Coconut Oil, Ketones and Alzheimer's

Thursday, April 20, 2017



Ketones act as a very basic fuel that can be used by nearly all of the cells in our bodies to produce the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is needed by every single cell to carry out its functions. Our cells can easily switch between using glucose (sugar) and ketones as fuel. As living beings, our metabolism is an extremely complex process involving hundreds of pathways and thousands of chemical reactions that operate on a continuous basis 24/7.  While most organs in our bodies can use fatty acids (breakdown products of fat) as fuel, fatty acids don’t easily cross over into the brain.  During fasting or starvation our energy hungry brains are especially dependent on the ability to use ketones as an alternative fuel. Without the availability of glucose or ketones as fuel to drive metabolism, we just simply wouldn’t exist.

But ketones are much more than fuel, not to diminish how important that is.  Ketones also enter other pathways in our metabolism. One of those has to do with BURNING FAT.   When we eat more food than we need, we store fat.  Insulin is key in making this happen.  When we eat carbohydrates (sugary and starchy foods), insulin levels rise, which allows glucose to enter cells to act as fuel.  But insulin has many other functions and is a key player in depositing fat on our bodies and keeping it there. This is a big problem for people who are prediabetic or have type II diabetes since they struggle with insulin resistance and tend to have very high insulin levels.  Very many people have insulin resistance and just don’t know it.  It can be extremely difficult to lose weight when insulin resistance is involved. When it comes to fat, ketones have the opposite effect of insulin by directly promoting the breakdown of fat to be burned as fuel.  Ketones also lower blood sugar and consequently lower insulin levels as well, making it easier to burn fat.

Taking exogenous ketones, especially when combined with a low carbohydrate, higher fat diet, will help shift us from burning glucose to burning to fat. People often lose muscle when they are on a typical high carbohydrate, low fat diet to lose weight because they will convert certain proteins in muscle to glucose. However, this is much less likely to happen with using a ketogenic strategy to burn fat, because there will be less need to use glucose as fuel.

As an added benefit, ketones signal the brain that our stomachs are full and appear to suppress the hormones that make us feel hungry.  How could it be any easier?

Pruvit Keto//OS and KetoMax contain the very important ketone beta hydroxybutyrate and many people find it easier to burn fat when taking ketone salts as a nutritional supplement.  If losing fat is your goal, combine ketone salts with a lower carbohydrate higher fat diet. Using coconut oil and MCT oil in your food can further support and sustain ketosis. Take it one step further and add vigorous exercise to the equation (which also raises ketone levels!) to find your best formula for burning fat.

For more information on ketones as alternative fuel for the brain and other ketone effects, look at my website at

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

by Mary T. Newport, M.D.
I receive emails and Facebook messages from many people who are using or want to use ketone salts for themselves or their loved ones, many of whom are elderly or may have medical conditions and want to make their life better.  Here is some guidance for how to get started with ketone salts:

Pruvit ketone salts are nutritional supplements and have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA to treat any medical condition.  On the other hand, there is plenty of scientific evidence that raising ketones can provide alternative fuel to the brain, reduce inflammation, and burn fat.  Many people report increased energy, endurance, focus and mental clarity, improved mood and sleep, fewer aches and pains, and fat loss.

