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so is keto good for Grandma and Grandpa alright maybe that’s a little bit crass but are there benefits of the ketogenic diet for those that are over say 60 well the short answer is yes but I want to be able to explain it in its entirety so I’ve divided this video into four sections divided into the neurological side the insulin resistance side the protein and atrophy side and then of course the mitochondrial side of things now the reason I say the mitochondrial side of things because the mitochondria is the energy powerhouses in the cell and mitochondrial dysfunction is vastly overlooked when it comes down to just Health and Ageing so we’re gonna talk about this and we’re gonna break it all down but let me first say that people that are over the age of 60 are usually starting from a lower metabolic baseline what that means is that they’re generally a little bit slower metabolism their metabolism is a little bit more damaged than say someone that’s 20 or 30 so that means that they have more room for improvement now it just so happens the ketogenic diet allows for vast improvement so we see a giant improvement in people that are over 50 67 years old that are utilizing the ketogenic diet but we also have to look at another big thing chronological age is just a number metabolic age plays a big factor and that’s lifestyle factors environmental factors and all this now I would even say the ketogenic diet is a positive lifestyle factor that can change someone’s metabolic age now I’m not gonna go down that rabbit hole right now but we can get there another day the point is is that people that are over 50 and 60 years old have some massive benefits so this videos going to break them all down I hope that you share this with your parents or grandparents people that are interested in starting keto but maybe don’t think it’s for them hey we do have new videos coming out almost every single day so please hit that red subscribe button and then go ahead and hit that Bell icon that way you get a notification post videos at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time almost every single day I also want to make sure after you watch this video you check out and put your box down below in the description so right now if you go to the grocery store and you buy meat they’re gonna end up with drain fed lower quality meat but you can get grass-fed grass-finished high omega-3 meat delivered right to your doorstep for less than the cost of getting it at the grocery store so I have a special link down below in the description so after you finish watching this video I highly recommend that you check them out you’re gonna get not only better pricing you what at the grocery store but you’re gonna get even better pricing because I have a special link with a discount for you alright let’s go ahead and get right into this the first thing I want to talk about is the neurodegenerative side of things okay so we hear a lot of talk about Alzheimer’s and dementia surrounding the ketogenic diet and how it can help there but let’s take a look at what’s really happening okay a 2015 study that was published in the journal Alzheimer’s dementia took a look at a particular case study and it took a look at what happened to a sole individual that went on the ketogenic diet that had Alzheimer’s okay he saw tremendous improvement and people that were around him people that knew him said that his sense of humor came back and he came back to life so to speak now the reason that this probably happens is a lot of times neurodegenerative diseases are a result of excess glucose over the years triggering insulin resistance but also impaired glucose metabolism and glucose function in the brain so if you take a brain that’s normally running on glucose and now all of a sudden it can’t utilize that glucose very well it’s going to lose performance right but if you’ve unlocked the ability for your brain to utilize ketones in addition then if you do lose glucose ability you still have the ketone ability so you preserve the portion of your brain so that being said it can be used potentially as a treatment but also as a way to prevent it so not only if you have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s and dementia in your family and you want to kind of be aware of it and you want to be careful and you want to add this into your regime sure but if you already have symptoms you could potentially modulate some of those now when we look at Parkinson’s of course another neurodegenerative disease in fact the fastest growing neurodegenerative disease there was a study that was published in the journal Neurology 2005 ok this took a look at five individuals with Parkinson’s and it haven’t gone to ketogenic diet for a month ok and what it found at the end of that one month is that symptoms improved 20 to 80 percent in all of the subjects ok this is pretty remarkable just a month ok why is this happening well again it could be the glucose issue it could be the fact that ketones are allowing more actual beta-oxidation to occur within the brain allowing more blood flow allowing more out energy there’s a lot of different variables up there but we do know that there is a massive improvement so that’s point number one it’s clear as day that if your senior citizen or you’re over sixty years old male or female this will help okay now let’s take a look at insulin resistance arguably insulin resistance is one of the biggest factors of Aging okay as we get older we become more and more insulin resistant which means that glucose builds up and does more damage we have more reactive oxygen species more oxidative damage that eventually kills off our cells and hurts us right so of course in the first place the ketogenic diet is going to help out insulin resistance that’s already just a given okay we’re reducing our carbohydrate intake we’re increasing our insulin sensitivity because we’re not consuming as much so that alone is going to help but let’s dive a little bit deeper what if we actually look at resting energy expenditure and how efficient the body is at utilizing energy well the British Medical Journal published a study this one was really interesting it took 162 people divided them into three groups okay a high carb group a moderate carb group and a low carb group okay and it measured a lot of different things but it wanted to look at their resting energy expenditure based on if they were insulin sensitive or insulin resistant here’s what’s astounding okay everyone that went on the low-carb diet ended up having an improvement in the resting energy expenditure okay there’s no denying that they all burned more calories at rest but what was really interesting was that the group that started out insulin sensitive increased their resting energy expenditure by a hundred and thirty five calories per day that’s pretty awesome right just by going keto okay but the group that was insulin resistant when they started they ended up having an increase in their resting energy expenditure by 478 calories 