The KD-induced synaptic stabilization is additionally related to changes in critical amino acids as a result of ketone metabolism. It has been proposed that KD interferes with the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major inhibitory neurotransmitter. There is evidence in clinical practice of increased GABA levels in the CSF of patients on the KD diet (Wang et al., 2003). The decrease in aspartate levels promoted by KB lead to the synthesis of GABA. This occurs because of the inhibitory effect of aspartate on glutamate decarboxylase and the facilitation of the conversation of glutamate to glutamine in the astrocytes (Yudkoff et al., 2008). Not only can GABA be increased, but also other neurotransmitters such as adenosine A1 can be implicated in the anti-seizure effect of the KD (Szot et al., 2001). However, more evidence is needed.
• Fighting inflammation — The human body can use both sugar and fat as fuel sources. However, the latter is preferred because it is a cleaner, healthier fuel that releases far fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals. By eliminating sugar from your daily food consumption, you're decreasing your risk of developing chronic inflammation throughout your body.
Another difference between older and newer studies is that the type of patients treated with the ketogenic diet has changed over time. When first developed and used, the ketogenic diet was not a treatment of last resort; in contrast, the children in modern studies have already tried and failed a number of anticonvulsant drugs, so may be assumed to have more difficult-to-treat epilepsy. Early and modern studies also differ because the treatment protocol has changed. In older protocols, the diet was initiated with a prolonged fast, designed to lose 5–10% body weight, and heavily restricted the calorie intake. Concerns over child health and growth led to a relaxation of the diet's restrictions. Fluid restriction was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of constipation and kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial.
I think it was still hard for him to accept that many cancer patients, and many humans without cancer, did best on a plant-based, high carb diet, so foreign to his way of thinking. Though he had heard me expound on the Kelley approach many times over the years, it was to him implausible that humans as a species had adopted to a variety of diets, some high fat, some high carb, some more balanced, and that in medical practice, we as physicians had to be aware that different patients might require completely different diets for optimal health.
I’m referring to a diet called the ketogenic diet, and an article that’s been making the rounds since last week entitled “Ketogenic diet beats chemo for almost all cancers, says Dr. Thomas Seyfried.” Of course, when I see a claim such as that, my first reaction is, “Show me the evidence.” My second reaction is, “Who is this guy?” Well, Dr. Seyfried is a professor of biology at Boston College, who’s pretty well published. He’s also working in a field that has gained new respectability over the last five to ten years, namely cancer metabolism, mainly thanks to a rediscovery of what Otto Warburg discovered over 80 years ago. What Warburg discovered was that many tumors rely on glycolysis for their energy even in environments with adequate oxygen for oxidative phosphorylation, which generates the bulk of the chemical energy used by cells. I described this phenomenon in more detail in a post I did four years ago about a drug that looks as though its anticancer properties come from its ability to reverse the Warburg effect.
Jimmy Moore: Quite frankly. They’ve not been trained to teach you how to do nutrition, and then if they turn to nutrition they either leave it to the dietitian who has been trained in low fat, high carb diets or they’ll just “Well, the USDA my plate says blah blah blah.” They’re just parading what someone else has said. They’ve not done their own research. Just assuming that your doctor knows everything about what it takes nutritionally to make you healthy is a bad mistake.
Cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body. First of all, cholesterol is a critical structural element in certain tissues such as our brain and nervous system. In fact, it is estimated that around 25% of our cholesterol can be found in the brain. Just to highlight our failed fat philosophy over the years, higher saturated fat intake and high cholesterol levels are associated with better mental function in old age (1)!
Fortunately, the keto diet has been found to decrease inflammation (which is part of the reason why it can help people who have autoimmune thyroid conditions).  However, if you still have high levels of inflammation after following the keto diet, then you may have to address other important variables like your stress levels, sleep quality, and food allergies/sensitivities before your cholesterol levels can rest at healthier levels. (By addressing these variables, you will also decrease your stress levels which may help improve your cholesterol levels even more.)
Instead of thinking about the total carbs you’re eating, assess what those carbs provide to you. Do the majority of your carbs come from fruit and vegetables, with a payload of fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants? Fantastic. Or are you consuming them in the form of added sugars (cookies, candy, soda) or refined flour? If you are, you know what to do.
In 1921, Rollin Turner Woodyatt reviewed the research on diet and diabetes. He reported that three water-soluble compounds, β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone (known collectively as ketone bodies), were produced by the liver in otherwise healthy people when they were starved or if they consumed a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Dr. Russell Morse Wilder, at the Mayo Clinic, built on this research and coined the term "ketogenic diet" to describe a diet that produced a high level of ketone bodies in the blood (ketonemia) through an excess of fat and lack of carbohydrate. Wilder hoped to obtain the benefits of fasting in a dietary therapy that could be maintained indefinitely. His trial on a few epilepsy patients in 1921 was the first use of the ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy.
There are several medical studies — such as two conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for the University of Iowa, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, for example — that show the ketogenic diet is an effective treatment for cancer and other serious health problems. (12)
To some ears, last week’s exultation over interleukin-2 has a familiar but discordant ring. Something similar happened about five years ago with a substance called interferon, the “magic bullet” of cancer research, featured on magazine covers and in articles with titles like “To Save Her Life – And Yours.” … But by 1984 the magic bullet had misfired; now the articles were called “The Myth of Interferon.”
The medical community has known about cancer cell’s preference for glucose for quite some time. In fact, one of the ways they get an image of a tumor is essentially by injecting a glucose-based “dye” into the body and using some sort of machine to see that “dye.” The area that lights up the most when taking the image is where the cancer tumor is – that’s because of the cancer cell’s overwhelming desire for glucose.
This book is an excellent source for those who want to know much of the details about a Ketogenic diet for cancer but who need it succinctly. Miriam Kalamian's book has more detail, but I have had friends tell me it was more than they wanted to know. For those people Ellen Davis's book would be best. There were some things I learned from Davis that I did not learn from Kalamian. The only problem with Davis is that there is NO INDEX. That means if you want to go back to something you remember, you have no quick and easy way to find it. Because of that I wound up reading it 3 times, each of which had value. However, I would have appreciated an index. But the book has so much that I did not want to take away a star. When I find something of value in a book, I mark it up. My copy has marks all over.
8. Van Lenten, B. J., Hama, S. Y., De Beer, F. C., Stafforini, D. M., McIntyre, T. M., Prescott, S. M., … Navab, M. (1995). Anti-inflammatory HDL becomes pro-inflammatory during the acute phase response. Loss of protective effect of HDL against LDL oxidation in aortic wall cell cocultures. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 96(6), 2758–2767. PMID: 8675645
I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
Cyclical ketosis means you’re sometimes in ketosis and sometimes aren’t. A few days each week—the night before workout days to build glycogen stores in your muscles—try increasing your intake of berries, higher complex carb veggies (like sweet potatoes), and non-gluten grains. It might knock you out of ketosis temporarily, but it also provides a wealth of nutrients to keep you lean, healthy, and happy. This is also called flexible ketosis, which creates metabolic flexibility—the holy grail of metabolism management. I’ve also talked about cycling ketosis with intermittent fasting, which provides a win-win strategy to reach your health goals.
Keto will increase your cholesterol, because your body is getting more cholesterol from food. So guess what your body will do when you increase the dietary cholesterol…that’s right, it’ll stop producing its own cholesterol. Since 75% of your cholesterol is made inside your body, if you increase the amount that you eat, your body will cut that 75% down. Your body isn’t stupid. It knows what it needs.
Children with epilepsy due to mutations in GLUT-1, which transports glucose across the blood-brain barrier, suffer from seizures in infancy. If not identified and treated, they develop microcephaly, mental retardation, spasticity, and ataxia as a consequence of relative brain hypoglycemia. These children respond well to the ketogenic diet, as it is believed to provide an alternative fuel source for their central nervous system [13, Class III].
Though I would see Bob occasionally at conferences, I never mentioned any of this to him. Some years later we met for lunch in Washington, DC, at a conference where we were both scheduled to speak. To my astonishment, he told me he was closing down his cancer unit completely, to concentrate on his traditional area of expertise – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypoglycemia, the metabolic syndrome – problems for which he knew his nutritional approach with the ketogenic diet worked quite effectively.
I’m discouraged to see that nowhere in the article nor in the comments is there a mention of a diet’s best fit to genetics. Consider if someone is an APOE E2 carrier and/or has certain polymorphisms of the APO5 gene. These are quite rare in Okinawa but much more prevalent in the USA (12% of the population). According to a number of well-designed studies, these genetic characteristics point to a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet as beneficial and even a “moderate” carb diet as problematic.
The ketogenic diet is usually initiated in combination with the patient's existing anticonvulsant regimen, though patients may be weaned off anticonvulsants if the diet is successful. Some evidence of synergistic benefits is seen when the diet is combined with the vagus nerve stimulator or with the drug zonisamide, and that the diet may be less successful in children receiving phenobarbital.
Taking your first step into the ketogenic diet is an exciting phase for your health. But before coming up with an actual ketogenic diet food list, it's important to first take a look at what you're eating now and take out anything that's unhealthy. This means that you have to remove sugars, grains, starches and packaged and processed foods from your diet. Basically, anything that won't add to your new eating regimen has to go. This is what I call a "pantry sweep."