Remembering Kevin Moore

ATLCX (Episode 42): Dr. Nannette Yount | Ketones & Brain Health


NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/3

In Episode 42 of “Jimmy Moore Presents: Ask The Low-Carb Experts,” we’ve got another fabulous guest expert taking on an important topic in the realm of health. Since you listen to this podcast, you probably are already well aware of the tremendous benefits of low-carb, high-fat living on your overall health and longevity. But did you know that eating this way can actually make you smarter? Old-school thinking regarding the brain tells us that glucose is the sole source of fuel it can use. However, we are now learning through the very latest in nutritional health research that the brain can not only be fueled well by the ketone bodies produced by eating a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet, but these ketones may actually be a better fuel for the brain than glucose. That’s the primary focus of the work our guest expert this week has been exploring.

Nutritional scientist Dr. Nannette Yount from the University of California at Harbor-UCLA has become intricately involved in investigating the role of ketogenic diets on brain health ever since she stumbled across the cognition-enhancing properties of ketones when she personally started consuming a ketogenic diet. What she has discovered in her research is how ketones may prevent the neurocognitive deficits such as memory loss and dementia typically chalked up to the aging process, the therapeutic effects of ketones on patients with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and how elevated blood sugars levels are quite possibly contributing to a significant cognitive decline leading to neurodegeneration. Dr. Yount theorizes that human beings are meant to run most effectively on a ketogenic diet and that our hunter-gather ancestors millions of years ago not only survived but thrived in this keto-adapted state. We were happy to have her answer YOUR questions in EPISODE 42 about the topic “Ketones & Brain Health” that aired LIVE on July 11, 2013.

Listen to Dr. Nannette Yount discuss the role of ketones on the brain:

