Increasing ketone bodies and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, and modifying one’s diet and eating habits, may have positive effects on cognitive function and brain health in individuals with dementia. We found this out after reading this book called The End of Alzheimer’s Program: The First Protocol to Enhance Cognition and Reverse Decline at Any Age by David Perlmutter and Dale Bredsesen.
Some potential ideas for stopping cognitive decline, which we’ll break down further below, include a flexible keto model (reducing carb intake for 12 hours), MCT oil,vegetable intake, fasting, not eating before bedtime, increasing insulin sensitivity so we can generate more insulin to break down carbs.
- Increases ketone bodies (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone) and BDNF: Research suggests that ketone bodies, produced during a state of ketosis, can be used as an alternative energy source for the brain, potentially improving cognitive function and reducing symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. BDNF is a protein that plays a role in the growth, survival, and plasticity of neurons, and low BDNF levels have been associated with cognitive decline and dementia.
- MCT oil (caprylic acid is the strongest form) is a must for ApoE4 until insulin sensitivity is restored, then must switch to MUFAs (like avocado) and PUFAs predominantly (such as olive oil): This recommendation is based on the idea that certain types of fats can have different effects on insulin sensitivity and brain health. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are found in coconut oil and MCT oil, can quickly be converted into ketones and may have a positive effect on cognitive function in people with dementia. However, this goal suggests that once insulin sensitivity has been restored, individuals should switch to a diet that is rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).
- Lots of uncooked veggies: Eating a variety of uncooked vegetables can provide important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which can support overall health and brain function.
- Fasting 12 hours/day: Fasting has been shown to have several health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, reducing oxidative stress, and increasing ketone body production. By fasting for 12 hours each day, individuals may be able to promote the production of ketones and improve their overall health and well-being.
- Stop eating 3 hours before bed: This goal is based on the idea that eating late at night can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, increase insulin resistance, and lead to weight gain. By stopping food consumption 3 hours before bedtime, individuals may be able to improve their insulin sensitivity and promote better overall health.
- Increase insulin sensitivity: Insulin sensitivity refers to the body’s ability to respond to insulin and use glucose as energy. Insulin resistance, or the inability of cells to respond to insulin, can lead to high blood sugar levels and is a risk factor for several health problems, including cognitive decline and dementia. By increasing insulin sensitivity, individuals may be able to improve their overall health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and other health problems.
It’s important to note that these goals are based on only limited considerations and the potential benefits of this type of diet and lifestyle modifications have not been fully established through rigorous scientific studies. Additionally, individual responses to dietary and lifestyle changes can vary and what may be beneficial for one person may not be appropriate for another. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.