As you know, I don’t normally give much weight to animal studies. Sure, they’re a good place to start—but I typically save my recommendations for approaches that work on actual human beings.
With that said, I’ve been known to make some exceptions—notably, when the research is promising and offers safe alternatives. And one of those exceptions is for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research.
Because the fact is, we haven’t made a whole lot of scientific progress in this particular fight. Big Pharma hasn’t delivered any noteworthy advances. And recent years haven’t brought us any closer to a cure.
At least, not a conventional cure. Because there have actually been quite a few reports on non-pharmaceutical strategies to slam the brakes on cognitive decline. The one I want to share with you today is just the latest—and it won’t take long to see why it grabbed my attention…
Eat your ketones at every meal
Let’s skip to the important part and go from there: A team of researchers recently published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience, which shows that a ketone-supplemented diet can protect neurons against death from AD.
The catch? They’ve only proven it in mice, so far. But there’s plenty of reason to believe that human patients may reap the same benefits.
Consider the pathology of AD, for starters: One way that the disease destroys the brain is through amyloid beta, which damages mitochondria—the tiny engines that power your cells. It does this by interfering with a protein called SIRT3, which is tasked with both preserving mitochondrial function and protecting brain cells.
In their experiments, researchers used mice with low SIRT3 levels to mimic this particular aspect of AD. And as you might expect, the mice with low SIRT3 levels suffered higher mortality rates, more severe seizures, and greater neuron death than either controls or mice matching the standard AD model.
But get this: These same mice had fewer seizures and higher survival rates when they ate a ketone-rich diet. Which means that increasing SIRT3 may be one way to make AD less damaging and deadly. And one way to do that is with increased ketone consumption.
The best ways to get a boost
I’ve talked about the benefit of ketone supplementation in the past. In fact, I devoted an entire article to the subject back in the March 2013 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The skinny on a new diet industry darling”). Not yet a subscriber? Sign up today!
And I even use raspberry ketones as a premier ingredient in one of my very own fat-burning formulas, which you can find by browsing the “shop” tab on my website. So you can imagine why this latest research piqued my interest.
But while most of the conversation about ketones may revolve around weight loss, it’s not exactly surprising to hear that they may fight memory loss, too.
As you may recall, your body generates ketones from fat when it can’t use glucose for energy. (Either because you don’t have enough insulin, or because you’re not consuming enough sugar to do so.)
But as I explained here before, early research suggests that, like the rest of your body, your brain can also substitute ketones in place of sugar for energy.
This is important, because AD impedes your brain’s ability to use sugar for energy — causing glucose metabolism to drop by as much as 40 percent in some areas. And this energy loss leads to both the structural and cognitive dysfunction we associate with dementia.
On the other hand, ketogenic supplements—which include medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—appear to energize the brain and improve function in patients with mild cognitive decline. Exercise also increases ketone uptake in the brain—which might explain why it’s so good at stalling dementia. (Yet another reason why I always recommend an active lifestyle.)
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to supplement with ketones at all. If you follow my A-List Diet, you’ll naturally boost the levels of ketones in your bloodstream without any extra effort.
In fact, new research continues to demonstrate just how effective ketogenic diets are against cognitive decline.
Unfortunately, I’m all out of time today. But I’ll pick back up with that discussion tomorrow. So as always, stay tuned…
“Eating more ketones may fight against Alzheimer’s disease: Dietary intervention restores protective protein and decreases death rate in mice.” Science Daily, 12.09/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191209131948.htm)