I was interested in the post Stan put up about medium chain triglycerides and Alzheimers Disease. I particularly like the pictorial record of the clock faces, showing memory improving quite markedly within 37 days.
One of the first posts I ever put up on Hyperlipid was the use of the full blown ketogenic diet for the partial reversal of Parkinsons Disease. As far as I can see AD, PD and ALS are all essentially the same disease, but the genetics of your glutamate receptor subtypes or quirks of your glutamate processing enzymes determine which you get. They're excitotoxin diseases, and Russell Blaylock has the most self consistent hypothesis of their generation that I've come across.
According to Blaylock the glutamate neurotransmitter receptor sporting cells can be driven to a catastrophic energy failure under certain conditions. Adding ketones as an alternative to glucose appears to supply energy to allow both survival and improved function of neurones which are doing very badly on glucose.
Having read Vanitallie's abstract and Marilyn Deaton's account of eating an extreme ketogenic diet, I'd imagined that we would be needing ketones ++++++, ie. off the top of the scale, as for the rather problematic ketogenic epilepsy diet (especially if designed by a cholesterophobic nutritionist).
But Dr Mary Newport got a detectable effect within 24 hours from 40ml, or 350kcal, of coconut oil. Without carbohydrate restriction. That's pretty impressive. BTW, if anyone else has already read this account, are you as puzzled as me as to how Mr Newport could stay in a drugs trial while confounding the outcome, admirably so, with MCT derived ketones? I think this is what the article says, correct me if I am wrong.
So the neuroprotection appears to kick in at very low levels of ketones. It might not even be necessary to go to Atkins induction. Something as mildly ketogenic as the Optimal Diet might just do the job. Although 0.8g/kg/d of carbs will keep you out of ketosis, you certainly have elevated ketones compared to the average person on a modern industrial diet... Plus once you start eating real food without excitotoxins the rate of progress might just slow too. I like to have a few ketones on tap.
And now here comes a complete tangent (that's just how stuff goes sometimes):
While I was googling to find out how ketogenic eating about 10% of calories from MCTs is, when added to a standard diet, I came across this gem from 1984. They fed their rats 5%, 15% or 25% of calories from MCT or long chain fats and measured all sorts of things including weight gain and calorie intake. Look at the calorie intake of the diabetic rats!
For normal rats diet composition made no difference to food intake. For diabetic rats (streptozotocin induced) see how appetite skyrocketed on low fat but virtually normalised with increasing fat content (any fat) by the time fat got up to 25% of calories. The lower the fat content, the more hyperphagic (read HUNGRY) the rats became, the fatter they became too. It just reminded me of the cruelty of telling human diabetics to eat a low fat, high carbohydrate diet and then berating them for their gross gluttony.
People keep inventing the wheel but it keeps getting lost!
BTW 15% of calories from MCTs produces about 0.3mmol/l of ketones in the plasma of a rat. My Ketostix would show 0.3mmol/l in urine as a faint trace. Seems quite modest compared to a ketogenic diet, but certainly delivers something.