Nutritional Ketosis

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Introduction

Conventional medicine relies heavily on prescription drugs to treat a variety of illnesses, but the results are often mixed. Prescription drugs that successfully treat one condition can immediately or eventually create other medical problems for the patient, and side effects can reduce the patient’s quality of life during treatment. Pharmaceutical companies invest a tremendous amount of money into the development of new medications, some of which never make it to hospitals and pharmacy shelves, and patients, in turn, can pay dearly for their prescriptions or give up their chance of recovery, in the event that they cannot afford the prescribed medication. Nutritional ketosis, a specific kind of modification of a patient’s diet to treat illness, can be a more effective, affordable, and comfortable method of treatment.

Using food to promote the body’s natural well-being means few or no side effects, and for patients living with a chronic illness or who face long-term treatment, nutritional ketosis also means a dramatically reduced, if nonexistent, risk of physical deterioration due to extended drug use or the build-up of resistance to a drug. Nutritional ketosis saves a patient money and may even be the only available treatment method for low-income patients and patients with no health insurance.

In the case of certain incurable illnesses or conditions, prescription drugs do not offer healing, only symptom management and survival for an unknown amount of time. Nutritional ketosis dieting not only seeks to control symptoms but can be a way for patients with chronic or incurable disease to experience improvements in other areas of their health, thus leading to more comfort and ease in their bodies. Their improved overall health may even cause the medications they do take to be more effective or the side effects of their medications to decrease in intensity or subside.

With limited research about the medical benefits and uses of nutritional ketosis, the diet has already been used to help patients with a variety of illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and dementia. The dynamics of ketosis in the body and its interaction with diseased organs and problematic bodily functions can illuminate the nature of different illnesses and reveal more details about the body’s numerous mechanisms. Observing the effects of nutritional ketosis can also lead to new developments in the form of other treatments and medications, by showing doctors how the body responds to this holistic approach and why.

General Overview of Nutritional Ketosis

For a long time, people have been using diet to manage, control and treat diseases. In the 1920s, the earliest form of nutritional ketosis was already being used to address some medical conditions. The first disease to be managed using nutritional ketosis was epilepsy, despite a lack of knowledge about the relationship between nutrition and epilepsy. All that was known was that people suffering from epilepsy showed considerable improvement during times of hunger. Subsequent to the introduction of anti-seizure medications in the late 1930s, nutritional ketosis dieting fell out of fashion in the United States until concerned parents of epileptic children motivated a resurgence of the treatment in the 1990s. Today, the nutritional ketosis diet is a scientifically lauded method of treatment for epileptic patients, observed to be particularly effective in controlling seizures characteristic of a variety of epileptic conditions in children. Medical researchers who study nutritional ketosis are particularly interested in the potential of NKD to treat other neurologically-based disorders and illnesses, based on the consistent results the diet produces in epilepsy cases.

Nutritional ketosis is particularly effective in the treatment of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions, including those caused by unhealthy diet, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. The medical community has linked these harmful lifestyle habits to a variety of conditions that, while caused or influenced by other factors, could, therefore, respond in a positive way to a radical change in diet and other lifestyle habits. What a treatment method like nutritional ketosis can ultimately encourage in the big picture is a greater move toward treating a patient’s whole body, instead of just their illness; medication may come with a doctor’s recommendations for certain lifestyle modifications to optimize the drug’s effects but does not require any kind of permanent, consistent lifestyle change like the ketogenic diet. By transitioning into a healthier lifestyle, a patient with any kind of condition will inevitably experience an increased chance for long-term wellness, even if their condition eventually disappears.

Nutritional ketosis has been extensively used in the management of weight-related conditions. Excessive weight affects the body’s proper function on every level, and returning to a healthy weight can eliminate a variety of medical issues without any additional action. For example, excessive fat can result in low fertility among women, occurring when layers of fat accumulate in the ducts that transport the ova and prevent the ova from reaching the sperm for fertilization. High blood pressure, a condition involving fat deposits accumulating on the inner surface of the blood vessels, is another common problem in overweight and obese patients, and high blood pressure is related to heart disease. When the blood moves faster, the heart muscles are forced to contract and relax at a faster rate than normal. This can cause the heart muscles to fatigue, and a heart attack can be the ultimate result. The best remedy for high blood pressure in overweight or obese patients is weight loss, and a healthy diet is a primary method to achieve that weight loss.

