At Cognate Nutritionals, our mission has been to blend clinical nutrition and food science, marrying multiple disciplines to create functional foods able to help nourish and support properly functioning bodies and brains.
The introduction of Fuel For Thought®, originally developed by Dr. VanItallie and his two scientific associates, produced a major advance in the delivery system for coconut oil, an abundant source of ketone-generating medium-chain fatty acids.
Ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone) have been identified in numerous studies as an alternative and highly effective source of fuel for the brain. Normally the brain is fueled by glucose, but will readily utilize ketones if they are available. Usually blood ketone levels remain low and therefore relatively unavailable to the brain. The use of medium-chain triglyceride formulations, specifically Fuel For Thought®, changes this situation by raising blood ketone levels, making them more available to the brain for its use.
The brain comprises 2% of the body's weight, but accounts for 23% of the body's daily fuel and energy consumption, normally supplied by glucose. Recent research has suggested that several forms of dementia are accompanied, in part, by a decreasing capacity of brain cells to efficiently metabolize glucose. The brain, regardless of age however, is always prepared to, and seems generally able to burn ketones as soon as they are available, notably, when its utilization of glucose is impaired.
Cunnane et al. (Nutrition, October, 2010) reviewed 217 published studies relating to the changes of brain metabolism associated with neurodegeneration and cognitive deterioration. They pointed out that "...maintaining brain function depends on highly efficient availability of a backup fuel to glucose during periods of hypoglycemia...ketones as the main replacement fuel." Cunnane et al. concluded. "...Strategies to reduce the risk of AD (Alzheimer's disease) should aim to...bypass deteriorating brain glucose metabolism, using approaches that safely induce mild, sustainable ketonemia."
The condition of diminished glucose metabolism in the central nervous system (CNS) is sometimes referred to as "Type 3 Diabetes." Although this description greatly oversimplifies the nature of the problem, it is a useful way of calling attention to the concept that a selective decrease in glucose availability may play a contributory role in the initiation of certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. Konrad Talbot and colleagues have reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (April 2, 2012) two laboratory studies in support of this hypothesis.
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Organic, cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil is a wholesome food that, compared to other food sources, contains by far one of the highest levels of naturally-occurring medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). When coconut oil is consumed and digested, the resulting medium-chain fatty acids enter the liver where they are readily converted into ketone bodies and then exported to, and utilized by, other parts of the body, including the brain. Cognate Nutritionals recognized that the unpalatable nature of food-grade coconut oil, however, would be an impediment to its acceptance and use by many potential consumers. Intense research and testing by our research staff eventually resulted in the development of Fuel For Thought®, a significantly more pleasant alternative.
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