In this episode, Dr. Scott and Tommy discuss the neuroprotective effects of fasting, which are related to ketone levels, cellular mechanisms, and metabolism. Ketone testing is also discussed, as it can aid in fasting, correlating how one feels at certain intervals, and positive reinforcement when determining when to break a fast. Understanding how and when to test for ketones can make a big difference in long-term results with fasting.
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Fasting For Life Ep. 50
[00:00:01] Hello, I'm Dr. Scott Watier, and I'm Tommy Welling, and you're listening to the Fasting for Life podcast, and this podcast is about using fasting as a tool to regain your health, achieve ultimate wellness and live the life you truly deserve.
[00:00:15] Each episode is a short conversation on a single topic with immediate, actionable steps. We cover everything from fat loss on health and wellness to the science of lifestyle design.
[00:00:25] We started fasting for life because of how fasting has transformed our lives, and we hope to share the tools that we have learned along the way.
[00:00:40] Hey, everyone, welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast. My name is Dr. Scott Watier. I am here, as always, with my good friend and colleague, Tommy Welling. Good morning to you, sir. Morning, Scott. How are you? Rock and roll, man. Coffee's kicking in. I am in a fast. So I think my ketone levels are elevated. My brain cognition is firing on all cylinders. I feel good. And that's exactly what we're going to talk about with a really cool article that we found in regards to ketones and brain metabolism and neurodegenerative diseases and all this fun stuff.
[00:01:12] So I'm super excited. Yeah, me too. We get a lot of questions about this. How to test ketones. When do you normally test? What do you guys recommend and do I need to test. Yeah. And what are some of the benefits of fasting outside of just just weight loss. So I think this is a great, great article and a great subject kind of covers all those things.
[00:01:34] Yeah. And so the articles it'll be in the show notes. You can get it if you want it. There's also access to the full version as well. And it's the international journal Molecular Science in twenty twenty. So just came out this November.
[00:01:51] And I love when new stuff gets dropped because there's a lot of times you go into the the health and nutrition world and a lot of the research has been around a while, which is also good because it's had time to be like, you know, rechecked and redone and analyzed. And there's a big metal analysis that came out on a autophagy and immune function, which is obviously a hot topic this year in twenty twenty. But I really like this one. It's the effects of ketone bodies on brain metabolism and function in neurodegenerative diseases and.
[00:02:23] You know, when we're looking at people that you and I as well, when we came to the fasting lifestyle or the insulin friendly lifestyle, which is insulin, is the hormone that controls whether or not your body's going to burn or store fat.
[00:02:39] And we had failed multiple, multiple times in the low and slow, eat more, move, eat less, move more, macro's calories, all those different things. We had a cool message from someone that just joined up in the challenge, and that was that we're in right now. And she said, like I've tried, she literally listed every single one of those things that you can buy and try write like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers and South Beach and all just like.
[00:03:08] Oh yeah, so much that I hadn't even heard of some of them before. Yeah, right.
[00:03:12] And so when people come to fasting, a lot of times they come here for weight loss. But there's so much more that fasting gave you and I in terms of getting our life back than just losing the weight. But that's kind of where it starts. It's kind of like the the shiny object. Right. But in the end, it's really not why I'm continuing to do fasting. And I don't believe you are either.
[00:03:34] Yeah, and it was it was interesting, like in the beginning when I first started and then started getting into some longer fast and started feeling the difference in just day to day, like energy level cognition. Like I remember people talking about the ketogenic diet and talking about the brain fog lifting. And I never really felt that. But turns out I was eating too many calories while I was doing a ketogenic diet. So I wasn't really getting into to very much ketosis there. But when I started doing longer, fast, getting into a deeper state of ketosis, I started feeling just completely different. And and literally, just like you said, felt like I was firing on all cylinders. It was amazing.
[00:04:15] Yeah. Kitto did well for me for about 60 days. And then I, I was just ingesting too many fat bombs. So that whole, you know, surplus. So lost a little bit of weight. Hit my body that setpoint that was that old to twenty five mark for me or I just couldn't get through it no matter what I did six months, nine months, 12 months and I got frustrated. So when you get frustrated what happens. Well you go back to doing the things and trying something else or you move the goalposts or you put a different plan in place.
