Alkalinity and Candida: Considerations When Doing the Ketogenic Diet or the Intermittent Ketosis Diet

One of the main tenets of the Naturopathic approach to healing is making the body more alkaline.  A body that is more alkaline tends to resist viral attack and tends to heal more efficiently.  In order for the Ketogenic Diet (or the Paleo Diet, or the Intermittent Ketosis Diet) to assist the body in healing, it should be “alkaline- reacting”.

Dr. Vincent Pedre, M.D. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, for example, says alkaline eating reduces the risk of cancer.  He states that most tumors that are solid thrive on glucose.  Since an alkaline diet is relatively low in glucose, it deprives solid tumors of their fuel.

Published research in Nutrition & Metabolism suggests that tumors love an acidic environment – and,   findings in Cancer Research, indicate that a low-acid environment in the body potentially halts the spread of cancer cells. A study from Thailand indicates that the body can become acidic in just one week.   If this preliminary research is true, then we should all be eating more alkaline – regardless of what dietary regimen we adhere to.

What about the Ketogenic Diet then?  On the one hand, it severely limits sugar and carbohydrates – which would lower the acidic load and making the body more alkaline.  What I have found, however, is that most individuals, myself included, who are attempting to eat “keto” tend to concentrate on the protein and fat components of the ketogenic regime with less than optimal intake of fruits and vegetables.  Since fruits and vegetables are required to keep the body alkaline, it is estimated that you would have to eat 10 fruits and vegetables per day.  I haven’t read this book yet, but Ross Bridgeford has a new book out called “The Alkaline Reset Cleanse”-which may be a good resource for those of you who are interested.

The other problem that most of us over 40 have is a sluggish digestive system – which tends to be more acidic – from a lifetime of acidic foods.  This leads to a maladapted gut microbiome and an increased growth in organisms that thrive in an acid environment.

Meat is also an acidic-reacting food as are sugar and carbohydrates.

Researchers at Purdue University cut their subject’s total caloric intake by 30% then put them on either a high plant protein or low plant protein/animal-based diet.  Those subjects who ate more plant protein i.e., beans (which were prepared to eliminate the lectins), lentils and peas lost 325% more weight than those eating animal-based protein.  Plant-based protein is high in fiber – which promotes a healthy gut bacteria diversity and number.

Which brings us to our second point.  Candida albicans – a gut fungal commensal parasitic organism – thrives in an acid environment.  It disrupts our normal microbiome.  Even when a woman follows the ketogenic diet, for example, and does “everything right” weight loss can plateau.  This is often due to the Candida organism which may have extended beyond the gut affecting the liver and the thyroid – which stalls metabolism.

Candida organisms produce more than 75 known toxins. To protect the vital organisms, the body produces new fat cells to store the excess toxins. Tumeric and Curcumin are essential, in my mind, for anyone on low carbohydrate diet, including the ketogenic diet because it is possible that the “ketogenic flu” is just a manifestation of Candida die-off and the release of the candida toxins from the fat stores.   250 mcg of molybdenum per day as a supplement can reduce this effect.

Curcumin kills Candida, shuts off its repair cycle and reduces the candida’s ability to adhere to the body cells.  In addition, curcumin can repair candida-damaged liver tissue, and can cause fat cells to self-destruct and halt the development of new fat stores.  All it takes is to add 1 tsp of turmeric to foods per day (or 1,000 mg of Curcumin in supplemental form).  FYI, Curcumin is up to 10 times more effective when taken in tandem with Vitamin C or Vitamin-containing foods.

In Summary,

When on the Ketogenic Diet:

  1. Alkalize the diet by concentrating on increasing the alkaline-reacting foods –especially the alkaline superstars: kale, cucumber, broccoli, celery, avocado, watercress;
  2. Explore Plant-Based Protein sources and make them a priority i.e., eat more of them in the ketogenic eating plan;
  3. Add turmeric to the diet or take curcumin as a supplement to kill any candida overgrowth and prevent a weight loss plateau – especially if you are female. Remember to take vitamin C or a vitamin-containing food at the same time (bell peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower or Brussel sprouts)
  4. Take 250mcg of molybdenum per day to reduce the ketogenic “flu”.

Until next time,

Dr. G

What Type of Alzheimer’s Disease Might You Develop?

