There are a constant flow of articles which speak to the ameliorative effect of eating a LCHG – Ketogenic diet. A recent Article: Ketones to combat Alzheimer’s disease, July 7, 2016 by Emilie Reas, Plos Blogs posits that Ketones provide a positive impact on those with early mild to moderate AD.

Just like our muscles, the brain requires energy to function properly. But unlike muscle cells, neurons have the unique capacity to metabolize as an alternative fuel source when glucose is in short supply, for instance during fasting or on a . In the 1920s scientists discovered that a promoting ketogenesis controlled epilepsy, and ketosis remains one of the most effective treatments for the condition. This raised the possibility that ketones may also be neuroprotective against other diseases that stem from aberrant neural metabolism, such as AD. Since then, research has confirmed that ketones do in fact alter brain metabolism in ways that reduce neuropathology and relieve behavioral symptoms.

In addition to converting to a ketogenic diet – one that severely limits carbs and results in the body switching to Ketones as its main fuel source – Medium Chain Triglycerides found in coconut oil, coconut milk as well as butter produce Ketones even in the presence of glucose. 

A 63 year-old man with advanced AD began consuming coconut oil and medium chain triglycerides, both known to increase . After just 2.5 months, his score on the Mini Mental State Exam, a test of global cognitive function, increased from an extremely low 12 to 20 (out of a max 30). After two years, his cognitive ability and daily living functions both improved and his MRI showed no further brain atrophy.

Aside from these natural MCT foods there is a medical food – Axona – also designed to do the same thing as MCT oil – produce ketones in the presence of glucose.

DOES IT WORK?

I have become the caregiver for a woman with mild to moderate AD. Her symptoms first started in her mid to late 60’s and were exacerbated by a severe stroke at 68yo. The stroke significantly effected her short term and working memory. She had already been eating a LCHF diet. Once she was discharged from rehab she came under the care of a  neurologist who specializes in AD and related conditions. 

Naturally, she was prescribed Aricept® (donepezil) and  Namenda XR®. The Doctor also prescribed Axona.

Since I am aware of the theoretical benefits of MCT oil and related foods, we added coconut oil to the mix for cooking. The Axona can cause vomiting – it is not easy to keep down at first. We concocted a shake of Axona mixed with coconut milk and flavored with low sugar chocolate syrup.

I can not say with certainty that all of these interventions have worked or even slowed down the progress of the disease. Her progress has not been as impressive as the 63yo man identified above.

Should we throw our hands up and not spend the $85.00 a month on the Axona? Should she go back to eating more carbs?

Not on my watch.

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