The extension of life span by caloric restriction has been studied across species from yeast to primates. No generally accepted theory has been proposed to explain these observations. This article proposes that the life span extension produced by caloric restriction can be duplicated by the metabolic changes induced by ketosis.
The unique ability of ketone bodies to supply energy to brain during periods of impairment of glucose metabolism make ketosis an effective treatment for a number of neurological conditions which are currently without effective therapies.
Impairment of cognitive function has also been shown to be improved by the metabolism of ketone bodies. Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease, the major cause of which is aging can be improved clinically by the induction of mild ketosis in a mouse model of the disease and in humans. Ketosis also improves function in Parkinson’s disease which is thought to be largely caused by mitochondrial free radical damage. Ketone bodies are also useful in ameliorating the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is also recognized that ketosis could have important therapeutic applications in a wide variety of other diseases including diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance, and diseases of diverse aetiology.