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Health & Fit Eating a Diet Featuring Ketones Could Protect Brain Cells Against Alzheimer's Disease, Study on Mice Suggests

16:45  10 december  2019
16:45  10 december  2019 Source:   newsweek.com

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The team studied mice with Alzheimer ' s disease —including some who had been genetically modified to have lower than normal levels of SIRT3—as well as regular mice who acted as controls. Cheng said eating foods containing the specific ketone supplement given to mice provides a "good example" that increasing SIRT3 levels "may offer a promising therapeutic target for protecting against age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer ' s disease ." Co-author Todd M. King, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, explained to Newsweek no specific foods contain ketones in

Brain on ketones : Energetics, Oxidation and Inflammation. So the brain is happily deriving energy from ketones – sure, but why would this be protective against such a variety of brain diseases ? A recent study in hippocampal neurons showed that ketones directly inhibited the neuron’ s ability to “load up” on glutamate – that is, the transmitter can ’t be packaged into vesicles and released – and thus decreased excitatory transmission. In a model of epilepsy that used a chemical similar to glutamate to induce damage, the diet protected mice against cell death in the hippocampus by inhibiting

Eating a diet featuring chemicals known as ketones could protect brain cells from the progress of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study on mice.

a close up of a hand: A stock image shows two people holding hands. Scientists have looked at the role of ketones in the development of Alzheimer's disease.© Getty A stock image shows two people holding hands. Scientists have looked at the role of ketones in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists wanted to see if increasing the levels of ketones—a type of fatty acid—in mice could boost the production of a protein called SIRT3. This protein is thought to protect neurons.

As the brain starts to be affected by Alzheimer's disease, the way some mitochondria—the powerhouses of cells—work is thought to be damaged, as are some brain cell networks, the authors explained in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Intermittent fasting, eating a keto diet , or just taking a ketone supplement may protect brain cells against age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer ' s disease , according to a new study on mice . Researchers found that increasing levels of ketones —a type of fatty acid—in mice boosted production of a protein called SIRT3 that protects neurons.

New research in mice suggests that keeping blood sugar under control using either the ketogenic diet or a diabetes drug could help treat certain cancers by boosting the efficacy of standard chemotherapy. Share on Pinterest. The ketogenic diet restricts carbs to a minimum. Traditionally, some have used it as a therapy for conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy . Newer studies have started to examine the therapeutic potential of the keto diet for other conditions, such as cancer , polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer ’ s disease .

The team studied mice with Alzheimer's disease—including some who had been genetically modified to have lower than normal levels of SIRT3—as well as regular mice who acted as controls.

Mice with lower levels of SIRT3 were more likely to die prematurely and have seizures. Certain types of interneurons—brain cells that transmit impulses—were also found to be more likely to die in these mice, when compared with the rodents with just Alzheimer's disease and controls.

When researchers supplemented the mice's diets with ketones, which boosted SIRT3 levels, the animals had fewer seizures, lived longer and their interneurons appeared to be preserved.

The team concluded the ketone supplements appeared to help SIRT3 preserve the interneurons, and protect brain circuits against becoming over-excited in what is known as hyperexcitability.

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Neurodegenerative disease - Brain diseases like Alzheimer ' s and Parkinson's can become easier to manage with the help of ketosis. Studies found that the brains of those affected with age-related neurodegeneration are unable to run on glucose as well as they used to, but ketones seem to work in such cases (28). Ketones also have the potential to slow down disease progression. Cancer-fighting - The majority of cancers need glucose to grow and spread. Being in ketosis helps starve cancer cells of their preferred fuel, and a growing body of research has examined if ketosis can help fight cancer (29).

A more recent study from 2018 suggests that because the ketogenic diet reduces blood sugar, it could also lower the risk of insulin complications. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar that may have links to some cancers. Although some research indicates that the ketogenic diet Some studies , such as this 2019 review, suggest the ketones that generate during the keto diet provide neuroprotective benefits, which means they can strengthen and protect the brain and nerve cells . For this reason, a keto diet may help a person prevent or manage conditions such as Alzheimer ’ s disease .

Study co-author AiwuCheng, a researcher at the National Institutes of Aging, told Newsweek efforts to understand the development of Alzheimer's have focused on the build-up of a toxic compound called amyloid-beta in the brain. But scientists believe that, perhaps even before a person's cognition suffers, brain regions might undergo what is known as "neuronal network hyperexcitability."

Cheng said eating foods containing the specific ketone supplement given to mice provides a "good example" that increasing SIRT3 levels "may offer a promising therapeutic target for protecting against age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease."

Co-author Todd M. King, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, explained to Newsweek no specific foods contain ketones in amounts that are physiologically or medically relevant. But some foods contain compounds that, when metabolized, can be converted into ketones, such as some mid-chain triglycerides. However, these foods raise blood ketones only modestly and may bring with them some undesirable side effects, especially with regard to circulating triglycerides and cholesterol.

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Before the brain starts to use ketones for energy, it will have less fuel. This will occur for about the first 3 days of the diet before blood glucose returns to regular levels. Ketoacidosis is a condition in which the body produces large numbers of ketone bodies. This causes the blood to become more acidic. Ketoacidosis can be a life threatening condition. Typically, people on the keto diet do not have ketoacidosis. Treatments and home remedies. The keto diet can help a person lose weight, but some people are put off by keto flu symptoms.

Cheng and co-author Richard L. Veech, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said "blood ketone levels can be increased through intermittent fasting and exercise regimes. This study adds to the data that supports these healthy lifestyle interventions may be beneficial in terms of long-term neurological health."

"People could consume MCT oils but these will only be converted to ketones during fasting," they said.

"The brain hyperexcitability is linked to many brain disorders, the implication of this study is not limited to Alzheimer's disease," the pair added.

However, Cheng stressed: "This study was performed in a mouse model, and although it is very promising, we need to exercise caution when extending the results to human subjects.

Experts who didn't work on the study urged members of the public to approach the findings with caution, and highlighted known ways to prevent the condition that 5.8 million Americans live with.

Dr. Katy Stubbs Alzheimer's Research UK told Newsweek: "Many studies have tried to tie particular diets or a specific food with better brain health.

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"This is early-stage research so we cannot reach any firm conclusions about how ketone supplements might affect the development of diseases like Alzheimer's or the symptoms of dementia in people.

"What we do know is that eating a balanced diet, as part of a wider healthy lifestyle, is important to keep our brains healthy as we age. A healthy lifestyle includes staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, only drinking within recommended guidelines, not smoking and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check."

Hannah Churchill, research communications officer at the Alzheimer's Society, told Newsweek: "While this study in mice provides more evidence that a ketogenic diet could help protect brain cells, by counteracting damage to the cells' energy-producing batteries, we are still far from being able to say a ketogenic diet prevents Alzheimer's disease.

"It's very early days, and this effect has yet to be tested robustly on humans. We need more research including high-quality trials to measure the impact of a low-carb, high-fat diet on nerve cells as well as memory and thinking skills," said Churchill.

Video: Ten facts about Alzheimer's

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