The Brain Trust Program, krill oil and menopause

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I had a question from a friend today about migraine headaches. I remembered reading about them in Dr. Larry McCleary’s new book The Brain Trust Program, so I thumbed through the book to see what he had to say. (I had read the book in manuscript form, but couldn’t remember the specific recommendation for migraine headaches.) I became engrossed in the material all over again, and after a couple of hours of reading it dawned on me that I hadn’t reviewed the book for this blog.

First, a bit of disclosure. Dr. McCleary is a good friend of mine as well as a business partner for a number of years. And MD and I wrote the Introduction to his book. But we didn’t write it because he was a friend and partner, but because the book is so good.

Before we delve into the book let me tell you a little about Dr. McCleary. He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot of smart people in the medical and nutritional business. He graduated at the top of his class clp_photosub_mccleary.jpgfrom an Ivy League university, got accepted into a big name physics Ph.D program where he stayed for three years and ended up with Roger Penrose (the guy who co-writes the books with Stephen Hawking) as his mentor. When Penrose decided to go back to the UK he wanted to take Larry with him, but Larry had decided that he wanted to bolt from physics and go into medicine instead, so the timing worked out nicely. He graduated first in his class in medical school, then ended up doing a neurosurgery residency and a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship. He had a huge practice in Denver, Colorado where – along with carrying a heavy neurosurgical load – he was the Director of the Neuroscience Research Program at the prestigious Children’s Hospital. And he is the only person I know who reads more medical papers on a daily basis than I do.

MD and I had been encouraging him to write a book for years, and he finally took the plunge. And what a book it is. Most books on the brain written by medical professionals present programs to forestall the inevitable mental decline that comes with aging. These books typically recommend low-fat diets along with a few supplements and some brain exercises to help you keep your mental abilities from drifting away as you reach your golden years. Dr. McCleary’s book is the only one I’ve really seen that tells you not only how to keep your brain from deteriorating with age but shows you how to actually improve cognitive function. And guess what? You don’t improve cognitive function with a low-fat diet. But the book is much more than simply a book on improving your thinking. Among other things it shows how to reduce migraine headaches, improve your ability to study (Dr. McCleary goes into the techniques he used to study so that he could graduate first in his class in every school he attended), protect your brain from excitotoxins and even how to markedly reduce symptoms of menopause.

I’m going to excerpt a little from his section on supplemental nutrition for the brain. Many readers of this blog appear to be interested in krill oil, so we’ll see what Dr. McCleary has to say about it.

Krill, tiny shrimp-like creatures, inhabit the lowest rung of the food ladder, dining mainly on plankton, which are the actual omega-3 factories. As a result, krill enjoy a low risk of being contaminated by the mercury or other toxins present in their larger fishy cousins. Their oil, in my opinion, is the best source of essential brain fats available. Not only does krill oil provide substantial amounts of EPA and DHA but it also contains a rich supply of another group of critical fatty substances necessary for brain and nerve cell membranes to function properly: the phospholipids, which play important roles in signal transmission, in energy generation, and in the construction of the insulation coating myelin (which helps speed conduction along the brain’s communication pathways). The omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are bound to these phospholipids. This unique relationship greatly facilitates the passage of the fatty acid molecules through your intestinal wall making them much more bioavailable (easily incorporated by the body). The predominant phospholipid in krill oil is phosphatidylcholine, making it a rich source of choline, which many studies have demonstrated as being important in brain development, learning, and memory. It is also the precursor for the vital memory neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Krill oil also naturally contains high concentrations of a number of healthy antioxidant compounds that not only protect the krill oil but also protect your brain… These include vitamin A, vitamin E, astaxanthin, and canthaxanthin. Astaxanthin forms a special linkage with EPA and DHA, thus making it more readily available to the body than other antioxidants on the market. For this reason, while consumption of fish oil breaks down and therefore decreases your body’s antioxidant concentrations, krill oil actually increases levels of antioxidants in the body.

The parts of the book I found most intriguing are in Part III: Novel Applications of the Brain Trust Program.

One of the incredible interesting applications of the nutritional advice provided in this book is in the reduction of the symptoms of menopause. I’m all for anything that reduces the symptoms of menopause because a certain person I know well who shall remain nameless from time to time experiences these symptoms. And when she experiences them, so do I in a second-hand sort of way. So since I’m impacted, I’m interested.

And I’m not the only one who is interested. I saw a recent blurb showing the results of an Archer Daniels Midland survey showing that a majority of women want their doctors to inform them about non-medical options for relieving the symptoms of menopause.

As part of the ADM-sponsored survey, “Women & menopause: a look at supplement use,” 1,258 women between the ages of 40 and 55 were polled.

A third of these women indicated they do try natural supplements for the relief of menopausal symptoms, and a quarter said natural supplements are their “treatment of choice.”

Also, according to ADM, nearly all the respondents who are using dietary supplements for hot flashes say these are their “favorite method of treatment”.

Of course, this survey is totally self-serving because what ADM is really interested in is selling women on the idea of using soy products, produced naturally by ADM, to relieve these symptoms. But given the recent controversy over hormone replacement therapy, I’m sure many women are indeed looking for a natural way to reduce the often completely miserable symptoms of menopause.

(By the way, I would encourage anyone thinking of taking soy to reduce the symptoms of menopause or for anything else to spend the time going through the soy section of the Weston Price Foundation site.)

Dr. McCleary’s method of treating menopausal symptoms doesn’t use soy, but uses another natural substance instead: ketone bodies.

How do ketones treat these symptoms? They do so by replacing glucose that’s lacking from the estrogen-deprived brain.

Dr. McCleary provides a fascinating discussion of what happens in the brain that results in hot flashes when estrogen is withdrawn after many years of constant exposure. During these years of exposure estrogen becomes intimately involved in the development of the shuttles that transport sugar into the brain cells. With estrogen present – as it is in the premenopause years – these shuttles transport about 40 percent more sugar into the brain cells than would be transported without the estrogen. When the estrogen goes away at menopause, the shuttling of sugar into the brain cells decreases, and the brain cells become a little starved for energy. Dr. McCleary explains how the hypothalamus responds to this starvation by

stepping up the release of norepinephrine [adrenaline], which acts to raise the level of sugar in the blood, to raise the heart rate, and to raise the body temperature. The hot flash, then, is a specific outward sign of the brain’s trying to protect itself from blood sugar starvation.

Long time readers of this blog will know that ketone bodies are water-soluble fat breakdown products that can pinch hit for glucose in the brain and other tissues. Dr. McCleary shows how ketones do this to prevent hot flashes, and he even gives a recipe for a ketone cocktail to provide even more ketones to feed the hungry brain that isn’t getting enough sugar.

No other brain book written discusses this kind of information, I can assure you. And the bits I’ve discussed here just scratch the surface. I encourage you to order a copy of The Brain Trust Program and add it to the core of your low-carb library. You can get additional information and updates about his research from Dr. McCleary’s blog.

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38 thoughts on “The Brain Trust Program, krill oil and menopause

  1. That post got me thinking. My sister has always had very bad cramps during her periods. I don’t know if she takes meds for them now or what. I was wondering if maybe they were worse since she’s a vegetarian. Not for any specific reason, she just can’t stand the taste or texture of meat since she was little. Actually she it isn’t just meat, its pasta or rice and on and on. I wonder if menopause will be much worse for her also. I would think her brain was used to lots of sugar. We used to say when she was little, that she only ate two things. Any form of potato and sugar. I guess now I know that’s really one thing. She does eat a much bigger selection now but nowhere near what I would consider a good diet.

    I will have to add this book to the stack of stuff I haven’t got around to reading yet.

    Hi Joe–

    Carbohydrates are inflammatory. When one cuts back on them, inflammation typically goes away or at least diminishes. For all the reasons Dr. McCleary elaborates in his book, I fear your sister may be in for a tough time of it during menopause. If she refuses to switch to a lower carb diet, maybe Dr. McCleary’s ketone cocktail will at least help a little.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  2. Dr. Mike,

    On his website, Dr. McCleary states that

    …There are pharmaceutical compounds on the market that are able to improve the body’s
    sensitivity to insulin…

    Would you please share some of your knowledge about those drugs and how they compare to low-carbing, short and long-term.

    Hi Pete–

    Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you but I wanted to double check with Dr. McCleary, who has been traveling and out of pocket, to see what he was talking about before I put words in his mouth. I assumed he was referring to the class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, and indeed he was. These drugs – also known as PPAR agonists (or activators) – have had a checkered history. One has been recalled for causing hepatitis, and another – Avanda – has been shown to cause an increased risk for heart disease. In my opinion these drugs are best avoided.

