This is a serious, scientific look at the Ketogenic lifestyle with five great actionable tips.
Dr. Annette Bosworth is an informatics physician. She operates a private practice, Meaningful Medicine. She is the author of Anyway you can, available on Audible and Amazon, and has an excellent Youtube channel.
Her life took a new trajectory when she was introduced to the science of the Ketogenic diet, and used it to help her mother turn her cancer around.
Dr. Bosworth is certified to provide not only general practice services but is also a recognized expert in nutrition, exercise, and mental conditioning programs. She is the founder of ECHO Kids, an initiative aimed at reducing childhood obesity and lowering rates of childhood diabetes.
She leads medical mission trips to Haiti.
I interviewed Dr. Boz about her methods, her book, and the inspiration story of saving her mother from another debilitating round of chemo… and reversing the growth of the cancer within 4 weeks.
***Listen to the interview here, or keep reading for more info and links.***
What brought you to Ketogenic Lifestyle?
My mom was diagnosed with cancer in her blood cells almost 15 years ago now. And about three years ago, her cancer was pretty rotten. She had large tumors in her neck and her armpits. Also our white blood cell count is about six to 10,000, but hers was 150,000. That was on the chemotherapy.
We measure this type of cancer by how quick it doubles. But her cancer was growing so fast. So if it doubled in five years, it wasn’t too much problem. If it doubled in a year, not a big deal, but hers was doubling every six weeks!
So we walked into the oncology team and I know her doctors well. I go with her to the appointment and right before the doctor walks in, we knew the report was going to be bad. My mother said, “if he gives me that pink slip for chemotherapy again, I’m tapping out. The clothes I wanna wear at my funeral are on the top shelf in that closet in the basement”.
*** Did you know that Dr. Boz book “Anyway You Can” has over 1000 five star reviews? People love it!
Check it out here.
Prior to this, I have 20 years into an internal medicine clinic and they all have a flavor, and my expertise is brain repair. So depression, bipolar, sleep problems, drug addiction, the chronic process that will lead to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s has been something that I’ve really put a lot of energy into.
So it was about six months prior to that, several articles had come out, but also patients had made me aware of what the Ketogenic diet is, as well as the navy seals were pretty aggressive at how they wanted to repair their brain and they were bringing me information that I thought had to be fake. There’s no way this could be true. I’m sure I would know about it if it was going to repair the brain as fast as it was.
So I was in the midst of studying that, when my mom’s diagnosis came about and her choice to not take chemotherapy. And it was throughout that time of studying that the quickness of how a brain injury could be repaired if you have proven Ketosis in the system, was also coupled with the subtext of cancer that really feeds off of a high glucose state, and how powerful they were seeing the radiation and chemotherapy treatments in animal studies.
But there were several brain tumors that if you could lower the patient’s blood glucose, and the only way you can do that is by raising their Ketones – the molecule that you make from fat. They were having amazing, unbelievable responses to their chemotherapy, specifically radiation. Indeed that got my attention.
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As we’re walking towards the place where we are supposed to schedule the chemotherapy, I looked at her and say, “mom, do you trust me?” And she kind of flippantly says, “of course I do”, with tears in her eyes she says, “with my whole heart.” I said, “let me show you what I would do. Give me six weeks.” And we did not schedule the chemotherapy.
We were hardcore Keto for six weeks. That was our step one into Keto. And again, her cancer was doubling every four weeks. I was hoping it hadn’t doubled again. Like that was my best hope. But I had no space in my mind for a cancer that would decrease by 30% in four weeks of Keto, and in a 71 year old who was really old for her age at that time. By the time we came back for her chemotherapy checkup in six weeks, her white count last week was 10,000. And she just celebrated her 75th birthday, off chemotherapy!
Not everybody needs to be that strict to get benefits from a Ketogenic lifestyle. But if you have expectations that you’re going to stop seizures for example, it is amazing at how well it does repair the brain and decrease seizure incidents.
But they are also in that same category of a prescribed Ketogenic, a chemistry set if you would, that a cancer patient would be under. For the Ketogenic chemistry that has evidence behind cancer and seizure disorders, you can not be playing. You need to be checking your numbers and following your numbers with your physician.
The top five tips for the Ketogenic lifestyle.
#5 – Form a Tribe. You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with. If you are changing a lifestyle, add support. Meet once a week. Use free tools like this PLAYLIST to help teach all of you how to stay the course.
The other little advice I give people if you’re starting a little support group is, don’t think you need to lift the weight of all the education. There are several good educators out there like me, like Dr Ken Berry, other primary care physicians who have said there is no space in the exam room for me to teach all this.