As with any nutritional supplement, it is important for elderly people and people with medical conditions to consult with their physician before using ketone salts.  The doctor could monitor your blood pressure and check blood levels of electrolytes, glucose and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium) before you get started and after 3 to 6 weeks or so.  Pruvit ketone salts are the first product marketed widely to the public that contains the actual ketone body betahydroxybutyrate attached to the mineral salts sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.  Many people need to watch their sodium intake, may be on diuretics that may cause loss of minerals from the body, and/or may be taking potassium.  Keto//OS 2.1 and 3.0 have 1400 mg to 1600 mg per serving packet (or full scoop if you have a can of product).  Keto//OS 3.0 (chocolate swirl) also has 490 mg of potassium, compared to just 47 mg in Keto//OS 2.1 (orange dream). 
Another option to reduce sodium and potassium intake with ketone salts is to use KetoMax, which contains much less sodium per full serving at 925 mg and minimal potassium at 75 mg.  Another great reason to use KetoMax is that it contains a higher percentage of the circulating form of betahydroxybutyrate and may be even more effective than Keto//OS.  I recommend KetoMax especially for people with medical and neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It costs more but the value is there. Your doctor or a dietician can help you factor the mineral salts into your diet and adjust, for example, your potassium supplement to account for the amounts in ketone salts.
People with diabetes taking medications and/or insulin need to be aware that raising ketone levels with ketone salts may result in a significantly lower blood sugar along with a drop in the amount of insulin the body produces. To avoid abnormally low blood sugar, I recommend that you monitor your blood sugar closely and work with your doctor to make changes in your medications.  Many diabetics report that they are able to reduce their medications, including insulin, rather quickly over days to several weeks, especially if using ketone salts is combined with a low carbohydrate diet. Pruvit ketone salts contain minimal sugar and are sweetened with stevia and/or erithritol, a sugar alcohol.

Regarding diabetic ketoacidosis, this is an abnormal condition that occurs with very elevated blood sugar and inadequate insulin.  Levels of ketones are many times (20 to 50 times higher) than the levels you would get by taking a serving or two per day of ketone salts.  The risk is extremely low, but could be a problem for someone on the brink of diabetic ketoacidosis.   Ketone levels can easily be monitored with a Precision Xtra or NovaMax glucose/ketone monitor using ketone strips, available online without a prescription.  Ketone salts usually produce betahydroxubutyrate levels in the 0.5 to 2 mmol range, compared to 10 to 25 mmol in diabetic ketoacidosis.

While it is tempting to start with a whole serving in hopes of seeing maximum benefits right away, I recommend in elderly people and those with medical conditions, to start with 1 or 2 level teaspoons per day, which would be equal to about 1/8 to 1/4 of a serving, and if there is no issue, such as intestinal distress, you could increase by the same amount every few days until arriving at ½ to 1 full serving per day.  The total amount could be divided into smaller portions throughout the day.
Also, it is very important that the person taking ketone salts take plenty of water and other clear liquids.  Ketone salts can have a dehydrating effect in some people, especially in the beginning.
Ketones can suppress appetite, which is great if you need to lose weight.  If you are very thin you might consider adding more calories to your diet with calorie dense foods such as coconut oil, olive oil, butter, cream, avocado and nuts.

Ketone salts are so new that most doctors don’t know about them yet much less the potential of ketones to provide alternative fuel to the brain and other organs, reduce inflammation, and burn fat.  I suggest that you take a copy of these guidelines to your doctor.  Many doctors decide to pass this information on to other patients when they see improvement in just one of their patients.  Some doctors may even decide to help their patients by providing ketone salts as samples or ordering them through their office.

