Low-Carb Diet May Improve Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment
the Psychiatry Advisor take:
Nutrition has been shown to play a role in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders, and recent findings indicate that eating a diet very low in carbohydrates may improve memory in seniors with mild cognitive impairment.
Robert Krikorian, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and colleagues believe the reason why has to do with ketones, which are compounds made during the metabolism of fat or protein. When the body is extremely low on carbohydrates, it starts to use ketones as a fuel source.
The team enrolled 23 people with mild cognitive impairment in their study. About half of the participaants had a ketonic diet (between 5 and 10% of calories coming from carbs), while the others ate a high-carb diet (50% of calories from carbs). The groups stayed on their respective diets for six weeks.
Patients on the ketonic diet had greater improvement in verbal memory compared to those on the high-carb diet, the researchers reported in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, and also benefited from weight loss, as well as declines in fasting blood glucose and insulin levels.
In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells have trouble metabolizing glucose, which is the major fuel source for cells throughout the body, and is derived from carbs. Only when carbs are low does the body then produce ketones as an alternative fuel source. It is though that ketones are able to provide enough energy to the brain, independent of the impaired glucose metabolizing process, potentially staving off memory loss.
“To our knowledge, these data demonstrate for the first time that carbohydrate restriction can produce memory enhancement in this at-risk population,” the researchers wrote.
Low Carb Diet May Improve Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment
Recent findings suggest that a very low-carbohydrate diet may boost memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
Under fairly extreme low-carb conditions, the body starts to use compounds called ketones, made from the metabolism of fat or protein, as a source of fuel. This state, ketosis, occurs naturally and is quite different from ketoacidosis which is a serious problem caused by severe metabolic disturbances.
A new study tested a ketogenic diet in people with mild cognitive impairment, sometimes a precursor to dementia. For six weeks, half of the 23 participants ate a ketogenic diet, with five to 10% of calories coming from carbohydrates, while the others ate a high-carbohydrate diet, 50% of calories from carbohydrates.
Psychiatry Advisor Articles
- ADHD, Comorbid Bipolar Disorder Share Similar Neurocognitive Profiles
- Anxiety Prevention Interventions: How Effective Are They?
- ACOG Update: Marijuana Use Discouraged During Pregnancy, Breastfeeding
- Depression Profiles in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes
- Asenapine Prevents Recurrence of Mood Events in Bipolar Disorder
- Suicidal Behavior, Thoughts Associated With Perfectionist Tendencies
- Physicians Spend Nearly 6 Hours on EHR Tasks Per Day
- CBT, Acceptance Commitment Therapy Helpful for Those With Chronic Pain
- Depression Reduced by Social Belonging, Feelings of Inclusion
- Sleep Disturbance May Be Causal Factor in Psychotic Experiences
- Venlafaxine XR Safe, Effective in Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Enhanced Vaccination Effectiveness in Older Adults Linked to Positive Mood
- Subjective Cognitive Decline Linked to Alzheimer Biomarker
- Unnecessary Costs Associated With Low-Cost, Low-Value Health Services
- Is Hypertension Linked to an Increased Risk of Dementia?