Keto Diet Fights Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s. Prevents It Too?

Richard says: Since the keto diet fights Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, it seems obvious to me that it can help prevent those diseases also. The secret is in preventing oxidative stress to the mitochondria in the brain cells.

As you will see, the ketones produced by the keto diet fights Alzheimer’s, because the ketones are antioxidants. Whereas the glucose, produced by sugars, actually causes the oxidative stress that leads to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

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This article was written by Dr. Helcio Ferreira. Comments by Richard Quick.

Ketogenic Diet: The New Hope to Prevent Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Diseases

Neurodegenerative disorders affect millions of people a year. Researchers still have not found the specific causes of these disorders. The ketogenic diet is the new hope to prevent Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, because ketosis offers energy for brain cells without side effects, unlike glucose.

The ketogenic diet is characterized by high fat consumption, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates, this diet is emerging as an effective alternative treatment to prevent disorders of neurological origin such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

This diet has demonstrated high efficacy in the treatment of epilepsy. Recent studies have highlighted the benefits of the ketogenic diet to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. The ketogenic diet has emerged as a healthy alternative to prevent neurodegenerative diseases. [1]

Various investigations and trials have been carried out on the effects of the ketogenic diet and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) on brain cells. Its antioxidant activity is an important factor in preventing cell damage. [2]

Proper nutrition is essential to improve the condition of patients with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The ketogenic diet goes far beyond weight loss. This diet can improve the quality of life of people affected by Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

What Is the Effect of The Ketogenic Diet on The Body?

The ketogenic diet is based on ketosis caused by the decrease in carbohydrate consumption. Ketosis is a metabolic process where ketone bodies are produced to replace glucose as an energy source. Ketone bodies are produced by the metabolism of fats instead of glucose. [3]

To understand ketosis, it is necessary to know that there are two sources of energy in the body:

  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate metabolism generates glucose, the main source of energy used by the body. Glucose is rapidly metabolized, unlike ketone bodies, for this reason, its energetic performance is low.
  • Fats: The metabolism of lipids generates ketone bodies and these are used as an alternative energy source. Ketone bodies are an efficient energy source that helps the body stay active during fasting.

Benefits of Ketogenic Diet Foods

Green vegetables that should be included in the ketogenic diet because of their low carbohydrate content:

  • Spinach, chard, asparagus, broccoli, and green sprouts.

These vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and essential antioxidants needed to prevent cell degeneration. [4]

Oxidative stress, caused by free radicals, can cause considerable damage to brain cells, mitochondrial functions and dopaminergic neurons. All of this damage is essentially caused by the effect of free radicals.

A diet based on green vegetables, proteins of high biological value and healthy fatty acids are essential to prevent oxidative stress and cell degeneration.

Benefits of Eating Healthy Fats in the Ketogenic Diet

In the ketogenic diet, carbohydrate intake should be moderate and healthy fat intake should be increased.

Foods such as avocados, virgin olive oil, fish rich in omega (salmon, tuna, sardines), nuts and peanuts, squash or sesame seeds, provide high-quality fatty acids for the production of ketone bodies.

Until now it was considered that the source of energy provided by fats was not adequate for our brain.

However, the new scientific trends maintain that the ketone bodies that arise in the ketosis process are suitable for neuronal cells. The ketogenic diet is an alternative for neurodegenerative diseases.

Effects of Ketone Bodies to Prevent Cell Degeneration

Numerous investigations have been carried out on the effects of the ketogenic diet, and the ketone bodies, to avoid the biochemical processes that can cause the degeneration of brain cells. [5]

The ketogenic diet began as an alternative treatment for epilepsy, but it could also have a positive effect in avoiding the processes that can cause neurodegenerative diseases.

Ketosis is a metabolic process to generate alternative energy to be used by the body and brain.

Its mechanisms could influence the prevention of the development of degenerative disorders such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

Its biochemical mechanisms such as metabolic regulation, oxidative stress reduction and modulation of neurotransmission, have shown positive effects in the prevention of neurological disorders.

Degenerative processes can have multiple causes.

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can have different etiologies that have not yet been fully understood. For this reason, there are still no specific treatments for each of these diseases.

Alternative treatments, such as the ketogenic diet, are designed to offer protection of brain cells.

This is accomplished by stopping degenerative metabolic processes, which can cause irreparable damage to the central nervous system.

