MCTs For Alzheimer’s & MCI: A Tiny Keto Lifeline For Tired Brain Cells:
I think we can all agree that despite what we see in the supermarket checkout-lines,
Fad Diets are bullshit.
As a matter-of-fact, most diets are bullshit.
What generally matters most is getting the right number and type of calories, even if your count is iffy.
That and regular Cardio exercise, for about 100 reasons.
But then, all-of-a-sudden, Sherbrooke U.’s Center On Aging comes along and kicks the crap out of that theory, in a very specific way…
One Of The Fads Is Good? THE HORROR!:
So although it seems like a fairly recent Fad,
The Keto Diet has been around for quite awhile.
And along with being near-impossible, making Dr. Atkins millions, and getting crazy people to lose tons of bodyfat,
It did something else: Controlling Epilepsy.
More on that later, but the short answer for this study is Canadian researchers found a strange brain-fuel source used in Keto diets may help MCI and even Alzheimer’s patients regain cognitive energy and clarity in a very unexpected turn of events.
Read on to find out more…
So for some Got-Dang reason, this weird diet had an effect on malfunctioning brains.
How this works and why Diet would affect brain-function so drastically, nobody knows.
But then along came this guy hawking a magical coffee,
Which was put together with ungodly-amounts of butter and other weird Yak-based fats,
And taken from a Tibetan drink that had been around for centuries and then commercialized to the western-world as a lifestyle/productivity accelerator.
Coffee + Yak-Fat = Productivity-Accelerator?:
Which we can assume, resulted in a strongly-worded letter from Dr. Neal Barnard.
And then magic-coffee-man had a second discovery.
How could he get a ton of sugarless fast-energy in his drink to make people think it was supercharging their brain like a nootropic,
And not just an excuse to freebase artisanal grass-fed butter?
Ok well, how did the Keto guys do it for the past 50 years?
A magic oil called MCTs (or Medium-Chain Triglycerides).
MCTs, For MCI & Maybe Alzheimer’s. The Real Magic Potion:
And that’s where we pick up the next epiphany.
Because an actual degreed biotech researcher must’ve cottoned-on to the special butter-coffee narrative of:
“Set your brain on fire with top-secret de-mushroomed-coffee and magic fat-juice!”
Because in Dr. Stephen Cunnane’s study, he and his team tried something that’s a very clever mental leap.
Some kind of fats give you brain energy.
Well since butter is suicide, why not those fancy-shmancy MCTs that are supposed to be so great?
That’s just what they went-after; but this time to help a very serious degenerative brain condition.
And this time it actually worked; no snake-oil involved.
Surprising Study Results:
So in a very small study, Dr. Stephen’s team went after a way to help people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and maybe even Alzheimer’s.
They probably thought something along the lines of, “If Alzheimer’s is choking the brain-cells of their ability to use energy from carbs, then what if we found a way to get them some from a different source?”
In a test of just 50 people with early cognitive impairment, his U. Sherbrooke guys looked at an MCT cocktail given 2x a day for 6 months.
At the beginning and the end, were given both brain-scans and cognitive-evaluation tests.
The results were surprising.
Not only did they show a marked-increase by 230% in the amount of Ketones metabolized (like Keto diets get you from burning fat first) in their brains,
But they all scored substantially-higher on cognitive-evaluation tests.
2) Episodic Memory
3) Processing Speed
4) (and hallmark-of-MCI) Language Function.
Maybe Useful For Much Older Adults?:
This is also interesting news for the rest of us as we age, because even normal brains slowly lose the ability to use the brain’s main fuel of Glucose with time.
And one of the few ways to help people with Alzheimer’s is to get more energy to their brain in a way they can still use it.
So if you can use a clever trick to get people the Ketones without having to do a Ketogenic-diet,
You can at least create some kind of temporary-relief until science finds a cure.
And also help normal people keep themselves a little bit sharper when they get old.
Especially since the Keto diet is showing at least a few promising results for brain-health.
Unlikely To Help Healthy People, Though:
But here’s the bummer, there may not be any benefits at-all to a normal healthy person whose brain isn’t having glucose-metabolism problems.
Even if you add the most-potent MCTs to your coffee.
There is no proven evidence that it enhances brain-function more than any quick-energy dump would.
So if you like being on a partially-liquid diet, fine.
But until you get older, MCTs may not show actual benefit other than the fat-version of a sugar-high.
Though in-case you wanted to know.
For Those Curious About MCTs:
Specifics are important.
Because you can’t just grab any old MCTs or fancy oil that someone’s selling.
And certainly-not the poison that is pure, unadulterated coconut-oil; you might as well just kill yourself sooner than do that.
The best MCT oils to get are C8 (caprylic acid) and C10 (capric acid), according to the number of carbons they have on their chain.
C8 will turn into ketones much faster than C10, but it’s more expensive.
Also, the possibility of having GI problems from using more than 1 teaspoon can be very high.
If you take too much of a concentrated-substance that also has some not-necessarily-all-good antimicrobial properties, your gut can try to flush it out; very quickly!
They don’t call them “disaster pants” for nothing, so start very small.
If You Want To Try MCTs, Be Very Careful!:
And if you get any C12 (lauric acid) in your MCTs, that’s really just about the same thing as Coconut Oil,
It’s not really a Medium-Chain Triglyceride, takes longer to digest, and will not have the same beneficial effects.
Also, be Very Careful where you get your MCTs.
As with any supplement, resist the urge to go cheap.
Many of them can be by-products of the cosmetic-industry and end-up with some nasty solvents left in them as a result.
One of the best supplement brands to get is usually Jarrow.
For another example, Nature’s Way declares their oil to be sourced only from coconuts, not palm-kernel, hexane-free, and like Jarrow, spells-out exactly how much C8 and C10 you get per-serving.
Forget The Cherry-Picked Studies, The Real Winners Are AD & MCI Sufferers:
So returning to the study-results,
The authors stress that even given all the alleged positive-effects of MCTs on:
3) Physical Exercise
4) Mental Disorder & Decline
5) Cholesterol, LDL, C-Reactive Protein
6) and Blood-Sugar
-Which may or may-not be cherry-picked from isolated studies and then generalized to sell the product a lifestyle-crowd,
This is just the beginning proof-of-concept, but a set of very hopeful results for people who don’t often get a lot of good-news.
It doesn’t look anything like a cure or prevention for Alzheimer’s or even MCI, but if adding MCTs to the diet of someone who’s suffering helps, then at-least it’s a start.
Photo Credits: “Vintage Voltmeter”, by Thomas Kelley