Does Pat Summitt Need Paleo?


This is NOT Pat

Pat Summitt

I know, it’s a rhetorical question…..everyone needs Paleo. Considering that it was the natural human diet for around 2.5 millions years of evolution, there’s not much of an argument against the Paleo diet being correct and healthy for everyone on the planet.

In this specific case though, a ketogenic version of the Paleo diet could really help to save a person’s mind first, then their life.

Does Pat Summit Need Paleo?

In a CBS news report yesterday (April 19th 2012), it was announced that long time University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt is stepping down from the position she has held for 38 years, because of early onset dementia.

“Shelley Collier, who played for Summitt from 1983 to 1987, told CBS News, “When you think about women’s basketball, how can you not think about Pat Summitt? She has touched

a lot of people’s lives.”

Holly Warlick, Summitt’s assistant for 27 years, will succeed her, but can’t really replace her. Summitt, 59, will become head coach emeritus.

Collier said of Summitt, “She is still very much alive and very much ready to fight whatever is in front of her with the way that she’s done everything.”

David Hyde Pierce of “Frasier” fame discussed the Summitt’s dementia diagnosis on “CBS This Morning.” Pierce’s father and grandfather suffered from the disease and he’s been a longtime advocate for Alzheimer’s research.”

I hate to see stories like these, because it always seems to be these beloved, high-profile people who are diagnosed with some life threatening disease, and then treated by conventional doctors who have a conventional lack of ability to truly help in cases like this….instead of trying something different, that could make the difference between life and death. Sometimes the answer ISN’T IN A DRUG.

For a while now, most people in the Paleo community have been aware of promising studies that have used either just coconut oil as a treatment for dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, or a combination of a ketogenic diet, and coconut oil.

The ketogenic diet is a very-low-carbohydrate diet that literally forces the body to switch from using glucose as a primary energy source to using ketone bodies that are produced from fat. There is a lot of research that shows that insulin resistance in brain cells can be one of the major contributing factors

to this terrible disease. Many researchers are now dubbing the disease “Type III Diabetes”, because of the close similarities in glucose dysfunction between diabetes and dementia/Alzheimer’s. The brain eventually loses it’s ability to properly utilize glucose, (it’s main fuel source), which causes cell death within the brain, and therefore the gradual slide into oblivion.

The ketogenic diet is far from mainstream, and anyone would be hard pressed to find a doctor that is even aware of such a treatment, but it could be the best chance such a patient has against this terrible disease. While utilizing a ketogenic diet, the brain is able to derive the majority of it’s energy from the ketone bodies, which means that the fact that the brain cannot properly utilize glucose no longer matters as much. It’s like a “brain bypass”. Another great thing about the ketogenic diet is that it stimulates autophagy and cellular apoptosis, which actually stimulates the body….and the brain to clean house, by removing old dead cells, and replacing them with new ones.

Science didn’t used to believe that brain neurons could ever be replaced as we age, but we now understand that under the correct conditions, neurons can certainly be re-grown, the replace old defective ones.

So in answer to the question of “does Pat Summitt need Paleo?“, I would say that Pat absolutely needs a ketogenic Paleo Diet…..and RIGHT NOW TOO! Maybe Pat herself will read this blog post, or maybe someone can point her in this direction, which would be fantastic. If not, let’s hope someone close to her is informed enough to give her the same message. There is still hope Pat!


Discovery supports theory of Alzheimer’s disease as form of diabetes

High carbohydrate diets and Alzheimer’s disease

Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet

Dietary ketosis enhances memory in mild cognitive impairment

Ketosis May Promote Brain Macroautophagy via Activation of Hypoxia- Inducible Factor-1


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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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One Response to Does Pat Summitt Need Paleo?

  1. Patti April 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the references! I needed something concrete to pass along to family members who are drowning my father-in-law (who has dementia) in carbohydrates.