Ketosis for Mental Performance
First, let’s start with a little refresher around ketosis and energy.
The basis of the ketogenic diet is that it uses specially designed macronutrient balance to get a certain response from the body. Those on the keto diet eat normal amounts of protein, higher amounts of fat than the average person, and they keep their carbohydrate intake very low, less than 50 grams per day.
When carb intake is this low, it triggers a response in the body that is similar to how it would act during starvation. Instead of simply utilizing glucose, the primary source of energy, the brains pulls from its alternative energy source: fat. But before fats can be used by the body, the liver has to first convert them to ketone bodies. Then, these ketone bodies are used as energy for the body and brain when there is lack of glucose.
This is how ketosis works. Now that we’ve understood that, let’s talk about how ketosis might be used as an advantage for your mental state and productivity.
KETONES IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION
The standard Western diet is deficiency in many areas, including the very important essential fatty acids. This is detrimental to health because we need these for the body and brain to function properly.
It’s been known for a while that ketones can benefit those with neurodegeneration issues like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and aging-related cognitive diseases. The production of ketone bodies can help in these cases because the brains of people with these problems can’t use enough of the available glucose to handle cognition and perception. A ketogenic diet can then assist by providing a backup source of energy.
KETOSIS HELPS YOU FOCUS
An unbalanced diet can lead to lack of mental clarity, showing up as foggy brain, having a hard time remembering important facts, or struggling to stay focused on tasks. These types of symptoms normally involve two factors:
Glutamate, a neurotransmitter that promotes stimulation in the body and is vital for brain function and learning
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), the main neurotransmitter in the body that reduces stimulation.
Any time you are talking, thinking, or processing information, glutamate is involved. In fact, as intelligence increasing, glutamate receptors on the cells increase.
But like anything in life, too much glutamate doesn’t mean better. Glutamate should be able to convert into GABA, but sometimes the conversion doesn’t occur as well as it should.
With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see why a ketogenic diet might be a good next step for those looking to increase mental performance and clarify.