Anyone interested in the ketogenic diet has been attracted to its many purported benefits.
Who wouldn’t want to wipe out their fatigue, increase their energy, lower their risk of chronic disease, decrease their cravings, and improve their focus and concentration?
Better yet, who wouldn’t want to live a stronger and longer life?
This is all potentially possible, and all it involves is committing to a different way of eating. Yes, it can be that easy.
And as science starts to catch up with what many keto advocates have already discovered, even researchers are admitting that the keto diet is far from a fad. There’s good evidence ketosis could help us live longer. Here’s how.
What’s the Key to Living Longer?
In general, humans are living longer, but many of them are doing so while suffering from debilitating diseases and illnesses. This is no way to live your golden years.
The key to living longer comes down to reducing the risk of these diseases, which not only age our bodies and brains but also severely impact our quality of life.
Age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are what is holding us back from living long, fulfilling lives. Of course, the risk of these diseases depends on myriad factors, from our genetics to our environment.
Still, it’s incredibly empowering to know that we can dramatically reduce such risks by the way we choose to live and eat. This is what the keto diet is all about.
How Ketosis Can Help Extend Your Life
We have yet to find the fountain of youth, but through the power of ketones, we may be getting warm.
Most people are first drawn to the keto lifestyle because of its weight loss potential. However, ketosis isn’t just about losing body fat. That leaner physique is just a nice side effect to what’s going on inside your body.
Ketosis is an entirely natural process that is triggered when the body has used up its glucose stores. Once this happens, your body will break down fat to produce ketones, which will then be used as its primary fuel source.
The first major thing this impact is your blood sugar. As your body transitions out of using glucose, your blood sugar levels will balance out rather quickly.
Controlling your blood sugar is one of the keys to reducing your risk of chronic diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Ketones can also help lower triglycerides and increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and have a direct effect on hormones related to satiety (leptin and amylin) and hunger (ghrelin).
In essence, this helps curb cravings and suppress your appetite. This not only helps you cut down your calories—something closely linked to longevity (which we’ll discuss more on it later)—but also gets you to your most optimal weight and mental state.
Ketosis and Mitochondria
Looking deeper into the body, ketosis can have a direct effect on mitochondria. These are the vital power sources found in every cell in our bodies.
The health of your mitochondria is directly related to your overall well-being. So, if you’re mitochondria are thriving, so will you.
When there’s a loss of function in the mitochondria, you may experience fatigue, as well as other symptoms of chronic disease (1).
So, to ensure healthy mitochondria, ketosis may be your best route. This is because they actually prefer fat as their fuel.
Better yet, when mitochondria burn ketones, they produce fewer free radicals than when they use carbohydrates (2).
Tackling oxidative stress from another angle, ketosis can also increase levels of antioxidants in the mitochondria (3).
One study also found that ketosis can increase the actual number of mitochondria in neurons of the hippocampus, which is vital for quality brain function (4).
Ketosis and Aging-Related Diseases
This may seem fairly obvious, but, as we aim to live longer, one of our main goals is to reduce the impact of aging-related diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Researchers have started looking into how ketosis can protect us from some of the aging processes that work against us as we grow older. So far, they’ve found some promising results.
In one small study, Parkinson’s patients followed a 28-day ketogenic diet and experienced a reduction in tremors and rigidity, and improved balance, mood, and energy (5).
The ketogenic diet has long been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms in those with epilepsy. Similar research has found that the production of ketones, even at just a slight increase, can also help relieve neurological symptoms in those with diseases like Parkinson’s.
Studies have also found that the presence of ketones can improve cognition in patients with Alzheimer’s disease—within as soon as 3 months. There could be a good reason why this may be.
Insulin resistance has been linked to mental decline—so much so that researchers believe Alzheimer’s is a sort of diabetes. Some have even called the disease “type 3 diabetes.”
This means, balancing your blood sugar could significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other similar diseases.
The best way to do that? Get your body into a healthy state of ketosis. Under the influence of mostly fats and few carbohydrates, your body will see decreased blood glucose levels and blood sugar spikes, and increased insulin sensitivity.
On top of all that, it’s also been found that the specific ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) could be especially protective against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (6, 7).
A good way to increase BHB is through ketosis and by taking a ketone supplement, which will offer a nice, quick dose of these types of ketone bodies.
Simply put, a brain-powered on ketones will be a sharp, quick, and efficient one—no matter your age.
Intermittent Fasting and Longevity
At this moment, the only thing nearly all scientists can agree on is that calorie restriction is the surest way to a longer life.
This has long been studied and verified, but only recently have researchers started to figure out why this may be.
When a person restricts calories, as often is the case when someone fasts, it can trigger a vital cellular process called autophagy.
In simple terms, autophagy cleans up cells, helping them to recycle their own proteins and get rid of any damaged parts or bacterial or viral invaders.
This process alone has been shown to extend lifespan. So, how can we take advantage of this?
First of all, there’s no need to starve yourself. Calorie restriction doesn’t work if you’re eating too little.
This is where intermittent fasting (IF) can prove to play a valuable role alongside a keto diet.
Depriving your body of nutrients for a set period of time, as you would do on a regular IF protocol, has been shown to activate autophagy, which may then promote longevity.
If you’re interested in learning more about IF and the many impressive health benefits it can provide, click here!
Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number
As you can see, age ain’t nothin’ but a number—especially when you’re running on ketones.
Bringing your body into a regular state of ketosis can not only help you lose weight and feel great but can have a huge impact on your quality of life, even up into your golden years.
It’s kind of amazing that committing to a keto lifestyle, by making some rather simple shifts in your diet and eating patterns, can actually help you defy age and possibly even beat out your own genes.
So, pass on the fat bombs and start living!