Associate professor Dominic D’Agostino teaches classes at the University of South Florida. Alongside his work there, Dominic D’Agostino is a researcher who focuses on nutritional sciences and their applications in diseases that impact muscles and movement. Some of his recent work involves the ketogenic diet and its usefulness in managing epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a condition characterized by seizures that can be brought on by many different conditions, and many cases have unknown causes. The treatments for epilepsy generally center on pharmaceutical therapies and sometimes involve surgical procedures.
A longstanding and growing body of research suggests that dietary intervention can be beneficial to people with epilepsy. Specifically, physicians turn to the ketogenic diet to help some patients who do not respond to medication.
The ketogenic diet, also known as a keto diet or just keto, is very high in fat and low in carbohydrates. The diet encourages the body to produce molecules called ketones that are known to have anticonvulsant effects, especially in children. Recent research has provided support for this dietary therapy in adult patients as well.
With a background in the improvement of high-performance neurological and muscle capacities, Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, serves as an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. He also serves as a research scientist at IHMC. As a guest on the Sigma Nutrition and Performance podcast (accessible at https://sigmanutrition.com) in February 2017, Dr. Dominic D’Agostino focused on the cancer fighting abilities of a “press pulse protocol” that incorporates a variety of modalities, including hyperbaric oxygen, ketogenic diet and metabolic drugs.
Dr. D’Agostino describes ketone supplementation and intermittent fasting as placing intense metabolic stress on tumor cells that are dependent on glucose for aggressive activity. Particularly when calorie restricted, the ketogenic diet is effective in reducing insulin levels and pathways that drive tumorous cells’ hyper-metabolic state.
Among the effects are a reduction in blood glucose and a mobilization of fatty acids in ways that starve the tumor and suppress cancer growth. The spikes that typically occur in glucose and insulin through carbohydrate feeding are significantly decreased. The combination of insulin signaling suppression and glucose availability is a powerful tool in transitioning the body toward a ketone and fatty acid metabolism.
Dr. D’Agostino notes that this is a difficult process for many people, as the body undergoes glucose withdrawal before reaching a new physiological stasis in which abundant ketone bodies are produced. The brain, with its inherent metabolic flexibilities, can ultimately adapt to this new energy source and thrive. Oncologists at numerous institutes are working on developing Press Pulse protocols as a “comprehensive stand alone nontoxic approach” or as means to further augment standard of cancer therapies.
Dominic D’Agostino holds a doctorate in neuroscience and physiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In addition to his research on muscle wasting and motoneuron diseases, Dominic D’Agostino recently conducted a study on the role of exogenous ketone supplements in reducing anxiety-related behavior.
Basing their research on the evidence that nutritional ketosis can improve seizures and neurological conditions, researchers administered ketone supplements to Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) and Sprague-Dawley (SPD) rats to study their effects on anxiety-related behavior, as measured by performance on an elevated plus maze (EPM).
The researchers found that ketone supplementation raised blood βHB levels in the two rat models and lowered anxiety-related behavior. These findings suggest that ketone supplementation could be an effective substitute for a strict ketogenic diet to achieve nutritional ketosis as an approach to treating anxiety.
The results of the study were published in the scientific journal, Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, in December 2016.
Dominic D’Agostino is an associate professor at the University of South Florida. Among his interests are using nutrition and oxygen therapy for cancer treatment and the benefits of metabolic and oxygen therapy. One of the topics Dominic D’Agostino has researched has been ketogenic diets and how they affect parts of the body, including muscle wasting associated with cancer cachexia.
Ketogenic diets, which restrict carbohydrates in favor of healthy fats and proteins, provide many benefits an individual might not find in more traditional diets. One of these is the ability to control epilepsy and a wide variety of drug-resistant seizure disorders. Using ketogenic diets for individuals who have epilepsy has been used since the 1920s.
Individuals who follow the ketogenic diet plan have been able to minimize the amount of drugs they are taking to control their seizures, and some have been able to stop drugs completely after a while. This allows them to forgo the side effects that medications can create, such as feeling lethargic or experiencing changes in their personality.
The Metabolic Therapeutics conference (metabolictherapeutics.com) at USF Tampa was an event with over 400 attendees gathered to discuss emerging applications of nutritional ketosis and included speakers from Johns Hopkins, Yale, Boston College, Ohio State University and many others. The event the science and application of nutritional ketosis, including ketone supplementation, for seizure disorders, cancer, inflammation disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and human performance.
A researcher and associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Dominic D’Agostino has performed research on a number of topics related to neurodegenerative disease, including loss of muscle movement as a result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He has also inspired the use of metabolic-based therapies for dogs with cancer at the KetoPet Sanctuary, though his work with Quest Nutrition and Epigenix Foundation. https://vimeo.com/officialquestmedia/review/129464547/2aea0cd4ff
Dominic D’Agostino contributes to dog rescue by helping Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which will hold the 30th Annual Bark in the Park on March 25, 2017. This event raises awareness for pet adoption and for pet fostering programs and has been growing every year
The 30th Annual Bark in the Park will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The event involves a pet festival along with a 1-mile Walk for Animals along the river. The Bark in the Park will feature a number of activities for animals, such as a Doggie Fun Zone and a pop-up dog park. The event will also include over 70 rescue groups and vendors, food trucks, craft beer and wine, live music performed by Stereo FM, and balloons and face painting for children.
Admission is free for those who participate in the fundraising walk, while the nonparticipants’ fee is $20. All proceeds go toward caring for homeless animals at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. To register for the event, visit BarkInTheParkTampa.com
A graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey with a PhD in neuroscience and physiology, Dominic D’Agostino serves as an associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. During his career, he has conducted research on muscle waste resulting from motorneuron diseases as well as neurodegenerative disease like GLUT1D and Angelman’s syndrome. Dominic D’Agostino extends his interest in this disease area by contributing to Winning the Fight Against Neurodegenerative Diseases (WFND) by conducting research for them in his laboratory.
A nonprofit organization that researches nutritional therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the WFND created a metabolic program called the Deanna Protocol metabolic plan (the DP Plan), which research has shown to be effective effective for treating the symptoms and underlying cause of ALS. .
The WFND does not directly sell the nutritional supplements that are part of the DP Plan, and any profits that the organization makes from the supplements go directly toward research to enhance the DP Plan. In the future, the WFND hopes to use the plan not only to treat ALS but also other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. for more information please visit their website: https://www.winningthefight.org/
Dr. Dominic D’Agostino has spent more than a decade at the University of South Florida, where he serves as an associate professor. In this position, he conducts research in areas of neuroscience, nutritional sciences, and physiology. Dr. Dominic D’Agostino maintains a particular interest in metabolic therapies for oxygen toxicity.
Oxygen toxicity is a physical condition involving prolonged exposure of the lungs and brain to elevated levels of oxygen. Oxygen toxicity can lead to a number of serious medical concerns, including irreversible pulmonary fibrosis and hyperoxia. If left untreated, it can prove fatal. Oxygen toxicity is of particular concern to scuba divers, individuals receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and any person receiving supplemental oxygen.
The symptoms of oxygen toxicity can vary depending on the amount of oxygen to which an individual has been exposed, as well as the length of time. Individuals suffering from oxygen toxicity generally experience visual and auditory distortions. Severe fatigue and muscle spasms are also known signs of the condition. Symptoms may also affect an individual’s psychological well-being, sometimes manifesting as anxiety and confusion.