CAN HEALTH ISSUES BE SOLVED BY DIETARY CHANGES ALTERING THE MICROBIOME?
"The microbiome is an integral part of human physiology; recent studies show that changes in the gut microbiota can modulate gastrointestinal physiology, immune function and even behavior. Links between particular bacteria from the indigenous gut microbiota and phenotypes relevant to ASD (autism spectrum disorder) raise the important question of whether microbial dysbiosis plays a role in the development or presentation of ASD symptoms." From an amazing study found in the March 2015 issue of Biological Psychiatry (Emerging Roles for the Gut Microbiome in Autism Spectrum Disorder)
UCLA is one of many universities interested in research on GUT HEALTH as related to MICROBIOME (the germs that live in and on us). Once you understand the importance of Gut Health in relation to overall health, you'll understand why other than maybe CRISPR, it's arguably been the hottest area of research for at least half a decade. Enter Dr. Elaine Hsiao. Although she looks like she could still be in high school, Hsiao is a professor and researcher with her own lab (her areas of interest are listed on her web page as "Microbiome, Neurobiology of Disease, Neuroimmunology, and Host-Microbe Interactions." Her lab's site goes on to say that....
"Our bodies are comprised of around ten times more microbial cells than human cells, and more and more, we are learning that these microbes play a fundamental role in regulating brain development and function, and behavior. Microbes modulate host levels of neuroactive molecules, including neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, as well as complex behaviors, such as social, communicative, emotional and anxiety-like behaviors. Alterations in the microbial communities that inhabit us are further implicated in a variety of neurological disorders, including autism, depression and Parkinson's disease."
While I personally have an interest in the PARKINSON'S RESEARCH, her latest study in Cell (The Gut Microbiota Mediates the Anti-Seizure Effects of the Ketogenic Diet) will be of huge interest to many of my readers. Even though it's become trendy, the KETOGENIC DIET has been used therapeutically to effectively treat people with SEIZURES / EPILEPSY since the 1920's. And as I'll soon show you, if you can positively affect the microbiome, you can positively affect the body in ways that drugs cannot. In fact, the brutal truth is that most drugs actually cause dysbiosis ---- HERE.
The way that Hsaio's team determined that Gut Bacteria were at the root of the anti-seizure effects of the Ketogenic Diet was rather simple. They induced seizures in three groups of mice --- mice that been raised to genetically not have a microbiome, mice that had had their microbiomes destroyed by ANTIBIOTICS, and a control group. Keto did not stop seizures in the mice that had no microbiome, but did in the normal mice, showing that bacteria a playing a crucial role. In the second part of the study they tested to see which species of bacteria might be responsible, determining that levels of Akkermansia Muciniphila and Parabacteroides were both elevated in seizure-free mice.
Just like Dr. Art Ayers showed us, our microbiomes will give us what we need if we treat if WITH SOME TLC. To more accurately state what these bacteria are actually doing, Dr. Hsaio said that the microbiome-induced, "alterations in colonic lumenal, serum, and hippocampal metabolomic profiles correlate with seizure protection, including reductions in systemic gamma-glutamylated amino acids and elevated hippocampal GABA/glutamate levels." How amazing is it that our food is not necessarily giving us what we need to survive and thrive, but is feeding our Gut bugs, which if said food is healthy, is doing that very thing (HERE)? In similar fashion, poor quality food feeds dysbiosis (HERE).
UCLA has been involved in some other cool studies on Gut Health. For starters, in 2013 Dr Hsaio did a study on autism called Modeling an Autism Risk Factor in Mice Leads to Permanent Immune Dysregulation in which her team discussed the relationship between INFLAMMATION, maternal immune activation via chronic infections or autoimmunity (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE or HERE), and behaviors that can only be characterized as autistic.
Don't act shocked because I've shown you in the past (HERE, HERE, and HERE) that autistic children always have some sort of issue with their Guts (IMMUNE SYSTEM DYSFUNCTION, DYSBIOSIS, LEAKY GUT, IBS, CONSTIPATION, etc, etc, etc). Cool research, but I always come back to the question; 'Do you think that ALUMINUM ADJUVANTS, which are found almost universally in VACCINES, could be doing "interesting" things to microbiomes of susceptible individuals, and if so, who has the juice to actually do the research and then get it in front of the public (HERE)?' With what's going on in EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE these days, researchers are well aware it's a potential career destroyer (HERE).
Here's why studies of this sort are so exciting. You can start leveraging this information and using it to your advantage. A UCLA study published in the May 2013 issue of Gastroenterology showed that eating a special kind of multi-probiotic species yogurt for four weeks actually changed the way various parts of subject's brains worked as seen on functional MRI's. What's doubly exciting is just how rapidly these changes can occur. In 2014, Harvard's Peter Turnbaugh and a team of 12 research scientists from around the world published a study whose title alone is cause for excitement; Diet Rapidly and Reproducibly Alters the Human Gut Microbiome.
The rules for eating an anti-inflammatory diet are simple. According to nutritional expert and functional neurologist, DR. DAVID SEAMAN, "eat vegetation or animals that ate vegetation". Plainly stated, this is the principle behind the PALEO DIET. As for the ketogenic diet, I'm a fan as long as you are eating CLEAN, HEALTHY FATS. This is important to realize not only for you health, but because most of the studies discounting ketosis as a valid tool not only for serious WEIGHT LOSS but against a wide array of diseases (including CANCER) are using cheap, crappy fat sources like CORN or even worse (gulp) SOY.
Furthermore, for those of you truly struggling with chronic conditions, once you gain an understanding of the relationship between your microbiome and your health, FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTS start to make a heck of a lot more sense; especially once you realize how difficult it is to get probiotic formulas right (HERE). If you'd like to read more about using these principles to jump-start your health, be sure and take a look at some of the posts filed under UNIVERSAL CAUSE / UNIVERSAL CURE. Oh; and don't forget that the best way to reach those you love and care about most with information that is potentially nothing short of life-changing, is to like, share, for follow us on FACEBOOK.
FASCIA, CANCER AND THE KETOGENIC DIET
FASCIA is the tough, elastic sheath / membrane that surrounds muscles as well as bones, nerves, blood vessels, and organs. Not only is it the most abundant connective tissue in the body, but more recently, a number of amazing properties have helped it jettison it's role as anatomy's proverbial red-headed stepchild. THIS POST describes countless reasons why fascia continues to shed its Clark Kent image, while taking on a Superman-like persona. But even Superman has his Kryptonite, which in fascia's case is inflammation.
We've all seen the stickers on the rear windows of cars or pickups saying Cancer Sucks. Well; it does. It literally sucks the life right out of people. One of the biggest problems I see, however, is that few people understand how big a deal INFLAMMATION really is in relationship to our nation's leading cause of death. Many people realize that inflammation can affect fascia, but there are not nearly as many that can tell you that CANCER is itself an inflammatory problem (this means that it is caused by, and fed by inflammation). The craziest part of this whole scenario --- the monkey wrench in the gears --- is that inflammation also happens to be an important part of your immune system, with a certain amount needed to actually attack and combat CELLULAR MUTATION (the example that comes immediately to mind is TNF or Tumor Necrosis Factor --- necrosis being a medical word for death).
Cancer is the collective name of a group of diseases, many of which share little in common other than two distinct characteristics --- they all have abnormal cell division (the body loses it's ability to stop tissue growth) and they all have the ability to metastasize (mutated cells can travel and implant in distant parts of the body, continuing their abnormal growth from multiple locations). The end result is that the Cancer consumes all of your body's energy, nutrition, and metabolic factors. As the process gains steam, I don't need to tell you what happens next.