    Dr. McCleary wrote in his email to me “that there are better ways to lower insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity [than by using these drugs] including diet and exercise.” I totally concur.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  3. “a certain person I know well who shall remain nameless …” Does she read your blog? You may be in trouble. I had seen Dr. McCleary’s book in B&N a couple weeks ago and sat down to look it over. I recognized his name from you mentioning it here. I found the menopause info fascinating and timely due to the fact that many of the natural rememdies I have tried with people have not been overly effective. That is some great stuff and after I finish Gary’s book I am going to pick this one up. Thanks letting us know of him and this book.
    I find Astaxanthin pretty cool stuff. I had read some research on it increasing muscular endurance in mice. I tried it …found some on clearance at the local health food store. I found no matter how hard I worked out, I wouldn’t get sore and my cardio was better…my HR was lower and returned to normal more quickly. I’ll have to see if I can get the same effect from krill.
    It’s nice to see someone of Dr. McCleary’s knowledge and background (you too Dr. Mike) embrace natural methods and then distill the useful info down for us. Thank God

    Hi Robert–

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy Larry’s book.

    The “certain person” reads my blog from time to time. I’m hoping she’ll miss this post.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  4. Ah-ha! So the fact that I am doing low-carb is why I haven’t had migraines like I used to when I was eating high-carb (basically)? I have also noticed that PMS is no longer an issue (it was horrible before) now that I am on a ketogenic diet. I’ve got to get this book – – and some krill oil.

    I also want to thank you for your comment on my blog post. I’ve thanked you publicly in my post today.

    Hi CJane–

    Sorry I flubbed your name in the comment. I’m not noted for being the world’s best typist. I really did enjoy your post (great title, BTW) and your answers to the questions submitted. And I loved your food pyramid graphic. I may steal it.

    You’re probably right about the reduction in your pms symptoms. I think you’ll really enjoy Dr. McCleary’s book.

    Let me know what you think once you read it.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  5. Not to worry Dr. Mike, you aren’t the only one in that boat as a secondary sufferer. Hubby’s sitting in the seat across from you. This is an unbelievably timely post as I’ve been “power surging” for about a month now although I don’t find it to be as bad as some women do. That I’ve been somewhat lax with my diet lately probably hasn’t helped much. Sounds like I need to pop over to Amazon and pick up Dr. McCleary’s book. I don’t know if it’s particularly bad that I’m going through menopause so soon (I’m almost 45) but I figure I really need to be very serious about taking care of myself from now on.

    BTW, I’m glad that you know about Jim Lileks’ stuff. His comments on old ads/recipe booklets are so hilarious and always leave me in stitches.

    Hi Esther–

    She who will remain nameless always has fewer symptoms when she rigidly adheres to her own diet. I’ve got to get her to try the ketone cocktail. Let me know how you like Dr. McCleary’s book when you get it.

    I posted a long time back on one of my favorite Lileks pieces, his copy and commentary on an old Sunbeam Bread booklet. Hilarious if you haven’t seen it.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  6. (sorry, let me try again… your blogger software mangled my comment. ARgghhhh…)

    hmm, I wonder how good that ketone “cocktail” stuff would taste mixed into a real cocktail, say a vodka martini up with olives…

    Hey mrfreddy–

    Sorry about the Captcha. It’s a pain in the butt for you, but a Godsend for me.

    Somehow I just don’t think the ketone ‘cocktail’ would mix well with the good stuff. But I’m willing to learn from others. Give it a try, then give me a full report.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  7. “Hi CJane–

    Sorry I flubbed your name in the comment. I’m not noted for being the world’s best typist. I really did enjoy your post (great title, BTW) and your answers to the questions submitted. And I loved your food pyramid graphic. I may steal it.

    You’re probably right about the reduction in your pms symptoms. I think you’ll really enjoy Dr. McCleary’s book.

    Let me know what you think once you read it.

    Cheers–

    MRE”

    Not to worry about the typo – I am a notoriously bad typist myself, and my blog screen name is sort of unusual anyhow, lol.

    Feel free to “steal” the graphic. I do think I need to add grains in there somewhere, because even though I don’t do well on them doesn’t mean others can’t eat them, at least in moderation. I’ll do a modified version and alert you when I have it up.

    I’ll also be sure to let you know my take on Dr. McCleary’s book once I’ve read it. I’m really looking forward to it.