[00:04:43] And really after about six months of success on Kitto and then six months of of stalled non success is when fasting came in to the picture and looking at the research and the obesity code and all that different type stuff.
[00:04:59] So one of the biggest questions is, well, do I really need to test my ketones? Do I really need to have Akito Mojo, which is our favorite monitor? It's the most user friendly. It's got great support. It's got a great website. We'll put a link in the show notes. If you want to look into it, you can do blood sugar and ketones. But people always ask, like, do I need to do that? And the short answer is no, you don't. If you stick to fasting cycles or fasting intervals that are getting your results, then no, you don't have to use monitoring. But there are some benefits to monitoring, especially in regards to like, you know, the study that we're going to talk about tonight and how beneficial they are. So when you find out you're in an optimal ketone body state where you have an optimum level of ketones floating around in your bloodstream, you kind of want to stay there because there are so many other benefits.
[00:05:55] Yeah, I like the the psychological push, too, when you're especially when you're getting into a longer, fast or you just start to dip into ketosis and then you actually take a look at the readings, see where they are and compare them to where they were maybe eight or 12 hours ago or maybe the previous day. See how they're ticking up. That can be that can be a boost.
[00:06:18] That can be a little a little fuel on the fire to keep going with it or kind of push the envelope a little bit. So I find that to be really encouraging.
[00:06:29] The opposite can happen to not to be negative here, but the opposite can be when you start doing it and then you're like, man, I'm only at point five and we'll talk about that in a second and say, yeah, well, why I've been fasting for two days.
[00:06:42] Well, OK, you must have a lot of stored glucose in your body. Hasn't hasn't been able to flush that out yet, so you just got to keep pushing. So when I did my first seven day fast, I rarely got into a deep level of ketosis. But the second time I did a longer fast it was like forty eight hours I was there and now I believe it's even shorter, but I haven't done a lot of testing recently. So what is it. Ketone. What is blood sugar? Your body has two main sources of energy. Glucose is one and then ketone bodies is another. And it's a ketone group. It's produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low. Food intake, low carbohydrate intake, or it can even happen during prolonged, intense exercise, meaning like endurance type stuff, when you hit a point where your body's used all of its short term glycogen stores from the muscles and the liver, and it's then going to switch to ketones for its fuel supply. And there's a great benefit for ketones, even to the point where there's an MLM company out there that is massive and it's all based on exoticness ketones, which isn't true ketosis, but it does put you into a short term state of having an abundance of this energy supply, which gives people more energy, gives people more focus. So it's kind of like a faux ketosis, but this whole entire industry just bloomed based off of that beta hydroxybutyrate molecule and getting people into ketosis. So simply, you've got two energy sources. Glucose and ketones and the magic happens when you get the ketone levels elevated and your body is using them for a fuel supply and not sugar.
[00:08:36] Yeah, and it's it's really interesting because it specifically starts to affect the brain as well. And that's where that's where some of that that feeling of firing on all cylinders comes from and why we're talking about this article with regards to neurodegenerative disease as well, because the brain is is able to to quickly switch over to where glucose takes the minority role and then it starts to switch over to to ketone bodies as the main fuel source. And and that actually has rejuvenating properties in the brain as well.
[00:09:14] Yeah. And I think we think in this this article talks about a TEUs where that's where that hypothesis comes from. Right. So the ketones are able to cross the blood brain barrier.
[00:09:25] It's called Métis or Monaco carboxylic transporter's, these little molecules that bring them across. And then I know for me, when I get past the twenty four hour mark up until about the 40 hour mark, and then when I get past the forty eight hour mark, typically I feel that like brain fog lift.
[00:09:44] Yeah, right. And I just feel clearer. And that's a similar concept to those exogenous ketones that we talked about. So ideally what you want to do is get your body into a state where you it can produce ketones just like it can create sugar if it needs it. Your body can create glucose if it absolutely needs it. And the only time you got to worry about ketones being too high is really in the situation of an untreated type one diabetic.