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease is not easy.  The symptoms (forgetfulness, fuzzy thinking, confusion, changes in behaviour or personality) are common to other conditions – including other forms of dementia, stroke, sleep problems, hormonal changes, complications of the aging process and reactions to certain medications.

We do know that there is an association with amyloid plaques and the tau protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  It is an association, however, and not causation.  99% of the drugs targeting the amyloid plaques have failed i.e., are useless in managing or reversing the disease.

A 2011 review in Lancet Neurology indicated that there are many possible “drivers” that may contribute to the development of the disease – chronic stress, lack of exercise, lack of restorative sleep, insulin resistance and diabetes, low kidney function, high blood pressure, inflammations from infections and environmental toxins, poor nutrition, small strokes, CVD, concussions, genetics (having the ApoE4 gene), lack of social connection and lack of mental stimulation.   Scientist Leroy Hood says that Alzheimer’s is “a really complex disease that has been utterly intractable” and that taking a systems approach “reflects my own conviction that these complex diseases almost never respond to a single drug”

Professor of Neurology at UCLA, Dr. Dale Bredesen, believes that Alzheimer’s is Preventing Alzheimer's Disease“triggered by a broad range of factors that upset the body’s natural process of cell turnover and renewal.”  After nearly 30 years of research he has identified more than three dozen mechanisms that amplify the biological processes that drive the disease.  These factors are not enough by themselves but in combination, have a cumulative effect resulting in the destruction of neurons and a disruption in the signaling between neurons.  “Normally, synapse-forming and synapse-destroying activities are in dynamic equilibrium” says Dr. Bredesen.

Dr. Bredesen also believes that Alzheimer’s Disease has three subtypes – each driven by different biological processes with each subtype requiring a customized treatment program.

So What Type of Alzheimer’s might you get?

Subtype No. 1 is associated with systemic Inflammation.  As you probably know, chronic systemic inflammation is persistent, low-grade inflammation that is ongoing.  Chronic inflammation is considered a precursor to accelerated aging and disease and has been linked to memory loss and cognitive decline.  It stands to reason that – if you have raised systemic inflammatory markers in your blood – that you may have the tendency to this particular subtype.  Three of the markers for systemic inflammation are hsCRP, Ferritin and RDW (Red Blood Cell Width)  If any of these markers are chronically raised in the blood, there is a good chance that you have systemic inflammation and may have an increased chance of getting Alzheimer’s subtype No.1.

Alzheimer’s Subtype No. 2 appears to be related to the body’s handling of glucose.  It is characterized by Insulin Resistance and extremely low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, and hormones.  Blood values that may be important to be aware of include Fasting Blood Glucose, HbA1c and Serum Insulin (Serum Insulin is a marker for Insulin Resistance or may indicate a tendency towards chronic inflammation if the FBG and HbA1c are normal).  If combined with abdominal obesity, abnormal lipid levels and high blood pressure, the possibility of Type 2 Alzheimer’s later in life increases i.e., if you have Metabolic Syndrome.

Type 3 Alzheimer’s appears to be related to chronic exposure to environmental toxins like metals and moulds.  It is generally categorized by a specific type of brain atrophy seen on MRI.  It often occurs in younger individuals with no family history of Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Bredesen has created his “Bredesen Protocol” designed to reverse chronic inflammation, decrease insulin resistance and avoid brain atrophy.  The salient points are as follows:

  • Eat a mostly plant-based diet – including broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and leafy greens like kale and spinach;
  • Restrict or avoid simple carbohydrates from the diet i.e., bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, candy and sodas.  Eliminate gluten and added sugar;
  • Avoid high mercury fish like tuna, shark and swordfish;
  • Practice at least 12 hours a day of intermittent fasting i.e., eat within a twelve-hour window and fast for the other twelve;
  • Optimize your sleep patterns and get at least eight hours per night;
  • Hydrate your body with water;
  • Do Aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes five times per week;
  • Meditate and do yoga to relieve stress;
  • Do brain training exercises for 30 minutes three times-per-week.

My take on this very naturopathic protocol is:

  • Reduce inflammation that begins in the gut e.g., wheat/gluten triggers inflammation;
  • Increase anti-oxidant consumption through the diet and add anti-oxidant supplements to reduce oxidative stress;
  • Control your blood sugar to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes through diet and increasing your chromium, manganese and molybdenum intake;
  • Exercise your body and your brain;

Listen in on my recent Facebook Live:

Until next time…

Dr. G