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  1. #1

    My experiments with keto, brain health, and fat loss

    Hi! I wanted to share my experience with keto, especially when it comes to dealing with plateaus / troubleshooting the problems I've encountered over my last year following a Standard Ketogenic Diet (with a few modifications, as I'll explain). This "journal" can hopefully serve as a resource to others...

    To begin with before/after pictures ("after" is more like "work-in-progress"):





    My Story (in a nutshell): I put myself on a ketogenic diet without physician supervision in July 2016 to treat chronic fatigue, severe concentration problems, treatment-resistant depression, and lose fat (a metabolic reaction to some medication had caused me to go from ~198 lbs to ~250 lbs). I learned about keto after I had a sleep study done to figure out what was causing my insomnia – turned out I had restless leg syndrome. They wanted to give me anti-seizure meds – I took one look at the side effects of those drugs and said "no thank you!" However, I started thinking: Well, anti-seizure meds are usually used to treat epilepsy...so whatever is going on with my legs might have a common mechanism of action as what an epileptic experiences. I also was noticing tremors associated with PTSD that had a "shaking" quality similar to a minor seizure. In my research I discovered that the ketogenic diet had been used to treat pediatric epilepsy with great success, and so I embarked on my experiments...

    In my follow-up posts I'll explain each of my challenges with keto along my way & what I did to move effectively through the plateau. And I'll post some pictures and blood lab results too.
    Last edited by Aaron Infante-Levy; 10-03-2017 at 02:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Experiment #1: Treat the Liver

    When I started keto in July 2016, it wasn't my first time trying. I'd done at trial run back in January to see if I could handle it and to test my knowledge of the protocols. So I thought I knew what to expect – a few weeks to get fat adapted, a bit of "keto flu", and eventually my blood results would be swimming with ketones. Not so. After 4 weeks, I'd lost virtually no fat, was still suffering from foggy thinking, and my blood ketones wouldn't get above 0.5 mmol/L despite rigorous adherence to the protocol and keeping my net carbs below 20g. Intuitively, I felt there was more to this picture than met the eye, but most of the forum advice I was getting to amounted to: You're not doing it right. Drop your carbs. Are you eating dairy? Give yourself more time. Another 4 weeks went by as I tried to troubleshoot my journey with keto... to no avail. At that point, I was 2 months into keto and extremely discouraged. Maybe all these forum posters were right, I thought, maybe I just can't do this.

    Fortunately, I encountered Dr. Sally "Bliss" Boyd, N.D. through http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com/ She's a brilliant woman associated with the Weston Price Foundation: http://www.drsallyblissboyd.com/ After chatting with her over phone (she's on Big Island, I'm on Oahu), she started to help me piece together a couple things which indicated my liver needed cleansing...

    (1) I had elevated AST(SGOT) liver enzyme in blood tests, indicating my liver was under stress and slowly decomposing into the blood.
    (2) I had soreness at an acupressure point on right ribs (tied to liver) when palpated. Normally you'd do this with a practitioner, but I have background in internal Chinese martial arts, so I was familiar with the meridians.
    (3) I was waking up around 3 AM most days, which is when the liver is active acc. to the Chinese "body clock".
    (4) I had a history of taking pharmaceuticals for major depression.
    (5) I had elevated serum estrogen (which is usually eliminated by liver)
    (6) I had difficulty getting into deeper ketosis.

    "Treat the liver" is one of the oldest medical principles. A healthy liver, and by extension healthy eliminative organs – colon, kidneys, lung, skin – is critical when undertaking a ketogenic diet because the diet, as I understand it, "squeezes" water from cells which begin to be fueled fat. And that means breathing, sweating, pissing, and otherwise excreting toxins along with that water. If the liver is under stress that process can be interrupted.

    Thus began my regimen...

    Diet: At Dr. Boyd's recommendation, I followed the Page Fundamental Food Plan (a slightly more restrictive version of a Ketogenic Diet that cuts out most dairy & pork). I also consumed 2 cups/day of Bieler Broth (slow cook string beans, zucchini, and parsley, and then puree with cooking water and butter).

    Daily Care for Eliminative Organs:
    Sweat (sauna or cardio) – skin
    Breathing/cardio – lungs
    Drink 1/2 gallon water – kidney
    Make sure 2-3 bowel movements – colon
    Eat 5 cups of five-color veggies (yellow/orange, green, blue/purple, red, white) – phytonutrients
    Consume a raw egg yolk – many benefits, esp. lecithin for liver

    **I also was practicing the Eight Pieces Brocade, a simple Qi Gong form, and yogic breathing, both which can help facilitate elimination of toxins.

    Supplementation (most were from Standard Process):

    Supplements (AM): Reason?:
    Drenamin (3 pills) ?
    Phosfood (20 drops) ?thin bile?

    Supplements (PM): Reason?:
    Drenamin (3 pills), at noon –
    MinTran (3 pills), at noon ?
    MinTran (3 pills), at dinner –

    Supplements (with meal): Reason?:
    Spanish Black Radish (2 / meal) ?
    Silymarin (milk thistle) (1 / meal) support liver against environmental toxins & reduce inflammation in liver
    Livaplex (2 / meal) ?
    AF Betafood (3 / meal) ?thin bile?

