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The mechanistic neurometabolic benefits of beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB)

Based on Calabrese’s lecture

The mechanistic neurometabolic benefits of beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB) include:

  1. Decreased Reactive Oxygen Species: BHB increases the production of antioxidants which directly decrease reactive oxygen species, thereby reducing oxidative stress.
  2. Neurotransmitter Production: BHB increases the production of neurotransmitters including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and melatonin, which can have positive effects on brain function and mood.
  3. Neuroprotective Effects: BHB and ketone bodies activate specific receptors that protect against energetic abnormalities, oxidative stress, cell death, and inflammation in the brain.
  4. GABA and Glutamate Balance: BHB supports the balance between GABA and glutamate neurotransmitters, which can help reduce stress and improve neuronal function.
  5. Energy Production: By serving as an alternative energy source for the brain, BHB can provide more efficient ATP production compared to glucose, leading to increased energy and improved brain function.
  6. Crossing the Blood-Brain Barrier: Studies show that BHB can cross the blood-brain barrier and be utilized by the brain for energy, potentially leading to cognitive and mood benefits.

These benefits point to the potential of BHB and ketone bodies, such as those produced in a ketogenic diet, in promoting brain health and addressing neurometabolic disorders like anxiety and depression.

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