    Hi CJane–

    I eat virtually no grains. So if one as weak willed as I can go without them, they don’t belong on the food pyramid.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  8. I’ve typed my comment in twice, and each time get a message, “no valid entry.” Is that what’s supposed to happen?

    Nope. That means you typed the little series of letters/numbers in incorrectly. Sorry. At least this message got through.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  9. I was doing low carb all during menopause, and partly through perimenopause, and I wondered why I didn’t have any of the symptoms my friends were experiencing. After I read Dr. McLeary’s book, it dawned on me that it was most probably due to my diet. Not one hot flash or night sweat, ever. I’ve always attributed my lack of symptoms to not eating carbs. Looks like I was right. BTW, I love the book, still reading on it.

    Looks like it worked great for you. I’m glad to hear it.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  10. I bought this book a few weeks ago, and found it very interesting. I made up some of the ketone cocktail (I didn’t have any MCT so used coconut oil instead). I am an enthusiastic consumer of most forms of fat, but this stuff really is not very appetizing! If you or MD find a painless way to consume it, please tell the rest of us. It’s softish at room temperature, but not quite liquid, and because of the polyunsaturates, I wouldn’t want to store it in a warm place. I’ve just tried mixing some with assorted seeds, and refrigerating it. I’ll see if that makes it easier (it looks a bit like the stuff you can hang out for birds).

    As a 46 year old woman I had a personal interest in Dr McCleary’s advice on menopausal symptoms (fatigue is a problem for me, and a haven’t even got there yet). If you or She Who Will Remain Nameless had enough research/experience for a blog on the subject, I’m sure there are lots who’d like to hear your views. Questions on menopause and weight/shape changes are common on the bulletin board.

    This is the third time I’ve typed this out – but this time I’ve copied it before I press the submit button and it disappears without trace – please delete “test” message that for some reason was the only one that went through.

    Hi Janet–

    Too late. I’ve already posted on your test message. When I’m in comment-answering mode, I just plow through the list and take them as they come. And that one was before this one.

    One of the reasons your ketone cocktail is so nasty is that you’ve substituted coconut oil instead of MCT. MCT is much more liquid and more palatable (or at least less unpalatable) than the coconut oil. The stuff isn’t meant to be enjoyed, it’s meant to be thrown back an left to do its job.

    I’ll see if I can persuade She Who Will Remain Nameless to blog on her experiences, of which she has had plenty. My experience involves dealing with her experience, which I do by avoiding her when she’s having her experience.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  11. I’m really confused about fish oil dosage. The cod liver oil caps I take list vitamin A and D content; the plain “omega 3 fish oil” does not. I’m concerned because of a possible overdose of A or D???? Krill oil is quite a bit pricier than other fish oils. What daily dosage would you recommend?

    Hi Dorothy–

    Cod liver oil contains vitamins A & D. Pure fish oil doesn’t. Krill oil contains a whole host of antioxidants. If I were just going to take one thing, I would take the krill oil. And I would take a softgel or two per day. There are only a couple of suppliers for krill oil, and all their dosages are the same per pill. At least all that I’ve seen.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  12. In his book, Dr. McCleary recommends 2-4 krill oil capsules a day. But he doesn’t say what the quantity of the capsule is. The ones I have are 500mg each. Would you know if that is what he has in mind? Thanks.

    John

    Hi John–

    That’s what he has in mind, but are you sure the ones you have are 500 mg. All the producers of krill (at least all the ones I know of) make just one size and that’s the 1000 mg softgel.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  13. Dear Dr. Mike,

    Dr. McCleary writes that Dr. Suzanne Craft used “pharmaceutical compounds on the market that are able to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin” in her Alzheimer’s study.

    Do you have any experience with these drugs and their efficacy? I’d like to learn more about this and I would very much appreciate it if you could at least give me some names to google.

    I’m doing great on PPLP but I just _had_ to ask you about this!

    Hi Huckaby–

    See the answer to your question in the comment above from PeteG on Oct. 30 at 13:39. The names of the drugs are: Avanda, Rezulin (withdrawn from the market), and Actos. Google away.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  14. Since I’m completely revamping my vitamin regimen, I have another question that I thought of after reading this and remembering a previous post on krill oil (I think). Looking at the info for both the ProOmega and Krill Oil, the EPA and DHA content in a dosage of Krill Oil is a lot less than the ProOmega. Would you need to take both to get enough EPA and DHA or does the Krill Oil alone fulfill this, since it seems to more bioavailable besides the other noted benefits.