Nutritional ketosis is based on a principle of energy manufacturing that uses ketones instead of glucose. The diet strives to ensure that the carbohydrate intake is less than an individual’s energy requirement. The human body breaks down carbohydrates for glucose that is used to fuel most of the body’s metabolic activities, which is a process vital to the body’s well-being and survival. However, excessive consumption of carbohydrates results in excessive production of glucose, and the excess is stored as fat. Fat is stored in various parts of the body such as the abdomen, thighs and upper arms, and small fat deposits can also find its way into the blood vessels thereby constricting these vessels. Even without an excessive body fat percentage, relying on glucose to fuel the body can exacerbate certain conditions, as medical research has begun to observe more and more in recent years.

When the body is starved of carbohydrates, the glucose produced by the body becomes less than the body requires. To compensate for this deficit, the body breaks the stored fat into energy. This results in gradual weight loss . This type of nutritional kurtosis—starvation due to food’s inaccessibility or fasting for dietary or religious purposes—is usually unintentional or does not happen repeatedly. If used inappropriately, limited food intake can actually damage the body or lead to medical complications, but when nutritional ketosis is prescribed medically and observed properly, it has a structure and a specific methodology for the purpose of producing healthy effects. Controlled fasting can actually help the body correct its own malfunctions and return to a healthier state.

All nutritional ketosis therapies aim at reducing the number of carbohydrates in the diet and substituting it with other food groups. An ideal diet consists of more fats, moderate proteins, and fewer carbohydrates. The purpose of limiting carbohydrates in the diet is to achieve the state of ketosis, in which the body is using ketones instead of glucose to create energy.

The effectiveness of nutritional ketosis is measured by testing the presence of ketones in the blood or in the urine. When ketones are detected, it indicates that the body is producing energy using fats. This does not always correspond with weight loss in a patient. When the amount of fat in the body is very high, only the dietary fat consumed daily is metabolized, not the stored fat. This is why it is crucial to follow the diet specifications as outlined by the medical practitioner or nutritionist.

The use of nutritional ketosis requires a lot of discipline and determination. Unlike the more popular pharmaceutical medication route, treating medical conditions nutritionally requires a genuine lifestyle change. Many people who have been placed under nutritional ketosis fail to realize the full benefits of this therapy due to their lack of commitment. Some patients find it hard to abandon the diet they’ve become accustomed to, especially if they routinely consumed addictive, unhealthy foods in the past. When they do not strictly adhere to the nutritional ketosis diet, they do not experience an optimal change in their health. The importance of a patient’s consistent observation of the diet must be accounted for in future research investigating the effectiveness of nutritional ketosis treatment methods, and should also be emphasized by doctors prescribing the diet to patients.

This therapy calls for consistency with no or few break periods. In the initial stages of change from the normal diet to the nutritional ketosis diet, the body can be resistant to the change or slow to respond, which can lead the patient to believe that the therapy is ineffective. The change over from using glucose to ketones as the main source of fuel affects the energy balance in the body, and sometimes, the body reacts negatively. Patients may suffer from dehydration, electrolyte problems, as well as low blood sugars. Patients using nutritional ketosis should, therefore, be cautious when following a ketosis diet and respond to their body’s new needs accordingly.

Effects of Nutritional Ketosis on Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that requires lifetime management. There is no known cure, and unlike other diseases, it is not caused by a pathogen that can be targeted and destroyed with medication . The body’s immune system is likewise useless against diabetes. The drugs administered to patients suffering from diabetes help their bodies function normally and prevent the illness from causing potentially life-threatening symptoms, but a diabetic’s quality of life is permanently affected by the need for close monitoring of glucose levels, their diet, and their overall health.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 is caused by the total lack of insulin in the blood to control glucose levels . The pancreas stops producing insulin, usually because of the islet cells malfunctioning. This type of diabetes is difficult to manage through lifestyle changes alone. Insulin injections regularly administered become a lifelong requirement for type 1 diabetics.

Type 2 diabetes is caused when blood glucose fails to respond to insulin, thereby reducing the effectiveness of insulin in regulating blood glucose. The body of a type 2 diabetic produces enough insulin but cannot regulate its own glucose levels without medical treatment. This type of diabetes can be effectively managed by nutritional ketosis, which reduces the need for patients to use drugs to manage the disease. Type 2 diabetes research has found that a reduction in carbohydrates in the diet increases the sensitivity of insulin in the blood. With low glucose levels in the blood, the insulin resistance of the glucose decreases, and this makes it easier for the body to naturally control the blood glucose levels.

Research findings have supported the use of nutritional ketosis in the management of type 2 diabetes. Many studies have been conducted in this area and almost all these studies have supported the use of low carbohydrate nutritional ketosis to manage type 2 diabetes. One such study recently conducted took a period of four months to complete and studied 28 individuals, eight of whom were women, with type 2 diabetes. The participants were taking medication for their diabetes prior to the study. Researchers took four of the participants completely off of their diabetes medication. Seventeen of the participants had their dosage halved. The remaining seven participants continued to take their medication normally. The results showed significant improvements in glucose levels for all twenty-eight participants. Even the participants who had their medication dosage halved or had their dosage completely discontinued experienced improvement. These participants also recorded a significant reduction in their body weight, percentage body fat as well as waist circumference.

