Answered: can I use MCT oil and saturated fat if I am APOE4?
These days, we’re told, saturated fat isn’t the dietary demon we thought it was. However for 25% of us, we need to look at this more closely. If you haven’t already taken the 23andme genetic testing, it’s well worth it. The current thinking if if you are one of the 25% of people who have the APOE4 gene (the one that makes it slightly more likely you’ll get Alzheimer’s), you should reduce your saturated fat intake. This is as your body struggles to process the cholesterol in the same way (clearly the non-technical version).
For more on this I called Dr Dale Bredesen and asked him about this specific issue.
He told me that MCT oil can be helpful as it helps raise ketone levels which is very good for brain function. He told me APOE4s should;
Eat very low simple carbs, and high fibre both soluble and insoluble.
When you first start the program you want to be insulin sensitive - use MCT oil - to get your ketone levels up and your glucose level down.
Once that’s done, focus on mono and polyunsaturated fats
You want to keep your ketones high. Ketones-wise - Best results for cognition: good ketone levels - 1 mmol and over.
It’s a delicate balancing act for us APOE4s. If you skip the MCT, then your ketones might be too low and that’s not good. If you fast and you don’t have glucose or fat then that’s not good either.
Follow your LDL cholesterol numbers. LDL-P test is the important one. See Dr Dale’s book The End of Alzheimer’s for ideal figures. (Remember, Overall LDL is not a very helpful number to track. LDL-P is what you want to monitor). Then adapt your saturated fat intake based on how it influences your LDL-P levels.
If your ketones are too low and your LDL-P is too high, then use exogenous ketones.
Here’s a checklist for you.
1) Take genetic testing. See if you have one or two versions of the APOE4 gene.
2) If so, read Dr Dale Bredesen’s excellent End Of Alzheimer’s book.
3) Listen to Zestology podcast with Dr Dale Bredesen
4) Investigate saturated fat intake and whether it is right for you. Check the bullet points above. Preferably with the help of a practitioner who can guide you through this complex process.
5) the website www.apoe4.info has some terrific research in this area.