Is the Ketogenic Diet the Cure for
Alzheimer's?
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September 3, 2017

By Ariadne Weinberg,  Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board.]









In my grandmother's day, Alzheimer's was not as known an
affliction as it is now. Now, in the United States, 10% of people
over the age of 65 has Alzheimer's, according the Alzheimer's
Association.

Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease in which
50% of individuals affected have progressive memory
impairment and cognitive decline. Other symptoms include
executive dysfunction, disorientation, problems with language,
mood swings, behavioral changes, and problems with self-care.

According to a 2017 report by Klaus W. Lange from the
University of Regensburg in Germany, there is a worldwide
prevalence of between 5% and 7% of the disease.

Risk factors include obesity, diabetes, smoking, and a poor diet,
as well as physical and mental inactivity.

However, scientists and physicians are in the process of
discovering that how you eat can help downplay the effects.

The ketogenic diet is a new tool on the forefront of treating the
cognitive and physical effects of Alzheimer’s disease.


What Is the Ketogenic Diet Anyways?

The idea of a ketogenic diet is to burn unwanted fat by forcing
the body to rely on the lipids themselves for energy, instead of
depending on carbs, according to experts at the University of
Chicago in Illinois. This causes a ketosis reaction.

Ketosis is a metabolic process wherein, when the body doesn’t
have enough energy for glucose, fats are burned instead. This
causes a buildup of acids in the body called ketones.

The Merriam Webster dictionary gives an eloquent definition:
“a diet supplying a large amount of fat and minimal amounts of
carbohydrate and protein and used especially formerly in
epilepsy to produce a ketosis and alter the degree of bodily
alkalinity.”  

There are different kinds of ketogenic diets. The most standard
ketogenic diet consists of a makeup of 75% fat, 20% protein,
and only 5% carbs.

A cyclical ketogenic diet involves periods of a ketogenic diet
mixed with high carb refeeds. For example 5 days of a standard
diet mixed with 2 high carb days. A targeted ketogenic diet
allows you to consume carbs when working out. A high-protein
ketogenic diet is similar to the standard one, but with more
protein: 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

The ketogenic diet is nothing new. In fact, the concept was
developed 90 years ago, in 1924. Russell Wilder from the Mayo
Clinic wanted to develop a treatment for epilepsy. The
treatment did prove effective, but fell out of fashion because of
anti-seizure medication in the 1940s.

Nowadays, more and more people are trying the new way of
eating to treat various neurological diseases and other
conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, weight loss, and,
of course, our topic of the day, Alzheimer’s.

The Ketogenic Diet and Neurological Disorders




























While this high-fat, low carb diet has proven especially effective
in treating Alzheimer’s, other neurological disorders have also
reaped the benefits, including: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
Parkinson’s disease, and mitochondriopathies in general.

While these diseases are all quite different, but the common
mechanisms of ketogenesis work on all of them.

A ketogenic diet decreases oxidative damage as well as
metabolic stress while increasing mitochondrial biogenesis
pathways, according to a 2014 report by A. Padova from the
University of Padova in Italy.  

Alzheimer’s and the Ketogenic Diet

Scientists and medical professionals are now asking themselves
and researching if cognitive decline can be delayed if this brain
energy defect is corrected or bypassed early in the disease.
Published clinical available trials show that increasing ketone
availability in the brain via moderate nutritional ketosis causes a
modest improvement in cognition for mild to moderate
Alzheimer’s Disease and in mild cognitive impairment.


How the Ketogenic Diet works on Alzheimer’s

There are two ketone bodies that work actively on the brain
of  those with Alzheimer’s: acetoacetate and B-
hydroxybutyrate. Any medium-length fatty acid generating
ketone bodies help and have been shown to cause slight
improvement in mental function in those experiencing
Alzheimer’s.

Relatively low doses of B-hydroxybutyrate has been shown to
be especially effective in improving the effects on cognitive
function.

In a 2015 report, L. Hertz from the China Medical University in
Shenyang, China explains that this is probably due to the
metabolic inhibition of glutamate, which in turn reduces
hyperexcitability and inflammation.

Specific cognitive improvements include memory and learning
as well as spatial recognition. According to a 2006 report from
Maciej Gasior at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda,
Maryland, medium chain triglycerides improve memory
performance in Alzheimer’s disease. Essential fatty acids may
also have a beneficial effect on learning and spatial recognition.

Motor improvement and controversy

According to more than one animal study performed on mice, a
high fat, low-carb diet showed improved motor function, but
not any cognitive benefits. However, the contradictory results
could be due to the age of the animals, according to the 2013
report by Dave Morgan at South Florida College of Medicine.
Young to middle aged mice are used, while human effects are
usually experienced in the elderly.

The diet has been definitively shown to be anti-epileptic, which,
if you have as a side-effect of any neurological disease,
including Alzheimer’s, is great to eliminate.

What Are Some Good Ketogenic Diet Options?

According to a 2016 report from S.C. Cunnane  at the
University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, nutritional ketosis can be
safely achieved in various ways:

One is the traditional high-fat ketogenic diet.

If you’d prefer to take supplements, experts recommend 20-70
grams a day of medium chain triglycerides with octanoate and
decanoate.

You can also take ketone esters.

Asking your doctor which is the best option for you is key,
especially if you have Alzheimer’s. Each case is different.

Possible Risks to the Ketogenic Diet?

Severe hyperketonemia induced by insulin deficiency can be life
threatening in patients with type 1
diabetes.  

However, this type of hyperketonemia is not possible in ketosis
induced by dietary changes.

You should generally be okay on the diet. However, check with
a nutritionist for your specific regulations.

And definitely ask thoroughly for instructions if you have any
type of diabetes.















































Related:
Alzheimer's Disease -An Ideal Prevention Diet

Dancing Reduces Dementia Risk By 76%

Why Do I Forget Things?-Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies

Improve Your Memory- Simple Steps

Foods That Shrink Your Waist /

Foods That Fight Depression

How to Raise Your IQ Naturally
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