A ketogenic diet, which primarily consists of foods like meat, fish, eggs, heavy cream, butter, oils and non-starchy vegetables like pea pods, carrots, broccoli and peppers, may be safe for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). That is according to a preliminary study released today, March 1, 2022, that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 74th Annual Meeting being held in person in Seattle, April 2 to 7, 2022 and virtually, April 24 to 26, 2022. The preliminary study also found people with MS may experience less fatigue and depression and report an improved quality of life while on the diet.
“A ketogenic diet, which is high in fats, adequate in protein, and low in carbohydrates, allows the body to utilize fat as its primary source of energy instead of sugars, thus mimicking a fasting state,” said study author J. Nicholas Brenton, MD, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “A ketogenic diet helps lower blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes and improve seizure control in people with epilepsy. However, it has not been well-studied in people with MS. Diet changes can be an inexpensive way to improve overall health, so our study explored whether eating a ketogenic diet is safe, tolerable and beneficial for people living with MS.”
The study enrolled 65 people diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common form of the disease, marked by symptom flare-ups followed by periods of remission.
Study participants consumed a ketogenic diet for six months. They were instructed to consume two to three ketogenic meals per day consisting of one to two servings of low-carbohydrate proteins such as eggs, fish or meat alongside two to four tablespoons of fat, such as butter, oil, avocado, ghee or heavy cream, and one to two cups of non-starchy vegetables such as cucumbers, leafy greens or cauliflower. Snacks were also allowed as long as participants followed the maximum daily carbohydrate allowance of 20 grams. Adherence to the diet was monitored by daily urine tests to measure ketones, a metabolite produced by the body when it is burning fats. A total of 83% of participants adhered to the diet for the full study period.
Participants completed tests and surveys prior to the start of the diet and again at three and six months while on the diet to measure level of disability and quality of life.
Researchers found that not only did participants have less body fat after six months, they also had a decline in fatigue and depression scores.
For more information: AAN.com