Ketogenic Diet And Alzheimers Make The News

I’m sure some of you saw the video above from CBN TV about the new miracle potion for Alzheimers? For once, it’s not a drug. It’s not even a high-carb, low fat diet! Quite the opposite: it’s coconut oil and lots of it. The news is breaking that a ketogenic diet can help people with Alzheimer’s keep their symptoms at bay. A ketogenic diet is a diet that uses ketones converted from dietary fat instead of carbs as energy. To be in “ketosis”, people generally need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day. The average American eats around 300 grams of carbs a day, just to put that in perspective.

While I’m very excited that this info is being nationally recognized – that fat in the diet can help Alzheimer’s, there are a few things I don’t like about this story.

1. It’s not that there are “ketones in the coconut oil” like the caption for the video states. Or that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are the only way for your body to make ketones, like the video says. Ketones are actually created in your body when you eat a “ketogenic diet”, or a very high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet. Any kind of fat will do; the medium chain triglycerides that comprise coconut oil just get turned into ketones more efficiently than other fats. Ketones are a form of energy – like glucose – that your body can use to run on. You could accomplish ketosis by eating whale blubber and seal meat if you wanted to, like the Inuits have done for thousands of years.

Alzheimer’s is being dubbed as type 3 diabetes lately, which means it stems from blood glucose and insulin issues, just like type 2 diabetes. A high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet (like the Paleo diet) helps balance blood glucose/insulin, so that you never develop Alzheimers, so that you never have to eat whole jars of coconut oil every day to treat it.

It makes sense that this kind of diet is helping people with Alzheimer’s, but it’s better to avoid Alzheimers in the first place. I just wanted to point that out, since I can’t stand it when people say that one food/pill might be the cure-all for a major disease and don’t say anything about how to avoid it in the first place. This kind of ketogenic diet is also being successfully used in people with seizure disorders and autism.

So yes, PLEASE tell everyone you know about this – that Alzheimers, and the ketogenic diet that helps treat it, can be avoided by eating well in the first place. Some day these news programs will get on the “How to prevent major illnesses” train instead of the magic pill/food train.

Stepping down from my soap box now…



    1. Linda – I know people with MS have had success on a Paleo diet, but I haven’t looked specifically into a ketogenic diet and MS. I can only imagine that it would work well for many people…

  1. I haven’t heard of the ketogenic diet helping any of the autoimmune disorders, like MS. They are related to a leaky gut, and toxins getting through, and the immune system’s attacks being misplaced. The best place I’ve seen this described is in the autoimmune chapter in Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Answer. Though a paleo ketogenic diet will most likely be removing the problematic foods.

    The ketogenic diet has also been used to control cancer. The following paragraph was written by my friend Ron Hoggan:

    Here is a link to a solid, peer reviewed study of a high fat ketogenic diet
    in a variety of cancers that had progressed to the point of hopelessness. To
    get approval from the ethics committee they only enrolled people whose
    cancer was very advanced. The ketogenic diet they prescribed was very mild
    compared to what my weight loss clients follow. However, the more successful
    patients were also the ones who complied better with the diet and maintained
    a higher level of ketone body production. The following article not only
    reports on the recovery of 5 of these 16 patients with very advanced
    cancers, it also does quite a good job of explaining the dynamics of cancer
    cells burning only glucose. I don’t remember if it explained that the cancer
    cells can only use about 30% of the energy from glucose through glycolysis,
    as the mitochondrion has stopped functioning.

  2. I have systemic lupus, and the paleo diet has helped me tremendously. It is not a cure-all, but it has relieved about 85% of my lupus related problems. If I had MS I would certainly try the paleo way of eating for a few months. It will do no harm like some of the medications used for auto-immune disorders.

  3. Well said. I have written a much more comprehensive explanation on this, since we receive many testimonies like Dr. Newports that are recorded at in our Alzheimer’s section. The details left out of this report are that cholesterol is an important function of the brain, and therefore years of the low-fat diet mantra and years of prescribing statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs, has to be looked at in curing and avoiding Alzheimer’s in the first place.

  4. That video is SO BAD. This woman, supposedly a doctor doesn’t seem to understand that the ketones will not be released if her husband eats more than 50g of carbs. Why the HELL is the coconut oil being poured over porridge? We don’t NEED expensive ketone esters developed by Oxford University – we can make our OWN!

    Dear oh dear oh dear.

    1. Hi Brian!
      I also thought it was pretty silly that the coconut oil was being poured over oatmeal. As you mentioned…the carbs in this bowl of porridge alone could negate a person’s attempt at achieving ketosis! At least the news report got half of the story right? lol. As Neely pointed out in the article she wrote here, eating a Paleo Diet (while being mindful to keep fat intake on the higher end of the macronutrient ratio, and carbs on the lower end) can also be an effective method of warding off Alzheimer’s, diabetes in general, and several other “diseases of modern civilization” as well (without the need to excessively consume coconut oil). Having said that, I do personally take MCT oil (and coconut oil) to help increase the shorter-chain fats in my diet. Are you personally following a ketogenic diet? Thanks for your insights here Brian!

      In good health,
      Kinsey Jackson, LMP, MS, CNS®

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