This is going to take us time and you’re going to need a tribe. And by that tribe has everything to do with sustainability. So that’s number five.
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#4 20 total carbs per day.
That is a specific number for a reason. You are a human body and if we want you to be in a Ketogenic state, that means you need 20 carbs or less. We are talking about a chemistry set that we really need your body to get used to. You have overeaten sugar for too long. If you have more than 20 carbs in a day, you can call it a low carb, but you can not call it a Ketogenic diet. It is not going to lead to Ketosis.
It is a chemistry set that we can reverse, but you can’t play games. That means most of the carbs is going to come from vegetables that are the cruciferous, like the Broccoli or Brussel sprouts. They’re not your mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, they’re not root vegetables.
The less of those you have, the better you should use your vegetables as a way to deliver fat to your gut. So Brussel sprouts in Bacon grease, that’s a good recipe. If you’re looking for the Ketogenic Diet, it is 75 to 80% fat. So as soon as you start getting super fancy with these foods, boom, you’re over 20 carbs.
#3 Measure your Ketones.
You can be accountable to yourself with the Ketogenic Diet by saying, did you pee Ketones or not? So when you first start to make ketones in your body, if your body makes more than it can use, it’s very careful to keep that chemistry stable. Well that’s good for those beginning Ketone changes because you can measure yes or no.
Tip: Put those little ketone strips in your pocket. If they’re out in the air for too long, they’re not good. So you’re gonna put ’em in your pocket. If you don’t use them by the end of the day, they’re no good. But that gives you the excuse that every time you use the bathroom you can pee on that stick and say in Ketosis or not. You cannot do this diet for a day and expect it to be better. We need to change the chemistry on a cellular level and that’s what this Ketogenic diet is really all about.
***Dr. Boz has an excellent Youtube channel, here’s one of her introductory videos***
See her channel here: http://bit.ly/2yE1Caw
What are your thoughts on the exogenous Ketones, the powder drinks, and the supplements being sold right now? Are you familiar with them? There’s powders, there’s pills. And the selling point is that you wake up in the morning, you take this and 30 minutes later you’re generating Ketones. Thoughts?
Well, first of all, you will pee Ketones when you take them. These salts were made in like the 1960s or seventies, and they’ve been around for a long time. They’ve not been as cost effective to make as they are now. They used to be much more expensive. And if you don’t put a sugar substitute in those powders, they taste terrible. So now you’ve got a sugar substitute, which is another kind of subtlety to the Ketogenic diet that the more sugar you put into your palette, the more sugar you’re going to want. But, if you take a Ketone supplement and you pee on a stick, by Golly, you’re going to make Ketones.
#2 Use the Science
When I started on the Ketogenic diet, I was really resistant to recommend the Keto salts. I was like, nope, you should do this the hardcore way. Just like we did stop eating so many carbs. You’ve got this transition, that does take a a week or so to get into it. But after that, wow, you really do have an improvement in your chemistry. I have patients who have been a diabetic for 30 years and I’m saying, cut your carbs. There is so many changes mentally, socially, but also within their chemistry that are going to change in the next five days that I’ve had a few patients where I did this very diligently where we cut their carbs down to 20. They’re doing great. I stopped five blood pressure medicines.
Let me show you the science. Let me wake up the metabolism specifically that of your Mitochondria, which is kind of a sciency word, but is really where your body makes energy and if you’re a diabetic or you’ve been overweight for years, you’ve got that old man or Old Lady Syndrome where everything’s just slower. If we infuse those Ketone salts into your body and brain, I was the first to have to eat my words to say, oh my goodness, look at how much better their brain functioned.
Now, how much easier it was for them to get that carbohydrate down to less than 20 if you come to me and say, I would like to be on the Ketogenic Diet and you take in 200 to 300 carbohydrates a day, that crash course of decreasing your carbs like that, it ends up being quite a problem.
Number one of the five top tips for Ketogenic lifestyle is…
Here we go. Educate yourself. This is a powerful thing. If you look at the book that I wrote Any Way You Can, the front cover has a picture of my mom before we started the Ketogenic Diet. The back cover has a picture of her when I published it, which was two years later, and she looks like she erased 15 years of her life. That whole time I spent educating her on how can we reverse her age? How she can sip from that Fountain of Youth. And it turns out this isn’t a fad.
