Known for his research in areas ranging from ketone ester, ketone salts and other ketone technologies, Dominic D’Agostino teaches at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine and serves the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) as a visiting research scientist. In his research, some of which is highlighted on the KetoNutrition website, Dominic D’Agostino has investigated the benefits of ketone supplementation and the ketogenic diet for a broad range of neurological diseases, cancer and to enhance safety and resilience in in the warfighter and astronaut.
The ketogenic diet involves the intake of foods high in fat very low in carbohydrates, and moderate in protein. Following a well formulated ketogenic diet typically results in significant body composition alterations, including rapid fat loss and sparing of muscle tissue. When accompanied with resistance training a modified ketogenic diet can effectively build muscle and strength. This approach works, in part, due to enhancing insulin sensitivity and preventing the development of insulin resistance that normally occurs with aging. Thus, the ketogenic diet is an effective means to enhance longevity.
When you eat carbohydrates, your body produces insulin. Greater levels of sustained insulin secretion result in decreased insulin receptor signaling, leading to insulin resistance and high levels of blood glucose. Persistent hyperglycemia trigger inflammation, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and de novo lipogenesis. Ultimately your body then stores extra glucose as fat, causing weight gain, metabolic derangement, type 2 diabetes, and perhaps increasing the risk of cancer and other age-related chronic diseases.
Because a ketogenic diet reduces carbohydrate intake, it typically results in decreased insulin levels and an overall suppression of insulin signaling. Consequently, this accelerates fat mobilization and fat burning processes in the body and can help prevent or reverse the negative effects of insulin resistance.
With a PhD in neuroscience and physiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers University, Dominic D’Agostino is now an associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Dominic D’Agostino’s research is focused on areas such as nutritional ketosis, ketone supplementation and a wide range of metabolic-based therapies.
The ketogenic diet has become popular for its ability to help people lose weight and maintain muscle through supporting the body’s ability to remain in a state of nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, the body’s metabolic system gains its energy primarily from fatty acids, which the liver converts fast into molecules called ketones. Ketones also serve as powerful signaling molecules to boost antioxidant gene expression and reduce systemic inflammation.
Taking ketone supplements, often referred to as “exogenous ketones”, can play an important role in pursuing a optimizing your metabolic health. These supplements function in one of two ways: they augment energy levels for those already in ketosis, or they help push the body into nutritional ketosis. Ideally the ketone supplement (ketone salt) should be mixed with ketogenic fats, like medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil), which also stimulates endogenous ketogenesis.
Eating a ketogenic diet and taking supplements may not be enough to reach your goals, however. If you continue to gain weight, you may need to further decrease your carbohydrate intake to start ketosis, or you may need to decrease your overall calories (most important) to ensure you take in less than your body requires to maintain your current weight so that you can burn stored fat. Interestingly, things like nutritional ketosis, ketone supplementation and intermittent fasting make it easier for people to create a calorie deficit through appetite suppression effects.
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