mice. That memory loss is comparable to the mild cognitive impairment seen in people before Alzheimer's takes hold.

Key to the new discovery by a team led by the University of California, Davis (UCD), is the molecule beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which the ketogenic diet increases levels of. Here, the researchers found BHB was particularly abundant in biological pathways associated with memory and brain plasticity.”

(Link to study.)

Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.

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