The benefits of keto include high levels of success in various use cases, like; fat-loss, improving athletic performance, and improving mental focus and energy, and as part of a therapeutic program for certain diseases. In this post, I am going to focus primarily on how the Keto Diet can improve productivity and mental performance as well as how it’s been shown to help fight or reduce symptoms of epilepsy, inflammation, Alzheimer’s, cancer, depression, and migraines.
Before we get started on the benefits of the Keto Diet on mental performance and disease prevention, let’s quickly cover the basics… What is Ketosis?
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis, The Ketogenic Diet and Ketones might be trendy right now, but it is nothing new. Ketosis is a perfectly normal metabolic state our bodies can be in as opposed to using glucose metabolism. While it is true that our bodies use carbs to function, it is also true and even more beneficial to use ketones as energy. You may be thinking, okay, but where do I get these ketones as energy?
It is quite simple. Ketones are produced as you restrict carbs. Being in Ketosis is a metabolic state your body goes into when you limit carbs. Think of it as a fail-safe mechanism of your body. Imagine a time of starvation or food scarcity. We don’t fall over and die if we go without food for prolonged periods. Your body automatically produces the energy it needs to survive by switching to a state of Ketosis. Although being in Ketosis is a perfectly normal state of metabolism, we rarely experience being in Ketosis because we eat carbohydrate-rich diets, and we eat too often.
Your body can make three types of ketones from stored fat when you are in a state of Ketosis. Ketosis is achieved in the absence of carbohydrates. But, you can also increase your ketones readily from sources found outside of your body (exogenous).
The three variations of “ketones” that your body uses are:
The one we are most interested in is Beta-hydroxybutyrate because your body can use it as it is readily available in your bloodstream. This is also the one found in exogenous ketone supplements; Exogenous Ketones can be highly beneficial as a supplement to the Keto Diet.
I cover Ketosis in-depth in one of my FREE Guides: The Ultimate Guide to Ketosis.
Let’s look at some of the mental and disease prevention benefits of the Keto Diet…
One of the immediate benefits people experience is mental clarity. It is almost as if a foggy cloud is lifted. Research shows that ketones are the preferential energy for your brain. In fact, 75% of your brain prefers using ketones. There is a small amount of glucose needed for specific areas of the brain, but your body takes care of this through a process called gluconeogenesis. So, when someone says “your brain can only use glucose”, they need to check again.
When you rely on glucose as your energy source and don’t refuel every few hours, it can lead to a lack of mental clarity or foggy brain where you struggle to stay focused. This dip in energy and foggy brain feeling is due to the spikes and crashes in blood sugar.
Ketones provide a sustained and more efficient form of energy that increases mental clarity and focus.
Longevity and Disease Prevention
It is believed that ketone bodies (BHB) is an “anti-ageing” compound and therefore calorie restriction, which ultimately lead to being in Ketosis, leads to lifespan extension. As we age, our bodies deteriorate. There are many other applications and benefits for following a Ketogenic Diet other than weight loss and performance enhancement. The unique ability of ketone bodies to supply energy to the brain during periods of impaired glucose metabolism makes Ketosis an effective treatment for several neurological conditions.
Better glucose uptake and more ketones make the ketogenic diet a promising new way to help improve disease symptoms and maybe even prevent various diseases.
Here are some of the potential therapeutic applications that researchers are excited about:
- Ketosis has been shown to help reduce seizures in people with epilepsy, especially kids.
- It may also have benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Traumatic Brain Injury or other degenerative cognitive diseases due to the neuroprotective effects of ketones and, likely, the rich nutrition of a Ketogenic Diet
- Certain Types of Cancer
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Mood Disorders