Ketosis, Fasting, and Brain Power

The brain is fascinating. The food you put and don’t put in your body massively effects your mental clarity and cognition.

There’s a certain state called ‘ketosis’ that occurs after fasting for a certain amount of time. It causes your body to become remarkably efficient.

Brain power skyrockets.
Energy soars.
You feel great.

But how do you get there?

The answer is fasting. If you fast for long enough, you force your body to a certain point where it can no longer gain energy from food. So, it looks to an alternative source of energy. Namely, fat.

When using fat as a source of energy, the body starts producing these things called ketones. I’m not going to get into the sciency stuff behind the differences between this source of energy and carbs, but just know that it changes the way the brain itself receives and uses energy.

The state of ketosis is found to increase memory and learning. According to this article from Scientific American: “A ketogenic diet also increases the number of mitochondria, so called “energy factories” in brain cells. A recent study found enhanced expression of genes encoding for mitochondrial enzymes and energy metabolism in the hippocampus, a part of the brain important for learning and memory.”

It’s also highly interesting to note that ketones are a primary source of energy during the time of life that your brain is developing the most — postnatal development.

This state has also been found to aid in weight loss, diabetes, and epilepsy.

Of course, it’s important to note that ketosis can only last for so long because you have a limited amount of fat in your body, but there are diets designed to maximize this state. These diets are essentially high fat diets coupled with intermittent fasting. There are some scientific concerns about whether a longterm ketogenic diet is healthy or not (so do your research before trying it), but it is quite fascinating.

Sources/Additional research:

What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis Makes Your Brain Work Better

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