Two studies carried out by the University of Kentucky scientist Ai-Ling Lin demonstrate that the ketogenic diet (a renowned diet based on high fat and low carbohydrate consumption) has beneficial effects on the brain. Therefore, the ketogenic diet might prevent cognitive decline. However, both studies were conducted on mine, but the scientists believe the same is applicable in humans.
“Neurovascular integrity, including cerebral blood flow and blood-brain barrier function, plays a major role in cognitive ability. Recent science has suggested that neurovascular integrity might be regulated by the bacteria in the gut, so we set out to see whether KD enhanced brain vascular function and reduced neurodegeneration risk in young healthy mice,” said Ai-Ling Lin.
In the first research, scientists divided 18 mice into groups and fed them either a ketogenic diet or a regular diet. After about four months, the researchers noticed that the mice who followed a ketogenic diet had improved cerebral flow, hinting to an enhanced cognitive function.
Ketogenic Diet Might Prevent Cognitive Decline
Also, the mice fed with a ketogenic diet presented a boost in the process that clears amyloid-beta from the brain, a well-known trademark of Alzheimer’s disease.
“While diet modifications, KD in particular, has demonstrated effectiveness in treating certain diseases, we chose to test healthy young mice using diet as a potential preventative measure. We were delighted to see that we might indeed be able to use diet to mitigate risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Lin explained.
In the second study, however, Dr. Lin and her team employed neuroimaging techniques to examine, in vivo, the effects of the ketogenic diet, rapamycin, or a simple caloric restriction on the cognitive function in the brain.
“The data suggested that caloric restriction functioned as a sort of ‘fountain of youth’ for aging rodents, whose neurovascular and metabolic functions were better than those of young mice on an unrestricted diet,” Dr. Ai-Ling Lin said. “It’s too early to know whether the regimens will confer the same benefit in humans, but since rapamycin and other mTOR inhibitors have already been approved by the FDA and are widely prescribed for other diseases, it’s realistic to think that study in humans could follow relatively quickly,” concluded the researcher.
A study in 2016 from the FASEB Journal suggested that a keto diet improves both physical and cognitive performance. Ketone bodies have been shown to be the most efficient source of fuel for the human body and brain. This type of diet has been used as an effective treatment for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.To achieve the cognitive benefits of the ketogenic diet, you must put your body in the state of ketosis by following a high fat, low carb meal plan. You can also speed up the process by adding ketone drinks to your diet. In the long term, you should try to stay away from high-carb foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes, etc… and stick to low-carb vegetables, meats, cheese, and healthy fats such as coconut oil, ghee, avocado oil, and olive oil.