This isn’t something she’s going to do for a day or two. She is in this for the lifetime as are the people that I’m training and teaching in my clinic, in my a circles of support. And I’ve done more stopping of prescriptions in the last three years than I have ever done in the 20 years that I’ve been a physician. But I also, so now I’m at the equation where I stop more than I start. And that is a status symbol for me as a physician, that that’s a sign that their health really is growing, it is this unlocking of a gift of health. But it does require you to educate. I mean, you can hurt yourself, especially if you’re in the throws of chronic illness, chronic blood pressure, chronic diabetes, at high risk of heart disease.
I now need you to game on and learn a little bit about this diet. And I would contend that my master skill in life isn’t being a doctor. It’s being a teacher. And if you want to see the best book, and I say this because I wasn’t planning on writing a book. I was writing little lessons for my 70 year old mom who couldn’t think very well cause she was really sick. I took these lessons to her one at a time to say, here’s what we do next, mom. Here’s what we do next. And I didn’t speak over her head. I spoke, this is how we go to the next level and thanks be to God. My husband kept saying, you should turn that into a book. I’m like, Oh, I’m not a writer.
That’s not what I do. And by Golly, if you go to Amazon and look at the review for it, it’s got like five stars in over a thousand reviews and it’s a self published book that I just am so thankful that I was brave enough to push print, but it’s a great teaching tool it really is. And you don’t have to have doctors telling you they have 20 minutes. They don’t have time to teach you all this, but you have to know it in order to be successful on this, this changed chemistry and it will hit your brain. You will prove your focus. I am overwhelmed with the amount of anti depressants that I’ve stopped since using the Ketogenic diet. And it comes back to those first few things I learned about the Diet, which is it repairs a brain faster than we’ve ever seen before. That anti-seizure effect and the anti brain cancer that were the first few major studies that really pulled me in to say, what the heck, why don’t I know about this? The reason I stay on the Ketogenic diet is my brain health. I want to be as sharp as possible for as long as possible. And there is no better guarantee to that than to bathe my brain cells Ketones every day.
Wow. Well that’s a new aspect. I think you’re the fifth interview I’ve done on Ketogenic issues of one sort or another, but no one’s really hit on the brain health aspect like you just said. Could you spend a little bit more time on that?
Absolutely. So I’d write down these four letters. B, d, n f BDNF is a little protein that’s in your brain called brain drive neurotrophic factor. And what all that means is there is actually a protein in your brain that predicts whether or not your brain is healing or destroying. BDNF was just coming into the research when I was in medical school. So that’s over 20 years ago. Now, I was in medical school taking a test that said the brain cells you have, that’s all you get. We cannot regenerate brain cells. But the new research was saying if this BDNF is high enough, you can actually regrow of the Hypocampus and a couple other areas of the brain.
We tie off the artery to the brain and we can see that the mice with high BDNF lost one third less of their brain despite having no oxygen to the brain. That’s a remarkable finding. How do we get those brains to live if they have depression and their BDNF stays low? We can’t see it better. If you want to have Alzheimer’s, take that BDNF to go down. So what comes next? Well, doc, how do I get my BDNF high? And it turns out, although electric shock therapy actually raises it quite robustly, you sacrifice a memory when you do that. Yes. You’re like, Oh God, don’t tell me that.
But it turns out that there are several studies that have shown the longer that they went into a Ketogenic state the higher the BDNF went. If you were in the 1960s and you are one of the kids who had seizures, your brain was going to be filled with defects. You are going to die at a much younger age and you for sure you’re not going to be able to live on your own after the age of maybe 50 or 60. Childhood seizures were awful and they put you on Depakote or lithium.
And if you were unlucky enough that those drugs didn’t work, they would admit you and your whole family to the hospital and put you on a Ketogenic diet. And if you want to talk about compliance, people say, oh, you can’t stay on that Ketogenic diet. I’d like you to talk to these kids who are the seizure kids in the 60s because every time they started to eat a little bit too many carbs, Bam, they would have a seizure. So they were very compliant. Well, now they’re dying. And when you look at the few autopsies we have from these Ketosis seizure kids from the 60s I have brain envy. Their brains are pristine under the microscope. We can not see hardly any neurofibrillary tangles, which are the markers of all Alzheimers, of Parkinson’s, of an aging brain that can’t sort memory very well. We thought that just happened in everyone.
How is it that these brains of these very compliant Ketogenic patients have no neuro fibral tangles. Not only that, they have the lowest number of cancer cells found in any autopsy that I’ve seen yet. And people may not know this, but if you take your blood and you look at it, you have cancer cells, your body is fighting those cancer cells and trying to stay ahead of any cancer that takes over. But if you want zero cancer cells, it turns out one of the best things you can do is have low inflammation. And that is one of the things that it benefits from a high Ketogenic state is the inflammation is very low and that brain repair tends to be faster than anything we’ve seen. You’re ending up in the grave at the end of your life with one of the healthiest brains we’ve ever seen in Autopsy. Well, I want that problem.