One of the unique characteristics of fascia is its microscopic structure. I like to tell people that fascia is like WELL-COMBED HAIR, with a TUBES-WITHIN-TUBES structure. But honestly, I would not be doing fascia justice without discussing how its structure relates to its function via a property known as TENSEGRITY. Take, for instance, a scientific paper on Dr. Grahm Scarr's site (Biotensegrity: Tensegrity in Biology) called Fascial Hierarchies and the Relevance of Crossed-Helical Arrangements of Collagen to Changes in the Shape of Muscles, and published in a 2016 issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.
"The importance of the fascia to normal function has been recognized by ‘hands-on’ practitioners for more than a century but it is only recently that it has emerged as a significant contributor to mainstream orthopedic knowledge. Once dismissed as a packing tissue of little consequence, the fascia is now recognized as a continuous interconnected network that permeates and envelops almost every part of the body. Muscles are composite structures consisting of contractile myofibres surrounded by complex hierarchies of collagen-reinforced fascial sheaths. They are essentially flexible cylinders that change in shape, with the particular alignment of collagen fibers within their myofascial walls reflecting the most efficient distribution of mechanical stresses and coordinating these changes. Helixes spontaneously appear in self-organizing systems as the most efficient way of organizing components of similar size on the surface of a cylinder or tube. They are a common motif in protein construction because they provide an energy-efficient solution to molecular close-packing and form a structural model for coiled winding at multiple size scales throughout the body and in a diverse group of organisms. The formation of a helix is based on simple geometric principles and its persistence is ensured because it is one of the most stable of structural configurations. It is thus not surprising that a system of crossed-helical tubes should predominate in compliant biological tissues because this is one of the most efficient ways of optimizing mechanical stresses within their walls. The myofascia, as a fibrous specialization of fascial / ECM tissues that surround and interpenetrate muscles is then a complex hierarchy of helically-reinforced tubes contained within larger tubes; and continuous with higher-level fascial tubes that surround groups of muscles, the limbs and entire body. Bundles of collagen fibres within the perimysium and epimysium form crossed-helical configurations that balance longitudinal and circumferential stresses and coordinate changes in muscle shape during contraction and extension, and should thus be considered as an essential part of muscle function."
As you can imagine, fouling the fascia with inflammation causes so many problems it will make your head swim. Firstly, inflammation is the cause of problems in the ECM or Extra Cellular Matrix, of which, are said to be the top cause of FIBROSIS in the United States. The family of fibrotic diseases (yes, cancer is on the list) doubles as the leading cause of national mortality as well. Furthermore, when fascia becomes inflamed, it becomes dense --- the actual word is DENSIFIED / DENSIFICATION (remember this principle because you are going to see it several times). This thickening, which can happen to any connective tissues (i.e. LIGAMENTS, TENDON, etc) is problematic because among other things, it severely affects PROPRIOCEPTION. Affect proprioception and because fascia is a ubiquitous tissue (it's everywhere), you adversely affect all physiology. This is why certain people have said that inflamed, mechanically altered fascia is at the root of all sickness and disease; cancer included (HERE). Enter Helene Langevin.
By any criteria, Dr. Langevin is brilliant. After getting her medical degree in 1978, she did a post-doctoral fellowship in neurochemistry at Cambridge. Her residency in Internal Medicine was at Johns Hopkins, and her fellowship in Endocrinology at the same. And not only is she a professor at Harvard (Medicine), she is a professor at University of Vermont as well (Neurology, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation). For the record, neurology and endocrinology are the two most difficult and complicated specialties in medicine. Oh; I almost forgot to mention that she is also the Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital of Boston. And on top of everything else, since the early 1980's she has been a leading researcher in the acupuncture field as well. Listen to these cherry-picked portions of the highlights of the transcript of an interview she gave to Brooke Thomas on her Liberated Body site (Connective Tissue and Inflammation with Helene Langevin: Fascia, Cancer, Chronic Pain).
"The connective tissue is really the home of the immune system. Cancer is not just a collection of tumor cells growing out of control. They need a base and that base is the connective tissue --- the stroma. The cancer takes the connective tissue hostage. Dr. Patricia Keely at The University of Wisconsin has studied cancer's likelihood to spread along places where the connective tissue matrix forms these railroads [channels of fascia]."
Of course, this makes me want to learn more about Dr. Keely. Dr. Keely was unique in her field (I say "was" --- she died of breast cancer back in June) because her battle with cancer was not just in the lab, it was personal. She contracted Hodgkin's Lymphoma at 21, defeating it, but later developing esophageal cancer, and finally succumbing after a decade-long battle (she was 54 and a professor of Translational Research as well as the founder of University of Wisconsin's Keely Lab, the purpose of which is to study cellular physiology as related to both the ECM and metastatic cancer). In plain English, she studied the effects of breast density as related to cancer progression. An interview she gave to Anita Clark almost a decade ago for Madison dot com (Cancer Personal for UW Scientist: Patricia Keely is Fighting Cancer on Two Fronts) stated.....
"Her research team found a causal link between dense breast tissue and cancerous tumor formation. Mice with dense breast tissue have a three-fold increase in breast tumors, and their tumors spread to their lungs more quickly. Her research suggests that collagen, a protein in dense breast tissue, serves as a pathway for the cancer to crawl out toward the bloodstream. And they believe the alignment of the collagen fibers shows this progression at an early stage."
What's fascinating in this line of thought is that cancer in muscle itself is not common as reinforced by an article on Muscles and Joints dot com, revealing that "A tumor growth in the skeletal muscles is a rare condition... There are only a few of the malignant tumors (muscle cancer) annually with less than one such case per one million inhabitants." But this "densification" thing is big --- particularly in connective tissues, and particularly when it comes to cancers in the connective tissues / stroma. Once again, Dr. Keely tells us just how big on the University of Wisconsin website.
"Appropriate cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) help to establish normal cellular architecture and differentiation. During oncogenic transformation, these normal interactions with the ECM are profoundly altered, resulting in cells that lose their polarization and differentiation, lose anchorage dependent growth control, and acquire a migratory, invasive phenotype. Patients with "dense" breast tissue have a four to six-fold increased risk of developing breast carcinomas, making it one of the greatest risk factors for carcinoma. Increased breast density is associated with a significant increase in the deposition of connective tissue, or extracellular matrix (ECM) components, most notably the protein, collagen."
The aspect of her statement that caught my eye was her mention of "loss of cellular polarization". Why? Because if you've ever read Becker's amazing Body Electric, you already have some idea of the astounding effects of electricity and polarity both in and on biological systems.
CANCER, FASCIA, AND CELLULAR POLARITY
"Loss of cell–cell adhesion and cell polarity is commonly observed in advanced tumors and correlates well with their invasion into adjacent tissues and the formation of metastases. Growing evidence indicates that loss of cell–cell adhesion and cell polarity may also be important in early stages of cancer." From a 2007 issue of Nature Cell Biology (Cell Polarity in Development and Cancer)
"The correct establishment and maintenance of cell polarity are crucial for normal cell physiology and tissue homeostasis. Conversely, loss of cell polarity, tissue disorganization and excessive cell growth are hallmarks of cancer." From a 2011 issue of Cell Death & Differentiation (Epithelial Cell Polarity: A Major Gatekeeper Against Cancer?)