[00:10:14] But at that point, you probably know you have it. So if we're not talking about ketoacidosis situations here, we're talking about mild to moderate levels of ketones that have a drastic effect, like you just said, especially on brain function and brain cognition.
[00:10:30] Yeah, they call this nutritional ketosis where you're where you're in a healthy level of ketosis. And and you can kind of see that in some of the the info graphs that are included, like in Akito Mojo or something similar like that. So staying in in that range is going to be important because it's it's showing you that that your body is basically getting into a fat burning state, because if you have pounds to lose and that's why you're fasting, well, the the fat burning doesn't start to happen until the ketone levels start to tick up. And the same thing goes along with with with this in the neurodegenerative disease process to where getting into ketosis as those those ketone levels start to tick up, the brain's metabolism starts to shift. And when it does, it gets into a more efficient state. It starts it starts firing more efficiently, more effectively. And and the outcomes of things like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's and things like that start to start to have clinically significant improvements.
[00:11:45] Yeah, and there's a lot you know, there's Alzheimer's, that type that that's those numbers are are are growing extremely fast, extremely rapid.
[00:11:57] And it's, you know, the category of Parkinson's neurodegenerative type conditions. There's nothing out there that stops it.
[00:12:09] Kind of like the diabetes situation where you manage it with medication, but it just progresses over time.
[00:12:16] So the diagnosis eventually ends up with meds, which then ends up with Monit managing the symptoms and the symptoms continue to progress. Through the later decades of life, so that's why this study really like I mean, I was just like, whoa, like, wait, so ketosis. And the study also says that we need to do look at more. Analyses and do more diving into this kind of topic of could we see long term changes, long term therapeutic changes, and by getting the body into a consistent state of ketosis, because it even says, like, once you stop, then it seems like those properties go away. But the potential is there. And that's what I find really intriguing. I want I want to make sure that we we go over kind of what those those numbers are what you should be seeing on your monitor, and then also when to test. Because that's one of the biggest questions that we get and we're going to be we go over this consistently.
[00:13:21] We have we have we're working on some resources for you as well. But on the website, they have, like you mentioned, different graphs kind of outlining. So we'll go over them here. But if you need more than just go to the website and all the infographics are there.
[00:13:36] Yeah. And let me land the plane with the with the article, too, because we're talking about neurodegenerative disease. But I really like how this applies to everyone as well, which is which is the neuroprotective role that they're finding. So the reason why this is significant is because in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disease processes, they are finding that the higher ketone levels are or leading to a neuroprotective role.
[00:14:02] But the that is important at any stage of life if you don't have to have a neurodegenerative disease to benefit from that effect of ketones. So as we go through through life and throughout the aging process, we can benefit from from any sort of neuroprotection that we can we can, you know, induce within the brain. So increasing ketone bodies and and living a more insulin friendly lifestyle can help improve brain function at any stage of life.
[00:14:37] Yeah, and I one reason, like in the conclusion of the article, too, I don't think I did a good job explaining what I was trying to just a minute ago. So thank you for going back to it, because I was like, not sure I got that outright.
[00:14:50] Was, you know, some of the studies that are out there found correlations between ketone bodies and cognitive improvements. We've mentioned that. And that's implying that the treatments which significantly elevate ketone body levels could be more beneficial. But that's the part that's that's still needs to be explored more in terms of the research side of things. The neuroprotective effect as well, if this is beneficial short term, then using fasting to get ourselves into these 18 to 24 to 48 hour cycles of ketosis is going to be neuroprotective in the long run. That's the correlation of the connecting point that I was trying to make, which you did a much more eloquent job of of doing so. I love that. It even says, you know, there are ways using medium chain fatty acids, right? So we're talking like coconut oils and those types of things, adding them to the diet, following that diet lifestyle. That, however, is difficult for a lot of people to sustain. So what is the easiest way to get this neuroprotective effect?
