Versions of the Ketogenic diet have been used to successfully treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children since the 1920s and potentially even back in the biblical ages. Emerging evidence from animal models and clinical trials suggest keto may be therapeutically used in many other neurological disorders, including a headache, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, autism and brain cancer.
Despite their superficial differences, many neurological diseases share one major problem – deficient energy production.
The scientific principle behind is simple enough. You need to understand the mitochondrial function and free radicals.
Our mitochondria are our cellular powerhouses.
The major role of mitochondria is to process the intake of food and oxygen and produce energy currency of the cell (ATP) from that.
So an increase in the mitochondrial function equates to more energy for your cells – which leads to more energy for you.
When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail.
Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules in the body. They are highly reactive, and the danger comes from the damage they’re able to do to our mitochondria. Excess intake of processed foods or carbohydrates generates high levels of free oxygen radicals and other reactive species. They can attack mitochondrial DNA and the proteins within the mitochondria.
Mitochondrial damage leads to decreased efficiency in the production of energy molecules. When this occurs, cells may function poorly or die.
Recent research provides compelling evidence that the Ketogenic Diet induces profound changes in brain energy metabolism. Indeed, the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, certainly appears to be “stoked” by the diet.
We are now learning that mitochondria are specifically designed to use fat for energy. When our mitochondria use fat as an energetic source, its toxic load is decreased, the expression of energy producing genes are increased, its energetic output is increased, and the number of inflammatory energetic-end-products is decreased.
Our personal experiences
As a keto dieter, the experience of energy and mental focus for me is a very tangible one. I feel 110% most of the time and measurably 3x more productive throughout the day. Whenever I sit down to write, I seem to be able to power through hours of writing without any crash of energy level.
After two months into our keto journey, we realise that for my partner, all those nasty frequent and intense headaches are simply GONE. He is no longer popping Nurofen on a daily basis.
Gone are the days when we were both dependent on sleeping pills, both of us now sleep deeper and wake up far more rested. This is nothing short of the amazing.
Pairing the ketogenic diet with an exercise routine will not only help increase mitochondrial function but will also produce new mitochondria to help offset any increased energy demands.
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