How Exogenous Ketones Power the Brain
Have you ever hit the wall before? One of the reasons that this may be happening is due to inadequate fuel for your brain. When you are primarily fueled by glucose – your brain and your muscles are competing for a small amount of energy. Energy which is being created via gluconeogenesis, the conversion of protein (muscle) into glucose). One of the benefits of being Keto adapted is your body and brain is being fueled by ketones!
Contrary to popular belief that the brain can only utilize glucose – here’s a little experiment that proves otherwise. A group of scientists in Boston placed their test subjects in ketosis through a fasting protocol. They achieved a blood ketone level of 5 mmol (mild ketosis is 0.8 mmol). They slowly provided their subjects with insulin in order to reduce their blood glucose level to 1.5 mmol – at which point a GLUCOSE fueled person would have been in a coma (normal range is considered 4-6 mmol. Not only did the test subjects stay awake, they did not display any of the typical symptoms of low blood sugar – impaired cognition, irritability, hunger, drowsiness etc.
Similarly Exogenous Ketones have been used by the US Army for their neuro protective qualities. Oxygen respirators used by Navy seal divers can cause oxygen toxicity to the brain, which in turn can cause seizures. Dr Dominic D’Agostino discovered that exogenous ketones can maintain the brains metabolic integrity, which in turn can prevent the formation of free radical in the brain that can form from mitochondria and cause neurological failure.
Research into ketones, ketosis, and exogenous ketones is growing – but it has been with us for a while! We can’t wait to share more as we learn more!
Reference: Cahill GF, JR., Aoki TT. Alternate fuel utilization by brain. In: Cerebral Metabolism and Neural Function. Passoneau JV, et al, Eds. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 1980. pp 234-42