In another similar study, a group of thirty patients participated. All participants were suffering from type 2 diabetes, and all of them were either using insulin medication or oral hypoglycemic agents. Patients who were known to have a history of cardiovascular diseases were not allowed to take part in this study and patients who suffered from liver or kidney diseases were also excluded.

Before the study commenced, all participants were given strict instructions pertaining to the nutritional ketosis diet: the standard high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate combination. When this diet was introduced, the diabetes medication for all patients was halved or discontinued. For those patients who were under diuretic medications, they were forced to stop taking the drugs because it was anticipated that the ketosis diet would have the same diuretic effect as these drugs. It was also mandatory for the participants to undertake aerobic exercises at least three times a week with each exercise session lasting for a minimum of half an hour.

After the study period, all the measurements that had been taken from the participants were compared, but not all participants completed the study. Seven out of thirty failed to complete. They cited different reasons for their withdrawal from the study, but the most common was a failure to cope with the new diet. There was no single participant who cited adverse effects of the diet.

During the period of study, vital signs were measured on a weekly basis, including ketone levels, weight, waist circumference, skinfold thickness, heart rate, and blood pressure. The study showed considerable improvements in the vital signs and concluded that there is a high correlation between nutritional ketosis and effective management of diabetes.

In 2011, researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine determined that the nutritional ketosis diet can actually reverse kidney damage in diabetic patients, regardless of whether they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes . This same study revealed a previously unknown panel of genes linked to diabetes-related kidney damage, whose expressions were changed by nutritional ketosis. Dr. Charles Mobbs, PhD., leader of the research team, described his study as the first to prove that dietary change alone is enough to reverse serious kidney complications caused by diabetes, which are among the more serious and potentially life-threatening side effects of the disease. He also suggested that these findings may lead to new medications that mimic the effects of a ketogenic diet for diabetic patients with kidney malfunctions.

Effects of Nutritional Ketosis on Heart Diseases

Nutritional ketosis has been identified as one of the most effective therapies used to curb the rise of heart-related diseases. Researchers have observed a strong relationship between carbohydrate intake and heart disease . A diet high in carbohydrates is a major cause of most cardiovascular diseases, and subsequently, nutritional ketosis is a natural and effective treatment for patients with heart conditions who have a history of high-carb diets.

When carbohydrates are consumed regularly, the glucose level in the blood increases. This causes the body to respond by producing a lot of insulin to control the high blood sugars. At times, this causes insulin resistance, and the blood sugar level remains high. When the level of glucose is high in the blood, it has an inflammatory effect on the body tissues, which damages them. The high blood glucose damages the protein structures through a process known as glycation (Messick, 2011). This increases the risk of heart disease and related death.

High blood sugars have also been found to increase triglyceride levels. When the triglyceride levels are high, the person affected is likely to suffer a heart attack. High levels of triglycerides cause an increase in the amount of harmful cholesterol in the body, known as LDL cholesterol. At the same time, high levels of triglycerides cause a decrease in healthy cholesterol, known as HDL cholesterol. When the levels of HDL cholesterol are low in the blood, many complications arise which can trigger heart problems. These complications may include metabolic syndrome, an increase in fasting insulin, and an increase in the levels of fasting glucose. It can also result in an increase in the levels of lipoprotein, which is a type of cholesterol that is closely related to LDL, and thus can cause heart attack.

Nutritional ketosis diet provides selenium, copper, magnesium, and vitamin D, nutrients that the heart needs for proper functioning and which happen to be associated with high-fat diets. The diet results in a considerable improvement in the metabolic markers for the heart and has a number of other positive effects on the body.

First, the blood glucose level drops considerably. This reduces the process of glycation, which stops further damage to tissues. The insulin levels in the blood also drop as a consequence of the reduced blood glucose. As a result, the level of insulin resistance is reduced, which makes the sensitivity of insulin increase. The dangerous LDL cholesterol changes into benign LDL, which increases HDL cholesterol, and there is a considerable improvement in metabolic syndrome, as well as a reduction in the levels of the lipoprotein.

Many studies that have been conducted to show the relationship between nutritional ketosis diet and heart diseases have proven this diet considerably reduces the prevalence of heart-related diseases. However, some confusion exists as to how a diet rich in fat can cause a reduction in heart disease. Many people associate fatty foods with increase in heart disease. This confusion is based on lack of proper information.

