Why your body loves Ketones (and you should too!)
October 8, 2018
Posted by James J
There is an assumption that has been made that the body prefers to get its fuel from glucose. The truth is the body is able to draw energy from both sources of energy, glucose and fat. So, what are benefits of running on ketones and what parts of the body appear to show an affinity for running on ketones? We’ll highlight three of the advantages of getting your body to run on ketones and explain why the body shows a preference for ketones.
Blood Sugar Management:
We’ll start out with the most direct statement. If you’re trying to manage your blood glucose levels, forcing your body to use ketones for energy will decrease spikes in insulin release and cause insulin to be relatively steady throughout the day.
The reason is fairly clear. In order to bring the body into ketosis, carbohydrate (sugar) intake is restricted. Insulin is released to deal with sugar, and since a ketogenic diet allows little sugar to be brought into the system, insulin levels will begin to balance. In addition to just showing signs of improving blood sugar management there have been a few studies showing that keto could help some individuals reverse or reduce the impact of type-2 diabetes on their body.
Ketone and Brain Harmony:
The brain appears to operate better on ketones than on glucose. In a study we reviewed, those who were in a ketogenic state performed better in short-term processing of information, converting visual stimuli into information, and in switching rapidly between different information streams. These tests essentially show that those who were on a ketogenic diet were able to both utilize short-term memory more effectively and multi-task more efficiently.
That isn’t the only benefit; however, as we discussed when talking about Alzheimer’s Disease there are currently studies looking into the apparent link of ketosis and improvement in cognitive function of those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. While more research is needed, current signs show that ketones might provide some protection to the brain from the development of amyloid (plaque) in the brain and might provide a better energy pathway for a brain suffering from Alzheimer’s related degeneration.
The mitochondria is responsible for converting energy, whether glucose or fatty acid based, into ATP. Current research suggests that the mitochondria can more efficiently convert ketones into ATP than it can glycogen. In addition to being ‘easier’ to convert it appears that ketones exert an antioxidant quality for mitochondria and improve the respiration of the mitochondria. Because of these improvements there is current research indicating a potential that ketones can be an effective tool to help alleviate dysfunction of the mitochondria that could be a cause of rapid cancer growth.
As we can see from the information learned through scientific studies, the idea that the body runs best on glucose is false. As the examples above show the body is able to efficiently run off ketones (fat) and certain aspects of the body appear to run better on ketones than glucose.