What Exactly Are Ketones and What is So Great About Them?

There sure is a TON of hype about the ketogenic diet these days! I used to be SO against the concept of low carb and especially going much further with it into ketosis. I thought it was unhealthy, a fad and for people looking for a quick fix.

Fast forward, I have been following the ketogenic protocol for over 9 months now! I can attest that the benefits are awesome and go far beyond fitting into your jeans better. But, rather than just take my word for it, let’s take a dive into what ketones are and just why they are beneficial above and beyond weight loss.

KETONES
What we know is that when we starve our body of glucose it ends up switching to using fat for fuel and producing ketones which are also used for fuel.

• What are ketones?

Ketones are an energy source. They occur when the liver breaks down fat into fatty acids and glycerol — a process called beta-oxidation. There are three types of ketone bodies {molecules} that are created in the liver once we have run out of glucose: acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone.

BENEFITS OF KETONES
Ketones are a preferred fuel source for the brain

  • Glucose build up in the brain causes inflammation and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s. This build up starves the brain.
    Ketones are a clean fuel source that the brain thrives on.
  • The ketogenic diet increases the permeability of the blood/brain barrier which provides more nutrients to our brain to increase our brain health and productivity.

    Although the brain uses glucose as about 30% of it’s fuel source, we do not need to get glucose from the diet in order to have it for fuel. Our body will create the needed glucose itself!

  • Ketones limit neuronal loss and preserve synaptic function. This means communication from cell to cell is more efficient and effective. This all increases brain function and clarity.
  • Ketones are a more efficient fuel source for our entire body
    Fuel sources need to be converted in to ATP for our body to use it for energy. Converting ketones into energy rather than glucose is a much more efficient process which takes less effort and gives us more energy!
  • Ketones offer increased mitochondria function
    Mitochondria protect our cells, regulate cell growth and death. This can protect us from oxidative damage, disease, cancer and just give us more energy in general.
  • Ketones help reduce inflammation
    Eating healthy fat and less carbohydrate helps reduce inflammation. BUT, ketones add to this!
    Back to the oxidative stress as seen above. Ketones help reduce this oxidative stress which creates inflammation.
    Increases adenosine which naturally fights inflammation and acts as a pain reliever {this why often people notice a reduction in joint pain}.
    Down regulation of the inflammasome nlrp3 through the production of ketones.
  • Increased Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor {BDNF}
    BDNF is a naturally occurring protein in the brain that improves brain function and lowers risk of mental disease.
  • Cancer prevention
    Cancer results when cells grow faster and live longer than they should. Ketones give mitochondria the boost they need to be able to regulate this overgrowth much more efficiently.
  • Increased GABBA
    GABBA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Responsible for reducing activity in the nervous system as appropriate. Without enough GABBA we can feel depressed, stressed, anxious…
    Also increases our growth hormone which increases muscle and helps boost metabolism.
  • Regulates insulin and blood sugar levels beyond just low carb/high fat
  • Ketones help regulate appetite
    Ketones help balance leptin resistance {leptin is the hormone that tells us we satisfied}.
    Ketones help balance ghrelin which tells us we are hungry.
    Ketones will balance this leptin/ghrelin relationship.
  • Improves cardiovascular markers
    Ketones has been shown in studies to increase HDL and reduces triglycerides. This will improve overall cardiovascular function and risk of disease.
  • Better mood
    A ketogenic state reduces the intracellular sodium levels. This is the same thing we get form mood stabilizing drugs.
  • Ketones can increase athletic performance
    Gives us more efficient access to fuel during exercise/competition.

If you are interested in applying this to your own life by following a ketogenic diet and would like some help, I offer a monthly group for Women that is run through a private FB group. I also offer individual coaching. Please email me at jessica@healthwithjess.com for more information!

RESOURCES
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/474296/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11569918
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14769489
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7554586

 

 



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