Once again, there’s more clinical evidence that dietary interventions can positively impact the course of many autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).
In a recent study at the University of Virginia, researchers found that following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat protocol like the “keto diet” reduced the symptoms of neurologic disability, fatigue, and depression in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Additionally, the study participants noted a “heightened overall quality of life,” reporting that their performance also improved on select physical endurance testing.1
Results were monitored in the laboratory at the start of the trial and again at three and six months; tests confirmed adherence to the diet by measuring the ketones, which is a metabolite that the body produces when it is burning fats – a hallmark of a keto-type diet. A total of 83% of the original 65 participants adhered to the diet for the full term of the study period. Scientists also found that study participants had less body fat at the end of the trial as well as decrease in depression and fatigue, with an improvement in disability scores. And laboratory testing showed a reduction in inflammatory markers in subjects’ blood samples.2
The basics of a keto diet.
The keto diet is founded upon these guidelines and has been shown to be beneficial in reducing blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes, which is also an inflammatory-based condition.
Patients, with their doctor’s guidance, may enjoy a variety of:
There are additional tenets of a keto diet that may or may not be appropriate when following this type of plan in the management of a disorder like MS – so it’s doubly important to talk to your practitioner before eliminating any foods or making drastic dietary changes! But keto or other monitored protocols may be helpful as part of a total therapeutic approach only if you eliminate the detrimental things like highly processed, commercially prepared snacks and foods that typically contain saturated fat, excess sodium, preservatives, chemical additives, and a lot of “empty” calories.
While additional research is definitely warranted to learn how keto diets may be a helpful tool in MS protocols, this latest study does present with very interesting and hopeful findings. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, just reach out to our offices – we’re here to help!
In health and healing,
Dr. Suzanne Gazda
1 University of Virginia, UVAHealth (March 8, 2022)
2 Neuroscience News (March 2022)