It was observed long long ago that fasting (for 2-3 days) was a cure for seizures, as fasting puts you into a state of fasting ketosis
Ketosis is when you have a blood concentration of ketones greater than or equal to 0.5mmol
Ketones are produced by the liver from fat (either from our own body fat during fasting, or the fat we eat) and are used, instead of glucose, to create ATP (energy)
The ketogenic diet mimics the physiological state of fasting by supressing insulin and raising blood ketone levels
Insulin is released by our pancreas to help shuttle the glucose that we eat into cells
Essentially the ketone bodies replace glucose
Ketogenic Diet Odds and Ends
The strict ketogenic diet involves consuming about 90% of your calories from fat and 10% from protein/carbs
The modified ketogenic (or modified Atkins) diet involves consuming ~70% fat, 20-30% protein, and other non glycemic vegetables. This has around 90% of the benefits of the traditional ketogenic diet and is what Dom follows.
The body is very adaptable to switching fuel sources (fat and glucose)
Because of this, before heavy training (cycling, MMA), it might make sense to consume some sort of low glycemic, high molecular weight carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, yams)
However, you should be fine most of the time producing ATP for those short bursts of power you need, as long as you are consuming significant fat calories
Dom recommends consuming creatine phosphate (~3g a day) daily to help create those short bursts of power
Many people report not feeling any sort of “crash” after large meals on the ketogenic diets
This occurs due to the lack of glucose swings
The ketogenic diet works well because its non-glycemic
We control our appetite instead of our appetite controlling us
There is no rise and fall of glucose which makes us moody, hungry etc. and causes cravings
As we age, we become more carbohydrate intolerant and insulin resistant, so the benefits of the ketogenic diet increase as we age
Ketones lower blood glucose levels
Your brain can create ATP more efficiently from ketones compared to glucose
Many people have an impaired PHD enzyme (Pyruvate Dehyrogenase), such as people with Alzeimer’s Disease. This enzyme helps convert pyruvate (which gets converted from glucose) into acetyl CoA which is in turn used to make ATP. Ketones, on the other hand, completely bypass this conversion step.
As we age, glucose energy metabolism tends to decrease, but ketone energy metabolism tends to stay constant
Dom’s history with the ketogenic diet
Turned on to it in 2007 on a nutrition forum
He has a PhD in Cellular Neuroscience
Dom’s post doc work involved studying seizures.
Seizures sometimes occur with Navy Seals who are underwater using a closed circuit rebreather (which doesn’t emit bubbles)
Dom’s research involved examining cells/mitochondria within metabolic oxygen chambers, to mimic underwater environments
What he found – ketones enhance brain energy production and resilience in extreme environments (high pressure and high oxygen)
As mentioned before: Many people have an impaired PHD enzyme (Pyruvate Dehyrogenase), such as people with Alzeimer’s Disease. This enzyme helps convert pyruvate (which gets converted from glucose) into acetyl CoA which is in turn used to make ATP. Ketones, on the other hand, completely bypass this conversion step.
Ketones function as signaling molecules that inhibit inflammatory processes
Clinical trials on using ketone salts for migraines
Also works with nutritional ketosis
Migraines are possibly linked to neuro-inflammation
Other data shows migraines are possibly linked to mini seizures in the brain
There are quite a few studies being done on autism and the ketogenic diet
Being in a state of nutritional ketosis could really benefit HIV and shingles patients
Ketones improve wound healing
Ketones thin out the blood (increases blood flow), and are able to get to the wound tissue which is lacking oxygen/blood flow. The ketones restore energy to the wound site (allow cells to replicate and heal the wound faster). Also persistant anti-inflammatory effects.
With just exogenous ketones, the wound healing rate increases ~25%
Under very high levels of oxygen, cancer cells, which have damaged mitochondria, tend to produce more reactive oxygen species. This oxidative stress potentially triggers apoptosis (celll death) at a level of oxygen that’s not really toxic to the healthy cells.
CBD oil may have synergistic effects with the ketogenic diet in relation to cancer treatment