Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases are a lot more prevalent these days. As diseases such as RA (rheumatoid arthritis), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, Lupus, and MS (multiple sclerosis) continue to rise, more and more people are looking for the right type of treatments. People who have issues with their gut health need help with reducing the inflammation and getting their disease under control. Some research shows that healthy foods such as vegetables, bone broth, and coconut oil can help. There is always research that shows a low carb diet known as the ketogenic diet can help too. The keto diet is a low carb, high-fat diet that can reduce inflammation. There’s an excellent overview of the Body Reboot book and how it can help fight autoimmune diseases as well as offer many other benefits. Below are some arguments on why the keto diet may help people with autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Will Cole reveals some facts regarding autoimmune diseases and explains how they’re wreaking havoc on bodies. Fighting inflammation helps considerably, and the Dr. discusses why this is the case below:
Even though inflammation underlies many conditions, let’s look at one of the primary critical health issues we face today. To date, there are close to 100 recognized autoimmune diseases, and an additional 40 that have an autoimmune component. I predict that this number will certainly rise as science continues to discover autoimmune components in more diseases. Morever, in the United States alone, it’s estimated that 50 million people have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. In most cases, the official diagnostic criteria are that the patient’s immune system has already destroyed a significant portion of their body; for instance, a diagnosis of autoimmune adrenal issues or Addison’s disease requires 90 percent destruction of the adrenal glands. Equally sobering, major destruction of the neurological system is required for a diagnosis of neurological autoimmunity (e.g., multiple sclerosis) and major destruction of the digestive system is required for a diagnosis of gut autoimmunity (e.g., celiac disease).
We live in the Age of Autoimmunity, and the more the scientific community examines this phenomenon, the clearer it becomes that autoimmunity is driven by inflammation. That means that even if you don’t have a diagnosed autoimmune disorder right now, a brewing inflammation storm inside you could mean you are headed in that direction.
Because inflammation can affect any part of the body, its manifestations can be far-reaching. Some of the most-common early-onset symptoms of inflammation include:
Pain that travels throughout the body
Dr. Will Cole further describes how the keto diet can help combat inflammation. If you’ve been struggling with an autoimmune disease learn how this low carb diet may be a good fit for your lifestyle.
Lifestyle intervention is, in my experience, the most powerful way to take control of health. Whether those changes improve your quality of life by 25 percent or 100 percent, any increase is a move in the right direction and away from the threat of autoimmune disease. If you don’t change what you are doing, you won’t change where you are going, and one of the most profoundly helpful lifestyle changes I have discovered for calming inflammation and balancing the immune system is the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet specifically impacts mechanisms responsible for chronic inflammation. When you start burning fat instead of sugar, you switch into ketosis, or a ketogenic state. The ketones your body produces and uses for fuel are powerful, inflammation-fighting superheroes. ß-hydroxybutyrate (also known as BHB) is a strong anti-inflammatory, inhibiting inflammatory pathways like NFkB, COX-2, and the NLRP3 inflammasome and activating the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory AMPK and Nrf2 pathways. Additionally, BHB activates the very important AMPK pathway, which is involved in regulating energy balance and helps reduce inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory Nf-kB pathways in the body. BHB also exerts a similar effect on pain and inflammation as the NSAID drug ibuprofen, by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme (without the side effects).
A study from Multiple Sclerosis International in 2015 reveals that the ketogenic diet has the potential to treat MS. At the end of the study (read below) they mention still needing to do further research, but their findings are very promising.
Until recently, multiple sclerosis has been viewed as an entirely inflammatory disease without acknowledgment of the significant neurodegenerative component responsible for disease progression and disability. This perspective is being challenged by observations of a dissociation between inflammation and neurodegeneration where the neurodegenerative component may play a more significant role in disease progression. In this review, we explore the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis. We review evidence that the ketogenic diet can improve mitochondrial function and discuss the potential of the ketogenic diet in treating progressive multiple sclerosis for which no treatment currently exists.
The ketogenic diet has the potential to treat the neurodegenerative component of progressive MS on the basis of the following observations obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies,
Neurodegeneration is thought to underlie the pathogenesis of progressive MS.