    EDIT: I can't remember what Min-Tran and Drenamin were for, but the Phosphorus had an immediately noticeable impact within a few days; my body really needed that. The "with meal" supplements felt intuitively like they were very helpful, for what that's worth.

    Liver Flush: After 2-3 weeks following this protocol (I did 3 weeks), I did a liver flush. There are lots of versions of this on the internet, but basically it involves a light fast & intaking olive oil and lemon juice, and having very interesting bathroom time. The importance of doing the whole protocol BEFORE attempting the flush is that you are trying to thin the bile in the liver; that's what makes for an optimum flush and restores liver's health.

    After doing this liver cleanse protocol, within a week I was hitting blood ketone readings of 2.4 mmol/L and within two weeks my fat was beginning to melt off.

    Experiment successful!

  3. #3
    Experiment #2: Exogenous Ketones to Boost Ketamine-Assisted Therapy

    This experiment is likely not relevant to many folks doing a ketogenic diet for optimum health and fat loss. If you've struggled with a treatment-resistant mental illness, however, you may find something worthwhile here.

    I suffer from depression & PTSD, and managing both for the past 4 years without medication. Back in March 2017, after much deliberation, I undertook a series of 3 ketamine treatments with Dr. Rustin Berlow http://www.drrustinberlowmd.com/ in San Diego. It actually was ketamine-assisted psychotherapy with my long-time psychologist and friend Dr. Michael Seskin – very luck to have had that opportunity. There is a growing body of evidence that ketamine is beneficial to people whose depression is resistant to traditional psychiatric drugs, for example: https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...idal-children/

    I was in nutritional ketosis at the time (about 7-8 months into Keto), and had no idea that Dr. Berlow had started "prescribing" the ketogenic diet to several of his patients along with exogenous ketones prior to certain treatments (such as transcranial magnetic stim, vagus nerve stim, and ketamine-assisted therapy). Very cool doc! We talked about his reasons at length, and they amounted to: He was starting to notice more improvement of brain function on EEGs (electroencephalogram) if the patient took exogenous ketones prior to treatment in the form of KetoCaNa.

    What I'm describing probably qualifies as "frontier medicine" in that there are studies being done now looking at this stuff, but results are far from conclusive. Anecdotally, however, there are folks in healthcare who are taking notice – for example, there's a roundtable group at UCSD looking at ketamine therapies and Dr. Berlow is bringing data about ketones to that conversation.

    My experience comparing my ketamine-assisted therapy WITH exogenous ketones and WITHOUT was that when I took the exogenous ketones I had a "deeper" experience and felt like I was able to access another layer of information about myself and my suffering. Anecdotally, I think there was some merit to what Dr. Berlow was saying.
    Last edited by Aaron Infante-Levy; 10-01-2017 at 10:32 PM.

  4. #4
    Experiment #3: Breaking a Long Plateau with Acids, Minerals, and Broccoli

    While my focus and overall well-being improved as a result of the ketamine-assisted therapy, since March/April 2017, however, I hit a plateau and wasn't losing fat. Check the before/after photos below from April 2017 and September 2017.

    Basically, I built a few pounds muscle back along with more than a few pounds of fat. On Sept. 19th I was 234 lbs and 24.6% body fat.

    My body fat % hadn't really moved for 5-6 months! If anything, it was worse! It was a miserable plateau, because I thought I was doing everything right. With no idea of what I needed to change, I had blood work done through Dr. Miles Suehiro, a functional medicine physician working way outside the medical mainstream. Brilliant man. As the blood work showed, I was suffering several micronutrient deficiencies despite eating what I thought was a very well balanced diet (lots of veggies of multiple colors, fermented foods, staying away from most dairy, staying in ketosis, etc, etc), and my hormones were on the lower end of the reference ranges (esp. Estradiol which was precipitously low due to taking an aromatase inhibitor called Anastrazole – which a previous doctor recommended to minimize conversion of testosterone into estrogen – apparently it had worked TOO well, or I'd taken it LONGER than I should have).

    On September 21st I added a couple things to my diet in an effort to shake things up:

    Tonalin CLA 1000 (Source Naturals) 2.34g / day –– while clinical trials for humans are still being conducted, from what I've read, this seemed like a worthy inclusion in my experiment to reduce body fat safely
    L-Carnitine (Source Naturals) 250mg / day –– to facilitate transport of fatty acids into mitochondria where they're metabolized into ATP
    OptiZinc (Source Naturals) 30mg / day –– to treat a serious Zinc deficiency in my blood work
    DIM Detox (SmokyMountainNaturals) 250mg / day -- derived from cruciferous veggies like broccoli for balancing estrogen levels & preventing conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (which can be responsible for male pattern baldness like I'm starting to experience)

    This morning, October 1st, I weighed in at 229.2 lbs and 23.5% body fat, and so far this experiment seems to have broken me through the plateau! Tentatively, I'm calling it a success.



    Last edited by Aaron Infante-Levy; 10-01-2017 at 10:28 PM.

  5. #5
    Member minkus's Avatar
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    Interesting thread so far. Im thinking if I should eventually start my own personal thread.

    In no way can it compare to yours though! You are deep with info. Im barely scratching the surface on it.
    Aloha from Hawaii!

    Starting weight: 210 on 6/1/ 2017
    171.5 as of 9/16/17
    163.4 as of 10/11/17

    How? <25g carbs per day

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