Antioxidant Effect of the Ketogenic Diet to Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders

The production of ketone bodies and the reduction of blood glucose are the main therapeutic basis of the ketogenic diet.

Glucose metabolism is one of the main causes of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress generation. Which are the main characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases. [6]

Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction stand out as central features of degenerative brain diseases.

It is known that oxidative stress, a condition that occurs due to an imbalance in the oxidative and antioxidant state, has a vital role in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, including AD and PD.

Oxidative stress is a biochemical process where cells are affected by free radicals. These radical compounds can alter the function and structure of cells, causing cell dysfunction or degeneration.

Reactive oxygen species (free radicals) may be involved in various physiological processes such as immunological functions or enzymatic activity.

However, excessive production of reactive oxygen species, due to glucose metabolism, can cause harmful effects such as DNA and neuronal cell damage.

Parkinson’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Effects of the Ketogenic Diet

Parkinson’s disease consists of a chronic and degenerative disorder of the structure of the brain responsible for controlling the motor system. This represents a progressive loss of the ability to coordinate movements.

This occurs when the nerve cells of the black substance of the midbrain (substantia nigra) are degenerated or suffer some injury. [7]

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and neurodegenerative disease that affects a large part of the world’s population.

A man sitting on a rock, is worried about Parkinson's disease.

This neurodegenerative disorder has several particular characteristics: resting tremor, slow movement initiation, and muscular stiffness.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

This neurodegenerative disorder is characterized by the breakdown of nerve cells.

The symptoms of this disease are caused by the decrease in dopamine levels due to cell degeneration.

Dopamine is important for brain chemical processes and its decrease generates abnormal brain activity, causing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is still unknown, but some risk factors are related to its appearance:

  • Genetic factors: Some research has found genetic mutations that can be an important risk factor, although more research is still needed on this factor. Some genetic factors may increase the risk of other degenerative diseases but are not directly associated with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Environmental factors: Some environmental toxins may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, but the chances are lower.

Effects of the Ketogenic Diet on Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is mainly characterized by the progressive loss of neurons responsible for producing dopamine in the substance nigra pars compacta.

This disease uses mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis as pathophysiological mechanisms to degenerate dopaminergic neurons. [7]

Glucose metabolism promotes mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and cell apoptosis. So, it could be considered as an important risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

For this reason, alternatives have been sought for energy production without risk to neuronal cells, such as ketosis. [8]

The ketogenic diet could have important neuroprotective properties due to the biochemical changes generated in the body by the inhibition of glucose metabolism, and the use of ketone bodies as a source of energy.

Ketone bodies are specialized to increase the production of ATP (cellular energy), optimizing mitochondrial respiration. This mechanism can have neuroprotective effects, because it prevents mitochondrial dysfunction and increased oxidative stress.

Β-Hydroxybutyrate is a ketone body that can provide more energy to brain cells than glucose, this means that neuronal cells have a higher affinity for ketone bodies than glucose. [8]

The use of ketone bodies by neuronal cells as a source of energy will improve the antioxidant activity, because the production of free radicals is reduced. Thus preventing degeneration or dysfunction of the cells caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Increased Glutathione Peroxidase to Prevent Degenerative Disorders

The ketogenic diet also helps to increase glutathione peroxidase levels.

This enzymatic compound is an important antioxidant that has been highlighted by several investigations for its antioxidant effect in different areas of the brain.

The activity of this enzyme can help control the synaptic activity of nerve cells. [9]

Benefits of Healthy Fats to Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders

The ketogenic diet is mainly based on the reduction of carbohydrates to promote ketosis as a source of energy. Also, the increase in consumption of healthy fats has benefits for brain health. [10]

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are important because they reduce the formation of free radicals. They also promote the excitability of neuronal cell membranes, reducing the risk of decomposition.

Although the specific causes of Parkinson’s disease are still unknown, the evidence suggests that the ketogenic diet may be an ideal alternative treatment to prevent or slow the progression of this disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Effects of the Ketogenic Diet

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, this disease is the main cause of dementia and affects millions of people.

This disorder is characterized by decreased thinking skills, impaired social behavior, and decreased memorization and learning skills.

These symptoms seriously affect the quality of life of those who suffer from this disease. [11]

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers have not yet found enough evidence about the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the combination of some factors increases the risk of this disorder, such as genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.