The high-fat diet has been found to cause an increase in the amount of dangerous cholesterol called LDL. This has been the main cause of controversy, as people do not understand how a diet that increases bad cholesterol can reduce heart disease. Despite adding the level of the LDL cholesterol in the blood, this diet also increases the particle size of the LDL. Research has shown that LDL with smaller particles is very dangerous to human health. However, if the particles of LDL are enlarged, the cholesterol becomes harmless.

One particular study compared the effects of a high fat vs. high carbohydrate diet, by subjecting two different groups of participants to different diets. Before the study commenced, the particle size of the LDL cholesterol amongst the two study groups was measured, along with the amount of LPL cholesterol. The two groups were subjected to their respective diets for a period of twelve weeks where every day each participant consumed two servings.

After the study period, the size and amount of the LDL cholesterol were again measured. Results showed a significant relationship between the high-fat diet and the size as well as amount of LDL cholesterol. The participants who were subjected to high fat diet showed very emphatic results. The amount of LDL cholesterol with larger particles had considerably increased. For the study group consuming a high-carb diet, there was an increase in the amount of small particle LDL cholesterol. This study concludes that a diet high in healthy fats is indeed good for the heart, preventing the increase of bad cholesterol while encouraging the levels of good cholesterol.

In another study, a group of over sixty obese men was studied. The group was divided into two subgroups. All these men had a BMI index greater than thirty. The first group was made up of thirty-five subjects while the second group was made up of thirty-one subjects. Before the study commenced, several body parameters were measured. These parameters included urea, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, BMI, body weight, glucose, and total cholesterol level.

A nutritional ketosis diet was administered to the two groups during a period of fifty-six weeks. Measurements and tests were conducted every eight weeks and the results recorded. At the end of the experiment period, all the recorded results were compared. These results showed that there was a considerable reduction in BMI and body weight for the two groups. Other parameters such as total cholesterol level, glucose level, LDL cholesterol, blood glucose as well as triglycerides also decreased. The level of HDL cholesterol increased. This study concluded that the use of a nutritional ketosis diet was beneficial for obese subjects because it reduced their weight and increased healthy cholesterol.

In an attempt to better understand the predictors of heart disease, numerous studies have been conducted, most of them proving that HDL and LDL are the major predictors. When the small-particle LDL levels are high, that person is more likely to suffer from heart disease. LDL cholesterol with larger particles, on the other hand, shows that the person is less likely to suffer from heart disease. HDL cholesterol is an inherently healthy type of cholesterol . When the blood contains large amounts of HDL, that patient is more likely to have a healthy heart, and if the HDL is too low, their risk for heart disease rises.

Triglycerides have also been used as predictors of heart diseases. However, there is controversy amongst medical researchers as to how triglyceride levels correspond with heart disease. Some believe that triglycerides cause heart disease only in combination with other substances. Another faction believes that triglycerides independently cause heart disease. That triglycerides cause cardiovascular diseases, whether directly or indirectly, is undisputed . When high levels of triglycerides are detected in the blood, the patient is on the verge of suffering from a heart attack.

Heart disease is one of the nation’s leading killers, and while genetics does play a big role, the influence of lifestyle on a patient’s body and heart specifically cannot be underestimated or neglected. The ketogenic diet is a powerful way to control a patient’s markers that can mean the difference between experiencing a heart attack or not, between requiring serious heart surgery or not.

Benefits of Nutritional Ketosis on Obesity

Obesity is defined as excessive body weight and accumulation of fats. Although obesity is not a disease, it puts the person at a high risk of suffering from life-threatening conditions such as heart disease . Several illnesses are associated with obesity. Unfortunately, dramatic weight loss is often a tremendous challenge for obese patients, due to lack of understanding about how weight and body fat is effectively lost and kept off or to a lack of commitment on the patient’s part to necessary lifestyle changes.

Weight loss programs usually focus on a combination of a healthy diet and exercise. Most of these exercises are very demanding, and this discourages obese people from attempting weight loss programs. Diet is even more crucial than exercise in an effective weight loss program, and patients must commit to dietary changes as a long-term practice, to lose body fat and keep it off. This diet change also discourages many people because it requires them to stop consuming the food that they are used to and instead eat foods they may find less appetizing. The fact of the matter is, even if an obese patient chooses a surgical route to remedy their obesity—such as gastric bypass surgery or a lap band—without a significant change in their diet, the weight loss will be only temporary. No matter how difficult a diet change feels initially, the patient must adopt it into their life to ensure long-term results.