For more information see: and

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Friday, February 17, 2017


                If you are new to the world of ketones and ketone salts, you might have a very basic question, what are ketones and where they come from?  So we will start with a lesson from biochemistry 101 that I will try to make as simple as possible. The word “ketone” comes from the German word “keton” meaning acetone, which is your basic fingernail polish remover! This is the very same acetone that is one of the three basic ketone bodies produced in our bodies (I will talk more about that later).
“Atoms” are the basic particles of matter. The basic atoms in living matter are oxygen, hydrogen and carbon.  Atoms are connected to each other by “bonds” that are sort of like magnetic attractions.  When two or more atoms are connected, they are called “molecules”. Glucose (sugar), fats and ketones are made of different combinations of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. The carbon atoms line up in a chain and the hydrogen and oxygen atoms attach to the carbon atoms.  The positions of the atoms in a molecule determine what it does in the body. 
Glucose starts with a chain of six carbons with hydrogens and oxygens attached to them and is the main fuel for the cells in our body when we are on a higher carbohydrate diet.  Betahydroxybutyrate is one of the three ketones made in the body and starts with a chain of four carbons with hydrogens and oxygens attached. There are two forms of betahydroxybutyrate that have a different shape – the simplest way to think of them is as mirror images. D-betahydroxybutyrate is found mainly in the bloodstream and L-betahydroxybutyrate is found mainly in mitochondria where energy, called ATP, is produced in our cells. There are two other ketones, one called acetoacetate and the other called acetone (finger nail polish remover!), which evaporates easily and is mostly exhaled.  Acetone accounts for the fruity breath people may have when they are in ketosis (meaning when blood ketone levels are elevated). Acetoacetate converts easily to betahydroxybutyrate and vice versa. Acetoacetate also breaks down to acetone.
Endogenous ketones are ketones that originate inside of our bodies. The most common way that we experience ketosis is when we do not eat for 10 or 12 hours overnight; we will often be in mild ketosis in the morning until we eat something with carbohydrates (sugar) in it. Ketosis becomes much more pronounced over days to weeks in people who are fasting intentionally, starving, or on a high-fat low-carbohydrate diet.  In this situation, we begin breaking down fat into fatty acids after the glucose that is stored in our body is used up, usually within 36 to 48 hours. These relatively large fatty acids do not cross very well into the brain, however they are broken down in the liver to ketones. The cool thing about ketones is that they do cross the blood brain barrier and provide fuel to the cells in our brain as well as in our other organs (except in the liver where they are made). Both glucose and ketones enter the same chemical pathway that leads to producing ATP, however ketones enter this pathway several steps downstream from where glucose enters. Because of this, ketones can serve as an alternative fuel to the brain and other organs when there is a problem using glucose for fuel.
Exogenous ketones originate from outside of the body. Pruvit ketone salts, Keto//OS and KetoMax, are natural exogenous ketones and are the first products to be widely marketed to the public that contain the actual ketone betahydroxybutyrate!

Coming soon: How Do Ketones Work?

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Ketone salts AKA Keto//OS were developed and tested at the University of South Florida in the labs of Dr.Dominic D’Agostino and have just become widely available in 2016 through network marketing by Pruvit.
Ketone salts are carefully formulated and contain the actual ketone betahydroxybutyrate bound to sodium, calcium and magnesium and can increase ketone levels much higher than coconut or MCT oil and could bring about even more improvement. Using ketone salts could be part of the overall strategy to raise ketones, keeping coconut and MCT oil as the foundation.

Ketone salts are now widely used by people with a variety of conditions who are reporting positive responses, including brain fog, memory impairment, sleep problems, low energy, and conditions  caused by inflammation (ketones are anti-inflammatory in addition to providing alternative fuel to the brain and other organs).  Many people have reported substantial fat loss, especially when combined with a low carb diet and without hunger (ketones can suppress appetite and encourage fat loss by reducing glucose and insulin levels and stimulating fat breakdown).  World class athletes and body builders are using ketone salts to enhance physical performance.

A healthy person could take a full serving of Pruvit KetoOS or KetoMax right away. For elderly people or those with chronic medical conditions I recommend getting doctor's approval, so that electrolytes can be monitored and I suggest starting slowly - 1 or 2 teaspoons once or twice a day and increasing gradually over a week or two as tolerated to 1/2 to 1 serving daily, or more as tolerated.  Also very important - the person taking the salts needs to be able to drink plenty of fluids to avoid a dehydrating effect of raising ketones.

The KetoOS 2.1 orange dream flavor is the ketone betahydroxybutyrate PLUS MCT oil powder with mild oragne flavor and stevia.  Works well in hot or cold drink - tea (cold or hot), water or sparkling water.  I know someone who doesn't like it as a drink but puts it into Jello!!

The KetoOS 3.0 chocolate swirl has a light chocolate flavor and contains the ketone betahydroxybutyrate but NO MCT.  It does contain certain amino acids that help maintain muscle mass.

The KetoMax is Hawaiian punch flavor and is probably the best at elevating ketone levels the highest. Can be used in cold or hot drinks.  It is the more bio-available form of betahydroxybutyrate called the D-form.  Also has no MCT.  KetoMax will be coming out in a “hot cocoa” flavor soon.