"Whereas the importance of cell proliferation in cancer is well recognized, the role cell polarity plays is only beginning to be appreciated. If cell proliferation and death are analogous to acceleration and brakes in a car, and metabolism is analogous to fuel, cell polarity can be compared with the steering wheel, which controls direction and maintains spatial relationships in traffic. Improper steering can result in significant damage even to a non-speeding car, and conversely, proper steering can prevent damage to a speeding car. similarly, we posit that loss of control over cell polarity can disrupt normal cell behavior and lead to initiation and progression of cancer." From a 2012 issue of the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology (Cell Polarity As A Regulator of Cancer Cell Behavior Plasticity)
"Epithelial cells possess a distinctive apical–basal polarity and loss of polarity is frequently assumed to be a common feature of cancer progression. A widely accepted paradigm for cancer progression is that epithelial cells undergo a transition, during which they lose apical / basal polarity and become highly migratory. [These cells] penetrate the basement membrane, cross the endothelium and enter the lymphatic system or bloodstream through which they are rapidly disseminated. At ectopic sites in the body, the cells colonize surrounding tissue to form metastases." From a 2013 issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Cell Polarity in Morphogenesis and Metastasis)
"Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related death in women worldwide. The developing mammary gland is a highly proliferative and invasive tissue, and some of the developmental programs may be aberrantly activated to promote breast cancer progression. In the breast, luminal epithelial cells exhibit apical–basal polarity, and the failure to maintain this organizational structure, due to disruption of polarity complexes, is implicated in promoting hyperplasia and tumors." From the June 2016 edition of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry (Cell Polarity Proteins in Breast Cancer Progression)
Best guess is that after looking at the quotes above, you get the point ---- cancer is intimately related to a loss of polarity in certain kinds of cells --- abnormal electrical charge if you will. When you think of polarity, think of magnets. The positive sides will repel each other, as will the negative sides. But the positive side of one magnet is attracted to the negative side of another. Every cell and fluid in your body is charged. And because these charges are intimately related to ions (THINK HYDROGEN IONS HERE --- H+), the more positively charged a cell or tissue is, the more likely it is to be acidic (see link). Likewise, the hydroxyl ion (OH-) is the opposite, and carries a negative charge.
This helps explain why we should have a slightly negative overall polarity. If you really want to understand this whole relationship better, read Dr. Sircus' cool article from last December, ELECTROMAGNETIC PROPERTIES OF CANCER. Just remember that none of what you are reading today is 'way out there' or confined to alternative medicine. It's mainstream. In fact, DR. OTTO WARBURG won the Nobel Prize for Medicine back in 1931 for his pioneering work on this topic --- a topic that's getting increasingly wider play with every passing day (HERE). Now lets move on to the relationship of the fascia system to the lymphatic system.
FASCIA, CANCER, AND YOUR LYMPHATICS
What the heck is the lymphatic system? While everyone is very familiar with the part of your circulatory system that deals with blood (arteries, veins, and a pump --- your heart), few people know much about the lymphatic system. Although the two systems are similar, instead of moving fluid and blood cells around your body, the lymphatic system moves something called lymph. Lymph is a clear fluid that is made up of the liquid that leaks from our blood vessels (blood vessels are porous so that various molecules --- oxygen, nutrition, metabolites, etc, can be transported to where they are needed). Be aware that when this system becomes "plugged" or stagnant, the results are problematic, sometimes causing something known as LYMPHEDEMA.
Our body is under a constant invasion from every sort of microbe you can imagine. A failure to properly deal with these invaders by our immune system (80% OF WHICH LIVES IN THE GUT) would mean a quick death. The lymph system carries germs or other things that should not be there to the lymph nodes (larger nodules of lymphatic tissue), where they are filtered out. Because B-Cells (white blood cells that make antibodies) and T-CELLS (white blood cells that either eat the bad guys or throttle back on immune response to lessen one's chances of developing AUTOIMMUNITY) live in these nodes, said invaders are recognized, marked for destruction, and wiped out.
For reasons that are not totally clear, once cancer makes it as far as the lymph nodes, it actually has a better chance of survival, which is why finding cancer in lymph nodes is not a good thing. Instead of activating the immune system against cancer like would happen in the presence of germs, cancer in the lymphatics suppresses the immune system. Listen to the first two sentences of Lymphatic Vessels in Cancer Metastasis: Bridging the Gaps, from a 2006 issue of Oxford Academic's Carcinogenesis.
"Distant organ metastasis is the most important factor in determining patient survival in cancer. This is thought to occur via the body's own systems for transporting fluid and cells, the blood vascular and lymphatic systems. Cancer cells may exploit these vascular systems by expressing growth factors, which alter the normal pattern of angiogenesis and lymphatic vessel growth (lymphangiogenesis), thus creating conduits for tumour metastasis."
In a paper presented to 7th Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back a Pelvic Pain, Australian massage therapist Peter Lelean (Migratory Fascia - A Role In Ductal Carcinoma In Situ?) wrote, "Treatment of shoulder pain in women revealed common pelvic misalignments and anomalies in upper thoracic myofascia, where distorted strain patterns may inhibit lymphatic function, therefore becoming a risk factor in Ductal Carcinoma In Situ." After talking about the part of the latisimus dorsi not associated with the THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA, he invoked TRAVELL & SIMMONS, quoting them as saying clear back in 1983, "Entrapment of this lymph duct by passage between tense fibers of an involved pectoralis major muscle, may cause edema of the breast. This seems to coincide with the reportedly higher proliferation of ductal accretions in the upper outer quadrant."
Osteopath Steve Matta expounded on this when he said in last year's Lymphatics, "The lymphatic channels course through fascia. Fascia can sometimes be nice and loose or it can be super tight. If all goes well, the lymph is able to move through lymphatic channels without any problems and we can properly fight infections. Let’s think about this for a second…if the lymphatic channels are located in the fascia and the fascia can tighten up, what do you think happens to the flow of lymph when the fascia is tight? That’s right, it slows down." So, beyond things like lymphedema, other problems can occur. Sometimes bad problems.
Something like seven and a half gallons of lymph (interstitial fluid) courses through the lymphatic system each day. A failure to move this fluid means you increase the amount of cellular waste in the body, which causes inflammation, which then EPIGENETICALLY turns on the genes said to cause cancer. In an article called Fascia, Muscles, and the Lymph System, renowned fascia therapist Victoria L. Magown wrote, "Fascia plays an important role with our Lymph System. The majority of our Lymph System lives in the Superficial Fascia right under the skin. The Fascia and Muscles need to be flexible, supple and strong to move the lymph through the lymphatic vessels. This is done by the Fascia and Muscles contracting which constricts the lymphatic vessels and pushes the lymph fluid forward. Check valves prevent the fluid from flowing backward. Since the lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump it, its upward movement depends on the motions of the Fascia, Muscles and pumping joints." The thing is folks, it's not like I haven't shown you all of this previously (SEE MY ARTICLE ON THE PRIMO-LYMPHATIC SYSTEM).
MORE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FASCIA & CANCER
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WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT
"I am concerned that the federal government, the media, the processed food manufacturers and billion dollar drug and biotech companies have commandeered our food supply and health care systems. Routinely, information and evidence about what truly constitutes healthy eating is altered or hidden from the public in order to advance financial or face saving agendas. And worse, people who aren't aware of the deceptions are being injured and dying because they follow this agenda driven advice. Since the privately owned Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetics Association) receives great sums of money from processed food manufacturers, they can't just suddenly start saying that a high fat, low grain diet is healthiest - they would lose all their funding from companies like Kraft Foods, Hershey's and Coca-Cola." From Ellen Davis' (Master's in Applied Clinical Nutrition) website, Ketogenic Diet Resource.
"I remember exactly where I was sitting in a clinic at Johns Hopkins in 2002 explaining to (admonishing, really) a patient who was on the Atkins diet how harmful it was because of DKA. I am so embarrassed by my complete stupidity and utter failure to pick up a single scientific article to fact check this dogma I was spewing to this poor patient. If you’re reading this, sir, please forgive me. You deserved a smarter doctor." From a blog post (Ketosis – Advantaged or Misunderstood State?) off of Ketogenic Diet proponent, Dr. Peter Attia's (MD) website --- The Eating Academy dot com. If you want to see the metabolic pathways that show how safe and effective this diet is, this is the site to visit.