Good weight loss results are achieved by implementing both healthy eating habits and regular exercise. A combination of steady exercise and poor diet can lead to unsatisfying results. It is possible for a person to engage in rigorous exercise but fail to lose weight, or even gain more if their diet remains unhealthy. Weight loss depends on the principle of consuming fewer calories than the body burns on a daily basis. This causes the body to burn the excess fat for energy, which eventually causes a reduction in stored body fat. By eating food low in carbohydrates, a patient encourages his or her body to burn stored fat to produce energy, and an exercise regimen burns consumed calories, which causes a further tapping of the body’s fat reserves for energy.

Nutritional ketosis is one of the most effective ways that an individual can lose weight. The ketosis diet features high levels of fats, moderate proteins, and very low carbohydrates. For maximum weight loss, one should aim at reaching the ketosis state. This is the state where the body fat is being burned at an extremely high rate, and all the organs of the body including the brain run on ketones. Ketones are energy molecules, which are produced from the breakdown of fats. The process of converting fats into ketones takes place in the liver.

Production of ketones is initiated by low insulin levels in the blood. A person who is in a weight loss program must ensure that he keeps his blood glucose as low as possible to discourage the production of insulin. This encourages the breakdown of fats into ketones . To monitor the level of ketones in the blood, there is a need for constant measurement. These measurements enable one to adjust the diet accordingly. If the ketone level is low, it implies that carbohydrate intake is too high and should be reduced. High ketone levels indicate that the ketogenic diet is succeeding and the person should thus continue with the diet. A special gadget called a blood ketone meter is used to carry out this measurement. During the measurement process, a blood sample is taken from the finger and processed in the meter, exactly like a diabetic’s insulin reader. The readings obtained from this measurement are interpreted to show the number of fats being broken down. Measurements below 0.5 are considered not to be ketosis and show that the person is burning very little fat. A reading that is between 0.5- 1.5 indicate light ketosis. This measurement indicates that the patient is getting good, but far from optimal, results from the ketosis diet. Readings of between 1.5 and 3.0 show that the person is reaping maximum benefit from the nutritional ketosis diet . At this stage, the person is said to have reached optimal ketosis. This is the stage where one achieves maximum weight loss benefits. Any value above three is not important since it does not produce better results. They only indicate that the person is not eating enough food.

The distribution of high fats, moderate proteins, and low carbohydrates in a nutritional ketosis diet is strategic. Fat helps a patient eat less because one feels satisfied after only a small serving of fat. As such, eating fat discourages one to eat other types of food, such as proteins and carbohydrates. The moderate amount of protein in this diet is helpful in that it reduces hunger, which means consuming less food at longer intervals. A gastrointestinal hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) is one of the most powerful appetite suppressants naturally occurring in the human body, and both dietary fats and proteins stimulate the production of CCK. This means that adopting a nutritional ketosis diet can be used to naturally suppress an obese patient’s appetite, while simultaneously satiating hunger more effectively through the diet’s high-fat content .

During a six-month-long study that seventy-nine severely obese patients completed, a comparison of different diets proved that people suffering from obesity lose more weight from a low-carbohydrate diet than they do from calorie-restricted and fat-restricted diets . Study participants who tried the low-carb diet also saw improved insulin sensitivity and triglyceride levels, as opposed to the participants on low-fat or low-calorie diets. This study was not specifically conducted to contribute to nutritional ketosis research, yet the results support using a ketogenic diet for optimal weight loss results in obese patients.

A different study examined the effects of nutritional ketosis on obese people who were generally healthy despite their weight, the sixty-six subjects including people with high cholesterol and normal cholesterol. During the fifty-six weeks of the study, the body weight and body mass index significantly decreased in both groups. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, blood glucose levels, and triglycerides dropped tremendously too, while HDL cholesterol levels increased . The original goal of the study was to see an improvement in cholesterol levels, but the ketogenic diet improved several other aspects of the participants’ health unintentionally. The results were also long-term in nature, which was a focal point of the study, and because obesity patients struggle with maintaining their weight loss (and corresponding health improvements) over time, the fact that ketogenic diet can offer long-term health benefits should add to its appeal when compared to other possible solutions to obesity.

Nutritional ketosis as a weight-loss method should be used with caution because it can lead to life-threatening conditions for people suffering from certain diseases. Patients suffering from type 1 diabetes should be very cautious when adopting nutritional ketosis as a weight-loss strategy. They must always make sure that their blood sugar levels remain normal. A combination of low blood glucose and high ketone levels in the blood can lead to a condition known as ketoacidosis. When one is affected by this condition, he should immediately seek medical attention or take a dose of insulin injection. The best advice for obese people suffering from type 1 diabetes is to keep away from nutritional ketosis because the benefits they are likely to experience after losing weight are not worth the risk of the negative effects.

