Alzheimer's Disease: Metabolic strategies to slow and reverse progression

Date Published: 
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Dr Matthew Phillips discusses metabolic strategies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, including both fasting and the ketogenic diet. He also discusses results from his Waikato trials.



  • 00:00 intro
  • 01:35 impaired brain energy metabolism
  • 02:52 prevalence in NZ
  • 04:13 What is meant by the phrase “type 3 diabetes”
  • 05:58 new randomized crossover trial in the Waikato
  • 08:58 A modified keto diet
  • 13:40 How difficult was adherence
  • 15:18 Prescribing keto or Low Carbohydrate Diet may be a bit scary
  • 18:21 Can we measure LDL subfractions in NZ, and should we be doing this?
  • 19:06 Trial results
  • 20:27 Can we, and should we, be telling our patients w AD to go keto full time?
  • 23:30 How fasting differs from Keto diets
  • 26:40 What does the fast involve?
  • 28:50 Has Alzheimer's and fasting been studied.
  • 30:42 Take-home messages


Take-home messages

  • People with Alzheimers display a brain-specific form of insulin resistance, resulting in deficient glucose metabolism.
  • Alzheimers neurons also show significant mitochondria dysfunction, which precedes the appearance of plaques or tangles.
  • Metabolic strategies, such as fasting and ketogenic diets, create ketones that can bypass the insulin resistance, and they stimulate multiple mechanisms focused on mitochondria renewal.
  • In the first-ever randomized crossover trial of a ketogenic diet in Alzheimer’s, people showed statistically (and clinically) meaningful improvements in daily function and quality of life.
  • Given the efficacy and safety data to date, it is reasonable to offer a modified ketogenic diet to people with Alzheimer’s disease.





Matthew Phillips
Clinical and Research Neurologist

Dr Matthew Phillips is a full-time clinical and research neurologist at Waikato Hospital, Hamilton. His foremost passion is to explore the potential feasibility, safety, and efficacy of metabolic strategies, particularly fasting and ketogenic diets, in creating alternate metabolic states that may improve not only the symptoms, but also function and quality of life, for people with a variety of difficult disorders. In 2021, Matt and his dedicated team published the world’s first randomized trial of a ketogenic diet in Alzheimer’s Disease.

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This presentation is intended for qualified health practitioners professional development and should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Any opinions offered are those of the presenter or other speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of Goodfellow Unit.