Tag Archives: Neuroprotection

Ketosis – A State of Fat Burning

KetosisSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

The ketogenic diet is now one of the most popular dietary lifestyle approaches to support weight loss, address neurological disorders, and manage insulin resistance and prediabetes. The ultimate goal of this high-fat, moderate protein, very low-carb diet is reaching and maintaining the natural metabolic state of ketosis. While the body normally produces energy from glucose, when glucose stores are low, it will metabolize fat stores for energy. Ketone bodies are produced by the liver as a byproduct of gluconeogenesis, the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. In healthy individuals, ketones are utilized to provide energy to cells when glucose is low or absent. Ketones are generated as a result of fasting, starvation, a carbohydrate restrictive diet, prolonged exercise, or inadequately treated diabetes.

When glucose levels are high, the liver responds by absorbing excess glucose and storing it as glycogen until needed. Processing the body’s fat is a key function of the liver as well. Once the liver is full of glycogen, it will turn excess glucose into fatty acids for long-term storage as body fat. When glucose levels are low, the body releases glycogen as glucose, converts body fat back into fatty acids, and will break down amino acids, all to produce energy. As the body stores limited amounts of glycogen in the liver and muscles, glycogen is rapidly depleted. In order to feed the brain, the liver will convert amino acids and other compounds into glucose, which is released into the blood stream along with ketone bodies. Known as “glucose sparing,” the muscles and organs will switch to fatty acids for energy, conserving glucose for the brain.

Diets that focus on low carbohydrate and higher fat and protein intake effectively remove glucose from the diet, requiring the body to break down fat stores. When the body is in the fat burning metabolic state of nutritional ketosis, fewer calories are required for satiety, which leads to decreased hunger and facilitates weight loss. The ketogenic diet focuses on the reduction of simple dietary carbohydrates, such as processed grains, sugary foods, and fruit juice. Limiting the amount of dietary carbohydrates encourages the brain to derive sufficient fuel from endogenous glucose produced from protein consumption, dietary fatty acids and the limited amount of complex carbohydrates the diet permits. The ultimate goal of this diet is to reach a metabolic state where ketones become the main fuel source for both body and brain.

A ketogenic diet may benefit physical and cognitive performance in healthy individuals.

Weight loss – Studies show that those on a low-carb, high-fat diet lose more weight in a shorter time period than those on a low-fat diet, even when the low-fat dieters are actively restricting calories. Studies consistently show that consumption of  protein and healthy fats, along with a reduced carbohydrate intake, leads to a reduction in appetite, and consequently effortless caloric reduction.

Neuroprotection – With neurological diseases, deficient energy production is a major concern. During metabolic stress, ketones serve as an alternative energy source to maintain normal brain cell metabolism and may be an even more efficient fuel than glucose. Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet increases the number of mitochondria, the energy factories in brain cells, and may enhance energy metabolism in the hippocampus, the part of the brain important for learning and memory. In age-related brain disease hippocampal cells often degenerate, leading to cognitive dysfunction and memory loss. With increased energy reserve, neurons may be able to fend off disease stressors that may normally exhaust the cell.

Reduced inflammation – By increasing dietary fatty acid intake, the production of harmful oxidant molecules is reduced. This in turn curtails the progression of chronic inflammation and the downstream propensity toward chronic and painful conditions. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a ketogenic diet could offer a non-pharmacological option for reducing both inflammation and pain. High-fat ketogenic diets have long been known to be effective against pharmaceutical-resistant seizures. Like seizures, chronic pain is believed to involve increased excitability of neurons. As compared to glucose metabolism, ketone metabolism produces fewer reactive oxygen species known to contribute inflammation.

Reduction of visceral fat – It is known that low-carb, high-fat diets lead to successful weight management. Weight reduction when needed supports overall health and decreases disease risk. Even more significant, low-carb diets are very effective at reducing harmful and stubborn abdominal visceral fat that tends to lodge around internal organs. Visceral fat contributes to increased risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels – Limiting carbohydrate consumption is a very effective way to lower blood sugar and insulin levels. While those with diabetes should carefully monitor their dietary carbohydrate intake with their healthcare providers, the ketogenic diet has been shown to effectively treat and possibly reverse type 2 or prediabetes. In some studies, individuals with  type 2 diabetes were able to reduce or  eliminate glucose-lowering medication after 6 months on a ketogenic diet.

Reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome – Metabolic syndrome is a condition highly associated with the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Symptoms include abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar levels, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol levels. All five symptoms appear to dramatically improve on a low-carb, high-fat diet.

