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Your Brain on Ketones

Published: August 24, 2018

Your Brain on Ketones

More ketones in your blood does actually equate to better brain function. I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo and a lot of times in talking about how it’s not that important to have super-high levels of ketones, and in all entirety, it’s really not. As long as you’re in ketosis, in that nutritional state of ketosis, and you’re actively measuring to make sure that you’re there, you’re fine. But when it comes down to the brain, higher levels of ketones do actually equate to better brain performance. You see, it has to do with how the brain actually works and utilizes different energy substrates. Normally, when we’re on a traditional, carbohydrate-filled diet, our brain is running almost entirely on glucose, but once we start having ketones present, the brain shifts gears and actually utilizes ketones as a fuel source a lot more actively than other parts of the body.

You see, for example, our muscles can’t run on ketones. The musculoskeletal system needs glucose or oxygen but, for the most part, they’re not really using ketones. But when it comes to the brain, we are using ketones. Now, that doesn’t mean that the brain doesn’t still use glucose. Still about 25% or so of the actual brain’s energy is derived from glucose, but a vast majority of it switches over to ketones and it looks a little bit like this. Your brain will preferentially run on whatever is more prevalent. So the more ketones that you have in your blood, there’s a direct linear equation to how much of those ketones your brain will actually use. The lesser amount of ketones in your blood, the less your brain will use, so it makes it really easy when it comes down to math. The higher your ketone levels, the better your brain is functioning.

But there’s another system that actually comes into play that makes it really unique. It’s called the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system and the glutamate system. It’s a pretty complex thing, but I’ll break it down very simple here. GABA is the system that allows your brain to be a little bit more relaxed, that gamma-aminobutyric acid system. That is basically the calming effect that allows your brain to just work in a really systematic, clean, methodical way. Then we have the glutamate system. Now, glutamate is excitatory, so it triggers your brain to be a little bit more hyperactive and thinking in a little bit of a different way. So the glutamate system and the GABA system are both really important and we need to have an equal balance, but ketones allow our bodies and our brains to be skewed a little bit more towards the GABA side, which allows us to think clearer and be a little bit more methodical with our choices. That’s why it’s very common for people that are on a ketogenic diet to feel that sense of calmness, but also feel like they have the mental clarity to allow them to achieve whatever they need to achieve in terms of their mental tasks.

So when it comes down to knowing how many ketones are in your blood so that you can know how your brain can perform, it comes down to testing. And that’s where Keto-Mojo comes in handy. You can test your blood ketone levels throughout the course of the day, to know when your brain could be operating at its best. And the cool thing is everybody responds differently and every day you might respond different than you did the day before, so it’s nice to know when you’re in your sweet spot and when you’re not. So, as always, make sure you’re keeping it locked in here with Keto-Mojo and I’ll see you in the next video.

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