[00:16:02] Fasting, right, and that's the part that I love where I'm like, oh, cool, well, I can get there faster. I don't have to worry about. Eighty percent fat in my diet, which for me didn't work long term because fat bombs are really good and they're really hard to say no to. In our previous episode we talked about willpower in the mythical creature of willpower and how it has a limit or it has a finite amount. It won't power. Yeah, right. Yeah, the willpower. So I just love that. The easiest way just for us is, OK, let's start some fasting. And what does that look like? How do you get into ketosis? What are those levels? And it's really simpler than a lot of people make it out to be. If you're doing glucose testing, then this is going to be no different. You're just going to have two different test strips. So, yeah, ideally you want to get over point five millimoles and then up to one point zero is what's called nutritional ketosis. So this is when the body starts to transition from sugar burning to fat burning. And then the optimal ketone zone is anywhere between one to three. Yeah, and that can take a little bit of time and some consistency with fasting and consistency, keeping your carbs low and consistency and sleeping and all of those different types of things to get there. But usually most people can get there, you know, within a couple of weeks of doing twenty four to 48 hour fasts.
[00:17:40] Yeah, yeah. And if if you're new to fasting and you kind of jump in and and do a longer, fast, you might see some higher numbers after a couple of days. It's going to depend on, like you said, how full are your glycogen stores? How how large of a body do you have? And and also how insulin resistant are you at that point? Your higher level of insulin resistance is going to keep those ketone levels from from getting very high, at least at the beginning, until that that insulin sensitivity comes back, which which can happen relatively quickly, especially if you're doing longer, fast at the beginning.
[00:18:21] So we want to be looking for those numbers. Point five, all the way up to three point zero. When we're talking about therapeutic zones, which are higher levels of ketosis, there's some treatment protocols out there for specific types of diseases. There's a couple in the cancer family where you go under severe ketosis like you are. Ninety five percent fat, like five percent carb, and you're monitoring your blood and you're looking at different ways for the ketones to be therapeutic for those conditions way above my pay grade. I just know they exist. So therapeutic ketosis is like three higher. And what I love about Keto Mojo and the monitor is they have this new metric called a I don't want to get into it, but it really kind of almost indicates your your metabolic flexibility.
[00:19:11] And some people out there might not like that term. It's not my favorite either. But being metabolically flexible, meaning like how well is your body functioning overall?
[00:19:21] How well is your body healing and getting being able to get in and out of ketosis or being fat adapted? There's all these different terms that can mean it really is an individual thing. And that's why I like setting some parameters on when to test, which is really simple to do can create your own. Like I know how to manage my weight loss journey. I know how to manage my health journey just by looking at your ketone levels.
[00:19:49] Yeah. And as far as the as far as the actual levels that that you're looking for, when you it can be surprising to a lot of people that it takes a little while for those numbers to start ticking up, especially if if they're in the middle of a longer fast. We hear that a lot too. Like I'm only seeing a point five or a point seven, and I've been fasting for forty eight hours. And so that's that can be a little surprising to some people. But so don't get discouraged, especially if you're you're just getting started. Even if you're at a point five, your body's starting to burn some fat and just just keep going with it and you'll you'll likely see those numbers improve over time, too.
[00:20:29] And you're in your clearing out your your short term glycogen stores and you're becoming more fat adapted.
[00:20:37] You're able to transition in and out of those a lot quicker. So the easiest way to test is in the morning while you're fasting, before you eat breakfast, if you eat breakfast, which is not something that you and I subscribe to. I love breakfast, but I usually eat breakfast later in the day or it's more of a brunch or it's planned. Right. Or it's breakfast for dinner, which we do on Wednesdays in the morning while you're fasted. Now, sometimes these numbers will be a little bit elevated in the morning if you got insulin resistance or something called the dawn phenomenon. So do not get hung up on one number. Look at at least a two to four week trend.
[00:21:18] Like it's just like going into the doctor with white coat syndrome. You have high blood pressure that one day you take your blood pressure at home and it's great every morning. Right. Like that's like a snapshot instead of like the entire movie real like we don't we want to look at not getting hung up on one number, but we want to look at consistent testing over two to four weeks. We'll give you an idea of where you're at and what you can expect and what you need to do to get into ketosis.
