New Science on Ketones and Brain AGING! (Keto MAY Reverse Network Instability)
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This paper, entitled, “Diet modulates brain network stability, a biomarker of brain aging, in young adults,” makes two novel contributions to the field:
It establishes a new biomarker for brain aging called “network stability.”
It shows that ketone bodies themselves (obtained through diet or supplement) increase network stability and, thereby, protect against brain aging and the risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
(I) “Network stability,” a biomarker of brain age.
“Network stability” refers to the brain’s capacity to communicate among its regions. Greater network stability indicates that all the different regions within the brain are able well connected and can work together efficiently to sustain cognitive activity.
First, using two large brain scan (fMRI) datasets (n = 928), the researchers observed a strong correlation between network stability and chronological age.
Second, the researchers observed a strong correlation between network stability and cognitive test scores, confirming that their biomarker of brain aging (network stability) was clinically relevant.
Third, they observed that network destabilization (brain aging) begins to accelerate at age 47 and reaches a rate of maximal decline by age 60.
Simply put, brain aging sets in decades before symptoms begin to develop. The earlier one intervenes to protect their brain, the better.
(II) Ketones increase network stability.
To examine the possible impact of ketones on network stability/brain aging, coming either from a high-fat, low-carb diet or a ketone ester supplement, the researchers performed two experiments.
In experiment #1, twelve healthy participants (average age = 28 years) underwent brain scans to measure network stability on three separate occasions: after an overnight fast, after eating a standard diet, after eating a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet. As compared to the overnight fast control, the standard diet decreased network stability, whereas the ketogenic diet increased network stability. This suggests that high-carbohydrate standard Westernized diets accelerate brain aging, whereas ketogenic diets protect against brain aging.
As part of experiment #1, the researchers also measured overall brain activity in participants on the standard and ketogenic diets. They found that, as compared to standard diets, ketogenic diets cause an increase in healthy brain activity both at rest and during cognitive tasks. This finding further supports the notion that ketogenic diets promote superior brain function.
Experiment #2 was conducted to isolate the effects of glucose versus ketones as fuels on network stability. In this experiment, thirty healthy participants (average age = 29 years) underwent brain scans to measure network stability after drinking either a glucose drink or an isocaloric ketone drink. Again, the data were clear: glucose decreases network stability and ketones increase network stability, suggesting that too much sugar accelerates brain aging, whereas ketones may protect against brain aging.
Brain network stability is a novel biomarker for brain aging.
Network stability begins decreases decades before the symptoms of cognitive decline emerge. Destabilization begins to accelerate at age 47 and peaks by at 60.
Ketogenic diets and ketones increase network stability, whereas standard Western diets and glucose decrease network stability.
Ketogenic diets and ketones may protect against brain aging.
Nicholas Norwitz – Oxford PhD Researcher and Harvard Med Student: