Alzheimer’s treated with Ketones

I saw a touching documentary on Alzheimers recently but it freaked me out a bit because my dad is in the advanced stages of Alzheimers and I wondered, is this my fate?

I’ve long heard that Alzheimer’s is referred to as Type-III diabetes. So the obvious question was, had anyone done research on the impact of a ketogenic diet for arresting or delaying the disease? The answer sadly, is no, not really.

But if you are happy to be swayed by anecdotal evidence (I often am) then this story from 2008 is full of hope:

In this account, Dr. Mary Newport supplemented her husbands diet with coconut oil (a medium chain triglyceride) to increase ketones in circulation.

There was no carbohydrate restriction. In fact many of you will cringe to see pictures of coconut oil added to every grain imaginable (she usually stirs it into his oatmeal). The dose given was 2 tablespoons of pure coconut oil daily (non-hydrogenated).

In just 24 hours his severe Alzheimer’s showed improvement and this continued for several months. He literally “rolled back the clock” as shown by the amazing improvement in his ability to draw a clock face (a standard test for Alzheimer’s).

She has written a book on her experience but to save time and money, just check out this 4 page case study she wrote.

Here is a similar story of using coconut oil to treat Alzheimers. In this case, intervention was a lot sooner and appears to have been completely effective in stopping progression of the disease (although they do not appear to have independently verified his condition):

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Peter at Hyperlipid looked at Dr. Newport’s story when it first came out and made this interesting comment:

One of the first posts I ever put up on Hyperlipid was the use of the full blown ketogenic diet for the partial reversal of Parkinsons Disease. As far as I can see Alzheimers Disease, Parkinsons Disease and ALS are all essentially the same disease, but the genetics of your glutamate receptor subtypes or quirks of your glutamate processing enzymes determine which you get. They’re excitotoxin diseases, and Russell Blaylock has the most self consistent hypothesis of their generation that I’ve come across.

For me all this means that I need to hunt down a good source of coconut oil pronto. If Alzheimer’s is in the cards I may notice nothing for another 20 years, but likely the seeds of it are taking hold now.

I have had a hard time sticking to a low carb diet over the long terms and have indulged in regular carb-filled relapses. So it seems that, as a minimum, I should start taking coconut oil as a potential prophylactic against brain rot…

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Alternative to NMR Scan? ApoB

I am blatantly recopying this without permission because this information was burried in the comments thread to this post on cholesterol by Perer Attia. The info is very useful to everyone living outside of the US interested in getting a measurement of their LDL-P.

Question:

The NMR scans you are so keen on do not seem to be available in the UK (so I suspect also not in many other places outside the USA): this being the case can you give advice as to how we can make the best use we can of the standard lipid panel, e.g. say a bit more about the usefulness of ratios like that of triglycerides to HDL (giving – with all necessary caveats – broad information about good, bad and middling ratios). – Roger Butler, May 17, 2012

Answer:

You’re right. Outside of the US the best thing to is have apoB directly measured, as it’s done by a number of labs. This is the best proxy for LDL-P and is more available. – Peter Attia

Note that you will see the test referred to as both “Apo B” and “ApoB” in different places.

So what is ApoB?

 
From John Hopkins Health Alerts:

The problem with using LDL cholesterol levels to determine heart attack risk is that the test measures only the amount of cholesterol in the LDL cholesterol particles, not the number or size of these particles. Apo B measurements, on the other hand, provide information on the number of LDL cholesterol particles.

Apo B is a protein found on the surface of LDL cholesterol particles. Because each LDL particle contains only one molecule of apo B, the total amount of apo B in the blood is equivalent to the number of LDL cholesterol particles. The size of these particles can sometimes be inferred from the total amount of apo B and the LDL cholesterol level.

For example, people with a higher apo B value than LDL cholesterol value tend to have smaller, denser LDL cholesterol particles. Studies have shown that small, dense LDL cholesterol particles are more strongly associated with heart attack risk than large, “fluffy” LDL cholesterol particles.

Research published in The Lancet reviewed five studies of LDL cholesterol and apo B in nearly 200,000 people. The researchers concluded that high levels of apo B were more strongly linked with future heart attack risk than LDL cholesterol levels.

Apo B is measured with a simple blood test. Proponents of apo B argue that the test is accurate, inexpensive, and does not require fasting, as LDL cholesterol testing usually does. However, the American Heart Association has determined that the evidence to date is not strong enough to recommend that apo B testing become standard procedure.

Even apo B researchers recognize that LDL cholesterol is an important predictor of heart attack risk and suggest that apo B is most helpful for predicting risk in people with normal or low LDL levels but high triglyceride levels. Overall, if one’s LDL cholesterol value is high, an apo B measurement is not necessary.

How Gluten Free impaired my cholesterol numbers…

I recently did a lipid test and in one year, my ratio of Triglycerides/HDL has increased from 0.8 to 1.2.

The absolute number is not bad but the trend is poor.

I know this is directly a result of having more carbs in my diet. I went gluten free and in the process added more carbs than before. The carbs are in the form of rice, potatoes and gluten-free wheat subsitutes.

I was working a theory that possibly my body can tolerate carbs and it only has a problem with tolerating wheat.

WRONG.

Eliminating wheat has certainly improved many digestive problems I experienced. I now have less cramping (IBS) and reflux.

But my weight has crept up and my triglycerides jumped. This is quite upsetting. I am going to stay off wheat but, for me, it is back to a stricter low-carb regime.

26 May’11 24 May’12
HDL 68 67
LDL 156 147
Triglycerides 54 82
Total 234 230
Total Chol / HDL 3.44 3.43
Triglycerides / HDL 0.79 1.22
Age 46 47

High HDL, Low Triglycerides & Particle Count

The most popular post on this (largely dormant) blog is High Cholesterol – Low Triglycerides. A lot of people are trying to make sense out of their lipid scores and are looking for help.

The new gospel is that the most important thing to understand is what your cholesterol particle count is. If you know that, the rest of your lipid profile is almost irrelevant. Problem is, finding that out your particle count requires expensive NMR testing.

It is possible, however, to use the Triglyceride/HDL ratio as a rough estimate of particle count. If the ratio is >3 you are at high risk for lipid problems and should go for more testing. If the ratio is low, you can probably breath a sigh of relief (always with the caveat: there are some exceptions).

In this video, the clinician touches on this topic using a case study:

Yes, that is Gary Taubes sitting on the right.

Another great video on the subject can be found here: “Advanced Lipid Testing” Comes Alive . Registration is free.

The latter video does explain that, in rare cases, the high HDL, low triglyceride profile does not mean you are out of the woods. So the “poor man’s estimate” of risk is not foolproof. The only real way to know your risk is to find out your cholesterol particle count through an NMR profile.

Want to find out more? If you are prepared to do the heavy lifting on understanding cholesterol, then check out The Straight dope on cholesterol which is a 7 part expose on the facts and myths surrounding this highly misunderstood substance.