In a new study from the University of British Columbia, researchers found that ketone supplements may be a new therapeutic strategy for protecting and improving brain health in people with obesity.
People with obesity are known to be at a higher risk of developing cognitive impairment and brain diseases.
This new study found that giving a ketone supplement three times a day for 14 days enhanced blood flow to the brain and improved aspects of cognitive function, like working memory and processing speed, in adults with obesity.
Supplements specifically containing the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (B-OHB) that are safe for human consumption are relatively new and have mostly been investigated for physical performance (in sports and military settings).
It has previously been shown that ketone supplements are beneficial for older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia.
In this study, the researchers showed that ketone supplements may be a new way to protect and improve brain health in people with obesity, who are at risk of developing brain impairment.
Adults with obesity volunteered to consume either a ketone supplement or a taste-matched placebo supplement three times per day, 15 minutes before each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
The participants were randomly assigned to take the supplement or the placebo for the first 14-day period, and they were then switched to the other condition for another 14-day period.
The researchers provided participants with all meals and snacks for both 14-day intervention periods.
They measured cognitive function using validated tests via an application on an iPad, and measured brain blood flow using what’s called a duplex ultrasound of the extra-cranial (neck) arteries.
They also took blood samples to measure hormones that are like fertilizer for the brain, helping neurons grow and improving cognitive functions.
The team says once validated with a larger group of people, they expect that these supplements can be used to protect and improve brain health in people with obesity.
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The study is published in The Journal of Physiology. One author of the study is Dr. Jeremy Walsh.
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