Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., delivers an informative overview of the potential positive impact of ketogenic diets for disease prevention and treatment. He discusses how many cancers such as endometrial cancer and pancreatic cancer are associated with hyperglycemia, which is a hallmark of type II diabetes.D’Agostino is a tenured professor at the University of South Florida. Working with students at the Morsani College of Medicine and the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, D’Agostino’s primary focus is in the areas of neuroscience and neuropharmacology, medical biochemistry, and physiology.
As a research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, D’Agostino aggressively pursues his research in methods to optimize and maximize the health, safety, and resilience of soldiers in combat, as well as astronauts. As a laboratory scientist D’Agostino and his team develop and test various metabolic-based strategies for seizures, epilepsy, cancer, and select neurodegenerative diseases. His primary focus for over a decade has been centered upon the many potential anticonvulsant and neuroprotective mechanisms of a ketogenic diet as well as ketone metabolite supplementation.
D’Agostino is an active member of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society, Society of Neuroscience, Aerospace Medical Association, American Physiological Society, and the American Association of Cancer Research. He holds a Ph.D. and BS from the esteemed Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University, respectively.
D’Agostino discusses his current and primary focus on brain cancer and how the ketogenic diet has historically been used to treat epilepsy, thus brain tumor patients experiencing seizures may see significant benefit from a dietary change to this low-carb, high-fat, protein-adequate diet. He talks about the Warburg effect, the phenomenon in which cancer cells produce extra energy via increased oxygen-dependent glycolysis that is then followed by lactic acid fermentation with a secretion of lactate. D’Agostino provides information on cell metabolism; the ATP molecule, which is the nucleotide specifically known in biochemistry as the ‘molecular currency’ of cell to cell energy transfer; as well as mitochondria and the links between diet and some cancers.
The nutrition and health Ph.D. outlines other important and relevant studies, such as the work of Valter Longo, the Italian-American biogerontologist and cell biologist who is known primarily for his study of the role fasting and nutrient response genes play in disease and cellular protection. Additionally, he discusses the protective effects of short-term dietary restrictions as well as fasting, and the potential importance of ketones for metabolic health.
While weight loss is essentially a good side effect of a ketogenic diet, the metabolic benefits provide even more advantages, in addition to the healthy effect of losing weight. He discusses the beneficial impact of decreasing glucose availability to tumors and implementing dietary restrictions as part of a treatment plan for some cancers. The shift in brain metabolism from glucose to ketones can actually reduce neuronal hyperexcitability and oxidative stress, which can enhance brain energy metabolism. D’Agostino feels this methodology can be used to treat a vast array of pathologies, including cancer.
Additionally, D’Agostino presents an important analysis of the microbiome, which is the community of microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses that inhabit a specific environment, especially in regard to microorganisms living within or on the human body. He provides his opinion on the variations in microbiomes and how the optimal microbiome can differ based upon food eaten, geographical location, and other factors, and how a ketogenic diet and periodic fasting can help purge the overgrowth of the microbiome, and help return the body to balance. And D’Agostino discusses the glucose-ketone index, and how individuals seeking a healthier dietary balance and increased energy can monitor their index to ensure they are reaching ketosis with regularity for maximum health benefits.