[00:21:41] Yeah, and if you're if you're doing shorter, fast, like less then or less than twenty four hours, then, then definitely take a reading before you actually eat, like wait as long as possible before you eat and take a reading then and especially if you're just getting started, probably do at least at least two or three readings each day so you can kind of see and get a feel for how it can move, especially during this shorter fast.
[00:22:10] Right. That's perfect. So test in the morning, I would say for about a week to two weeks, you'll get a good handle on our eye tested. The morning test before you eat, whatever it is, you're going to break your fast test two to three hours after you eat as well. And what that's going to indicate is where your insulin is trending with your blood sugar post eating. How how much resistance do you have, how that meal has an effect on you as an individual? So the basic outline would be give it at least a week, get some data, two weeks, probably testing two to three times a day in the morning in a fasted state before you eat, before you break your fast and then two to three hours after. And that'll give you a good framework after a couple of weeks of kind of where you're at and what your numbers should look like. The cool thing is you can actually test for food sensitivities before eating like some people have done this with coffee. And we had a message that came in recently, which is like, hey, coffee seems to kick me out, spike my blood sugar. I was like, OK, well, here's what you do. I said, What are you doing? They told me. I said, OK, well, test before, test 60 minutes after and then three hours after and come to find out, they had a short spike, but then it returned to normal, probably within you know, I don't remember the exact numbers, but it was it was within that 60 minute and three hour market return to normal.
[00:23:33] Ok, so if that's you, for instance, I love the ability to have this tool. Now we're talking probably like level two or level three here. Right. So if you're just beginning to do what we just said, but here you can actually like test how sensitive you are to carbs. You can test how sensitive are to your favorite pizza. You can I'm using the really indulgent examples here. You can also test how sensitive your body is to fat and carbs together.
[00:23:59] So there's a lot of information you can get just by using, you know, ketone and accouterment or ketone our blood glucose monitor just by the timing. So if you want more information on that, then go ahead and go to the Cootamundra website. You can go to the testing center. And there's actually an entire like one page PDF or one page like outline of how to test for food sensitivities. But again, if you're just starting, keep it simple.
[00:24:28] Yeah, absolutely. Keep it simple. You know, if you're if you're you're starting to feel those the brain fog lifting, you're starting to feel like you're firing on all cylinders. It's likely that your your ketones are ticking up. So it's kind of cool, especially if if you're just getting started with monitoring to actually see how that correlates and see the number tick up as so you can you can put that together with the feeling and then in then you can you can use that as a as a framework. As you keep going, you'll you'll probably feel the need to test less over time because you start to understand how that feels.
[00:25:03] Love it. Love it, love it. Love it. If you have more questions, feel free to reach out. Keep it simple in the beginning.
[00:25:10] Remember, I love this article and why we brought it up, because there's benefits to having ketones, there's benefits to getting into ketosis outside of just losing weight, increased cognition, increased memory, increased speech and language, which was cool stuff from the study that we didn't really go into.
[00:25:28] But don't get overwhelmed by it. Don't get hooked on one. No, don't get discouraged if you're starting.
[00:25:35] And it's weird, like, I don't know if I'm doing this right there for a few weeks and it will give you a lot of information and it will also keep you going when if you're doing a longer, fast and you're like, man, I just got into ketosis. You know what, I'm going to push that meal to tomorrow. And I love that application of it as well. So I think for an action step here, maybe if you're not testing, then I'd go check it out, see if something you want to do, if you are testing and you're not really getting where you want to go, send you just a message, ask a question, but also try to apply the consistent testing schedule. And then you're going to have a couple of weeks at least of data to look at and be like, OK, what's really going on here? When do I feel the best? One of my numbers, the best. And it should give you some some good tools to be able to to keep moving forward.
[00:26:23] Yeah, absolutely. And if it's still not if it's still not feeling predictable and get a little more stable with your fasting schedule with it too. Because because dipping in and out of ketosis and changing the fasting intervals that you're using will affect those numbers as well. So as much as you can stabilize things, you'll you'll see more consistent results, too.
[00:26:43] Sounds great. All right, Tommy. Thank you, sir. And we will talk again on the next episode. Thank you. Bye.
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