In episode 96 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
Dr. Larson was lucky enough to attend a four-day conference called the Metabolic Health Summit where the top researchers in the field who study mitochondrial energetics discussed recent findings. The key theme to the conference was ketones and ketogenesis and the effects of elevated ketones on the system.
The conference was filled with innovative discoveries and the information presented poses exciting things for the future of health. The most important concept is “metabolic flexibility”. The mitochondria are little batteries in the cells that need to be charged up to produce something called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is their fuel. For ATP to be produced, the body needs basic building blocks. The body requires fuel that comes from glucose or fat. The brain requires that those building blocks are glucose and ketones. Ketones can be used everywhere, but the brain and the heart and other key organs are loaded with mitochondria, which means that they need an exuberant amount of energy.
There are many key advantages to being metabolically flexible, which means that your body can switch between using glucose and fat or ketones to burn for fuel. In most people ketone burning is basically dormant and not being used. To up-regulate the system to burn ketones and fat for fuel you have to lower your insulin, which usually involves lowering intake of carbohydrates. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates, which is what most people’s diets consist of, help to keep insulin revved up high, and then the hormones and biochemicals aren’t allowed to function optimally. You have to get insulin down to maximize burning ketones for fuel.
Other ways to keep your insulin low is fasting. You can fast by moving the time that you eat in the morning later. Or, finally, to increase ketone burning you can take exogenous ketones. The best way to boost your ketone production and to be fat adapted is to do a combination of all three. When you don’t allow your body to have the high fluctuations that can come with blood sugar level dysregulation your life is much more peaceful and you are reducing your risk of chronic illness.
DR. CHAD LARSON
Ketone diets also help to reduce inflammation. When we are glucose-dependent, the body produces a substance called reactive oxygen species (ROS), typically, something called superoxide dismutase, which is an inflammatory agent. When you consume a diet high in carbohydrates, over the years, it can increase chronic inflammation, which increases your risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. So a keto diet can reduce your risk of chronic illness that stems from inflammation.
The effect of ketones and brain health was also discussed at the health summit. The brain is only 2-3% of your overall body weight, but it is 25% of the body’s energy requirements. It requires a lot of fuel to function. If the main source of fuel is glucose and carbohydrates, neurotransmitters don’t function optimally. If neuroinflammation leads to neurodegeneration, the neurons (brain cells) don’t use glucose as efficiently, but they can still use ketones. If you increase ketone intake and production you can reduce the different chronic illnesses that affect the brain. Therefore, by increasing ketones, your brain will be healthier.
A lot of new research is just coming out which is exciting for future health. Key to those findings are the advantages of being metabolically flexible. Reduce your intake of processed carbohydrates, take exogenous ketones, and fast to increase ketone production for better health.