    And I will put the book and my Christmas list and if I’ve been bad this year, then I’ll purchase in the new year. When, of course, I’m sure to to have time to read it. Since y’all don’t know me too well. That was sarcasm.

    Thanks,

    Hey Joe–

    The EPA and DHA of the krill oil is a lot less, but it is bound as a phospholipid instead of a triglyceride which makes it much more bioavailable. The krill oil alone should easily meet your needs. I take both because I fiddled with the dosages and found what got me off of NSAIDs. I could probably do fine on the krill oil alone, but I’m such a creature of habit that I’ve just been following my regular routine.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  15. Thank you for the comments. I now have a bottle of MCT. I have no problem taking liquid oils, so I think I’ll just throw the coconut based one away and follow the recipe this time.

    I’ll look forward to anything you can persuade the nameless one to write. I’m not telling my husband about your avoidance technique, though. I don’t want him to avoid me for the next ten years.

    It still seems pretty hit and miss whether a comment submits or not. The thing I’ve learned is to copy my comment before pressing any buttons, because attempting to submit it clears the box.

    Hi Janet–

    I’ll work on the nameless one.

    I got in touch with my web guy this morning about all these problems people seem to be having. He is evaluating another spam blocking program that involves filling in a code like the one that I’m using now. He’ll see if it works any better, and, if so, we’ll make the switch. He did tell me that whenever you type a comment in and fill in the code incorrectly and hit the submit button that the comment appears to have disappeared, but it really hasn’t. You can retry the code and if you get it right, the comment goes through. You don’t have to keep retyping the comment – you do have to keep filling in the code until you get it correct. I tried it myself and – for me, at least – it worked as he said it would.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  16. Hi John–

    That’s what he has in mind, but are you sure the ones you have are 500 mg. All the producers of krill (at least all the ones I know of) make just one size and that’s the 1000 mg softgel.

    Cheers–

    MRE

    ************

    Via Amazon.com, I got Source Naturals NKO 60 softgels 500mg

    That seems a LOT to take then, daily. 2000-4000mg? The bottle says 2 daily for a month, then 1 daily.

    John

    Hi John–

    Thanks for being a better label reader than I. I always thought the krill oil softgels were 500 mg but then I looked at the label and it said 1000 mg per dose. I assumed that was per softgel, but as you pointed out, the dose is two softgels.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  17. More info on how to make drinking coconut oil palatable can be found here:

    http://boards.sethroberts.net/

    (And I second the observation re: your captcha being especially hard to read…maybe your web guy could try another plugin.)

    Hi John–

    Thanks for the link.

    I have my guy evaluating another plugin at this very moment. He did tell me something I didn’t realize, however. When you fill in the letters/numbers in the Captcha screen incorrectly and submit your comment seems to have disappeared. It hasn’t, though, so you can keep trying until you get the code correct without having to retype your comment. I tried it and it worked fine.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  18. “Hi CJane–

    I eat virtually no grains. So if one as weak willed as I can go without them, they don’t belong on the food pyramid.

    Cheers–

    MRE”

    I don’t eat them at all, myself, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to reintroduce them into my eating plan (they impact my blood glucose dramatically). Thanks for the confirmation that I’m really on the right track. And good, I don’t have to spend any more time editing the “new and improved” food pyramid. 🙂

    Now, off to order my copy of The Brain Trust

    I hope you enjoy the book.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  19. Hi again, Dr. Mike

    Just read John’s comment, and my krill oil, obtained from Doctor’s Trust Vitamins, is also 500 mg. Brand is NKO Neptune Krill Oil. They also offered two other brands, one their own label.

    Dorothy

    Yep, you’re right. I read the dose, not the per softgel content.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  20. Dr. Mike,

    Just an FYI, I’ve been taking krill oil regularly for about 6 months now (thanks to your recommendation), and buying whichever of the various brands is discounted. The capsules are all 500 mg. Most brands list a dose as 2 capsules, which gives you the 1,000 mg of krill oil.

    Hi Kelly–

    Yep, I finally figured this out by going to the great extreme of actually reading the label.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  21. Sorry- I didn’t follow my own advice. If you regenerate a new ID until you get a string that does not include a zero, “O”, 1, or 7, the comment is more likely to go through.