135 verse 478 both a great improvement I’ll take them both but those that were already metabolically damaged that had high degrees of insulin resistance saw that much of an increase in their resting energy expenditure proving that if you were at a metabolically slow level and you were in metabolic decline the ketogenic diet can not reverse I’m careful to use that term but really cause a course correction that allows your body to utilize energy better therefore driving up your metabolism as if you were young again is really powerful stuff and this is perfect if you’re watching this and you’re over the age of 60 this might just be what you needed to put you over the edge but if you’re trying to get mom and dad on it when you’re trying to get Grandma and Grandpa they need to know this that they can keep their weight and check a little bit better too simply by improving their resting energy expenditure now I want to talk about something else that ties in with that okay one of the biggest things that happens when people age is atrophy okay the body starts to break down its own muscle tissue it starts to break down its own tissues in general and that’s not always a good thing it’s a natural process but if you are under stress and you’re getting older and your body’s in decline after fee is a pretty good indicator that you’re sick and that that’s occurring right now the cool thing is the ketogenic diet I’ll keep this one short has a very powerful effect at stopping leucine oxidation or blunting it what that means is it’s going to stop proteins in your body from breaking down you’re not going to catabolized as much so if you’re looking at someone that is 200 pounds with a lot of muscle and they can preserve that muscle well into their 80s they’re gonna probably live a little bit longer they’re gonna have more overall energy they’re gonna have a higher resting energy expenditure they’re probably going to be an overall healthier person whereas someone that is breaking down muscle is withering away there’s a lot of other things that can can end up being an issue right the fragility of that you take a fall you don’t have muscle to support yourself okay so many people after they break a hip end up dying a year later because their body’s just kind of decomposed at that point like it can be very very difficult we want to be very very careful with just how we treat the overall fragility of our actual musculoskeletal system okay enough on that one let’s talk about something that I find really really interesting now a friend of mine over at Oxford University that’s doing some work over there and he’s a student there and he’s a PhD student at a med student his name’s Nick Nour what’s he helped me out with this so big shout out to him but mitochondrial dysfunction this is something that is underrated mitochondrial dysfunction is like basically our body of losing the ability to process energy the mitochondria is where we process energy so you can explain this to your parents or grandparents or if you’re watching yourself at energy that we consume comes into the cell and it goes in the mitochondria gets processed for energy well that energy creates its own toxins if you want to call it that reactive oxygen species okay it creates oxidative stress well that oxidative stress eventually wears on the mitochondria and it weakens the mitochondria but what’s interesting is the mitochondria has its own DNA okay it’s like a little human inside of our own human bodies and when it goes through its a recycling process it passes its DNA along so it damaged mitochondria gives birth to already damaged mitochondria which gets more damaged and then gives birth to even more damaged mitochondria and you can do the math so as someone gets older the natural half-life the natural progression someone’s going to end up with a very damaged mitochondria that is not efficient at metabolizing energy so the cool thing is is that not only do ketones end up blunting some of the reactive oxygen species indirectly they increase free radical scavenging abilities you know so it can potentially stop this from occurring in the first place or limit it we can actually preserve some of the mitochondria but we can also help the mitochondria become healthier and that’s what we’re after and mitochondrial health is something that can get passed down through the maternal side so when we look at Alzheimer’s for instance we can really get a big idea of this the point is is that we can get ourselves healthy and get the mitochondria healthy and kickstart a metabolic process where the mitochondrial DNA is actually getting healthier so if you have sick DNA that’s giving birth to sick mitochondria and more sick mitochondria imagine if you can start reversing that and get healthier mitochondria that starts a chain reaction to get healthier mitochondria healthier healthier so rather than this decline we could actually reverse that and have an increase in mitochondrial health which is pretty darn amazing now I have an epic study to share with you so the journal Alzheimer’s took a look at 36 healthy cognitively healthy people okay now some of these people had a maternal history of Alzheimer’s so someone on their mother’s side had Alzheimer’s disease usually represented by something to do with the IV Co X it’s a portion of the electron transport chain so basically what that means is this is an identified portion of the electron transport chain within the brain that E is associated with Alzheimer’s the study wanted to find out and the overall hypothesis was that if someone had a maternal history of Alzheimer’s they would show a decrease in this IV Co X they would already have kind of the mitochondrial sort of deficiency if you want to call it that that would lead to Alzheimer’s and their hypothesis was correct it did which show is that again the DNA for mitochondria can actually get passed on the maternal side so my point in saying this is that it’s a lot more powerful than what we think ok not only can it affect our own DNA in our own mitochondria but being fat adapted and getting our mitochondrial strong can pass through to our children and our children can be born with either stronger mitochondria or already partially decrepit mitochondria so what you put in your body now for your grandma and grandpa’s sake your mom and dad’s sake or for your own sake is so important and additionally the choices you make when you’re young play a big role in your child’s development of their mitochondria anyway that’s a whole different situation but I wanted to share it with you now if you want to see a video where I break down a little bit more of how people over 60 should do the keto diet differently please comment down below and let me know because I’ll produce the video people want to see it but I think it would be a big hit but I want to know from you as always make sure you’re keeping it locked in here in my channel I appreciate all your input I appreciate your time and I’ll see you in the next video
This Post Was All About Keto Over Age 50 – Benefits and Considerations.