Mitochondrial dysfunction may result in reduced ATP availability. This may promote axonal atrophy, leading to degeneration. There is evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction within “normal appearing” grey matter and mitochondrial function appears to correlate with axonal survival.
According to in vitro and animal studies, the ketogenic diet increases ATP production, promotes mitochondrial biogenesis, and bypasses dysfunctional steps within the mitochondrial bioenergetic process, increases antioxidant levels and reduces oxidative damage. Since an increase in ATP and overall improvement in mitochondrial functioning correlates with axonal survival, the ketogenic diet may offer a therapeutic benefit for the neurodegenerative component of MS.
These premises are largely theoretical with regard to the contextual application of the ketogenic diet in MS as there is no data currently available on the ketogenic diet from human studies on MS. Animal models of EAE do not accurately represent the underlying pathogenesis of MS, since neurodegeneration does not play a significant role in EAE. Mitochondria-targeting agents, ketones, and the ketogenic diet have however shown positive results in several models of neurodegeneration, and given the complete absence of available treatment for progressive MS, the relatively safe option of a ketogenic diet deserves further investigation in the context of progressive MS.
Chronic inflammation is no picnic, but Shawn Mynar discusses how the keto diet can help with that. In fact, after five months of being on keto, she says she started feeling a difference in her water retention and the benefits have continued to increase.
In addition to having two autoimmune diseases, both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and ulcerative colitis, this past year I was also diagnosed with chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) from exposure to toxic mold. This all equals tons of systemic inflammation that is impossible to get under control without the use of special medications. The medications worked wonders, but I still had lingering inflammation that even my clean paleo diet couldn’t budge.
By getting into ketosis, I was able to use this therapeutic diet to further reduce chronic inflammation throughout my body that was causing unnecessary pain and swelling. Ketosis works by changing your metabolic pathway from using glucose as fuel to using ketones, a by-product of fatty acids produced in the absence of glucose. This change to a fat-burner metabolism produces less oxidation and even shuts off an entire inflammatory process with the production of beta-hydroxybutyrate. Not to mention the increase in fatty acids from the diet produce prostaglandins which are inflammation regulators.
Results: Within days of being in ketosis I could feel a difference in my water retention, joint pain, and inflammation in my knees and ankles, the two most noticeable areas for the inflammatory pain in my body. It has only gotten better and better since, now 5 months along.
In case you’re wondering what type of low carb foods fight inflammation, Perfect Keto provides a list of some of the best foods you can eat that will soothe your gut:
Focus on the high-quality, gut-friendly foods below.
Healthy fats (grass-fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, avocados, olive oil, MCT Oil, MCT Oil Powder)
Fermented foods (kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut)
Bone broth, offal
High-quality organic meat and fatty fish
Low-carb veggies (kale, spinach, bok-choy, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower)
Coconut milk (works great to replace dairy)
Perfect Keto also discusses how the anti-inflammatory effects that alow carb, high-fat diet can improve an immune system. In many cases, the keto diet can also help people live healthier lives.
Research into the keto diet and autoimmunity looks relatively strong if you’re suffering from MS, and definitely promising if you have lupus, RA, Crohn’s, or psoriasis.
The anti-inflammatory effects of keto can give a boost to the immune system, and in some cases work in direct opposition to autoimmune challenges.
Gut health is one of the major threads that connect all autoimmune diseases.
The ketogenic diet is known as an anti-inflammatory diet when you do it correctly — avoiding most packaged foods and sticking to high-quality meat, low-carb vegetables, and healthy fats.
Everyone’s body is different, so it’s always important to consult your doctor for medical advice if you’re thinking about changing your diet to assist in disease management. Like all things in life — diet is not a one size fits all.
Managing disease is no easy task, but the keto diet can help. Learn more about how the diet works and how it may help with autoimmune diseases in the Body Reboot book. If you want a free copy of the Body Reboot book help us cover the cost of shipping and we’ll send you out a free book. Visit this page and find out if there are any copies left.
Sources: Perfect Keto, Dr. Will Cole, NCBI: Storoni, M., & Plant, G. T. (2015). The Therapeutic Potential of the Ketogenic Diet in Treating Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis international, Shawn Mynar
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Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally achieve your weight loss goals!