By Mary T. Newport M.D.
Most people reading this information are familiar with the many benefits of ketogenic diets and ketone supplements. However, there are two new studies out reporting two unexpected strategies for increasing ketone levels that could become tools in your overall keto program.
Stephen Cunnane, Ph.D. and his associates at Sherbrooke University in Canada are pioneers in the use of ketone and glucose PET scans for ketone research in Alzheimer’s disease. They have already learned that the areas of the brain in Alzheimer’s that DO NOT take up glucose normally DO take up ketones normally, which is very profound information that supports the idea of ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain and as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, they have learned that the higher the blood ketone level, the higher the percent of energy provided to the brain by ketones.
Put on your walking shoes
Most of us have heard the report out there that staying physically active with regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia, but why does this work? Dr. Cunnane and his associates may have found at least one major piece to this puzzle. They studied ten people (four men and six women) with mild Alzheimer’s who participated in a three month aerobic program three days per week. They learned that a program of walking on a treadmill at 2.5 miles (4 km) per hour for thirty minutes tripled blood ketone levels and at the same time tripled ketone uptake in the brain! Glucose uptake in the brain did not change. (Castellano C-A, N Paquet, IJ Dinne, et al. A 3-month aerobic training program improves brain energy metabolism in mild Alzheimer’s disease: Preliminary results from a neuroimaging study. J Alzheimer’s Disease Vol. 56 (2017): 1459-1468.)
To charge or not to charge
It is already well known that caffeine increases the metabolic rate and stimulates energy use. Dr. Cunnane and his associates have now learned that caffeine is a ketogenic agent in humans. They studied two men and eight women with an average age of 33 and gave them caffeine, dosed at either 2.5 mg/kg or 5 mg/kg of body weight (about 150 or 300 mg for the average participant). They found that between two and four hours after the caffeine dose there was an increase of the ketone betahydroxybutyrate by 88% for the lower caffeine dose and by 116% for the higher caffeine dose. The increase in ketone levels is equivalent to what is seen after an overnight fast. (Vandenberghe, C, V St-Pierre, A Courchesne-Loyer, et al. Caffeine intake increases plasma ketones: an acute metabolic study in humans. Can J Physiol Pharmacol will be print in 2017).
So, when you are ordering your Prüvit KetoNAT, you might decide to “charge” it. You can get even more of a ketone kick by adding aerobic exercise to your keto program.