Recently I have noticed that when I do not eat e.g. by waiting a while before eating breakfast in the morning, or through intermittent fasting: finishing dinner at 5 or 6 and then waiting a few hours in the morning before breakfast; I have no or much less MS symptoms. This has been a sum-what problematic discovery for me, as I consider myself to be under weight and am trying to gain not lose weight.
Terry Wahls, in her book has led me to a possible explanation for why fasting feels so good by introducing me to the notion of nutritional ketosis; the acceleration of the production of ketones through the reduction of dietary carbohydrates.
Ketone bodies are a by-product of burning fat. They are small molecules containing energy produced by the liver using fatty acids during periods of low food intake such as fasting or when on low carbohydrate diets. Ketones cross the blood-brain barrier where the brain cells’ mitrochondria can then burn them as fuel. The longer you are in nutritional ketosis, the more enzymes the body will make for burning ketones; the easier it is for it to use them.
Nutritional Ketosis is a mechanism the body has always used to heal and survive at times when food is less available, for our ancestors; this was during winter. During this time the body begins to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. Because modern diets are loaded with carbohydrates, our bodies burn sugar for fuel instead of fats. The latter is easier but not more beneficial. Glycolysis* takes place through fermentation, in the cell cytoplasm, outside of the mitochondria. Sugary, starchy diets cause inflammation. Burning fat is better for the brain and means our bodies go into the more efficient form of energy production that occurs when we go into ketosis*.
*Glycolysis: spliting of the sugar molecule
*Ketosis: the metabolic state in which the production of ketones is increased
Here is a brilliant video of Mark Mattson’s simple explanation of how neurons grow and synapses are strengthened during intermittent fasting – how it can help reduce inflammation and improve the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA:
Here is another good albeit quite long video on Nutritional ketosis: