The Ketogenic diet (which is a low carb, high protein, and high fat diet), has been around for almost 100 years and has shown to be an invaluable tool in treating neurological conditions such epilepsy. When on the Keto diet, the body uses ketones instead of glucose as its energy source. As a result of the diet, research in 2015 has demonstrated that another chemical known as decanoic acid is produced. This chemical just so happens to help reduce seizures.
That's just one example as to how the keto diet can help neurological conditions. In addition, as we learn in the Body Reboot book, it has shown promise in improving other brain-based disorders like Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
But what does science tell us about the ketogenic diet and psychiatric disorders? More specifically, can it help people who have bipolar disorder, for example?
Ketogenic Diets and Bipolar Disorder
2002: A one-month case study of a woman with unspecified, treatment-resistant bipolar disorder noted no improvement after two weeks on a ketogenic diet followed by two weeks of MCT oil supplementation. Urine testing found ketosis was never achieved.
2012: A case study of two women with bipolar II disorder who ate a ketogenic diet (one for two years, the other for three years) found that the diet was superior to the anticonvulsant/mood stabilizer lamotrigine (Lamictal) in management of symptoms. Ketosis was documented using urine test strips.
It could be many years before we see additional studies of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders. However, the studies that have been done so far show promising results. It's good to know that the women who ate a ketogenic diet found the diet to be superior to taking Lamictal in managing their symptoms. If studies continue in the future, as Psychology Today discusses, who knows what other positive findings may reveal!
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