The Role of Nutritional Ketosis in the Management of Cancer

Several studies are currently underway to determine the effect that diet can have on the prevention, treatment, and management of cancer, and research into nutritional ketosis as a cancer treatment has only recently begun. Some doctors believe that with proper research, nutritional ketosis will eventually be adopted as one of the main methods of care for cancer patients. Research shows that certain foods stimulate the growth of cancerous cells, while others discourage cell mutation. Prescribing an appropriate nutritional ketosis diet based on anti-cancer foods can greatly enhance the management and treatment of this disease.

Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body, and in fact, cancerous cells have the highest metabolic rate of all cells in the human body. They are also the most sensitive to metabolic energy deprivation, when it comes to their growth, a biochemical phenomenon known as the Warburg effect . Cancerous cells are fueled by glucose, the very element that nutritional ketosis seeks to reduce in the body. It is, therefore, a logical hypothesis that if these cells are starved of glucose, they will stop growing and eventually start to die. Food rich in carbohydrates increases the level of glucose in the blood. Avoiding carbohydrates in the diet can reduce the amount of glucose in the blood, thereby starving the cancerous cells . Ketogenic diets include food high in fat to encourage the body to use ketones instead of glucose for energy. Because cancer cells do not feed on ketones, they will eventually die due to lack of glucose, in a patient using nutritional ketosis.

A study conducted during a ten-long period involving animals with experimentally created brain tumors that were placed on a nutritional ketosis diet resulted in significantly slower growth rates of the cancerous masses . These results were evidently a consequence of reduced blood glucose levels due to the calorie restriction, rather than the actual ketosis the diet-induced, ketosis being fatty acid oxidation. Other animal studies showed decreased tumor growth in subjects with prostate and gastric cancers . While researchers must be cautious in transferring treatment results taken from animal samples to human patients, there have been at least two recorded case studies in the last few decades in which human patients with brain tumors exhibited “beneficial effects,” in one case, and a complete remission in the other . A pilot trial involving sixteen patients with advanced metastatic tumors led to six patients reporting improved emotional function and less insomnia, which suggests that nutritional ketosis may improve quality of life in some cancer patients, an effect equally as important as remission.

The most accepted theory that cancer is caused by genetically related factors has been disputed by a section of scientists. Research has shown that there is no direct relationship between cancer and genetics. In this research, the nucleus from a cancerous cell was put into the cytoplasm of a normal cell with functional mitochondria. This cell developed into a normal cell and there were no cancer cells that developed. This study also managed to develop normal tissues and organs from cancerous cells. If indeed cancer was caused by genetic factors, it would be impossible to produce healthy cells from cancerous cells. This is because the cancer information would be encoded in the nucleus of all the affected cells, making it impossible to breed normal tissues from cancerous cells. This study also disputed the common belief that cancer genes are inherited. The study revealed that only a small number of people inherit genes that can cause cancer, despite the fact that people do inherit genes that prevent cancer.

This study found that cancer was a metabolic disease which is caused by the failure of the mitochondria to perform its functions. Most forms of cancer develop as a result of the mitochondria failing to perform their energy generation functions . When the mitochondria’s ability to perform its functions is altered, mutations occur. These mutations trigger the uncontrolled growth of cells. Most cancer drugs have been ineffective because they do not target the real cause of the problem but rather base the treatment on genome projects. Drugs or diet that can target the mitochondria and rectify its functioning can be very effective in managing and treating cancer.

The key to combating cancer is controlling blood glucose and insulin levels. This can be achieved by a combination of diet, avoidance of emotional stress, and conducting adequate exercise. These measures can also be very effective in cancer prevention because they create an environment that is not conducive to the multiplication of cancer cells. As early as 1931, research findings had proven that the energy metabolism process in cancer cells was fundamentally different from that of normal cells. Cancer cells feed exclusively on glucose, while the normal cells can use both glucose and ketones. With this understanding, it is possible to deprive the cancer cells of their source of energy without compromising the energy source of other cells.

Oncologists agree that avoiding carbohydrates in the diet is the first step in cancer management. A diet that is high in fat, moderate in proteins and low in carbohydrates is recommended for cancer patients. This diet leads to a reduction in the amount of blood sugar while at the same time increasing the level of ketones in the blood through the breakdown of fat from the diet. The fat in the diet also stimulates the burning of body fats that enhances a high level of ketones in the blood. This diet creates an environment that is inhospitable for the growth of cancer cells, thereby suppressing their growth and killing them through starvation.

The human body is primarily designed to burn glucose as the primary source of energy. This implies that if the diet includes both fat and carbohydrates, the body will automatically metabolize carbohydrates to produce glucose as opposed to metabolizing fats to produce ketones. This is a hindrance to people suffering from diseases that are adversely affected by high levels of glucose, such as cancer. It is therefore important to implement the dietary change to assist the body in burning ketones instead of glucose . This change can be enhanced through fasting. To kick off the metabolic change, the person should fast for about two days without taking any food. This starves the body of any carbohydrates and the body starts to burn fats. The subsequent meals after fasting should be taken within a limited period of six hours each day, thereby leaving a period of 18 hours for fasting, which further stimulates the burning of fat.

Initiation of the ketogenic diet should be systematically carried out to maximize the benefits that the patient gets from this therapy. In the first two days of fasting, the patient is only given water. This is aimed at flushing most of the carbohydrates in the digestive system, which ensures that the carbohydrate level is already low when the ketogenic diet starts. The presence of carbohydrates in the system before this diet is initiated can compromise results. This is because it can encourage the breakdown of carbohydrates instead of fats. This causes the blood sugars to remain relatively high, therefore providing the cancer cells fuel to multiply. Fasting also helps increase the enzymes that are responsible for the burning of fat to produce energy and ensures that the numbers of enzymes that are responsible for breaking carbohydrates into glucose are reduced. This, in effect, prepares the body to break down fat. As a consequence of this change, the primary source of energy in the body changes from glucose to ketones.

Despite the metabolizing of glucose into energy being a natural bodily process, the body can develop an addiction to glucose. Subjecting the body to hunger is a way of breaking this addiction. This is not any easier than breaking a drug addiction and can result in a lot of discomfort in the patient. Some of the glucose withdrawal symptoms include severe headache, malaise, and nausea. The discomfort is worth the results, because it is only through fasting that the body can be able to undergo the transformation from glucose to ketones.

Fasting has been found to have many benefits to the body besides facilitating the change process from glucose to ketones. Fasting strengthens the network of the mitochondria in the body cells. Any substance that promotes the functioning of the mitochondria has hinders the development of normal cells into cancerous cells. Because cancer is a metabolic disease associated with the malfunctioning of the mitochondria, it is less likely to develop when the mitochondria are healthy and functional.

It’s a challenge for a person who is used to eating several meals per day to abruptly begin a fast for two or three days. This drastic change is strictly for critically sick patients who require a drastic drop in blood glucose and a rapid rise in ketones. Otherwise, medical practitioners have proposed a gradual change in the diet. This change takes a total of eight weeks. The trick here is for the patient to fast without really feeling that he is fasting. In the initial stages of fasting, the patient is supposed to delay his meals for about three hours. The time of delaying the meals should be extended from three hours to four hours, from four hours to five hours and so on. The delay period should be increased each day. Eventually, the patient will start missing meals. For example, if dinner is delayed for five hours, breakfast will also be delayed for five or more hours. The patient will, therefore, eat their first meal of the day in the early afternoon. Because breakfast is eaten late, it serves both as breakfast and lunch. In this way, the patient will have skipped a meal without much suffering. When this delaying of meals continues, the number of meals will reduce to one meal in a day. This will continue to one meal in two days. In the end, the patient will have managed to fast for three or more days without stressing the body.

Effects of Nutritional Ketosis on Dementia

Dementia is a medical condition associated with age and is reportedly striking well over 50% of individuals between the ages of 75 and 84. The disease is characterized by the gradual accumulation of what nutritionists call “senile plaques,” neurofibrillary tangles and dystrophic neuritis. The plaques have large components of the β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide . Despite the fact that the actual role amyloid (Aβ) peptide plays in dementia is still not well known, it is has been discovered that Aβ acts as the pathological marker for this condition.

Medical researchers have discovered several risk factors related to dementia. The most common is old age and the individual’s carriage status of epsilon-4 (E4), a variation of the Apo lipoprotein. Imaging done on Dementia patients has consistently shown that low levels of cerebral metabolic rates of body glucose are common to most patients. The cause of this low level of hypo-metabolism is still not clear. Researchers in this field have hypothesized that it is caused by active action of β-amyloid, massive loss of dendritic or neuron fields, rapid changes in insulin level and the signaling ability and fragmentation of the Apo lipoprotein protein.

Research has established that a ketogenic diet has the ability to protect the body against any deposition of excess amyloid. This gives cells the ability to overcome amyloid-related pyruvate dehydrogenase dysfunction. Worth noting also is that a ketogenic diet has the ability to increase the amounts of fatty acids in dementia patients. It has been established that dietary supplementation of the body’s essential fatty acids triggers an improvement in cognitive dysfunction. For instance, if a person is starving and possesses normal levels of fats in their bodies, they are likely to sustain the functioning of most body cells for weeks and sometimes months even without additional food intake.

