Keto diet may aid neurological diseases, researchers say

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags keto diet ketogenic Neurology Alzheimer's disease Parkinson's disease

Changes in eating habits can have a beneficial effect on the condition of our body, but also on the development and course of many diseases, researchers say.

A review carried out at Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Lublin, Poland, provides evidence that the ketogenic diet may provide therapeutic benefits in patients with neurological problems associated with increased oxidative stress and neuro-inflammation or disruption in brain energy metabolism.

The review of scientific literature shows that the keto diet could affect not only the progression of neurological disorders but also the course and outcome of their treatment.

They said the effectiveness of the diet has been proven in epilepsy and in other neurological diseases, such as depression, migraine, or neurodegenerative diseases e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. They added that the keto diet should be also considered as an adjuvant therapeutic option in other neurological diseases.

Neurological diseases 

They wrote: “The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate and adequate-protein diet that has gained popularity in recent years in the context of neurological diseases.

“The complexity of the pathogenesis of these diseases means that effective forms of treatment are still lacking. Conventional therapy is often associated with increasing tolerance and/or drug resistance​.”

They wrote that as a consequence, more effective therapeutic strategies are being sought to increase the effectiveness of available forms of therapy and improve the quality of life of patients.

They noted that for the moment, it seems that the keto diet can provide therapeutic benefits in patients with neurological problems by effectively controlling the balance between pro- and antioxidant processes and pro-excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters and modulating inflammation or changing the composition of the gut microbiome.

The authors explained that the keto diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet and that such changes in the proportion of macronutrients lead to glucose sparing and enhanced ketogenesis. This metabolic state is known as nutritional ketosis.

Brain functions

They said: “More and more research shows that the ketogenic diet can have a positive effect on brain functions and peripheral organs, and thus provide therapeutic benefits to a wide range of neurological conditions.

“Although the molecular mechanisms of action of the ketogenic diet are unclear, growing research suggests that this diet can be an important element in adjunctive therapy in the treatment of central nervous system diseases​.”

They observed that more recently, it has been shown that the keto diet can affect the course of diseases by modulating inflammation, controlling the balance between pro- and antioxidant processes and/or altering the composition of the gut microbiome.

They said: “In this review we evaluated the potential therapeutic efficacy of KD in epilepsy, depression, migraine, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In our opinion, KD should be considered as an adjuvant therapeutic option for some neurological diseases​.”

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