Does the ketogenic diet make your brain work better and faster
The Keto Diet and Your Brain Function.
The ketogenic diet is thought to be useful in the management of certain brain disorders. For example, several studies have shown that in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, glucose (sugar) is not taken up by brain cells very efficiently, while ketones (an alternative fuel source to glucose) are taken up at similar levels to age-matched controls (without Alzheimer’s Disease).
“Switching” from glucose to ketones has also been linked to improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Similarly, research has shown that ketogenic diets can be an effective treatment for reducing seizures in certain cases of epilepsy.
Ketosis doesn’t work the same for everyone. However, it is worth trying out to see what the impacts will be on your body. Everyone has different chemistry so there isn’t one type of diet that works consistently the same for everyone.
For a significant amount of people (including myself) often feel more lucid and mentally sharp when in ketosis. There is some scientific and directional evidence as to why this may be:
Ketosis causes your brain to create more mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells. One generates more energy when you strengthen your mitochondria, which drives a sharper mental state (1).
Ketosis reduces ammonia levels and increases GABA signalling levels which reduces brain fog (2).
Most of our brain tissue is made up of fatty acids, so it makes sense that they would be vital for not only the overall brain health
Some studies postulate that the brain prefers to function in a state of ketosis, making it more efficient at going about its business.
BHB (a major ketone) may be an even more efficient fuel than glucose, providing more energy per unit oxygen used.
Ketosis Beneficial For Brain Function?
It makes sense that ketosis is beneficial for brain function, especially when paired with the knowledge that ketosis was (and is sometimes still) used as a treatment for seizures, which originate in the brain.
And also during ketosis, the brain is more alert. Not only the brain but the body is also more alert. This is possible due to the energy you get from ketones.
There is evidence to suggest that individuals who consume a diet high in carbohydrates have an 89% increased risk of developing dementia, while people who consume a diet high in healthy fats actually reduce their risk by 44%.
By eating the recommended foods of a Keto diet, such as high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates you can optimize your brain health and boost memory and cognition.
Focused and Clear Mind on Keto?
Many people claim that they “think more clearly” on a ketogenic diet. A potential scientific explanation for this would be that since a ketogenic diet reduces oxidative stress (i.e. it has an antioxidant-like effect)
All these molecular changes suggest that a ketogenic diet is protective against brain injury. But is there any REAL evidence?
A study with 23 elderly with mild cognitive impairment showed that a ketogenic diet improved verbal memory performance after 6 weeks compared to a standard high carbohydrate diet.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 152 patients with mild- to moderate Alzheimer’s disease were given either a ketogenic agent or a placebo, while maintaining a normal diet.
90 days later, those receiving the drug showed marked cognitive improvement compared to placebo, which was correlated with the level of ketones in the blood.
In a pilot study in 7 patients with Parkinson’s disease, 5 were able to stick to the diet for 28 days and showed a marked reduction in their physical symptoms.
In an animal model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a ketogenic diet also led to delayed motor neuron death and histological and functional improvements, although it did not increase life span; clinical trials are on the way.