Brain cells are often not in a position to utilize emergency fat stores. Both fatty acids and fats are incapable of entering the brain. Subsequently, the efficiency of ketogenic diets comes in handy. Whenever the blood sugar level is low, the liver converts available fatty acids to ketones. Unlike fats and fatty acids, ketones have the ability to go through the blood-brain barrier and be useful in the provision of energy to the brain.

Dementia patients are known to go through massive changes regarding their food preference, usually developing a preference for carbohydrate-rich and sweet foods. This situation usually makes complying with a ketogenic diet very difficult. As such, AC-1201, which is a type of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), has been developed in the bid to address the issue of low serum ketone levels. This happens even if there are carbohydrates present in the diet. A study conducted involving individuals who were showing mild signs of dementia indicated that the use of AC-1202 with the aim of inducing ketosis led to rapid improvement in the patient's cognitive performance.

Alzheimer’s disease is arguably the most well-known and severe form of dementia, and studies on the effects of nutritional ketosis on AD patients have already yielded promising results. Patients with AD suffer from seizures at a higher rate than the unaffected population and given nutritional ketosis dieting’s confirmed effectiveness in treating epilepsy, there may be a way to use nutritional ketosis not only to control seizures in AD patients but to improve the disease itself. Recent research has demonstrated a closer relationship between Alzheimer’s and epilepsy than previously believed , and it is theorized that ketones are actually the primary mediators in the body that counter aging and neurodegeneration in AD patients. Apart from using nutritional ketosis to treat Alzheimer’s, calorie restriction has been observed as protective of the brain, and because the ketogenic diet usually involves or mimics fasting, the “anti-aging” effects of calorie restriction, caused in part by the regulation of serutin proteins, apply to patients on the diet (Barañano and Hartman). Because the body’s natural production and extraction of ketones decrease with age, older patients with Alzheimer’s disease should expect to see weaker results using nutritional ketosis than they would if they were younger, but nevertheless, NKD may offer these patients new hope in slowing the progression and symptoms of their disease.

Conclusion

The effectiveness of nutritional ketosis cannot be underestimated. Many diseases resistant to modern medicine are effectively managed through nutritional ketosis. Other conditions such as obesity that cannot be managed with drugs have been managed using ketogenic diet. The use of nutritional ketosis to treat disease has many advantages compared to conventional medicines. Dietary therapy is relatively harmless and often has no side effects, which translates to a greater chance of maintaining a high quality of life while undergoing a treatment regimen. It is also a cheap way of treating diseases and spares patients from financial strain, which is a major factor to consider in disease management because several Americans don’t have health insurance or have health insurance with high deductibles that leave them footing large medical bills for ongoing treatment.

Although nutritional ketosis can be very effective in managing diseases, it can be difficult for people to initiate a combination of diet change and fasting. Doctors should support their patients in adopting the most appropriate fasting strategies to facilitate a smooth lifestyle transition into a ketogenic diet. Patients must, in turn, commit to following their doctor’s advice to enhance the effectiveness of the nutritional ketosis diet. This method of restoring the body’s natural well-being is about changing the way a patient lives, as opposed to integrating medication into their pre-disease lifestyle.

Some diseases that fail to respond to modern medicine, such as type 2 diabetes, have been effectively managed by nutritional ketosis. Cancer, in particular, has been very difficult to treat, but studies have shown that a ketogenic diet depriving the body of glucose can significantly help in combating cancer. This diet makes the body inhospitable to cancerous cells by reducing glucose levels. Given that cancer affects millions of people every year, can manifest in any part of the body, and still does not have a cure, an alternative to medications that can do just as much harm to a patient’s body as good—like chemotherapy, the most common treatment method for all cancers—is an invaluable addition to oncology’s bank of treatment options.

Although nutritional ketosis has proven effective in the management of diseases, this therapy has not been widely adopted due to the lack of adequate research. Studies focusing on the effects of ketogenic diet are steadily increasing, and the more information collected, the better the medical community can understand how to treat illnesses through ketosis, what specific conditions will respond to the diet, and how different diseases function in the body versus how the body operates in a state of complete well-being. Because the power of nutritional ketosis to affect health lies in the body’s own capabilities to heal itself, a deeper understanding of nutritional ketosis will inevitably impart a deeper knowledge of how the body works and why. Nutritional ketosis is one way to creating more independence for patients from pharmaceutical drugs, thereby eliminating the risks posed by different medications and going beyond the correction of diseases to develop a stronger, healthier body overall. A greater investment into nutritional ketosis research can lead to a more substantial understanding of the diet’s effectiveness in treating a variety of diseases and ultimately create acceptance in the broader medical community for the use of nutritional ketosis as an element of standard care.

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