"Ketones are the ideal fuel for our bodies unlike glucose – which is damaging, less stable, more excitatory and in fact shortens your life span. The energy producing factories of our cells – the mitochondria – work much better on a ketogenic diet as they are able to increase energy levels on a stable, long-burning, efficient, and steady way. Not only that, a ketogenic diet induces epigenetic changes which increases the energetic output of our mitochondria, reduces the production of damaging free radicals. Furthermore, recent data suggests that ketosis alleviates pain other than having an overall anti-inflammatory effect. The ketogenic diet acts on multiple levels at once, something that no drug has been able to mimic. This is because mitochondria is specifically designed to use fat for energy. When our mitochondria uses fat as an energetic source, its toxic load is decreased, expression of energy producing genes are increased, its energetic output is increased, and the load of inflammatory energetic-end-products is decreased. In short, let fat be thy medicine and medicine be thy fat!" From an article by Cardio-thoracic Surgeon, Gabriela Segura (The Ketogenic Diet --- An Overview)
Because there are people who stay in Ketosis virtually all the time, the question arises --- are there any side effects of eating a ketogenic diet; particularly over the long haul? When I started researching Ketogenic Diets for these two posts, the first thing I did was go to PubMed and start scrolling through some of the 1,750 studies on the topic. The peer-reviewed scientific literature is all but unanimous in pronouncing the Ketogenic Diet safe --- far safer than the DRUGS / MEDICATIONS people would otherwise be taking for diabetes (HERE) or high cholesterol (HERE). Although most problems that arise from the Ketogenic Diet are quite benign, THERE ARE some potential side effects and contraindications to eating this way.
For instance, the Ketogenic Diet has the potential to cause both stunted bone growth and fractures in pre-pubescent epileptic children (Part I revealed why). But remember that both Antidepressants and Anticonvulsants (widely prescribed for those with seizures) are notorious for themselves causing bone loss (HERE). You'll likewise hear the argument that losing weight too rapidly is bad for you. RUBBISH! Research shows that once you get into Ketosis, your body would actually rather burn Ketone Bodies than burn Glucose. Furthermore, as long as you are getting enough protein, you will not burn your own muscle mass for energy --- something that happens during Ketoacidosis, which we'll cover momentarily.
You'll also run into the argument (this always occurs in a grudging manner) that while consuming all this fat might cause you lose weight, it will cause blood lipid issues (HIGH CHOLESTEROL, HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES, etc, etc). While this might be true initially, the results of virtually every study that I've seen shows that Ketogenic Diets actually normalize blood lipid profiles --- something I dealt with yesterday as well.
Doctors who are not up on the MOST CURRENT RESEARCH CONCERNING SATURATED FATS; if they are even willing to 'OK' a Ketogenic Diet at all (again, grudgingly), will tell you that most of your dietary fat should come from unsaturated sources like Vegetable Oils (yes, even MARGARINE), Flax Oil and FISH OIL. This is simply not true. Vegetable Oil is garbage (HERE --- particularly SOY); and while there are undeniable benefits to the other two oils, moderation with any and all DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS is key. Bottom line; do your own research (HERE is my post on everything you ever wanted to know about fats and inflammation).
And while I absolutely advocate talking to your physician before putting yourself on a Ketogenic Diet (for those keeping score, this is another disclaimer), please realize that it's quite likely that when it comes to almost anything and everything that has to do with nutrition, he / she knows less than you --- possibly way less (HERE). This is why you can expect to run into the argument over the difference between "Ketosis" and "Keto-acidosis" (often called DKA or Diabetic Keto-Acidosis).
Hans Krebs, the German-born British MD / Biochemist, won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Medicine for figuring out the Citric Acid / TCA Cycle. If you learned your biology back in the day, you probably had to memorize "The Krebs Cycle". A few months ago, the December issue of Multiple Sclerosis International carried a study (The Therapeutic Potential of the Ketogenic Diet in Treating Progressive Multiple Sclerosis) that clarified this all-too-common objection to Ketogenic Diets (Ketoacidosis).
"Hans Krebs first made the distinction between the normal, 'physiological' ketosis that is induced when following a carbohydrate-restricted diet, and diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication of [Type I] diabetes."
In Type I Diabetics, Blood Sugar can skyrocket because Insulin is not available to move it from the blood and into the cells. Because the body is essentially starving for glucose, it switches over to burn Ketones. Unfortunately, the protein and fat source in Ketoacidosis is usually yourself. In other words, the body will consume itself as a source of Ketone-based, non-glucose fuel. As you can see, this is a pathological state --- a far cry from strictly regulating your dietary ratios of fats, proteins, and carbs in order to induce a state of Ketosis. It's the difference between the highly controlled nuclear reactions that occur in power plants, and a NUCLEAR BOMB, whose reactions are completely uncontrolled.
Although I hit you with a veritable barrage of peer-reviewed research yesterday, hang with me as I give you just a little bit more. A 12 year old study from the Fall 2004 issue of the medical journal Experimental & Clinical Cardiology (Long-Term Effects of a Ketogenic Diet in Obese Patients) came to essentially the same conclusions as a Brazilian study published a decade later in PubMed Health (Very-Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet -vs- Low-Fat Diet for Long-Term Weight Loss: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials). The cherry-picked conclusions of the studies are respectively as follows.
"The present study shows the beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients. Furthermore, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. Administering a ketogenic diet for a relatively longer period of time did not produce any significant side effects in the patients. Therefore, the present study confirms that it is safe to use a ketogenic diet for a longer period of time than previously demonstrated."
"Individuals assigned to a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet achieved greater long-term reductions in body weight, triacylglycerol and diastolic blood pressure and greater increases in HDL cholesterol levels than those assigned to a low fat diet."
When epileptics or those who are extremely OBESE ('grossly' or 'morbidly' Obese ---- BMI's of 40 or higher) start a Ketogenic Diet, not only is it typically done in a clinic or hospital setting by people with experience in inducing Ketosis (especially true for epileptic children), but most medical plans actually cover it as well. However, what do you do if you are one of the "others" (those without Epilepsy) that I dealt so much with yesterday? How does the average person go about starting a Ketogenic Diet and inducing Ketosis? After speaking with your physician of course.........
WHAT IT TAKES TO INDUCE DIETARY KETOSIS
Take a look at the pie charts above (these show what are known as Ketogenic "Macros"). As per the key at the bottom, the yellow represents dietary carbs, the burgandy represents dietary protein, and the blue represents dietary fat (we'll cover the MCT Ketogenic Diet later). The first thing people notice is how much fat is being consumed in a Ketogenic Diet (you can see why the Atkins Induction Phase of the Atkins Diet is considered "moderate"). For the standard 4:1 Ketogenic Diet, your "Macros" are approximately 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs). The questions usually arise, how do I consume that much fat and where does it come from; and how can I live on so few carbs?
A QUICK NOTE ON FAT CONSUMPTION: Because you are consuming a lot of fat on a Ketogenic Diet, and because bad things are stored in the fat (ANTIBIOTIC RESIDUES, XENOHORMONES, ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS, ectc), you need to treat this as a "PALEO KETOGENIC DIET". In other words, keep it clean (see link!). This becomes even more critical for those of you who are really sick or really heavy.
To get yourself into Ketosis, some doctors will recommend you start with a fast, while others recommend jumping in whole-hog (fairly easy if you have been doing LOW CARB or PALEO). The 'whole hog' approach can be much tougher if you have been eating STANDARD AMERICAN FARE as per the pie chart at the top. Still others suggest slowly decreasing carbs to the 5% target over the course of a couple of weeks. While this approach might work well for a few; for THE HARDCORE CARB ADDICT --- a huge segment of the American population --- I am not a big fan of this approach, as it will likely feed the cravings longer than necessary.
