New research suggests that a low-carb diet can prevent and even reverse age-related brain damage .
The neurobiological changes associated with aging can be seen at a much younger age than would be expected – in your late 40s .
According to Lilianne R. Mujica-Parodi , professor in the department of biomedical engineering at Stony Brook University in New York, this process can be prevented or reversed depending on changes in the diet that involve minimizing the consumption of simple carbohydrates.
To affirm this, brain scans of nearly 1,000 people between the ages of 18 to 88 were used : damage to neural pathways accelerated depending on where the brain was getting its energy.
They found that glucose decreased the stability of brain networks, while ketones, produced by the liver during periods of carbohydrate-restrictive diets, made the networks more stable. According to Mujica-Parodi :
We believe that as people age, their brains begin to lose the ability to metabolize glucose efficiently, causing neurons to slowly starve and brain networks to destabilize. So we tested whether giving the brain a more efficient fuel source, in the form of ketones, whether by following a low-carb diet or taking ketone supplements, could provide the brain with increased energy. Even in younger individuals, this additional energy further stabilized brain networks.
A ketogenic diet is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, forcing the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates . But the ketogenic diet has its own risks. Also, there is a great deal of evidence to show that the Mediterranean diet is the best diet we’ve ever had for the brain and heart.