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Big Thanks to Nicholas Norwitz – Ketone PhD Researcher and Harvard Medical Student who assisted with research.
Big Picture Answer(s):
With this question, what you are really asking is whether there is a positive interaction between the magnitude of the beneficial effects of a ketogenic diet and “age.” I put “age” in quotes because “chronological age” is just a number. What matters is “metabolic age,” which itself is strongly influenced by lifestyle interventions, specifically a ketogenic diet. So, as you can see, it’s somewhat of a circular question (and a wonderful one at that!).
With that caveat in place, it is true that chronological age correlates with insulin resistance, muscle wasting (not discussed below but I could easily provide content on muscle sparing), inflammation (not discussed below but I could easily provide content; inflammasome), oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Since these are fundamental variables underlying chronic disease and mortality, the perhaps overly simple answer to the question “is keto more effective for seniors?” is “yes”, but only because seniors tend to be starting from a lower metabolic baseline.
Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s)
Aging is associated with a decrease in the brain’s ability to use glucose, as measured by FDG-PET scan. This is known to contribute to the development of neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease primarily strike people over the age of 65. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop the disease.
Newport M. et al. Alzheimer’s and Dementia 2015,
This is a case report of a 63-year-old man with Alzheimer disease. When he was put on a ketogenic diet, he exhibited a rapid improvement in mood, social ability, and memory. He also exhibited significant improvements on cognitive tests and his neurodegeneration stopped progressing. When he was later also put on a ketone ester to further boost his ketone levels, he gained back more abilities. “Abstract thinking, insight, and a subtle sense of humor returned to his conversation. In his own assessment, he stated that he felt ‘good,’ had ‘more energy’ and was ‘happier.’ He also found it ‘easier to do things.’”
Vanitallie T. et al. Neurology 2005,
In this feasibility study, 5 patients with Parkinson’s disease – the second most common and fastest growing neurodegenerative disease in the world – were put on a ketogenic diet for one month. By the end of the month, all participants exhibited a 20-80% improvement in their symptoms, as measured by the standard clinical test of Parkinson’s disease severity (UPDRS).
Insulin resistance is associated with age ( and underpins many chronic diseases, including diabetes and obesity.
Ebbling C. et al. British Medical Journal 2018,
Mosconi L. et al. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2011,
Because elderly people will have accumulated more mitochondrial damage overtime, it’s especially important that they protect their mitochondria with a ketogenic diet. However, since mitochondria do have their own DNA and get passed directly from mother to child in the mother’s egg (the father’s sperm doesn’t donate mitochondria) the effects can be transgenerational! In the study linked above (figure below) 36 cognitive normal healthy adults were compared with respect to their activity of the final complex in the electron transport chain (complex IV/COX). Complex IV/COX gets damaged in Alzheimer’s disease, so the hypothesis was that individuals with a maternal family history (MH) of Alzheimer’s disease would have a decrease in COX activity relative to individuals with no family history (NH) or a paternal family history (PH). As you can see, this is exactly what they found! These results are remarkable because they (1) follow on the well-established knowledge that mitochondrial damage accumulates with age and contributes to disease, (2) suggest that some of use may start off with slightly damaged mitochondria, so it’s important for everyone to manage mitochondrial health, and (3) suggest that the choices we make (if you’re a woman) when we are young before we have kids not only affect our health but the health of our future children!