The fat's the easy part. It's the carbohydrates you are going to have to count. On this diet, you are not going to eat GRAINS, FRUITS, BEANS, etc (you can probably do some cheese, due to its high fat content). You are going to live on meat, eggs, and green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, greens, broccoli, cabbage, etc, etc, etc --- natural BIOTRANSFORMERS). You are going to have to eat lots of good fat (HERE). I have a patient who brings me lard he has rendered from naturally raised beef or pork (incredible stuff). EVOO will be a staple, but do not cook with it. Cook with Coconut Oil, butter, or lard --- and don't be stingy with it as 70% of your diet must come from good fats (less will not allow you to switch over to Ketosis). Good snacks include foods like cheese, seeds, nuts (peanuts are not nuts --- they are legumes), and nut butters.
To calculate the grams of carbs in the vegetables you are going to consume, you'll need a chart that automatically subtracts the FIBER from the total grams of carbohydrates. HERE is one of many. You will also need a "Keto Calculator" to help you calculate your "Macros" according to both your body weight and your level of activity (they are widely available online at no cost).
Be aware that particularly if you are not used to a low carb approach to eating, you will likely have varying degrees of what is commonly referred to as "The Keto Flu". Because your body is converting over from burning carbs for energy (Glucose), to burning Ketone Bodies (a byproduct of fat metabolism), you may feel like crap for a week or two. What does this entail? Some people actually have FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS, but most will report headaches, foggy thinking, dizziness / wooziness, and similar. No big deal as it will soon resolve itself.
In order to keep yourself in Ketosis, you are going to monitor your urine with "Keto Strips". These help you check to see if you are in Ketosis and burning Ketone Bodies for fuel. Be aware that the strips will not turn color as much once you have actually converted over to burning Ketones. also be aware that if you have a "CHEAT DAY" and binge out on carbs, it will take some time to get back into Ketosis again. And for those who are interested, you can purchase inexpensive blood Ketosis measuring instruments that are analogous to the home monitors for Blood Sugar.
WHAT ABOUT THE KETOGENIC
"The energy-enhancing properties of MCTs are attributed to the fact that they cross the double mitochondrial membrane very rapidly, and do not require the presence of carnitine, as do LCTs. The result is an excess of acetyl-coA, which then follows various metabolic pathways, both in the mitochondria (Krebs Cycle) and in the cytosol, resulting in the production of ketones. Scientists attribute the increased energy from consumption of MCTs to the rapid formation of ketone bodies. MCTs are thus a good choice for anyone who has increased energy needs, as following major surgery, during normal or stunted growth, to enhance athletic performance, and to counteract the decreased energy production that results from aging."
Sounds pretty darn good to me. Which begs the question of the best dietary sources of MCT's. Although grass-fed dairy / beef and free-range egg yolks contain moderate amounts of MCT's, nothing touches coconut oil, which is made up of 65% MCT's. For those who are wanting to add MCT's to their diet, they are widely available at health food stores as bottled oils (there are some companies out there making outrageous claims about their products). However, I'm not sure you can go wrong with organic coconut oil. My favorite products are those that actually have a coconut taste to them. (Some of you will need to realize that coconut itself is a FODMAP that has the potential to throw those of you dealing with SIBO into a tailspin)
WHAT CAUSED A PALEO PROPONENT TO JUMP ON THE KETOGENIC BANDWAGON?
Listen to what Dr. Dr. J Pérez-Guisado of the Department of Medicine of Spain's University de Córdoba said in the abstract of his decade-old paper that was published in the Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness (Arguments In Favor Of Ketogenic Diets). By the way, the bibliography for this paper contains nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies.
"Many negative comments have been made about the use of ketogenic diets and experts today believe that the best way to lose weight is by cutting back on calories, chiefly in the form of fat. The international consensus is that carbohydrates are the basis of the food pyramid for a healthy diet. However, this review will clarify that low-carbohydrate diets are, from a practical and physiological point of view, a much more effective way of losing weight. It is also argued that such diets provide metabolic advantages, for example: they help to preserve muscle mass, reduce appetite, diminish metabolic efficiency, induce metabolic activation of thermogenesis and favor increased fat loss and even a greater reduction in calories. These diets are also healthier because they promote a non-atherogenic lipid profile, lower blood pressure and decrease resistance to insulin with an improvement in blood levels of glucose and insulin. Low-carbohydrate diets should therefore be used to prevent and treat type II diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Such diets also have neurological and antineoplastic [anti-Cancer] benefits and diet-induced ketosis is not associated with metabolic acidosis, nor do such diets alter kidney, liver or heart functions."
Again, if you are considering a Ketogenic Diet, consult your doctor. If he / she pats your shoulder while patronizingly telling you that a LOW FAT approach is better; start looking for another doctor. If a Ketogenic Diet is something you are truly interested in doing, search the web as there are scores of excellent sites with much more information than mine, including recipes. For those of you who struggle despite a Ketogenic Diet, there could be any number of underlying reasons. HERE are a few of them.
WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT
"An increasing number of data demonstrate the utility of ketogenic diets in a variety of metabolic diseases as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. In regard to neurological disorders, ketogenic diet is recognized as an effective treatment for pharmacoresistant epilepsy but emerging data suggests that ketogenic diet could be also useful in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer, Parkinson's disease, and some mitochondriopathies." Cherry picked from the abstract of the journal BioMed Research International (Ketogenic Diet in Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Diseases)
"Very-low-carbohydrate diets or ketogenic diets have been in use since the 1920s as a therapy for epilepsy and can, in some cases, completely remove the need for medication. From the 1960's onwards they have become widely known as one of the most common methods for obesity treatment. Recent work over the last decade or so has provided evidence of the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in many pathological conditions, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, cancer and the amelioration of respiratory and cardiovascular disease risk factors." From the August 2013 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Beyond Weight Loss: A Review of the Therapeutic Uses of Very-Low-Carbohydrate (Ketogenic) Diets)
"The inability of current recommendations to control the epidemic of diabetes, the specific failure of the prevailing low-fat diets to improve obesity, cardiovascular risk, or general health and the persistent reports of some serious side effects of commonly prescribed diabetic medications, in combination with the continued success of low-carbohydrate diets in the treatment of diabetes and metabolic syndrome without significant side effects, point to the need for a reappraisal of dietary guidelines. The benefits of carbohydrate restriction in diabetes are immediate and well documented. Concerns about the efficacy and safety are conjectural rather than data driven. Dietary carbohydrate restriction reliably reduces high blood glucose, is best for weight loss, and leads to the reduction or elimination of medication." A group of 25 MD / Ph.D researchers writing in the January 2015 issue of Nutrition (Dietary Carbohydrate Restriction as the First Approach in Diabetes Management: Critical Review and Evidence Base). I wrote an article on this study a few years ago (HERE).
By 1921, the "Ketogenic Diet" diet was being used on children with EPILEPSY to great benefit. Shortly before the outbreak of WWII, new anticonvulsant drugs were developed (Dilantin being the most well known) that rapidly took the place of said diet. I do not have to tell those of you who struggle in this area that these drugs, despite the fact they can arrest (or at least decrease) most seizures, turn people into zombies and generally make them feel like crap. Because there is an increasingly urgent message about the overarching dangers of drugs, we are seeing a Renaissance of the Ketogenic Diet being used for Epilepsy and other Seizure Disorders. But what about those who don't have Seizure Disorders --- the vast majority of the population? Is there any benefit of a Ketogenic Diet for you?
Unless you have some very specific health issues (I'll talk about these in Part II), the Ketogenic Diet can likely benefit you. As a short primer to today's post, I want to introduce you to Dr. Charles Mobbs. Dr. Mobbs of New York's Icahn Mount Sinai Medical School holds professorships in numerous areas including Geriatrics, Neuroscience, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease. His research interests include Aging, Obesity, Diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, life extension, and dietary restriction. Listen as he explains how all of these things (including Alzheimer's) are related to dietary carbohydrates and BLOOD SUGAR.