KetoKreme is a combination of coconut and MCT powder (no betahydroxybutyrate) with stevia and cinnamon that you can put into a warm drink like coffee or tea.  I use this one myself in the morning in coffee and love it.

The most economical way to buy the ketone salts is a 30 day serving supply in a can which comes with a one serving scoop.  One scoop contains about 8 level teaspoons of the ketone salt powder, so if someone starts with one or two teaspoons as their serving the can could potentially last quite a bit longer than a month.  For more information you can link through my website OR

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Eating Academy - Good articles on ketosis and many other topics by Dr. Peter Attia

Here is a link to a blog by Peter Attia, MD on nutrition, stressing low carbohydrate diet with many very interesting articles on ketosis (see part I and Part II).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT on Cholesterol, ApoE4, Statins, Beta Amyloid and Alzheimer's

Here is a link to a very thorough and highly researched article by Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT discussing the importance of fat and cholesterol, how they work in the brain, why statin use may be counterproductive for people at risk for and dealing with Alzheimer's, the function of beta amyloid and why a high fat diet may be beneficial.  I found this especially enlightening in its explanation of how cholesterol is packaged as it is transported throughout the body, and what it is packaged with in LDL particles, for example, may be a surprise.

Dr. Seneff has written many other similar articles of great interest to those concerned with cholesterol, statins, Alzheimer's, autism and other neurodegenerative diseases, many of which can be downloaded from her homepage.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fuel for Thought

Many people ask me to suggest a convenient way that does not involve cooking to provide coconut and MCT oil for their loved ones who are in assisted living, or are looking for a convenient way to take it at home, or carry along while travelling or just out and about.  One such product is called Fuel for Thought and is available directly from Cognate Nutritionals by way of or by calling  (855) 453-8663.  The company is located in the USA in Connecticut.  In the first edition of my book, the working name of this product was Cocomul but is now called Fuel for Thought.

Steve and I have had the opportunity to try out Fuel for Thought and it is a delicious, creamy vanilla flavored liquid that is easiest taken as is but can also be mixed into other foods and liquids.  Fuel for Thought® has been scientifically designed to provide a high concentration of MCTs which are partly converted in the liver to ketones that act as alternative fuel for brain cells.  In this regard, it has been designed to support cognitive health.  The makers state this product contains NO cholesterol, gluten, transfats, soy, dairy, or fructose, is vegetarian and very low in sodium. 

The beauty of Fuel for Thought is that it is packaged in one ounce single-serving bottles that do not require refrigeration, and are  sold as a case containing 60 doses.  For someone in assisted living, rather than trying to provide food containing coconut oil or getting the staff to give the patient coconut oil, the loved one's physician could order that Fuel for Thought be provided to the patient at set times of day, with meals, for example.

The recommendation from the company is to take one bottle twice a day, beginning with a portion of the bottle initially and increasing as tolerated.  The product is designed such that the amount of ketones produced by taking one ounce is equal to three tablespoons of coconut oil but with only 100 calories, as opposed to about 360 calories from the equivalent amount of coconut oil.

The product is currently being studied in a clinical trial of Alzheimer's and coconut/MCT oil versus placebo at the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute at University of South Florida in Tampa.
It is comparable to my idea of mixing coconut oil and MCT oil to reach higher levels of ketones while retaining the many health benefits of coconut oil.  I am giving Steve this mixture several times a day to try to keep ketones available to his brain 24/7.  For that reason I am involved with the company as a scientific advisor.
The concept here is that MCT oil is partly converted in the liver to ketones which act in the brain as an alternative fuel to glucose. People who have insulin deficiency or insulin resistance have difficulty getting glucose, the usual primary fuel for the brain and other organs, into the cells and eventually they malfunction and diet. This product would be useful not only for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, but also, Parkinson’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Huntington’s, and most other conditions where there is insulin resistance or decreased glucose uptake into cells.

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