  • Her lifelong passion in science and nutrition
  • She worked in a lab with Donald McNamara of University of AZ
  • We knew long ago that elevated trigs were from high-carb
  • We used to believe watching carbohydrates were key
  • She was listening to Gary Taubes on “Science Friday”
  • Good Calories, Bad Calories changed her life forever
  • She continued her learning listening to The LLVLC Show
  • Her friends have gotten tired of her talking about low-carb
  • She was trying to help a friend succeed on a low-carb diet
  • When the friend got stuck, she tried a fat fast/ketogenic plan
  • She got “noticeably smarter” when she ate low-carb, high-fat
  • How she was able to see major cognitive improvements
  • The writer’s block ended and she became “Nannette Silver Tongue”
  • Perhaps the ketones helped make Cholesterol Clarity flow
  • She was a shy person before, but ketones made her more sociable
  • She sought out scientific support for her personal observations
  • There is a “veritable goldmine” of science supporting keto diets
  • Brain health is vastly improved on a ketogenic diet
  • An example of a study showing high-fat diets harm the brain
  • Fats combined with carbs will contribute to health issues
  • Consuming a high-fat diet needs to be combined with low-carb
  • What a ketogenic diet is: 50g or less carbohydrate daily
  • 75-80% of calories come from dietary fat with moderate protein
  • You want adequate protein, but you don’t want too much
  • Christine was able to eat more protein and carbs than me
  • There’s a lot of individual variation in producing ketones
  • Ideally, you need to test your own blood ketones for precision
  • The brain does not have an absolute need for glucose
  • A fetus is in a state of ketosis over 5.0 millimolar ketones
  • Ketones are important for development of the baby’s brain
  • Ketone bodies help keep us alive during starvation
  • Read about my 3-day fasting experiment in keto-adapted state
  • Ketone levels just skyrocketed to 4-5 millimolar after two days
  • My blood sugar dropped into the 50’s, but ketones kept me sharp
  • It could take a couple of weeks for glucose-adapted person
  • Lots of studies have looked at starvation/blood sugar/ketones
  • The brain prefers burning ketones bodies over glucose
  • Ketones will displace glucose when they are present
  • Whether it’s possible to recover from Alzheimer’s with ketones
  • Many of the Alzheimer’s studies use a ketogenic drink
  • They show improvements in cognition but the effect is temporary
  • If you can limit glucose, it may help to prevent damage to brain
  • Getting into a ketogenic state could possibly keep cells alive
  • Ketones increase blood flow into the brain by around 40%
  • This is a healthy state for any brain, especially Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s is commonly known as Type 3 diabetes
  • It’s certainly worth trying to increase blood ketones in them
  • Improved cognition is correlated with the level of ketosis
  • Many studies show 0.35 millimolar ketones and saw benefits
  • Higher ketosis showed there is better cognitive function
  • Cut your carbs and raise your fat to maximize ketosis
  • Why there is such variability in moderating protein intake
  • Insulin sensitivity or protein mass might come into play
  • Finding carbohydrate tolerance and protein threshold is critical
  • Try calculated minimum for protein (50g for women, 75g for men)
  • For Parkinson’s, ketogenic diet can reduce symptoms by 45%
  • Getting higher blood ketone levels may show even more benefit
  • Ketones make fewer free radicals and more brain antioxidants
  • The brains of animals in ketosis have 50% more antioxidants
  • As people age, the main thing killing their brain is oxidation
  • If you want to live to 120, you want to eat a ketogenic diet
  • Using an MCT oil drink vs. doing a natural ketogenic diet
  • Blood ketones go much higher eating low-carb, high-fat
  • Dr. Richard Veech is using ketone esters
  • Whether raspberry ketones are helping with getting into ketosis
  • Raspberry ketones 100mg vs. 30-80g ketones from ketogenic diet
  • People see ketones in the name of the product and get confused
  • How ketogenic diet can help with genetic Huntington’s disease
  • The Lim, Chesser and Grima blood ketone research paper
  • Get your ketones as high as you can to provide benefits
  • Coconut oil is the fat used in most ketogenic studies
  • It’s a modest increase in ketones, but good cognitive effects
  • Eat a normal high-fat diet and use some coconut oil
  • My original 2009 LLVLC Show interview with Dr. Mary Newport
  • My follow-up 2012 LLVLC Show interview with Dr. Mary Newport
  • Estrogen levels decline after 50, helps get glucose in brain
  • This is why women are at their smartest during ovulation
  • Don’t necessarily supplement with hormone replacement
  • If you get 2.5 millimolar blood ketones, that’s amazing!
  • Whether there is any benefit to finding a specific MCT oil
  • Coconut oil is great to supplement your diet with
  • Try Dave Asprey’s Upgraded MCT Oil product
  • Consuming excess MCT oil can cause gastrointestinal issues
  • There’s a correlation between level of ketones, cognition
  • Try to keep ketones as high as you can for best effects
  • Doing a carbohydrate cycling can throw you out of ketosis
  • Dr. Stephen Phinney explains getting into nutritional ketosis
  • Carbohydrates low, protein to adequate levels for ketosis
  • Keep tweaking the carbs and protein to get the sweet spot
  • Whether there’s added benefit to going above 3.0 millimolar
  • People report enhancements in cognition in higher ketones
  • Most studies don’t get anywhere close to these higher ketones
  • Mental sharpness kicks in well at around 1.0 millimolar
  • Even at .5 millimolar blood ketones there is benefit
  • Ketones derived from fat are located in non-brain locations
  • Ketones don’t take fats from the brain but from the body
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy could benefit from ketones
  • Older people are set in their ways and difficult to change
  • You can make an MCT milkshake for someone like this
  • A lot of elderly overconsume sugary foods, eat low-fat
  • Flaxseed oil may be helping as an anti-inflammatory in body
  • Fish oil is better than flax seed oil, good for the brain
  • Carlson’s liquid fish oil is amazing stuff
  • It tastes like lemon and I take 2 Tbs daily–LOVE IT!
  • Whether a low-calorie ketogenic diet can harm the brain
  • Caloric restriction can help your body function best
  • If you’re not hungry, you probably don’t need to eat
  • Your body will send a strong signal for hunger when needed
  • Even when you aren’t taking in food, you are still eating
  • Keep carbs under 50g, quality fats to 75-85% of calories
  • Getting adequate green leafy vegetables in your diet
  • Ketogenic diet can be acidic, so greens help with this
  • You really don’t need to count spinach or lettuce carbs
  • Even a few low-sugar fruits like berries can be helpful
  • Jackie Eberstein, RN worked with Dr. Atkins in his clinic
  • She says some have blood sugar/insulin issues to green veggies
  • Test yourself to see how you respond and react accordingly
  • Ketone levels are higher in the evening than in the morning
  • Circadian dysrhythmia can possibly impact blood ketone levels
  • Urine ketones can be unreliable when you become keto-adapted
  • A natural decline in blood ketones happens once adapted
  • My blood ketones were off the chart when I first started
  • When I flew to Australia, my ketones went really low
  • Now my AM ketones .5, PM ketones 1.0-1.5 regularly
  • Listen to my LLVLC Show interview with Dr. Larry McCleary
  • Her physician had to tell her she’s in menopause, no symptoms
  • She wants to do research into ketogenic, cardiovascular risk
  • She will measure plaque levels to determine heart health
  • Additionally, measure the cognitive changes that happen
  • Her desire to get the NIH to fund this study


    NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/3

    There are five ways you can listen to Episode 42:

    1. LISTEN LIVE ON THURSDAY NIGHTS AT 7PM ET by calling (712) 432-0900 or on Skype at “freeconferencing.7124320900”–whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code “848908.” You can listen and even participate on the topic discussion by asking your questions directly to the featured expert.