What Is Ketosis, and Is It Healthy? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-ketosis
Oxidative metabolism: glucose versus ketones. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23852511
A cDNA microarray analysis of gene expression profiles in rat hippocampus following a ketogenic diet. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15469884
The fat-fueled brain: unnatural or advantageous? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15469884
Ketogenic Diets and Pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4124736/
10 Health Benefits of Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-low-carb-ketogenic-diets


The Broad-Spectrum Benefits of Lipoic Acid

lipoicacidJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Lipoic acid (LA) is a naturally occurring antioxidant compound synthesized in small amounts by the body and otherwise obtained through diet and supplementation. Because LA is both water and fat soluble, it is readily absorbed into cells, tissues and organ systems, giving it a distinct advantage over other antioxidants. In its role as a potent and effective antioxidant, LA protects against free radicals, reduces oxidative stress and is believed to help regenerate other antioxidants, including reduced glutathione and vitamins C and E. Per the National Institutes of Health, LA has therapeutic potential beyond its value as a potent biological antioxidant.

LA serves as a coenzyme that aids in the conversion of macronutrients into cellular energy, supports the mitigation and chelation of heavy metals, and is widely recognized in Europe, where it has been used for more than 50 years to relieve symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy and retinopathy. In addition to its critical roles in mitochondrial energy metabolism, detoxification, and diabetes-related support, LA is utilized to improve age-associated cardiovascular, cognitive and neuromuscular deficits. Currently, trials are underway to determine whether LA may be an appropriate treatment for the prevention of vascular disease, hypertension, chronic inflammation and metabolic syndrome.

Antioxidant activity – The ability to boost or recycle other antioxidants, particularly glutathione, enhances LA’s own antioxidant benefits. Often referred to as the master antioxidant, glutathione is critical to disease prevention, as well as cellular and immune health. Restoring glutathione blood levels helps to improve the functionality of immune cells, such as T cells and lymphocytes.

Diabetes – High glucose levels associated with insulin resistance contribute to increased production of free radicals and higher levels of oxidative stress. This increased level of free radicals can impair insulin-stimulated glucose transport and the activation of insulin receptors. The significance of oxidative stress in diabetes complications including polyneuropathy is now recognized by the American Diabetes Association. LA is used extensively in Germany to potentially prevent peripheral neuropathy in those with diabetes and to provide relief from symptoms of pain, burning and numbness associated with the condition.

Heavy metal chelation – Because LA has recognized metal chelating activity, it is believed to help protect the body from toxic environmental, industrial and dietary contaminants, including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. By acting as a chelating agent and bonding to heavy metals, LA assists the body’s detoxification processes.

Neuroprotection – As LA is readily absorbed and can cross cellular and blood brain barriers, it can reach all areas of the brain nerve cells, potentially preventing free radical damage to the neurological system. Its ability to regenerate the antioxidant glutathione helps to promote healthy nerve function. New data suggests that LA may help to guard against Alzheimer’s disease by helping to increase the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter released by nerve cells that has been found to be deficient in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Inflammation – Elevated levels of oxidative stress contribute to the chronic inflammation behind many age-related and degenerative diseases. LA has been studied for its antioxidant properties, and is well known inhibitor of proinflammatory signaling pathways.

Eye Health – In addition to eating a nutrient dense diet to support eye and overall health, studies have shown that LA may help to control age-related eye disorders. By reducing the oxidative stress that can damage ocular nerves, LA may help to control symptoms of eye-related disorders, such as vision loss, macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal damage and glaucoma.

Typically found in small amounts in animal and plant foods, dietary sources of LA include organ meats, spinach, broccoli and brewer’s yeast. Because dietary LA is bound to the amino acid lysine, which is bound to protein, it appears to have a minimal effect on the overall availability of the antioxidant in the body. A healthy body may synthesize adequate amounts of LA, however, those fighting illness, chronic disease, or the effects of advancing age, may benefit from supplementing with free form lipoic acid that is not bound to protein. For greater bioavailability, supplemental LA should be taken between meals.

As always, consult your healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, have a health condition or are taking medications.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine quality supplements to support overall health and wellness:

Alpha Lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid by Pure Encapsulations –  One capsule provides 400 mg of alpha lipoic acid in support of free radical protection, healthy glucose metabolism, nerve health, and healthy vascular function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Alpha lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid by Now Foods 30% OFF – This highly absorbable formulation provides 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid per capsule in support of proper glucose metabolism, cardiovascular function, and healthy neural tissues. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Lipoic AcidLipoic Acid 200 mg by Integrative Therapeutics – Each vegetarian capsule provides 200 mg of alpha lipoic acid to provide free radical damage protection and support reduced oxidative stress. Gluten, soy and dairy free vegetarian formula.


Lipoic Acid PlusLipoic Acid Plus by Biotics Research – This product supplies 100 mg of alpha lipoic acid along with vitamin C in support of normal mitochondrial function, heavy metal chelation, and cardiovascular health. Gluten and dairy free formulation.

Mercury toxicity and antioxidants: Part 1: role of glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of mercury toxicity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12495372
Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement: Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2756298/
The Nuclear Factor NF-kB Pathway in Inflammation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2882124/
Food Sources of Alpha-Lipoic Acid. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/food-sources-alphalipoic-acid-1552.html