The Keto diet is a low-carb lover’s dream, but a new study suggests the popular eating plan may also improve some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body attacks the insulation wrapped around its nerves, causing numbness, fatigue, bladder problems, mood issues and mobility problems that can interfere with daily life. There is no cure for MS.
But there may be a way to ease symptoms.
How does the keto diet help people with MS?
In the study, when folks with MS ate a keto diet for six months, they reported less fatigue and depression, and an improved overall quality of life.
“Our study provides evidence that medically supervised ketogenic diets are safe and tolerable when studied over a six-month period, and convey clinical benefits to persons living with MS,” says study author Dr. J. Nicholas Brenton. He is the director of the Pediatric MS & Related Disorders Clinic at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Keto diets restrict your intake of carbs while increasing fats and protein. The goal is to shift from burning blood sugar for energy to a fat-burning state (ketosis), producing weight loss.
Exactly how a keto diet improves symptoms of MS isn’t fully understood yet, but the researchers have their theories, starting with the weight loss it induces given the emerging role of obesity in MS. Ketogenic diets may also reduce inflammation and help re-balance the bacteria in the guts of people with MS. Certain gut bacteria create more inflammation in the body and this has been observed in some people with MS, Brenton shares.
The study included 65 people with relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of the disease. It is marked by periods of flares followed by remissions. Patients ate a strict keto diet for six months. Researchers measured ketones in their urine each day to see if they were