Let’s, let’s end with that. Let’s end with, some, just a few ideas here on food. What’s your favorite breakfast?
I’m a big fan of eggs. I like eggs with Pepperoni in them. my kids like this too. So we take cheese, scrambled eggs and Pepperoni, which is a high fat meat. boy that wins the kids every time. And there’s nothing better than a mom who makes a healthy breakfast food for their kids that they enjoy eating.
Sounds delicious. Would there be any side with that or is that the, that’s the whole thing.
you can have a side of coffee maybe with some heavy whipping cream.
How about lunch?
Yeah, lunch. I usually am a, I’m a one meal a day kind of Gal these days. so again, that is something that sounds bizarre until you’ve been in Ketosis for awhile and it really is sustainable that I don’t have hunger. so breakfast, if I have breakfast it will be eggs with pepperoni. I, I really like the sausage or the eggs. Again, a high fat meat. but supper or other things I like, some of my favorites. Like, I, have you ever heard of the word autophagy?
I have. I, I do intermittent intermittent fasting.
Yeah. So if you look at the, some of the things I teach my patients, you can calculate, the chances of you being an autophagy or not. So autophagy is that Nobel Prize in medicine in 2016 for how can we recycle cells. So once a week I will fast, to the point where I get my, my Dr Boz ratio of 40 or less, which is a glucose divided by a Ketone. and when you get, these are not just kind of random numbers, they are from the studies are looking at a brain cancers and that autophagy study, where if I can get that Dr Boz ratio about a low enough glucose and a high enough Ketone that I get a 40, then I get to have a than that, then I usually have a pretty good meal. So right now I’m at the end of about 40 hours of fasting and I was just texting my husband before we started this, that I really want to go out for one of my favorite meals. we’re away from home. I’m out out here lecturing and so we don’t have kids to think about. And I said, I want to go out for bone marrow.
He’s just gonna walk into Wendy’s and say, I’ll have a big bowl of natural bone marrow, please
beverage. Have you ever had bone marrow? Have you ever had this?
So they take the Femur, they saw it in half. and then they roast the bone with the marrow in it. And it is the saltiest fattiest best flavor ever.
too. I’m, I mean, I grew up on a farm, all hog farms. So all of those are great for me, but if I’m really, I don’t like fighting with my kids and they think it, that’s a little extreme. So when it’s just my husband and I, I can get away with, they’re usually on the appetizer side of play, so they’ll serve the bone and it’s got this special spoon called a marrow spoon. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I’ve had it like three times now, and I think we’re going to go out for bone murals suffer tonight. Who makes bone marrow? You go to a steak house and everybody’s gonna have a bone marrow on their appetizers. You’re kidding. Nah, I am so out of the loop. It’s great. So I highly recommend it. it’s best if you’re coming off a fast, but
Tell us a little bit more about your book.
Right. So again, my, my skill set it where I believe you use the talents that God gives you in whatever chapter life you’ve got. And I, I have been rewarded again and again for my skill at teaching. And I can’t believe, that this transformed into a book so well. But I really talk about my skepticism about the Diet at the beginning. I talk about the navy seals. I talk about the brains and how I’ve been duped by big Pharma sending me study that I have to really say, let me show you the nitty gritty of what they’re not showing you. But there’s a few places where I really believe what they’re saying and one of them is dead people. The autopsy studies give me this great, powerful evidence-based, you can’t really argue with this. They’re dead and there’s not any way they’re going to manipulate what they’re telling you.
But I go that. And then the navy seal stuff. I mean, one of my favorite things to talk about are these advanced, brains that had breath hold times that went up north of three minutes. Like who can do that? And it was only those people who had been on a Ketogenic state. And you can’t like fake breathing under water. You either held your breath, or you didn’t! I just feel confident that I can believe this information because it sounds so sensational. And when you look at the core reason why, it really does translate into what happened to my mom and what I teach about in the book. We are really removing inflammation from a cellular level. And I go through that in the book and I walk you through… it’s so powerful that it sounds like a panacea.
Other Dr. Boz resources:
Free E-Book: Fat Can Save Your Life: 50 Facts about Fat
YOU TUBE: YouTube: Dr Boz [Annette Bosworth, MD]
WEBSITE: Website: BozMD.com
FACEBOOK: Facebook: Dr.Annette Bosworth
TWITTER: Twitter: AnnetteBosworth
INSTAGRAM Instagram: DrBoz_AnnetteBosworthMD