The diet seems to improve neurovascular function, which means it improves blood flow to the brain, and this is all controlled by the bacteria in the gut, or the microbiome.
Eating the diet for just 16 weeks seems to change the biological markers that are linked to cognition. It dramatically increases the blood flow to the brain, improves the balance of 'good' bacteria in the gut, lowers blood glucose levels and body weight, and helps clear amyloid-beta from the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer's.
The research, carried out by a team from the University of Kentucky, has thus far been carried out on laboratory mice, but the researchers say it gives some positive indicators of what could happen in people too.
Earlier research has found that the ketogenic diet could help combat a range of other health problems, such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and autism.
(Source: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2018; 10. DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00225)