Biohacker Inside - The Ketogenic Diet

Let me switch gears now and talk about the Ketogenic diet. The Ketogenic diet does not mean you live on bacon. It's a high-fat, low carbohydrate dietary pattern. The break down of the micronutrients is typically 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbohydrates. 


The bulk of food comes from non-starchy vegetables, your greens, zucchini, squash, onions, garlic, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and many other non-starchy vegetables. In addition, fat is encouraged to come from plants such as avocados, olives, coconuts, and animal sources. 


Protein typically comes from eggs, seafood and organ meats. Fruits are limited to berries and low glycemic index fruits. The Ketogenic diet has become very popular in the press lately, but it's not a new diet. It has been around since the 1920s and was designed to mimic fasting because it was observed that patients with seizures did better when they fasted. It's a diet that is effective in some epilepsy syndromes. Unfortunately, after the discovery of dilantin, as seizure medicine in the 1930s, it was abandoned and medication treatment for epilepsy has been favored every since. It's still used in certain cases, mostly in children. 


The Ketogenic diet is very effective in treatment of diabetes and insulin resistance. When implemented for brain diseases associated with insulin resistance, it was shown to be effective. One study showed that rats fed the Ketogenic diet had less toxic protein, which is associated with Alzheimer's disease, in their spinal fluid when compared to rats fed their standard food. In a human trial where patients affected Alzheimer's disease were caused to go into ketosis using a ketogenic agent called AC-1202, patients showed an improvement in their clinical function even at 45 days after dietary intervention. This was however limited to patients who did not carry the mutation that predisposes to Alzheimer's disease, known as APOE-4. 


In another small study, a group of Parkinson's disease patients were put on a Ketogenic diet and followed 28 days later. In all patients, motor function improved dramatically between 20 to 80%, that is huge. The Ketogenic diet is being studied further in multiple trials in a specific brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme. This is a universally deadly tumor. The prognosis is typically very poor, and the five year survival rate is very small. 


A small case report coming out of Brazil compared the original size of a brain tumor with its size three months later after a Ketogenic diet. There was a significant decrease in the size of the white area represented in the tumor. The Ketogenic diet has the highest level of clinical class of evidence in epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease or level one. It has level three evidence for Parkinson's disease, depression and other diseases as well. This may be due to it not being well studied. However, multiple studies are going on, so stay tuned for more data. 

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