Diet and Dementia part 2 (Ketogenic Diet)

Being the caregiver for a loved one with dementia you always want to try new things to see if you can improve quality of life. In the first part of this post I wrote about dementia and malnutrition. Can simple things like a change in diet influence your loved one with dementia? Dementia has different causes and this post is mainly focused on Alzheimer’s. Before making any dramatic changes to your loved ones diet always consult their physician to make sure it is safe. There have been some studies, and more are going on right now to see the efficacy of a ketogenic diet on cognitive ability and the severity of dementia. You can get a good overview from University Health News this is a good beginning read about low carbohydrate diets and dementia.  With aging there is a decrease of glucose uptake in the brain. With glucose uptake decreased in the brain from Alzheimer's what can you do? Glucose is a main source of energy in your body from carbohydrates like runners eating pasta before marathons. The point of this is that the body can use ketone bodies for energy after the glucose is taken away as main energy source. The ketone bodies are used in an elderly person's brain more effectively than glucose. This is even more effective for people with Alzheimer’s. PubMed talks about using ketogenic diet and supplementation to help the brain switch over to using ketones for energy instead of glucose. The Ketogenic diet has been used since the 1920’s to treat seizures. With the ketogenic diet being brought back into mainstream science to help with all kinds of conditions. The debates are still ongoing, and testing must be done to really get a protocol that can be used as a standard with reproducible results. With that being the standard in science people don’t all react the same when it comes to food, medicine, or therapy. Some people have started with a ketogenic diet because they need something, they have to try. You may want to do everything you can to help your loved one. It can take time and you must have patience with some trial and error to make real changes (like getting a routine together for the daily life). One doctor decided she would do everything she could for her husband and was mentioned in an article from Psychology today. This article details how Dr. Mary Newport was willing to try something to help her loved one. Dr. Newport used a low carbohydrate diet and MCT/Coconut oil to help him improve. Dr. Newport made observations and had her husband do some tests to show his improvement. Dr. Newport prolonged the time she had with her husband and improved his quality of life. Now this woman is a doctor so always make changes under the supervision of a physician. This does give some hope to everyone that there may be a therapy that can really help those with Alzheimer’s to improve their lives. Diet alone may not be enough to make the changes, but it can also be supplemented. With the supplementation of ketones, it can help make up for what can’t be done with diet. It can be a safe an effective treatment to help improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s. So, it may be useful especially in the early stages to try some diet changes to see if you can help your loved one. Before making any sudden changes to your loved one’s diet or supplements always consult their physician and make sure there are no other ailments that can be affected. Sometimes you  must try and do something different. Keep a log and take notes so that you can record your observations and really keep track of any changes.