Carotid canal

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The carotid canal is a small anatomical duct located in the portion of the temporal bone that is part of the base of the skull. It is the doorway through which the internal carotid artery and the internal carotid plexus, which is a network of nerves formed by the internal carotid nerve, get into the middle cranial fossa in the skull.

Hormones that make possible the fat-burning state

Friday, September 15, 2017

There are two chemical compounds that make possible for us to burn fat for energy instead of glucose; glucagon, which is a hormone secreted by the alpha cells of the endocrine pancreas, and lipase, which is an enzyme also produced by the pancreas. When glucose from carbohydrates has become scarce as a source of energy in our blood and in our liver, during fasting or extreme and long physical exertion for example, these two chemical compounds are extremely vital for us to survive, keeping us thinking and functioning, by downgrading fats (adipose tissue, triglycerides, or the saturated fats that we eat).


During fasting periods, when we don't have enough to eat, and when we have depleted our store of glycogen (glucose storage in the liver), glucagon is released into our bloodstream. This hormone immediately has an effect on both adipose tissue and the triglyceride in our bodies, breaking them down into glycerol and fatty acids, which is then carried to the liver in the bloodstream. In this organ, the hepatocyte mitochondria convert the fatty acids into ketone bodies, which will immediately be used as fuel by the nerve cells of our cerebral cortex, while our skeletal and cardiac muscles will directly burn the fatty acids.

The enzyme lipase, on the other hand, downgrades the fats we eat in our food. For example, when we hunt an animal because we haven't found any other source of food available, we eat not only its meat, but also its fat; and an animal (a mammal) has more fat than meat. In the duodenum (first part of the small intestine), lipase breaks down the saturated fat we eat into one molecule of glycerol and two fatty acids. Then these two chemical compounds travel in the bloodstream through the superior mesenteric vein (via portal vein) to the liver, where they are further processed and converted into ketone bodies and glucose (small amount) through a process called gluconeogenesis. The ketone bodies are plentiful and immediately available to be used as high-octane fuel.

Body cells that can not use ketone bodies

Sunday, February 19, 2017

There are two kinds of tissue cells that can not use ketone bodies in a ketogenic diet or even during starvation. These are the liver cells, called hepatocytes, and the red blood cells, which do not have mitochondria. Even though hepatocytes mitochondria produce large amount of ketone bodies from fatty acids to supply the cardiac and skeletal muscles as well as the nerve cells during nutritional ketosis and starvation, they can not use ketones themselves as a source of energy. Thus, a minimum amount of glucose must be made from glycerol, which derives from saturated fat, to supply the liver parenchyma and the erythrocytes (red blood cells). The process of manufacturing glucose from glycerol (when the store of glycogen has been depleted) is called gluconeogenesis.

What is ROS in Biology?

Monday, February 13, 2017

In biology ROS is the acronym for Reactive Oxygen Species, which are chemically reactive molecules that have atoms of oxygens. Superoxyde radicals, peroxides, and hydroxyl radicals are example of reactive oxygen species, which are responsible of oxydative stress, which in turn may cause metabolic diseases, such as diabetes type II, and accelerated aging.

Ketogenic Diet vs Memory and Intelligence

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It has been scientifically proven by Dr Jan Venter, MD, and Jong Rho, MD, that a ketogenic diet not only prevents seizures in patients with epilepsy, but it also enhances short and long term memory and intelligence. Ketone bodies are by far better source of energy for the mitochondria than glucose. They promote the biogenesis of the mitochondria and the neurogenesis of the brain nerve cells. Biogenesis is the production of new mitochondria and neurogenesis is the creation of new neurons from cellular divisions, especially of those nerve cells located in the hippocampus region. Let us remember that a mitochondrion is the cell's power plant where ATP is produced in the Krebs cycle.

Glucose vs Fatty Acids, which one makes you fat?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fatty acids, which derive from the saturated fat that we eat, are never stored as adipose tissue in the body. Thus, they do not make you fat; glucose does. Fatty acids are first broken down into ketone bodies (aceto-acetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetona) before being used by the mitochondria in the Krebs cycle. The primitive hunter's cellular mitochondria used ketone bodies (fatty acids) as cells' fuel instead of glucose because he simply did not eat carbohydrates-containing food, for agriculture had not been developed yet. To sum up, excess glucose makes you fat, fatty acids never.

High levels of glucose make you fat because it induces the pancreas to pump up insulin into your blood stream. Insulin, in turn, makes your body tissues stores it as adipose tissue, that is to say, fat. That's how you become obese. Glucose is obtained from the starchy and sugar-containing foods we eat. Starch and sugar are called carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose in the body by the pancreas enzymes. Thus, too much starchy and sugary foods means high levels of glucose in your blood stream, which are converted into bodily fat by insulin.

How Saturated Fat is Broken Down in the Body

Friday, September 30, 2016

The saturated fat that we eat is the most efficient food and form of energy for the human body. It is broken down by lipase (pancreatic enzyme) into glycerol and fatty acids, which is stored in the liver. This organ further breaks down fatty acids into ketones, like aceto-acetate, acetone and beta-hydroxybutyrate during famine or when we follow a ketogenic diet, which is the type of diet the primitive hunter used to have before agriculture, with 60% saturated fat, 30% meat protein, and 10% vegetable and nuts.

The nerve cells and muscle fibers of the prehistoric hunter (Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon) used beta-hydroxybutyrate as fuel, since there was not enough glucose level in the blood as there was not carbohydrate foods available. This ketone body is three times more efficient fuel than glucose, promoting the biogenesis of the mitochondria (the cell power plant) and this in turn can induce the neurogenesis of neurons.