    Anyway, I used to get monthly headaches that my hubby could set his watch to. I’d forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder of yet another positive effect of this diet. Come to think of it, I don’t get major PMS anymore, either.

    Dr. McCleary’s blog is fascinating, I hope he keeps in up. His book is on my list.

    Hi Karen–

    I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about in terms of generating a new ID. But I’m glad your headaches are gone.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  22. My wife has had bad menstrual cramps since she was a kid and nothing had really ever helped it, though low carb helped a little. I talked her into trying the krill after reading a paper about it. Over time the cramps started to ease. It was one of those gradual things that didn’t really register until I ran out of krill oil and didn’t refill the order right away. The first period after she stopped taking it hit her really hard. I refilled the order, she started taking it again and the last period was fine (and short, which also happens with the krill). Good stuff all around.

    Very good stuff!

  23. Thanks so much for the recommendation of this excellent book. At least three people will be benefitting from its wisdom.
    My Mom will be getting a copy for Christmas. She’s concerned about her aging brain. With one parent having had Alzheimers and her sense of smell already gone, apparently she has good cause. Since Dr. McCleary didn’t specifically label his nutritional plan as “low-carb”, she may actually pay attention instead of writing it off as ‘that crazy diet’ that we follow. I’m sure she’ll take the rest seriously.
    My husband suffered a head injury in a MVA some time ago, and his memory has definitely been affected. I’m guessing the exercises will help improve his function, regardless of the cause of decline.
    I’m determined to experience a stressless menopause. So far, no undesirable symptoms (no doubt due to my good eating habits), and with the advice in this book I hope I can keep things that way. I especially appreciate the detailed explanation on the how and why of hot flashes. It’s good motivation to stay away from the goodies, even though they don’t cause me any other obvious problems.
    I’ve really enjoyed all of the books I’ve bought as a result of your reviews. Keep ’em coming!

    Hi Sue–

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the book. I’ll keep working hard to find others.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  24. My darling husband has been keeping up with these blogs and brought home Dr. McCleary’s book along with Gary Taubes’, so it’s been fun reading them both at the same time! I can’t wait to see results from Dr. McCleary’s recommendations for migraines I’ve been having for a few years. I immediately cut all extraneous (redundant?) carbs as soon as I read the book, and I’m shopping for supplements now.

    I found another brand of krill oil from a company called NSI. It is available on gonsi.com and vitacost.com for significant discount over the NKO containing brands, but the labels of the 2 products don’t match up – especially note the EPA and DHA content. Also note, the bottle says 1000mg dose, but that’s for 2 softgels. Do you think the NSI product is as good as the NKO products?

    Hi Leslie–

    The NSI product is probably as good, but the dosages of EPA and DHA are considerably less, which is reflected in the lower price of the NSI supplements. By the time you take enough of the NSI to get the same amount of EPA and DHA that you would get in the other, you might as well have purchased the other to begin with.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  25. The book finally came. I jumped straight to the chapter on menopause — appropriately titled “Good Brains Gone Bad: Menopause, Migraine, Dimming of the Senses, and Alzheimer’s Disease.” I laughed out loud!

    It got me thinking. I, too, suffered from migraines since around age 18 (now 52). Looking back, my migraines stopped around 8 years ago. Guess what else happened 8 years ago. Yup, started the low-carb lifestyle! Coincidence? I think not.

    About that Keto Cocktail. Any chance I could get it all in softgels? I’m pretty sure you can get flaxseed oil in capsules, and obviously the krill oil (which I already have, though haven’t taken it regularly yet). I’d sure rather take some capsules than swig an oily solution, especially if I have to do it three times a day — the middle dose would have to be done in the office. They already think I’m crazy for what I eat.

    I have high hopes for this cocktail. Menopause hit me like a ton of bricks (please, nameless one, write about menopause and give us some ideas and hope). Hot flashes are not bad, though. I don’t know about others, but mine are always in my forehead. I get that spiky electric prickly adrenaline feeling (like when you have to swerve to miss something in the road) and then the heat plume.

    The part of menopause that hit me hard was the weight gain. Total of 40 pounds, though I’ve managed to drop between 10 and 15 of those. It seems I can’t go off-plan at all any more. Even with a glass or two of wine. I’m primarily meat and fat; very few veggies; berries and cream on occasion. If I go the whole week of eating like this and then break down and have a couple crackers or something (still less than 40 ECC in the day, and only once a week), I bloat up again and have to start all over again. You’d think I’d learn, huh?