    2. Listen at the iTunes page for the podcast:

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    4. Download the MP3 file of Episode 42 [73:37m]:

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    If you cannot join us LIVE on the podcast on Thursday nights at 7PM ET, then you can still ask your questions of the expert guests by e-mailing them to us directly at AskTheLowCarbExperts@gmail.com. Be sure to include your name, the name of the expert you want to ask your question to in the subject line, and your question on the specific topic of discussion. This is a golden opportunity for you to tap directly into the wealth of knowledge and experience on all things related to healthy low-carb living featuring the best and brightest experts in the realm of health! If you like what you hear in this podcast, consider making a donation to help us keep providing quality information to you–THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    What did you think about Dr. Nannette Yount’s arguments in favor of ketogenic diets for optimizing brain health, avoiding common neurodegenerative diseases and even getting smarter? Give us your feedback about it in the show notes section of Episode 42. We’ll be away for the next few weeks while I’m on vacation in Indiana and Tennessee, but we’ll be back in Episode 43 with Kris Gunnars talking about the topic “Food Addiction 101.” Start getting me your questions for her about this topic by writing to AskTheLowCarbExperts@gmail.com. And be sure to LISTEN LIVE to EPISODE 43 on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 7PM ET by calling 712-432-0900 and use the access code 848908!

    Here’s the upcoming guest expert schedule I have lined up:
    NO PODCAST August 15, 2013–Jimmy attending AHS13 in Atlanta
    August 22, 2013: Donald “Dr. Rock” Schnell – Anabolism vs. Catabolism
    August 29, 2013: Jimmy Moore & Dr. Eric WestmanCHOLESTEROL CLARITY Q&A
    September 5, 2013: Dr. Paul Ralston – Low-Carb Diets & Spinal Pain
    September 12, 2013: John Kiefer/Dr. Rocky Patel – Cyclical Ketogenic Diets For Health And Performance

    Spread the word about this podcast: PLEASE REVIEW THE SHOW ON ITUNES!

    • Kang


      Dr Yount mentioned that the Ketogenic diet can be acidic, can you elaborate on that ? How do you measure the acidity ? is it proportional to the ketone levels ?


      • LLVLCBlog

        I’ll ask her for you Kang. You can measure ph balance with and acid/alkaline pee strip from The Vitamin Shoppe.

        • Nannette Yount

          Hi Kang,

          Below is an excerpt from and link to Loren Cordain’s website describing the
          importance of including vegetables in the diet as a means to reduce net whole
          body/urinary acid loads.

          You can measure your urinary pH using pH paper/strips purchased from health
          food stores – though there can be quite a bit of natural variation – so one
          shouldn’t worry too much about daily highs and lows. It might be best to focus
          on average urinary pH values. The pH of urine can normally vary from ~4.5-8.0, though ideal values are probably range from 6.5 to 8.0.

          Also, ketones are acidic in nature and hence will contribute to net acid load
          in the body – so again pushing highly-basic green leafy vegetables is a good


          In the US, calcium intake is one of the highest in the world, yet paradoxically
          we also have one of the highest rates of bone demineralization
          (osteoporosis). Bone mineral content is dependent not just upon calcium
          intake, but upon net calcium balance (calcium intake minus calcium
          excretion). Most nutritionists focus upon the calcium intake side of the
          calcium balance equation; however, few realize that the calcium
          excretion side of the equation is just as important.

          Bone health is substantially dependent on dietary acid/base balance.
          All foods upon digestion ultimately must report to the kidneys as either
          acid or base. When the diet yields a net acid load, the acid
          must be buffered by the alkaline stores of base in the body. Calcium
          salts in the bones represent the largest store of alkaline base in the
          body and are depleted and eliminated in the urine when the diet produces
          a net acid load. The highest acid-producing foods are hard cheeses,
          cereal grains, salted foods, meats, and legumes, whereas the only
          alkaline, base-producing foods are fruits and vegetables. Because the
          average American diet is overloaded with grains, cheeses, salted
          processed foods, and fatty meats at the expense of fruits and
          vegetables, it produces a net acid load and promotes bone
          demineralization. By replacing hard cheeses, cereal grains, and
          processed foods with plenty of green vegetables and fruits, the body
          comes back into acid/base balance which brings us also back into calcium
          balance. The goal is to avoid a net acid load on your kidneys.

          In addition to promoting bone demineralization, a net acid-producing
          diet also contributes to the following maladies and illnesses: calcium
          kidney stones, age-related muscle wasting, hypertension, stroke, asthma
          and exercise-induced asthma.

          • Kang

            Thank you Dr Yount. Is it possible to stay in Ketosis and still has urine PH above 6.5 ? I tested myself, and it seems impossible to have both.

            • LLVLCBlog

              I have urine ph of 7.5-8.5 regularly when I’m in ketosis.

              • Kang


                you measure it before the meal or after the meal ? The best I got is 7.5 one hour after the meal. Before the meal readings are usurally much lower than 6.5. The only way to raise morning readings is to stay out of ketosis, for me n=1.

                • LLVLCBlog

                  The best time to test blood sugar, blood ketones or ph is at least four hours AFTER your last meal or exercise.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Email me his info to livinlowcarbman@charter.net.

    • Alecks

      Can anyone tell me why we couldn’t start eating raw coconut as the ultimate unrefined, delicious source of oil/ketones with extra fiber thrown in for free? I munch on coconut during the day and don’t crave sugar, and feel satisfied.