In similar fashion to the way we learned that the majority of the symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity are neurological (HERE), you are going to quickly notice is that most of the benefits (at least 'studied' benefits) of the Ketogenic Diet tend to be neurological as well. Look at this quote from last October's issue of the journal Appetite (Brain and Behavioral Perturbations in Rats Following Western Diet Access). "Energy dense "Western" diets are known to cause obesity as well as learning and memory impairments, blood-brain barrier damage, and psychological disturbances. In contrast, ketogenic diets have been shown to be neuro-protective." In a nutshell, what Americans eat (and the rest of the world is eating more like us every day) screws up the brain, and the Ketogenic Diet works to repair it! Need more proof? Roll up your sleeves and dig in.
- CANCER: There are hundreds of studies on the ability of the Ketogenic Diet to effectively treat Cancer. Last month's issue of the Cancer journal Oncology Letters provided a true mind-bender for those chemo-doctors still living in the DIET-DOESN'T-MATTER world. "Since the initial observations by Warburg in 1924, it has become clear in recent years that tumor cells require a high level of glucose to proliferate. Therefore, a ketogenic diet that provides the body with energy mainly through fat and proteins, but contains a reduced amount of carbohydrates, has become a dietary option for supporting tumor treatment and has exhibited promising results. In conclusion, the results from the present case series in general practice suggest that it may be beneficial to advise tumor patients to adopt a ketogenic diet, and that those who adhere to it may have positive results from this type of diet." For those who don't know, Dr. Otto Warburg was the German physician / scientist who won the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1931 for figuring out that SUGAR feeds CANCER.
- CANCER PART II: The title of the study that appeared in last March's issue of Medical Hypothesis (Starvation of Cancer Via Induced Ketogenesis and Severe Hypoglycemia) is so incredible, I had to share the abstract with you. I have tried to beat into people's heads (HERE, HERE, and HERE are a few) that despite the fact that this idea is largely pho-phoed by heavy hitters in the "Cancer Treatment Industry" like Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson, and others, sugar really does feed Cancer. "Neoplasms are highly dependent on glucose as their substrate for energy production and are generally not able to catabolize other fuel sources such as ketones and fatty acids. Thus, removing access to glucose has the potential to starve cancer cells and induce apoptosis. Unfortunately, other body tissues are also dependent on glucose for energy under normal conditions. However, in human starvation (or in the setting of diet-induced ketogenesis), the body "keto-adapts" and glucose requirements of most tissues drop to almost nil. Exceptions include the central nervous system (CNS) and various other tissues which have a small but obligatory requirement of glucose. Our hypothesized treatment takes keto-adaptation as a prerequisite. We then propose the induction of severe hypoglycemia by depressing gluconeogenesis while administering glucose to the brain. Although severe hypoglycemia normally produces adverse effects such as seizure and coma, it is relatively safe following keto-adaptation. We hypothesize that our therapeutic hypoglycemia treatment has potential to rapidly induce tumor cell necrosis." So, even though you'll end up with HYPOGLYCEMIA, it doesn't matter because the body has switched over and is running off Ketone Bodies --- something that Cancer cells cannot effectively do. To repeat; the purpose of the Ketogenic Diet is to dramatically reduce Blood Sugar by inducing "severe" Hypoglycemia, thereby forcing your body to burn Ketones for energy.
- AUTISM: No one can argue that AUTISM rates are exploding here in America (1 in 32 is the latest --- HERE). Listen to what the current issue of Behavioral Brain Research has to say about Autism and the Ketogenic Diet. "Amongst the diverse hypotheses regarding the pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), one possibility is that there is increased neuronal excitation, leading to alterations in sensory processing, functional integration and behavior. The high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (KD), traditionally used in the treatment of medically intractable epilepsy, has already been shown to reduce autistic behaviors in both humans and in rodent models of ASD. We found that BTBR [Autistic] mice had lower movement thresholds and larger motor maps indicative of higher excitation / inhibition compared to controls, and that the KD reversed both these abnormalities." This is almost identical to a study published three years ago in PLoS One (Ketogenic Diet improves Core Symptoms of Autism in BTBR Mice) that stated, "Our results suggest that a ketogenic diet improves multiple autistic behaviors in the BTBR mouse model. Therefore, ketogenic diets or analogous metabolic strategies may offer novel opportunities to improve core behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorders."
- MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: The December 2015 issue of Multiple Sclerosis International carried a study called The Therapeutic Potential of the Ketogenic Diet in Treating Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. The study stated that, "MS has traditionally been viewed as an immune-mediated inflammatory disease. An immune response is thought to be responsible for causing the spontaneously remitting relapses in RRMS. Immune cells migrate across a compromised blood brain barrier [Leaky Brain Syndrome; similar to LEAKY GUT SYNDROME] and cause focal and disseminated inflammation. The traditional view of MS as an inflammatory disease has resulted in almost all therapeutic strategies taking an immuno-suppressive approach. Neurodegeneration may play a more central role in its pathogenesis. Mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to play a central role in the neurodegenerative disease process and a growing body of evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may also be of great importance in the pathogenesis of MS. The neurodegenerative process underlying progressive MS may also result in glucose hypometabolism. This would suggest a potential therapeutic advantage in boosting energy supply through an alternative route, such as ketone metabolism. The ketogenic diet has the potential to treat the neurodegenerative component of progressive MS." The truth is, I could almost quote this entire study. Bottom line; if you have MS, you must read THIS STUDY in its entirety!
- NERVE & BRAIN REGENERATION: It seems that kidneys aren't the only organs / tissues being regenerated by the Ketogenic Diet (see Dr. Mobbs' incredible video above). There are any number of studies showing the potential for the Ketogenic Diet to help in Spinal Cord regeneration following traumatic injury. This is not surprising in light of studies like this one from the November 2014 issue of Nutritional Neuroscience (Sciatic Nerve Regeneration in Rats Subjected to Ketogenic Diet). "Besides its anticonvulsant properties, many studies have shown its neuroprotective effect in central nervous system... Regeneration of sciatic nerves was improved in Ketogenic Diet preconditioned rats. These results suggest a neuroprotective effect of KD on peripheral nerves." This is reminiscent of the study conclusions of the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Lipid Research (The Collective Therapeutic Potential of Cerebral Ketone Metabolism in Traumatic Brain Injury) that described using a Ketogenic Diet to treat TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES. "Preclinical studies employing both pre- and post-injury implementation of the ketogenic diet have demonstrated improved structural and functional outcome in traumatic brain injury (TBI) models, mild TBI / concussion models, and spinal cord injury." We will get to Migraines in a moment, but it's important to realize that the bell-tower of Ketogenic therapy is the successful treatment of Epilepsy. As an interesting lead-in, the March 2014 of Current Pain and Headache Reports (Migraine and Epilepsy in the Pediatric Population) stated that, "Individually, childhood epilepsy and migraine are two of the most common conditions seen in pediatric neurology. What complicates matters is that there can be marked similarities between migraine and epilepsy as well as a variety of underlying conditions that predispose children to both seizures and headache." I'll give you two quickies --- GLUTEN SENSITIVITY and UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR.
- EPILEPSY: This month, the COCHRANE REVIEW did one of their famous meta-analysis on using the Ketogenic Diet to solve adult Epilepsy. Despite the fact that the Ketogenic Diet has been used by the medical profession to treat Epilepsy in children for 100 years (Johns Hopkins actually has a Ketogenic Diet Center for this very purpose), there are less than a dozen good studies pertaining to adults. "It is currently used mainly for children who continue to have seizures despite treatment with antiepileptic drugs. Recently, there has been interest in less restrictive KDs including the modified Atkins diet (MAD) and the use of these diets has extended into adult practice. The randomised controlled trials discussed in this review show promising results for the use of Ketogenic Diets in [adult] epilepsy." The authors said that many people dropped out, mostly because they could not maintain the strict diet, or due to "GI disturbances". I will warn you that if you have been eating a SAD, converting to a KD will cause some temporary issues in this area. By the way, there are literally hundred upon hundreds of studies touting the safety and efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet in children (and even infants). Reputable sources are now touting it as a first line of defense against Epilepsy as opposed to a last resort (HERE).
