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Does a Ketogenic Diet Influence Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease?

Pamela Dragieva, Mihaela Zaharieva, Krasimir Markov, Jordan Kozhuharov, Miglena Todorova

Abstract

Introduction: The ketogenic diet (KD) is a low-carb, high-fat diet, which forces the body to burn fatty acids instead of glucose for ATP synthesis. This metabolism of ketone bodies ( kb )  is activated during fasting and when glucose levels are diminished. Ketone bodies are another essential source of energy for the organism and their delivery is vital especially to the central nervous system and to the muscular tissue of the heart. The ketogenic diet is used in different kinds of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Materials and Methods: Our study is based on a literature survey (PubMed). We used the following keywords: ketogenic diet, Alzheimer’s disease, ketone bodies metabolism, KD’s effect on neuronal degeneration, memory.

Results: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurological disease, which affects multiple brain functions, including memory, ability to learn new things, thinking, language function and behavior. Studies show that neuronal excitability is enhanced in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The pathological processes of AD involve neuronal degeneration with accumulation of abnormal cellular products such as fibrillary plaques and tangles. However, there is evidence that points to alterations in the function of the extant neural circuits and mitochondrial homeostasis. Studies show numerous experiments with transgenic AD mice and AD patients on a KD that reveal improvement in mitochondrial function and reduced expression of amyloid precursor protein and β-amyloid. Researches also show that by altering energy metabolism with the KD, rates of degeneration of certain neural structures and functions might be slowed down, due to the fact that ketone bodies have a neuroprotective effect against the toxicity of β-amyloid plaques.

Conclusions: The results from this literature research suggest that the ketogenic diet may be used as an effective treatment approach towards Alzheimer’s disease through a variety of metabolism-induced mechanisms that can reduce the causes of the disease.


Keywords

ketogenic diet, Alzheimer’s disease, ketone bodies metabolism, KD’s effect on neuronal degeneration, memory


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