I first heard of ketones in the 80’s when the Atkins diet took off. People reported weight loss eating less carbs and more fat and protein, which switched their body into ‘ketosis’ whereby the body produces more ketones. At the time ketones were thought to be toxic by-products of metabolism however we now know that, when starved of glucose, the body produces ketones are a direct energy source of the brain and muscles. It is actually a more efficient energy source than glucose.
Ketones are also made directly from coconut oil (virgin-pressed is best to avoid any hydrogenated fats) which contains medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs for short. These convert directly in ketones which the body can burn for energy rather than store as fat. There are now hundreds of anecdotal reports of Alzheimer’s patients who have made major improvements in symptoms from consuming the equivalent of a tablespoon of virgin-pressed coconut oil, or a teaspoon three times a day. Vrajlal Palmer, from London, is a case in point. He went from being unable to do anything, with frequent aggressive turns.
Reported in the Daily Mail today, his son said “My father could become very aggressive before we used the coconut,” he says. “I reckon I was being hit quite hard once a week on average. Now I haven’t been hit for 18 weeks. It’s great.” He’s getting into housework, says Parmar’s son, and can take the bus to and from the leisure centre. People started trialling coconut oil following a You Tube video by Dr Mary Newport, a paediatrician, who gave coconut oil to her husband with Alzheimer’s. “He began to get his short-term memory back,” says Dr Newport. “His depression lifted, he became more like his old self. The problem he’d had with walking improved. An MRI scan showed his brain had stopped shrinking.” At the other end of spectrum studies of children with severe epilepsy have shown that almost a third cut their number of seizures by 40 per cent.
While there are no studies yet on Alzheimer’s patients, there’s certainly good reason to do so. Kieran Clarke, Professor of Physiological Biochemistry at Oxford University and head of its Cardiac Metabolism Research Group, has gone one step further and fed ketones directly to athletes, as part of a military-funded research programme. They performed better, often beating their personal best. In this month’s 100% Health Newsletter (Jan '13) we explore the latest findings about coconut oil and ketones for energy and fat burning and why virgin-pressed cocnut oil is a logical addition to alternate day dieting. If you’d like to find out more about Alternate Day Low GL diets, and join a group of volunteers trying new diet approaches visit www.patrickholford.com/weightloss. Virgin-pressed coconut oil is available from www.totallynourish.com and health food stores.