Research on the Causes of this Disease Focuses on Two Proteins:

Amyloid plaques:

Beta-amyloid fragments are residues of a protein.

These protein fragments are grouped in plaques causing toxic effects on the neuron and altering cellular communication.

Beta-amyloid fragments are compacted to form amyloid plaques, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Neurofibrillary tangles:

Tau protein is essential for the transport of nutrients to neurons.

This protein works as internal support of neuronal cells.

The composition of the tau protein changes during Alzheimer’s disease, forming structures called neurofibrillary tangles. These structures disrupt the internal transport of nutrients and can cause toxicity in neuronal cells.  [11]

Effect of the Ketogenic Diet on Alzheimer’s Disease

The origin of degenerative diseases may vary according to risk factors. However, the pathological mechanisms are characterized by mitochondrial dysfunction, caused by glucose metabolism. [12]

Mitochondrial dysfunction, and the alteration of biochemical mechanisms caused by oxidative stress, promote the formation of beta-amyloid fragments. Thus, increasing the risk of toxicity in the central nervous system.

Glucose metabolism has been constantly related to the degeneration of neuronal cells responsible for cognitive processes.

Studies suggest that diets with high carbohydrate intake, or people with insulin resistance, may suffer from increased production of beta-amyloid fragments.

Thus, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, diabetes is considered a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research supports the ketogenic diet as an alternative treatment to prevent or stop the progression of degenerative diseases.

Consuming healthy fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides such as coconut oil in the ketogenic diet could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in particular. [12] [13]

Conclusion

Although the specific causes of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are unknown, the ketogenic diet can reduce the basic biochemical mechanisms that cause cell degeneration.

Glucose metabolism produces side effects such as mitochondrial dysfunction and the production of free radicals. This effect increases the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

The ketogenic diet promotes ketone bodies (instead of glucose) as an efficient energy source to prevent neurodegenerative disorders.

Neural cells have a greater affinity for ketone bodies as a source of energy. Ketone bodies have antioxidant activity that prevents oxidative stress and cell damage.

Glucose metabolism increases the risk of degenerative diseases, especially Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.

High carbohydrate diets increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease because it increases the production of b-amyloid fragments and neurofibrillary tangles.

The ketogenic diet emerges as an alternative treatment for neurodegenerative diseases.

That is because, ketone bodies are an optimal source of energy with antioxidant activity. But without the harmful glucose effects on brain cells.

Richard Says: How My Keto Diet Fights Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Are you scared of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? Here is what I am doing. I eat a modified keto diet that doesn’t make me lose weight.

I simply eat more fats, protein, vegetables and fruit. However, I only eat during an eight hour period each day. Essentially I am fasting on water for 16 hours per day, and eating during the other 8 hours. It’s EASY!

Many days I don’t eat for 18-20 hours. That’s because I am burning ketones instead of glucose, which is very hunger satisfying. Some days I look at the clock and I’m surprised that it is time to eat.

This way, while my keto diet fights Alzheimer’s, I am charging ahead with energy all day long.

So, go ahead, and lose all your fat.

Look great in your clothes (or out of them).

The keto diet fights Alzheimer’s, and you keep your memories.

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References

  1. Assessing the Efficacy of Antiepileptic Treatments: The Ketogenic Diet

2. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet.

3. Ketogenic diets: new advances for metabolism-based therapies.

4. Ketogenic Diet

5. Ketone Bodies in Neurological Diseases: Focus on Neuroprotection and Underlying Mechanisms

6. Ketogenic diet in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases.

7. Parkinson Disease: Symptoms and Treatments.

8. D-beta-hydroxybutyrate rescues mitochondrial respiration and mitigates features of Parkinson disease.

9. Role of Ketogenic Diets in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease)

10. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function

11. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Health Center

12. A ketogenic diet reduces amyloid beta 40 and 42 in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

13. Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults.

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Keto Diet Fights Alzheimer’s & Parkinson's. Prevents It Too?
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Keto Diet Fights Alzheimer’s & Parkinson's. Prevents It Too?
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Recent science studies have shown that a Ketogenic diet can fight neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Essentially, brain cells function better when fueled by ketones instead of glucose, In-turn, there is less damage to the brain cells, and, the cells are able to properly regenerate. Thus preventing the diseases.
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