Cognitive function

Peer-Reviewed Scientific Articles​

Dietary ketosis enhances memory in mild cognitive impairment


Journal: Nuerobiology of Aging

Publication Date: 02/2012

Summary: We randomly assigned 23 older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment to either a high carbohydrate or very low carbohydrate diet. Following the six-week intervention period, we observed improved verbal memory performance for the low carbohydrate subjects (p = 0.01) as well as reductions in weight (p < 0.0001), waist circumference (p < 0.0001), fasting glucose (p = 0.009), and fasting insulin (p = 0.005). Level of depressive symptoms was not affected. Change in calorie intake, insulin level, and weight were not correlated with memory performance for the entire sample, although a trend toward a moderate relationship between insulin and memory was observed within the low carbohydrate group. Ketone levels were positively correlated with memory performance (p = 0.04). These findings indicate that very low carbohydrate consumption, even in the short-term, can improve memory function in older adults with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. While this effect may be attributable in part to correction of hyperinsulinemia, other mechanisms associated with ketosis such as reduced inflammation and enhanced energy metabolism also may have contributed to improved neurocognitive function. Further investigation of this intervention is warranted to evaluate its preventive potential and mechanisms of action in the context of early neurodegeneration.

Key Takeaways

Low carbohydrate ketogenic diets showed improved memory, weight loss, blood sugar, and fasting insulin in adults with mild cognitive impairment. Further research is needed to determine whether the improvement is due to correction of high insulin levels, or the reduction in inflammation brought about by the ketosis.

Higher Non-processed Red Meat Consumption Is Associated With a Reduced Risk of Central Nervous System Demyelination


Journal: Frontiers in Neurology

Publication: 02/2019

Summary: The evidence associating red meat consumption and risk of multiple sclerosis is inconclusive. We tested associations between red meat consumption and risk of a first clinical diagnosis of central nervous system demyelination (FCD), often presaging a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. We used food frequency questionnaire data from the 2003–2006 Ausimmune Study, an incident, matched, case-control study examining environmental risk factors for FCD. We calculated non-processed and processed red meat density (g/1,000 kcal/day). Conditional logistic regression models (with participants matched on age, sex, and study region) were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs), 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) and p-values for associations between non-processed (n = 689, 250 cases, 439 controls) and processed (n = 683, 248 cases, 435 controls) red meat density and risk of FCD. Models were adjusted for history of infectious mononucleosis, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, smoking, race, education, body mass index and dietary misreporting. A one standard deviation increase in non-processed red meat density (22 g/1,000 kcal/day) was associated with a 19% reduced risk of FCD (AOR = 0.81; 95%CI 0.68, 0.97; p = 0.02). When stratified by sex, higher non-processed red meat density (per 22 g/1,000 kcal/day) was associated with a 26% reduced risk of FCD in females (n = 519; AOR = 0.74; 95%CI 0.60, 0.92; p = 0.01). There was no statistically significant association between non-processed red meat density and risk of FCD in males (n = 170). We found no statistically significant association between processed red meat density and risk of FCD. Further investigation is warranted to understand the important components of a diet that includes non-processed red meat for lower FCD risk.

Key Takeaways

Increasing red meat consumption was associated with a 19% decrease in central nervous system demyelination, which can progress to multiple sclerosis.

Animal-sourced foods for improved cognitive development


Journal: Animal Frontiers

Publication Date: 9/2019

Summary: Animal-sourced foods are the best source of nutrient-rich foods for children aged 6 to 23 mo according to the World Health Organization. Studies on the role of animal-sourced foods on cognitive functions are limited, but consistently show compelling benefits. Animal-sourced food consumption can positively contribute to school performance in children, lifelong achievement, economic productivity, and social and community outcomes. More large-scale randomized controlled longitudinal studies are required to fully understand the link between consumption of animal-sourced foods and cognitive development. Improving production of animal-sourced foods does not guarantee increased consumption by children. Complex health, gender, cultural, financial, and religious barriers limit the consumption of animal-sourced food by children, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. To increase consumption of animal-source food by vulnerable children, affordability, acceptance, and access must be increased.

Key Takeaways

Animal foods are crucial for the childhood development especially in first two years of life. Consumption of adequate animal foods during early childhood leads to better cognitive development, higher school performance, better lifelong achievement, and better social outcomes.

A potential pathogenic role of oxalate in autism


Journal: European Journal of Pediatric Neurology

Publication Date: 09/2012

Summary: Oxalates levels found to be elevated 2.5- 3 times higher in children with autistic spectrum disorder than children who do not have autistic spectrum disorder

Key Takeaways

Oxalates are crystals found in many plant foods such as spinach, potatoes, nuts, and many others that can deposit in tissues in the body and cause damage. Children with autistic spectrum disorder have 2.5-3 times higher levels of oxalates than children without these disorders.

Successful Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes and Seizures With Combined Ketogenic Diet and Insulin


Journal: Pediatrics

Publication Date: 02/2012

Summary: Case report of a 2 year old that presented with diabetic ketoacidosis and a history of epilepsy. She was treated with a ketogenic diet, insulin and fluids. During a 10 month follow up she had no additional seizures or episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis. 

Key Takeaways

Ketogenic diets can be effective in treating seizure disorders and could prevent diabetic ketoacidosis.

Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet


Journal: European Journal of Internal Medicine

Publication Date: 04/2011

Summary: A review of the role of an excess of dietary carbohydrates and deficiency of dietary fats and cholesterol in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Key Takeaways

Eating too many carbohydrates and not enough fats and cholesterol can lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Is childhood meat eating associated with better later adulthood cognition in a developing population?


Journal: European Journal of Epidemiology

Publication Date: 06/2010

Summary: Cross-sectional study of 20,086 Chinese men and women aged ≥ 50 years from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study. More frequent childhood meat eating was associated with better cognition through to old age.

Key Takeaways

Increased meat consumption during childhood leads to better cognitive performance in old age.

Better memory functioning associated with higher total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in very elderly subjects without the apolipoprotein e4 allele


Journal: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Publication Date: 09/2008

Summary: In oldest old nondemented noncarriers of the APOE4 allele, high cholesterol is associated with better memory function. Further examination of the role of APOE genotype on the association between cholesterol and cognitive performance, especially in the oldest old is warranted.

Key Takeaways

The APOE4 gene is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's dementia. In older individuals with the APOE4 gene, higher cholesterol levels were associated with better memory function.

Animal Protein, Animal Fat, and Cholesterol Intakes and Risk of Cerebral Infarction Mortality in the Adult Health Study


Journal: Stroke

Publication Date: 05/2004

Summary: A high consumption of animal fat and cholesterol was associated with a reduced risk of cerebral infarction death in a observational study of Japanese men

Key Takeaways

A small study on Japanese men showed that higher consumption of animal fat and cholesterol led to decreased risk of stroke.

Signs of impaired cognitive function in adolescents with marginal cobalamin status


Journal: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Publication Date: 09/2000

Summary: Data on dietary intake, psychological test performance, and biochemical variables of cobalamin status were collected from 48 adolescents who consumed macrobiotic (vegan type) diets up to the age of 6 y, subsequently followed by lactovegetarian or omnivorous diets, and from 24 subjects (aged 10–18 y) who were fed omnivorous diets from birth onward. Our data suggest that cobalamin deficiency, in the absence of hematologic signs, may lead to impaired cognitive performance in adolescents.

Key Takeaways

Feeding children vegan diets at young ages during crucial developmental periods may cause a decrease in cognitive performance due to Vitamin B12 deficiency.

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