In episode 84 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
One way that researchers evaluate the health of a brain is by evaluating its neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to learn something new and to retain that information. Younger brains have more neuroplasticity and can retain information faster and for longer periods of time. As you age, the neuroplasticity of your brain doesn’t go away, but it does diminish over time. But new information says that it isn’t as fixed as once thought. There are ways that you might be able to retain brain neuroplasticity or even improve it as you get older.
There are multiple ways to increase ketones in the brain. Behaviors like fasting increases ketones, partial fasting for 12 hours or more with no food increases GABA DR. CHAD LARSON
A study released earlier in the Montreal Neurological Institute, which is associated with the prestigious McGill University, evaluated the brains of both older and younger rats and they drew some technological evaluations. They first examined the neuroplasticity of the rats, then they made some changes to the older rats, and they saw significant improvement. The way they evaluated the rats was by giving them a task and then evaluating how long they were able to retain the information.
Researchers sought to improve the adult rats’ brains by changing the amount of neurotransmitter GABA, which is an important central nervous system neurotransmitter. What they found was that when they increased GABA, neuroplasticity went up. The aging rats were able to learn something and retain it for a longer time. That is a major home run for science and the understanding of neuroplasticity and aging, as well as other brain health issues.
Although just published a month ago in eNeuro, researchers will likely work overtime to try to develop a drug to increase GABA levels in the brain to ward off conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. In natural medicine, however, we already know about ways to improve GABA. We know that when the brain is in a state of Ketosis, meaning that the energetics of the brain has switched from burning glucose to burning ketones in the production of ATP, which the neurons of the brain needs for fuel and energy, it increases GABA.
There are multiple ways to increase ketones in the brain. Behaviors like fasting increases ketones, partial fasting for 12 hours or more with no food increases GABA. The ketogenic Diet, which is a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat, increases GABA and taking exogenous ketones supplements are also ways to increase GABA.
We know that the Ketogenic Diet helps brain health due to studies done on epilepsy. Ketosis helps to boost levels of GABA. By boosting GABA, you also decrease another neurotransmitter glutamate. You need glutamate, but when it is high, and GABA is low, it makes the brain’s functioning diminished. When glutamate is high, and GABA is low, it makes it difficult for the brain to focus and can lead to conditions like ADHD and anxiety. When the brain is in a state of Ketosis, GABA goes up and glutamate goes down. Since GABA helps with neuroplasticity, we know that increasing it can help increase brain health. Knowing that GABA improves the ability of the brain to both learn new things and to retain that knowledge, brings a wealth of tools to reduce cognitive decline as you age and for other brain health conditions.