7.5 Weeks on Keto

You probably think it’s weird I am doing another update already, or perhaps you’ve been wondering.

I am not going to lie, I have had a few treat days in the over seven weeks but since this is a lifestyle change and not a diet it is absolutely, 100 percent okay. I will never make it through the upcoming holidays if I do not allow myself a little treat sometimes, the trick is to only have it once and then back on track. I monitored my ketones after these days and it takes about three days for my body to get back to producing ketone levels that are detectable using the urine test strips.

I am up to over 18 inches lost and about 18 pounds lost. If you read my previous post though you know this is about my brain and not my weight, though I am happy to have this side effect of this change. So, have I noticed any changes in my brain/body in regards to my MS symptoms and my change in eating habits. Unfortunately, not yet, though these things take time so I am going to keep moving forward hoping the long run results will help the MS.

Now, for my blood!! I had to see the doctor so I had her pull blood that I get done annually just to see if there is a change. There was. My cholesterol level over all is the same, though the triglycerides were so high last time they couldn’t actually get a number for the LDL. My triglycerides have gone almost 100 points, my A1C level went from 6.3 to 5.7 (pre-diabetic to your little high keep up the diet changes).

The thing that was the biggest difference in my body was my hormone levels. Last year, and the year before all of my hormone levels were at “post-menopausal” levels thanks to my PCOS. Now, my levels have normalized to those of an average 30-something year old. That’s a huge difference, I am not planning on having any more kids but if I was this would be an awesome start.

Now that my hormones are returning there’s three possible outcomes for my alopecia.

  1. My hair grows back (this would be AMAZING), however less likely.
  2. Nothing changes
  3. I lose more hair, this is a possibility because the hormone levels being wacky is what caused it in the first place.

With the science showing me that there is a difference happening on the inside of my body and the outside of my body fitting into cute clothes I forgot I had I am confident moving forward the way I am.

 

One Month on Keto so far

I started Keto on September 7th for my brain health for MS. (healthy high fat diets have proven to be good to neurological diseases) I have been asked several if it is helping, that’s not an easy question to answer.

I have not noticed a difference in my functioning since starting keto, my energy level is still low, my pain is still there (depends on what I have done during each day), my words still don’t work.

What I have noticed is that my hormones (due to PCOS) have leveled out (fingers crossed it helps my alopecia). I have lost 13.61 pounds and 13 total inches.

When I nerd out at my next doctor appointment I will have a bunch of blood work done to see if it has changed anything on that level. It’s hard, especially because I love sugar, but it’s manageable and since it’s a lifestyle change for me and not a diet I am allowing myself the occasional treat so that I can sustain this change long term.

Ketogenic Diet, Nutrition & Multiple Sclerosis – Introduction

This is not a post about the “fad diet”, rather information I gathered through research and my attempt to balance my system after a nonstop, downward spiral of MS and other diseases.

The first big nutrition information that came out in regards to MS was Terry Wahl and her Wahl’s Protocol. This was huge! She went from a wheelchair to walking and riding bikes, from her book mostly due to diet changes, which were paleo-ketogenic changes. Now the original book was hardcore, way more than what I was willing to do. When I was diagnosed with MS all I really had going for me was the delicious food I loved.

When I was first diagnosed the neurologist (several actually) pressed upon me a healthy diet. They never explained why though, I am a information and science kind of a girl and I am not going to do something just because you tell me to and say it’s healthy. I mean it wasn’t terribly long ago that people swallowed Radium because they thought it was healthy.

There are posts about Keto and MS on Reddit from more than 6 years ago, definitely before it really hit mainstream. Paleo has also been long thought to help, due to the fact that you are not eating any processed foods, most of which can trigger inflammation in the body. Though it is now known to not be a wholly inflammation disease (neuro-degeneration continues without inflammation) for a substantial portion of it’s history it was believed to be just that. Inflammation is the reason that people who have relapses get steroids, calms it down very quickly.

So what is Ketogenic? It was originally designed in 1921 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic for the treatment of epilepsy in children (this was before anti-convulsant medications). This original diet plan was 90% fat, 6% protein and 4% carbs, ack! There have been four additional versions since Dr. Wilder’s introduction of this diet for treatment of epilepsy. If you want to see that stats and some nifty graphs and charts definitely visit https://charliefoundation.org/diet-plans/ because those are helpful.

The most common version of the diet now is 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs, this comes close to the “modified keto” which is 70, 15 and 15. “The diet enhances the ability of mitochondria, the power plants of our cells, to deliver our bodies’ energy needs in a manner that reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.” There’s the science I was looking for, turns out mitochondria are a big part of MS.

During the first attacks of MS, immune cells are mistakenly allowed through the blood brain barrier (it’s called a barrier for a reason, nothing is supposed to go through). With each attack the barrier becomes easier and easier to access. Once they realized MS wasn’t a diseased caused by inflammation and they started looking at numerous other things they found a pattern of dysfunctional mitochondria and damaged mtDNA (this is DNA inherited from the mother). I would be interested to know if this is why women are more likely to have MS than men.

“A ketogenic diet causes your body to burn off fat rather than carbohydrates. Glucose is the body’s preferred fuel, but a change in metabolism occurs when you restrict your intake of carbohydrates. Your liver starts producing bodies called ketones. These ketones appear to protect the cells of the nervous system, the site of damage in MS. ”

Interestingly, ketones reduce toxic effects of glutamate acid, which is a byproduct of injury to the brain and keytones are an alternative energy source during metabolic stress. The key to this diet change is eating good, healthy fats (avocados, coconut, olive oil, fish and nuts) and not heavy in the not as healthy fats mostly bacon and cutting out all processed foods and complex carbs. Ketogenic diet also helps decrease cancer/cancer cells, which thrive on glucose and insulin, can increase your HDL levels which will help lower your overall cholesterol levels.

The Ketogenic diet, which has been around for 95 years has been looked at for helping Multiple Sclerosis patients for at least the last 3 years. The book Wahl’s Protocol came out in 2014, so 5 years if you count that. There a multiple considerations when deciding if you are going to try Keto though, you should always talk to your doctor first, especially if you have more than one health concern.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_DNA

https://www.hopeforfatigue.org/autoimmune-diseases-blog/multiple-sclerosis-now-linked-to-mitochondrial-dysfunction.html

https://msfocus.org/About-Us/MSF-News-Articles/49

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627385/

https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/ketogenic-diet#fat-versus-carbs

https://www.theimproper.com/135382/ketogenic-paleo-diet-reversed-multiple-sclerosis-starves-cancer/