Stranger than fiction.  Really. 

I was speaking with a physician who specializes in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  Our discussion focused on available treatments.  There is presently only one mainstream medication for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s – Aricept.  There are some other meds which are for moderate to severe cases. 

He then started to tell (educate/lecture) me about the brain’s main energy source – glucose and how one aspect of AD is that the brain’s ability to utilize glucose becomes impaired.  He told me about a new Medical Food – Axona – which provides an alternative energy source to the brain – Ketones.  I stopped him and started educating him about a Ketogenic Diet.  He had no knowledge of it – but he did have a knee jerk reaction to “high fat.”

Here is the opening information from the Company’s Website:

Axona

Axona provides an alternative energy source to brain cells

Glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients exhibit a decline in the ability to metabolize glucose in the brain. Inadequate glucose leads to damage resulting in impaired memory and cognition and brain shrinkage. These metabolic defects in the brain often appear 10 to 20 years earlier than other Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Axona is converted by the liver into ketone bodies, which provide an efficient alternative fuel for brain cells. Ketone bodies are naturally occurring compounds that are produced mainly by the liver from fatty acids during periods of extended fasting. Ketone bodies have been demonstrated to protect neurons.

About Axona:

  • Axona is a specially formulated medical food* intended for the clinical dietary management of the metabolic processes associated with mild-to-moderate AD
  • Axona is a proprietary formulation of caprylic triglyceride Clinical trials have shown that Axona improves cognitive function in some AD patients
    • Caprylic triglyceride safely increases plasma concentrations of ketone bodies (predominantly BHB), which can provide an alternative energy source for the brains of AD patients
    • Caprylic triglycerides are metabolized differently than long-chain triglycerides and are not generally associated with increased blood cholesterol levels

Ketones – Can you believe that?  This is one more reason to stick with a Ketogenic Diet – Save your Brain Power.  It also gives you one more piece of knowledge to tell the nay sayers – to STFU.

Of course the next question – just as we have started to understand that excess carbohydrates are related to metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes, are we going to learn that the increase in Alzheimer’s Disease is similarly related to this syndrome?

Edit 2/7/12: Last evening, I went looking through The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable by Jeff Volek, PhD, RD and Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD.  On page 255, I came across the following:

“Small amounts of ketones have been shown in mice to help reduce the plaques seen in Alzheimer’s.  There is now a human clinical trial testing if a ketogenic milkshake called Axona® results in the same benefit for people with Alzheimer’s.”

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