Enhance autophagy, ketogenesis
The second intervention to reverse mild Alzheimer's in the Bredesen Protocol is:
- Goal: Enhance autophagy, ketogenesis
- Approach: Fast 12 hr each night, including 3 hr prior to bedtime.
- Rationale: Reduce insulin levels, reduce Aß.
Autophagy means self-eating. When you don't eat for long periods, your body turns to itself for fuel and spare parts, hopefully mostly eating things that are messed up anyways and need to be gotten rid of. Here is an interesting discussion of autophagy.
Ketogenesis means making ketone molecules. When you sleep, after your last meal with carbs is all digested and used, your brain still needs energy. If you fast long enough it gets some from turning your fat stores into ketones which the brain loves. For an introduction to ketosis and the brain, see Ketosis
Insulin is the hormone produced when you eat carbs, telling your body to take glucose out of the bloodstream. If you eat too many carbs over decades your body can become insulin resistant. This can lead to diabetes, which doubles your Alzheimer's risk.
Aß (Amyloid Beta) plaque is often found in autopsies of Alzheimer's brains. A ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce the plaques in mice. Pieces of Aß are insulin-like molecules that make it harder for brain cells to get glucose from the blood.
- Overnight fasting/autophagy as a neuroprotective strategy: Neuroprotective effects of dietary restriction: Evidence and Mechanisms
- Ketone as an alternate form of neural fuel in ApoE4 carriers: Brain fuel metabolism, aging, and Alzheimer's disease