Many may assume that just because they go on a diet that doesn’t mean that their health condition will go away. For example, if someone has a severe lung condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they believe even if they're on a great diet they’re going to have a hard time getting better. However, experts say what a person eats has a lot of impact on their health and medical conditions. COPD is a broad term for lung conditions that make it difficult for a person to breathe. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but treatments such as using certain medications, supplemental oxygen, and other forms of therapy can help. There are also lifestyle tweaks — such as going on the ketogenic diet (which we discuss in the Body Reboot) — that can help. Keep reading to find out how the keto diet may help combat COPD.
Yahoo Lifestyle explains how the keto diet may help combat COPD and help people breathe more easily. Since the keto diet reduces a body’s inflammation, there is a chance a reduction in inflammation can help someone with COPD.
“Diet is where people with COPD often make mistakes,” Raymond Casciari, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Here’s why diet can make an impact: Your body has to do work to change the food you eat into fuel — this is called your metabolism, Casciari explains, and it requires oxygen to work effectively. As a result of your body breaking down food for fuel, it produces energy and carbon dioxide, a waste product that you exhale.
The keto diet (aka “ketogenic diet”) is a diet that is high in fat and low in carbs. It works to put you into ketosis, a state your body enters when it doesn’t have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. Your body then starts making organic compounds called ketones that it uses for energy instead of carbohydrates and also starts burning fat for more energy.
The diet is also thought to help lower bodily inflammation, and that can help people with COPD as well, Albert A. Rizzo, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “COPD is a disease that causes inflammation in the airways,” he explains. “We don’t have it all worked out but, in general, inflammation is not good for the body’s organs. We want to try to decrease bodily inflammation.”
And finally, the keto diet can help lower a person’s BMI (body mass index), which can indirectly help with COPD, Rizzo says. “People with COPD will have less shortness of breath when they’re carrying less weight,” he says.
The author on COPD Athlete discusses his experience on the keto diet while having COPD. He found that the diet has helped him significantly manage his symptoms and feels better thanks to the high-fat, low carb diet.
Over the last two years I have been in communication with world renowned respiratory disease researchers as well as those leading the charge into the use of ketosis to manage chronic disease. You don’t have to have a degree to come to the simple conclusion systemic inflammation is what researchers want to suppress.
Chronic inflammation is now being recognised as the major driver in so many diseases and the race is on to find a way to treat it. Sadly, due to predominately funding issues, respiratory research is lagging behind other diseases. The key inflammasome NLRP3, a driver to many diseases including respiratory disease is the target of researchers.
When I received the results of my PFT’s it brought a smile to my face. This time my results recorded were my best since being diagnosed with COPD. When you consider COPD is a progressive disease the 2017 and 2018 tests while in ketosis are significant.
The question is what has changed? In my uneducated opinion – it’s all about inflammation. My blood results since starting the ketogenic diet have showed a continual reduction in my inflammation markers. If you told any respiratory researcher a severe COPD patient had a CRP (marker of inflammation) of 1, they would be shocked. A common trait of a patient with a chronic inflammatory disease is a high CRP blood result – over 5 is considered high.
Despite what some have said when I first wrote about the ketogenic diet, I’m still here, I haven’t died or developed cardiovascular disease. In fact, I’m thriving. See the thing is with a nutritional strategy, if you are not doing well on it you can simply stop. You don’t actually have to wait for clinical trials which can take years.
There are a growing number of registered dieticians who are well educated in using either low carbohydrate, high fat or ketogenic diets. A patient could potentially liaise with their doctor and dietician to safely and effectively implement these dietary changes.
A 2015 study by Lung study found the ketogenic diet can help people struggling with respiratory issues. Their findings prove very helpful for people seeking to find relief from breathing difficulties.
The effects of the ketogenic diet (KD) on weight loss, metabolic, and respiratory parameters were investigated in healthy subjects.
Thirty-two healthy subjects were randomized into two groups. The KD group followed a ketogenic diet for 20 days (KD t 0-t 20), then switched to a low-carbohydrate, no-ketogenic diet for 20 days (KD t 20-t 40), and finally was on a Mediterranean diet (MD) for 2 more months (KD t 40-t 2m). The MD group followed a MD for 20 days (MD t 0-t 20), then followed a MD of 1400 kcal over the next 20 days (MD t 20-t 40), and completed the study with the MD for 2 months (MD t 40-t 2m). Body weight, body fat, respiratory rate, and respiratory gas parameters (including respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and carbon dioxide end-tidal partial pressure (PETCO2), oxygen uptake (VO2), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), and resting energy expenditure (REE)) were measured at each point.
A significant decrease (p < 0.05) in RER was observed after 20 and 40 days in the KD group, but not in the MD group. In the KD group, significant reductions were observed for both carbon dioxide output and PETCO2, however, there was no significant change in VO2, VCO2, and REE. While both diets significantly decreased body fat mass, the KD diet overall proved to have a higher percentage of fat loss versus the MD diet.
The KD may significantly decrease carbon dioxide body stores, which may theoretically be beneficial for patients with increased carbon dioxide arterial partial pressure due to respiratory insufficiency or failure.
Abbot recommends that people who have lung issues should consider talking to their doctor about adding the below nutrients to their diet. Many of these nutrients are in the foods you eat in the keto diet, so discuss whether a high fat, low carb diet is a good fit for you. You never know — it could help eliminate a lot of your symptoms or at least help you manage them. Experiencing less inflammation can help in more ways than one, especially with your lungs.
People with lung issues should talk to a doctor about incorporating these nutrients into their diet:
Antioxidants: Free-radical fighters such as vitamin C, which are found in foods like citrus fruits and dark leafy green vegetables, are linked to a lower prevalence of asthma and are beneficial for lung health. Hegazi says this is because antioxidants help protect us from oxidative stress, which is a chemical imbalance in the body that can lead to tissue damage.
Protein: Found in foods such as fish, poultry, milk, eggs, cheese, poultry, nuts, dried beans and peas, protein helps your body maintain strong respiratory muscles. “If you have a respiratory condition that is chronic, your muscles could become exhausted and overworked,” Hegazi says. “You need to fuel that extra effort with an increased amount of protein.”
Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin is also found in fortified milk, fatty fish and egg yolks and has been linked to reduced risk of moderate or severe COPD exacerbations, or flare-ups, in which breathing gets worse.
People with COPD may experience significant relief from their breathing difficulties thanks to the keto diet. To learn more about the diet and what it entails you can read all about it in the Body Reboot book. Receive your free book by helping us cover the cost of shipping. Visit this page to get a free copy of the book before our remaining copies are gone. We can’t wait for you to become a part of our health-focused community!
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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!