June 26, 2015

Alzheimer’s, Ketones, and Kidding Ourselves (Pt.3/3)

I concluded the previous post by introducing the idea that, when it comes to a body and brain being fueled by ketones, the absolute concentration of ketone bodies in the blood might be less important than the body’s ability to use those ketones. I expressed concern that placing the sum total of our faith in high β-OHB levels might take our eyes off the marker we should probably be more interested in: how well an AD patient is functioning. Maybe some AD patients do require ketones at upwards of 4-5mM. But maybe some others would do just great at lower levels.

Heres my thinking on this...

June 24, 2015

Alzheimer’s, Ketones, and Kidding Ourselves (Pt.2/3)

I ended the previous post by introducing the idea of using exogenous ketones for improving the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, while not requiring the afflicted individual to make any dietary changes. (Recall that, according to researchers, a very low carb diet is “inconvenient” to prepare and consume.) Is there a place for exogenous ketones in AD therapy? Yes. I believe there is. It depends on the person’s age and severity of illness, but I absolutely acknowledge that exogenous ketones can improve quality of life. BUT: with the exception of some very specific cases, which I’ll mention in a bit, I cannot support them being used as the sole intervention. It’s as bad as telling a type-2 diabetic to use insulin and do nothing else to influence the way their body handles glucose, or, really, insulin, itself.  

Please tell me someone out there is on the same page as me here.

“Alzheimer's disease patients frequently undergo changes in food preference toward sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods, which would make compliance to a ketogenic diet difficult.” (Henderson et al., 2009)

Really? Do they undergo changes in food preference toward sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods after they develop Alzheimer’s disease, or are sugar addicts more likely to develop AD? Which is the chicken, and which is the Cadbury Crème Egg?

Now, here’s where things get deep.

June 21, 2015

Alzheimer’s, Ketones, and Kidding Ourselves (Pt.1/3)

The Setup

Picture the following scenario:

You find yourself walking from one room into another and can’t remember why. And it’s been happening more often.

You’ve been misplacing things. Your phone, your keys, your wallet or purse. And it’s been happening more often.

You’ve been forgetting about important appointments, and that’s happening more often, too.

But this isn’t a big deal, right? You’re just getting older. This is normal. “Senior moments.” Happens to everyone.

But what if things are a little worse than that?

What if you’re out running errands and forget how to get back home?

What if you go for a walk by yourself and get lost in your own neighborhood?

What if you set something on the stove to cook, then wander away for a few minutes, and the only reason you remember you had something cooking is because the smoke alarm goes off and acrid smoke fills the house?

What if you start asking people the same simple question—one they’ve already answered—over and over—and over again?

You’re not just having senior moments. You’re having entire senior days. Senior weeks. Senior months.

You are literally losing your mind.

Maybe it’s gotten so bad you’ve had to stop working.

Maybe your family no longer trusts you to be at home by yourself, or cook for yourself, or drive your car.

Scary, huh?

But what if I told you I could fix things for you?

June 15, 2015

Podcast Interview!

Hey folks! If this is your first visit to my blog after hearing me on Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ la Vida Low Carb Podcast, here are some links to past posts I’ve done regarding Alzheimer’s disease:

And here’s a link to a guest post I wrote for Robb Wolf’s site, about carbs, Alzheimer's, and more, after the first interview he did with Dr. Perlmutter, after the release of the book, Grain Brain.

If you’d like to learn more about me, check out the About Me page here on this site. In the podcast, I touched only briefly on how I found low carb, so if you’re interested in all the gory details of how “eating less and moving more” failed me for most of my adolescence and young adult life, you can read about that here.  (You might also want to wait until you have an hour to spare. You will see from today’s post, or by looking through the archives, that brevity is not my strong suit.)

And now, on to the post!

June 11, 2015

Deja Vu All Over Again - Keto vs Carbs: STOP IT ALREADY!

How many times am I going to have to write this blog post?

More than once, it seems, since it failed to have the desired impact last time I wrote it.

(BTW: I can’t help thinking of that line from Aladdin, where Jafar says to Aladdin, “How many times do I have to kill you, boy?!”)

Am I the only one who feels like the more we learn about biochemical individuality, genetic polymorphisms, epigenetic triggers, the whole-body microbiome—i.e., things that make people differentthe harder and deeper the warring nutritional factions dig their heels in, hold their positions, and stand their ideological ground in insisting that we are all suited to thrive on one type of diet? When we constantly discover downstream effects of differences in biochemical pathways and mechanisms such as methylation, starch digestion, liver detoxification, and muscle fiber distribution (i.e. fast-twitch versus slow-twitch fibers), shouldn’t that make us more open-minded, rather than less, about the different diets on which individuals might thrive?

Maybe I am alone in thinking this. It sure feels pretty lonely out here on this limb.

But since it didn’t seem to sink in the first time I wrote about this, here we go again.

June 5, 2015

Food for Thought Friday: Food Prudes & the Low Carb Backlash

You know the phrase, folks:  Everything old is new again.

Dr. Robert Atkins was practically driven out of professional medicine by an angry mob wielding knives and pitchforks. How dare he suggest that obese people might have success in losing weight by reducing the amount of carbohydrate they consume? And worse—far worse!—how dare he tell people it was okay to eat butter, cheese, and red meat? Sure, people could lose weight by cutting back on starch, but didn’t Atkins know that the high-fat foods he recommended (especially the ones from—gasp!—animals!) would clog people’s arteries? (Um, no, he did not know that, because it’s not true. Also, by the way, Dr. Atkins was a cardiologist, so one would assume he would not have put thousands of his patients on a diet that could have had him indicted for malpractice, but I digress.)

From the publishing of Dr. Atkins’ first diet book in 1972, through its newer editions during the 1990s, it seemed like the more people that were successful on the Atkins diet, the louder, more strident, and more vitriolic the backlash became.

Well, in case you haven’t noticed, we are smack-dab in the middle of another round of low carb hatred. I suspect it’s due to the wild popularity not just of the low-carb approach, but also to the exponential increase in interest in Paleo, Primal, and low-allergen diets. (None of these is low carb by definition, but they tend to be significantly lowER in carbs than the standard American diet.) Moreover, even mainstream nutrition and medical organizations have basically rescinded the last 3-4 decades’ worth of recommendations to avoid every single molecule of saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

The powers that be can see the writing on the wall, and they do not like it.