    I read a quotation recently. “Do you choose to simply know the path, or do you choose to walk it”? I need to walk that path and never swerve from it. Whereas before menopause I could take a short detour now and again, I can’t now.

    Anyway, the question in all this is whether these ingredients come in capsule form.

    Thanks!

    Hi Kathy–

    As far as I know the ingredients don’t come in capsule form. You can probably get them all in capsule form individually except for the MCT oil; I’ve never seen that in capsule form.

    Good luck. Let me know how it works for you.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  26. MCT oil is derived from coconut oil, so while the ratio of the various coconut oil fatty acids are somewhat different, consuming coconut, coconut oil, or coconut butter/spread would be a good way to get more medium chain fatty acids, though not in the specific ratios of MCT oil (plain ol’ butter is also a good source of medium chain fatty acids). Also, I have seen coconut oil in capsule form in some independent vitamin shops, so it might be worth looking around for those if you can’t take the oil straight. We’ve enjoyed more coconut in our meals with coconut milk-based sauces (Southeast Asian and Polynesian flavors, smoothies, ice cream, as well as baking with coconut flour, coconut spread, etc.) and of course using coconut oil for some cooking tasks.

    I looked around my area for MCT oil and found MCT Fuel by TwinLabs. It is an emulsified liquid with ghastly orange flavor and sorbitol, making it a bit hard to consume straight. But it’s manageable in a smoothie or stirred into some water. It is usually in the “body building” section of the vitamin dept.

    I haven’t been able to locate straight MCT oil locally so far, though there are lots of websites that sell it, especially at body building and weight lifting oriented nutrition sites, though one website said that any pharmacy should be able to order it for customers, as it is a medical food made by a Novartis division (but that is a very pricey option from what I found). I remember my former neighbor used this with her prematurely born child who needed a feeding tube for many years; she called it “liquid gold” because of the price and how well it worked for her very challenged child.

    Hi Anna–

    Thanks for the MCT shopping instructions. There are some unflavored unemulsified brands of MCT oil, but I can’t call one of them up right now. Pure MCT oil has kind of a nothing taste. It sounds better to me than the orange stuff.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  27. One follow-up, please.

    I’ve been searching the web for a source for the ingredients in both the Keto Cocktail and the Anti-Excitatory Cocktail. Having a few problems finding the correct dosages. The smallest dosage of GABA is 500 mg (he says 50 mg).

    Any ideas?

    Hi Kathy–

    I just heard back from Dr. McCleary. He said that the 500 of GABA was fine. For those interested, he said he gets his MCT oil from Ultimate Nutrition.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  28. if MCT oil (a large component of coconut oil) raises triglycerides… does this form of dietary triglyceride have any influence on LDL particle size (changing subclass pattern A to B, as observed by Krauss et al.)

    I would think small dense LDL particles (the atherogenic subclass pattern B), are the result of high triglyceride PRODUCTION in the liver not of free triglycerides in the blood. According to Peter they are shunted down the hepatic vein rather than the thoracic duct, minimising their access to the general circulation. Reminding him of our metabolism’s approach to fructose.

    Small dense LDL particles are formed as part of the same carbohydrate-driven process that makes triglycerides in the liver. It’s more a function of how much carb – not what kind of fat.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  29. I have been looking for Dr. McCleary’s blog. Did he remove it?

    No. You’ve got to go up to the little picture of the head at the top left of the home page and click on the part that says ‘Blog.’

  30. I found the regular clear tasteless MCT oil at a small mom and pop health store just a few weeks ago. My first experience with the mct oil was the emulsified orange flavore stuff. It was awful. It comes in a plain white bottle and was the only bottle on the shelf. I hope they get more. The employee was actually clueless about the oil.

    Regular, clear krill oil has a slight taste, but, at least to my taste buds, is pretty much tasteless. I would avoid the flavored kind.

  31. Might krill oil be a logical substitution for aspirin in those of us with elevated heart calcium
    scores ? Seems like taking both might thin blood too much.

    The aspirin doesn’t do much – if anything – to prevent arrhythmias whereas the krill oil does. It is the arrhythmia that kills people – Tim Russert, for example – who have otherwise survivable heart attacks. Given the choice I would much take the krill than I would aspirin.