- INFANTILE SPASMS SYNDROME: Despite having "inadequate data to recommend the diet as a sole first-line therapy," the October 2015 issue of Translational Pediatrics said of Ketogenic Diets, "The ketogenic diet is used often in intractable or profound epilepsies, including infantile spasms, with or without the concurrent use of medications. Spasm freedom has been reported in 14-65% of patients within 1-3 months. Some patients had improved seizure control, were able to reduce medications, and had cognitive improvements, even without cessation of spasms. Ketogenic formula and young age make the diet an attractive option." Sounds like a viable option (one of those what-have-you-got-to-lose sort of things) considering that, "Infantile spasms syndrome is a frequently catastrophic infantile epileptic encephalopathy. Prognosis is generally poor, with the majority of patients having some or profound neurocognitive delays."
- GLUT1 DEFICIENCY SYNDROME: Not being able to get Glucose (Blood Sugar) into the cells where it can be used as energy to make ATP in the MITOCHONDRIA is bad news. GLUT1 is the protein that facilitates the movement of Glucose across the cell membranes and into the cells. Not only do TRANS FATS have a profoundly detrimental effect on this molecule (it's why they are so heavily associated with Diabetes), but a deficiency of GLUT1 can lead to Diabetes as well (Blood Sugar levels continue to climb because the body cannot move it out of the blood and into the cells). There are dozens upon dozens of studies on Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome and Ketogenic Diets, but I'll leave you with just one. This month's issue of Seizure states that, "GLUT-1 deficiency syndrome is a neurologic disorder manifesting as epilepsy, abnormal movements, and cognitive delay. The currently accepted treatment of choice is the classic ketogenic diet. Nearly all patients surveyed were on dietary therapies for long duration with reported excellent seizure control, often without anticonvulsant drugs. Several different ketogenic diets were utilized with similar efficacy." Among other things, Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome has been associated with MIGRAINE HEADACHES. The title of a study from the July 2011 issue of Cephalalgia (Ketogenic Diet in Migraine Treatment: A Brief But Ancient History) reveals that the practice of treating Migraine Headaches with a Ketogenic Diet is nothing new.
- MIGRAINE HEADACHES: Speaking of Migraine Headaches, a study published in the January 2015 issue of the European Journal of Neurology (Migraine Improvement During Short Lasting Ketogenesis...) looked at, "Ninety-six overweight female migraineurs", who did the Ketogenic Diet for six months, and compared them to women who simply did a "standard low-calorie diet" (actually, this second group was Ketogenic for the first month, shifting over to low cal for the next five). Here's what happened. Both groups showed marked improvement during the first month --- the month they were both on the Ketogenic Diet. Then, despite a some worsening between the first and second months, the Ketogenic group showed that, "baseline attack frequency, number of days with headaches, and tablet [medication] intake were significantly reduced after the first month of diet..... with continuous improvement up to month 6. The underlying mechanisms of KD efficacy could be related to its ability to enhance mitochondrial energy metabolism and counteract neural inflammation."
- ADD / ADHD, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, & BIPOLAR DISORDER: In a fascinating study done with canines, researchers determined that dogs with problems in three distinct areas, "excitability, chasing, and trainability," were analogous to ADHD in humans, and could be helped via a Ketogenic Diet. This month's issue of Epilepsy Behavior went on to say that, "The MCTD [a version of a Ketogenic Diet] resulted in a significant improvement in the ADHD-related behavior compared with the placebo diet. The latter effect may be attributed to previously described anxiolytic effects of a KD. These data support the supposition that dogs with IE [Idiopathic Epilepsy] may exhibit behaviors that resemble ADHD symptoms seen in humans and rodent models of epilepsy, and that a MCTD may be able to improve some of these behaviors, along with potentially anxiolytic [anti-anxiety] effects." As for Bipolar Disorder, a study done three years ago for the journal Neurocase concluded that, "Two women with type II bipolar disorder were able to maintain ketosis for prolonged periods of time (2 and 3 years, respectively). Both experienced mood stabilization that exceeded that achieved with medication; experienced a significant subjective improvement that was distinctly related to ketosis; and tolerated the diet well. There were no significant adverse effects in either case. These cases demonstrate that the ketogenic diet is a potentially sustainable option for mood stabilization in type II bipolar illness." And the granddaddy of all of these; DEPRESSION. The December 2004 issue of Biological Psychiatry published a study called Antidepressant Properties of the Ketogenic Diet whose title tells the story.
- ALZHEIMER'S AND PARKINSON'S DISEASE: With the explosion of ALZHEIMER'S being heavily linked to jacked Blood Sugar, mostly due to LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE, it should come as no surprise that the Ketogenic Diet shows promise in this area as well. Last month's issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Can Ketones Compensate for Deteriorating Brain Glucose Uptake During Aging? Implications for the Risk and Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease) revealed that, "Brain glucose uptake is impaired in Alzheimer's disease (AD). A key question is whether cognitive decline can be delayed if this brain energy defect is at least partly corrected or bypassed early in the disease. The principal ketones (also called ketone bodies), are the brain's main physiological alternative fuel to glucose. Three studies in mild-to-moderate AD have shown that, unlike with glucose, brain ketone uptake is not different from that in healthy age-matched controls. Published clinical trials demonstrate that increasing ketone availability to the brain via moderate nutritional ketosis has a modest beneficial effect on cognitive outcomes in mild-to-moderate AD and in mild cognitive impairment. Nutritional ketosis can be safely achieved by a high-fat ketogenic diet....." For those who are interested (ME, FOR ONE), a similar benefit has been seen for Parkinson's Disease (HERE).
- SCHIZOPHRENIA: About 25 million people world wide are thought to have Schizophrenia --- a form of mental illness that along with any number of other neurological disorders (including many on this page), has been heavily linked to Gluten / wheat protein (HERE). The December 2015 issue of Schizophrenia Review (Ketogenic Diet Reverses Behavioral Abnormalities in an Acute NMDA Receptor Hypofunction Model of Schizophrenia) concluded that, "Here we demonstrated for the first time that ketogenic diet normalized pathological behaviors in an animal model of Schizophrenia."
- POST-STROKE REHAB: What have we done as far as treating problems like Heart Disease, Strokes, and HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE here in America? We've told people that red meat and saturated fat are the problem (THEY'RE NOT), and that if we'll all just AVOID SALT and TAKE OUR STATINS like good little boys and girls, everything will be OK. Forget this model! The December 2014 issue of the journal Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin (Ketogenic Diet Provides Neuroprotective Effects against Ischemic Stroke Neuronal Damages) says, "Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the world. Many mechanisms contribute in cell death in ischemic stroke. Ketogenic diet which has been successfully used in the drug-resistant epilepsy has been shown to be effective in many other neurologic disorders. The mechanisms underlying of its effects are not well studied, but it seems that its neuroprotective ability is mediated at least through alleviation of excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and apoptosis events." By the way, "apoptosis" is the fancy way to say cellular death. If you want to see a wild article on "excitotoxicity" as a mechanism for all sorts of health problems, including Obesity, check THIS out.
- PCOS / INFERTILITY: Ladies, I've shown you repeatedly that if you want to get pregnant, you've got to get serious about controlling your Blood Sugar (HERE is the last thing I wrote on this topic). Furthermore, when you understand how intimately PCOS --- America's number one reason for INFERTILITY --- is so closely related to jacked Blood Sugar, treating with a Ketogenic Diet is only logical. Listen to the conclusions of a study that was published eleven years ago, in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism (The Effects of a Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet on the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Pilot Study). "Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age and is associated with obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance. There are no known curative therapies for PCOS, though anti-diabetic medications do improve many of the metabolic abnormalities." For those of you keeping score at home, Insulin Resistance is "PRE-DIABETES". Make sure to pay close attention to the following numbers. "Recent studies have shown that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet can lead to weight loss and improvements in insulin resistance. From baseline to week 24, there were statistically significant reductions in percent free testosterone (from 2.19 to 1.70), LH/FSH ratio (from 2.23 to 1.21), and fasting serum insulin (from 23.5 to 8.2). A reduction in serum insulin while maintaining fasting serum glucose and HgbA1c suggests an overall improvement in insulin resistance. During the 24 week period, the average systolic blood pressure decreased 6.3 mm Hg and average diastolic blood pressure decreased 9.6 mm Hg from baseline. No subject dropped out due to reported symptomatic adverse effects. Two women became pregnant during the study despite previous infertility problems."
- INFLAMMATION & CHRONIC PAIN: The August 2013 issue of the Journal of Child Neurology carried a study simply called Ketogenic Diets and Pain carries some interesting (cherry-picked) tidbits as well. "Pain is one of the most commonly indicated health-related factors leading to poor quality of life. Not surprisingly, persons suffering from pain are more likely to also suffer from anxiety or depression compared to the normal population. Many types of pain and painful or progressive conditions involve chronic inflammation. As noted above, several mechanistic threads support the hypothesis that a ketogenic diet will reduce inflammation, compared to glucose metabolism. Inflammation is increasingly appreciated as part of the epileptogenic process, and becomes ever more strongly associated with neurological problems in young and old alike. Data suggesting positive effects of a ketogenic diet itself on inflammation or associated inflammatory processes have been accumulating recently. Recent reviews have highlighted the potential for ketogenic diets in diverse disorders. Aside from disease-based processes, cognitive impairment has been observed alongside prediabetes even in adolescents, thus underscoring the ability for altered metabolic homeostasis to affect brain function throughout the lifetime." In light of the typical diet eaten by the typical teenager (HERE), go back and re-read the last sentence about a dozen times. By the way, there are lots of studies showing the ability of Ketogenic Diets to modulate the Immune System (INFLAMMATION, if you remember, is an Immune System response).
- DIABETES AND NEUROPATHY: Because the Ketogenic Diet dramatically reduces Blood Sugar, it's a natural for helping TYPE II DIABETICS (with or without NEUROPATHY). Interestingly enough, I have talked to Diabetic patients who were told by their doctor that they could not be on a Ketogenic Diet because it causes Blood Sugar to go too low --- a condition known as Hypoglycemia. That, folks, is exactly the point! Sort of like converting your pickup to run on LPG instead of gasoline; you are forcing your body to run on Ketone Bodies instead of Glucose. Thus, you don't need much Blood Sugar to keep things up and running. Although there is an immense body of research pertaining specifically to Ketogenic Diets for Diabetes, I will leave you with one --- again from the July 2013 issue of the Journal of Child Neurology; this one called Treatment of Diabetes and Diabetic Complications With a Ketogenic Diet. "Accumulating evidence suggests that low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets are safe and effective to reduce glycemia in diabetic patients, without producing significant cardiovascular risks. Diets that limit protein as well as carbohydrates, entailing a composition very high in fat, appear even more effective to reduce glucose and whole-body glucose metabolism in humans." Despite the fact that in America, our government cannot get it through their heads that the WAR ON DIETARY FAT SHOULD BE LONG OVER, England seems to have less trouble with this fact. Diabetes dot co dot UK ("The Global Diabetes Community") has an article called Low Carb Diet and Diabetic Neuropathy Prevention that actually touts things like the Atkins Diet and a Ketogenic Diet. It's not really rocket science. "It is hypothesized that being on a low carbohydrate diet may be used as a method for potentially limiting or reversing the progression of diabetic neuropathy. This is due to the fact that a main contributing factor to neuropathy is prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels. By reducing carbohydrate content, and in turn blood glucose levels, symptoms of nerve damage may be reduced. Diabetic neuropathy is the name given to nerve damage that can occur in a diabetic as a result of high blood glucose levels or hyperglycemia."
- OBESITY: If something helps solve Diabetes, it's only logical to assume it will likely benefit Obesity as well (this goes for the millions of you who are of a "normal" weight, but clinically Obese --- HERE). Not only is the Ketogenic Diet beneficial for Obesity, there are more studies backing this up than you could likely read through in a day. For instance, a study from last month's issue of Obesity Review (Do Ketogenic Diets Really Suppress Appetite? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis) showed that at least part of, "the clinical benefit of a ketogenic diet is in preventing an increase in appetite, despite weight loss". If you are a person who has fallen into extreme (morbid) Obesity, a study from the June 2015 issue of Obesity Research and Clinical Practice (Aggressive Nutritional Strategy in Morbid Obesity in Clinical Practice: Safety, Feasibility, and Effects on Metabolic and Haemodynamic Risk Factors) might be right up your alley. "In morbid obesity, an aggressive nutritional cycle comprising a short-term ketogenic EN followed by an almost carbohydrates-free ON [liquid diet through a nasal tube] may be feasible, safe, and highly effective in reducing body weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, and insulin resistance." As you may have learned from the ahead-of-his-time cardiologist, ROBERT ATKINS, clear back in the 1990's that low carb diets are not only the best thing going for WEIGHT LOSS, but for normalizing blood work (Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, A1C, etc) as well.
- PSORIASIS: Depending on whose stats you choose to hang your hat on, Psoriasis (an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE) affects somewhere between 8 and 16 million Americans. This past November's issue of the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice says, "Psoriasis is a chronic disease associated with overweight/obesity and related cardiometabolic complications. The link between these diseases is likely the inflammatory background associated with adipose tissue, particularly the visceral one. Accordingly, previous studies have demonstrated that in the long-term weight loss may improve the response to systemic therapies. Accordingly, through rapid and consistent weight loss, ketogenic diet may allow restoring a quick response to systemic therapy in a patient suffering from relapsing psoriasis." The point of this study was to prove that the Ketogenic Diet caused weight loss that people with Psoriasis that allowed them to better-respond to their IMMUNO-SUPPRESSIVE MEDICATION. While this is probably accurate, the goal of most therapies should be to provide an EXIT STRATEGY --- i.e. getting off the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND completely.
I have shown you repeatedly that regularly jacking your Blood Sugar --- even though your doctor keeps telling you that all is well --- is tied to virtually every disease you can name (as well as any number you can't). Furthermore, I have also shown you that what we call "normal" blood sugar levels here in America are too high --- many experts believe way too high. This is probably due to the fact that when it comes to blood work, clinical "normals" are nothing more than population averages. In a population where between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 citizens has Pre-Diabetes, and 1 in 10 has Diabetes (not to mention the 80% of the population that is either Obese or FUNCTIONALLY OBESE) do you think Blood Sugar "normals" might be skewed a bit? Darn straight they are! And if we play the law of averages, it's likely they're affecting your health.
As a side note to this post, various studies have shown that Ketogenic Diets can sometimes, over long periods of time, interfere with mineral absorption --- the most commonly studied deficiency being CALCIUM (click the link to see the best and worst calcium supplements). It makes me wonder if at least a portion of this might be related to HYPOCHLORHYDRIA or a lack of DIGESTIVE ENZYMES.
On a similar note, because both digestion as well as most of the problems mentioned on this page are intimately related to ONE'S MOCROBIOME, it also leaves me to wonder if at least part of the effects of the Ketogenic Diet are because "good" bacteria prefer Ketone Bodies as their food source (we already know that "bad" bacteria prefer glucose --- HERE). I would love for GUT HEALTH expert, DR. ART AYERS, to chime in with his two cents on this matter.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
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Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
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Gluten Cross Reactivity
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Jacks Fork River
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Sleeping Pills Kill
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