Potential simple explanation as to why a keto diet is anti-oxidation

Discussion in 'Diet and Improving Your Gut' started by dejurgen, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    There has been much speculation on why a keto diet may work for many patients. I may just have stumbled onto a simple and logical explanation.

    Some say ketones increase the expression of anti-oxidant producing genes, but I have yet to see a clear and detailed overview of what mechanism exactly is at work. It's clear however that something like that very likely must exist as there are strong indications that a ketogenic diet is poor at producing NADPH, our main source to recycle the oh-so important glutathione.

    A common argument is that a ketogenic diet stabilizes blood sugar. I however am far from convinced here. It does lower blood sugar a lot for sure, but it probably has a low baseline with *very* low dips at night and after exercising. I don't call that stable at all. It does avoid the high sugar peaks very well, but the deep dips are probably not that good either. IMO a good regular diet aimed at reducing sugar peaks should be close in performance here. It may lack a bit in reducing the peaks, but it should definitely win in providing for example the RBC with energy at night.

    Previously I thought about ketones ability to form meta-stable chemicals when combined with hydrogen peroxide. But many of these chemicals are nasty ones and they only temporary bind the peroxide. At a later stage they decompose again in the ketones and peroxide that formed them. So these compounds can only transport the peroxide away from regions with too high amounts of oxidative stress to places with lower oxidative stress. One can only hope then that distributing that oxidative load causes less trouble.

    Another angle I saw is that a ketogenic diet provides more medium and short chain fatty acids that can to some extend cross the brain blood barrier. This should be helpful because the brain has a better supply of fats and does not need to produce fats itself from carbohydrates. That process consumes plenty of NADPH and hence puts a considerable amount of oxidative stress on the brain. But again, one on a regular diet should be able to obtain part of these results by incorporating cocos oil for MCFA and buteric acid for SCFA. So all potential explanations still feel somewhat unsatisfying to me.

    So here is the idea:
    Buteric acid plus hydrogen peroxide can be converted without enzymes and at room temperature to acetone (a ketone) in reasonable amounts.

    Searching for something else I stumbled upon two very old publications:​

    I did not read the entire paper as it's costing too much energy now but the main points I believe they made are:​
    • They explicitly looked for simple chemical reactions such that could be occurring without much aid into the body if I understand correct.​
    • Page with number 80 (4th page) of the first paper has a nice depiction of "the oxidation of butyric acid with hydrogen peroxide". Acetone is one of the chemicals produced.​
    • Page with number 128 (6th page) shows that ammonium, a common and poisonous byproduct of amino acid consumption, acts as a catalyst speeding up the reaction of converting butyric acid plus hydrogen peroxide to (among others) acetone (a ketone) a lot.​
    My preliminary conclusions:​
    • As it seems to involve basic chemistry requiring no extreme conditions like boiling in concentrated sulfuric acid for days but rather happens with mild common ingredients at room temperature I believe these reactions should happen in the body too.​
    • Possibly there are more catalysts, enzymes... in the body speeding up the process and increasing the amount of peroxide scavenged *and* destroyed.​
    • This is a very strong indication that the production of ketones from fatty acids involves chemical reactions that do consume hydrogen peroxide if present.
    • There may be similar pathways for other ketones and fatty acids than the ones studied in the publications.​
    • All in all, this and similar processes may be a very large source of anti oxidant activity competing with or surpassing the total bodies uric acid anti oxidant and the glutathione anti oxidant capacity.​
    • As the formation of ketones is believed to be (almost?) exclusively happening in the liver then the liver would be the source of this anti oxidative action, not the brain. But as the entire blood stream passes frequently through the liver, this mechanism would have a profound effect on oxidative stress levels throughout the body.​
    • Ketones ability to temporarily bind peroxide could help inactivating the peroxide until it reaches the liver.​
    As always, please add comments on this idea or point to errors or information missed.