If you’re familiar with ketones, you know that they are naturally produced when the body breaks down stored fat for energy. You might also know that ketones are produced if your body doesn’t consume enough carbs to supply the body with glucose for energy, which is why keto diets eliminate or at least limit the consumption of carbs. Perhaps something you don’t know about ketones is their role in helping mild Alzheimer’s patients.
According to recent medical studies in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 56, aerobic training can help improve brain energy metabolism by increasing ketone uptake in patients with mild Alzheimer’s Disease.
The primary goal of the study was to determine whether moderate aerobic training, like walking, would modify ketone energy metabolism in patients with mild Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). To test this, participants with mild AD were trained to walk on a motorized treadmill for 3 days/week for 12 straight weeks. The research was conducted mainly at the Research Centre on Aging under the supervision of a kinesiologist.
Once the studies were conducted, the results showed that after 12 weeks of walking on a treadmill, participants with mild AD had two times higher brain ketone uptake, while also maintaining brain glucose uptake. It’s estimated that post-walking ketone levels in blood would sustain about 6% of total brain energy requirements, up from the normal 2%.
So what exactly does this mean?
Simply put, the increase in brain energy supply from ketones may help counteract about one-third of the global brain glucose deficit in patients with mild AD. This increase in brain ketones was directly associated with signs of cognitive improvement, per the results of the study. The findings suggest that aerobic training has the potential to improve cognition by increasing brain ketone uptake.
The findings of this study also suggest that there is hope for patients with mild AD and that we’re just scratching the surface on the power and capabilities that ketones can provide.
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