  32. I suffered from chronic headaches beginning in childhood. In my twenties they became migraines. They increased in intensity, frequency and duration until, in my early forties I had a migraine about 2/3 of the time. They were debilitating and affected relationships and my career. I finally figured it out at 45 years old: gluten intolerance. Since I went gluten-free a year ago I have not had another migraine. I still had a few headaches and got rid of those three months ago by going casein-free in addition to being gluten-free. Miraculously, decades of depression lifted too.

    I was following a low carb diet for nine years of the time I suffered from migraines; the small amount of gluten that I continued to ingest in soy sauce, salad dressing, etc. was enough to keep the migraines going.

    I have a theory about the story McCleary tells in his book about the woman who rid herself of migraines by consuming only whey protein drinks: by consuming the protein drinks she simultaneously went gluten-free. It seems to me that the gluten-free diet is as likely to have cured her migraines as the ketones.

    I think a 100% gluten-free, casein-free diet deserves more consideration. I suspect that gluten-intolerance and casein-intolerance are far more widespread that most doctors suspect. It’s easily compatible with low carb – I now follow something in between your purist diet and a paleo diet.

    Any chance you’ll address the gluten problem in your blog?

    I’ll add to the growing list of potential posts.

  33. I have a question about the krill…

    How would taking krill affect someone who is allergic to fish/shellfish? From what I understand, my problem with fish/shellfish (dates back to childhood) has to do with either an iodine defiency or an inability to process iodine. (Symptoms tend to be gastro/intestial)

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem, but I would try a little of it first just to make sure.

  34. Dr. Mike,
    I am almost 18 years old and have been trying to loose weight on low carb for months now… but I am suspecting that I am having difficulty (loosing basically nothing) because of my hormone levels. I have developed secondary amenorrhea and basically have the estrogen levels of a man or post-menopausal women with low progesterone as well. When reading Gary Taubes’ GCBC, I remember the section on estrogen and how he said that it helps to keep weight in check (…at least in animal models?). I have recently gained an embarrassing amount in the past 6 months–and I had been rail thin my entire life! Do you think that it is a possibility that I am having difficulty with my weight because of my low hormone levels? Also, according to a recent bone density scan, I am one level away from having full-blown osteoporosis as well. Do you have any suggestions? Please help… I am supposed to be at my prime (feel good in my body) and I just don’t think that it is natural to be having these problems at 17.

    And, to thank you, I have been reading your blog for the past six months and I honestly think that it has changed the educational direction of my life. I had no idea that mainstream nutritional “science” was wrong at all. I am going to college next year and will study biochemistry (have always wanted to study some sort of bio). Now I am so interested and determined to help people who have been duped by all the low fat/calorie/vegetarian activists who, when seeing blood lipid panels that are “out of the healthy range”, go on auto pilot give them a prescription that only makes their muscles sore. Its just doesn’t make sense.

    You need to get yourself into the hands of a doc who understands how hormones affect weight loss and gain. At your age you shouldn’t be having these problems, nor should you have the bone density that you’ve reported.

    I’m glad to know that I’ve inspired a change in direction in your education. Your biochemistry class may explain a lot to you about what is going on in your own body.

  35. The more I read on your blog the more fascinated I am with all the information here and also at the suggested links (plus I enjoy your non-liberal political view). The problem is that I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, which books to begin reading, or even the order to read them.

    A little personal info: I’m 57 and at 5 ft 8 I have been very thin all my life. I went through menopause around 45 with some slight mood swings but, thankfully, have never experienced a single hot flash. My “monthly” horrible headaches also disappeared (!); however, I do have osteoporosis. My doctor wants me to take Evista…I did for a year…but I didn’t want to continue on a drug, so when the prescription expired I didn’t refill it. I started taking cod liver oil recently but after reading this post I wonder if I should switch to krill.

    So…cod liver oil or krill? Soaked grains or none at all? Grocery store dairy or searching out raw? (I hate milk and have never drunk it but if it’s beneficial maybe I should just do it.) Grass-fed beef or grocery store meat that is more affordable? Is non-organic food okay? What about Imported food? What KIND of calcium and how much? My many questions bring confusion causing me to not want to do anything at all and I know that’s certainly not good.

    I would greatly appreciate any direction/tips/books/blogs…anything…you think might help to start me off in the right direction. If I’m going to put forth the effort to make changes I sure would like them to be the correct ones.

    If you enjoy this blog, probably your best bet for an overall health book would be The Protein Power LifePlan that MD and I wrote about 10 years ago. It’s still pretty much up to date.