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Ketogenic Diet And Parkinson’s Disease

Other Ways To Improve Parkinsons Disease

Dr Matthew Phillips – Parkinson’s, Fasting, and Ketogenic Diets

As of now, the most promising research for reducing symptoms and improving the quality of life of Parkinsons patients is on ketones, the ketogenic diet, and specific medications nothing else. There are, however, some other simple strategies you can use to make life easier if you are struggling with Parkinsons disease:

Is The Keto Diet Right For Me

The keto diet can cause appetite suppression and as seen in all 3 studies weight loss. For some people with Parkinsons who are carrying extra weight this may be appropriate but for many struggling with poor appetite and unplanned loss of weight this dietary pattern may not be suitable.

If not well formulated the keto diet can lack fibre. A lack of dietary fibre can lead to or exacerbate constipation. to learn how to get an adequate amount of fibre on a keto diet.

The keto diet is very high in fat. If you suffer from gastroparesis or slow stomach emptying consuming very high-fat meals can cause symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain and bloating. As fat empties more slowly from the stomach this dietary pattern may not be suitable.

Where To From Here

If you have done your research and want to commence the keto diet, check with your doctor first as this dietary pattern may not be suitable for you. If you have diabetes and take insulin or oral hypoglycaemic agents, you may need your medications adjusted before initiating this diet. With diabetes, you should regularly monitor your blood glucose and blood ketone levels and liaise regularly with your doctor.

If you do decide to start the keto diet, trial it for a few months and closely observe your symptoms. Your doctor can monitor blood-work, including your blood lipid profile, and potential side effects.

You should also work with a Dietitian to ensure you follow a well-formulated keto diet containing nutrient dense foods. In addition, be sure to reduce your carbohydrate intake gradually and increase your fat intake gradually over several weeks. You can test your blood ketone levels using a device, such as this one, available online or from a pharmacy. Alternatively, urine testing strips can also indicate ketone levels.

If after giving it a go, you decide the keto diet is not right for you, transition back to your usual diet gradually and stay in contact with you doctor.

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Study 3 Krikorian Et Al

The third study, conducted in 2019, aimed to investigate the effects of a low carbohydrate, ketogenic intervention on cognitive performance in participants with Parkinsons disease-associated mild cognitive impairment. 14 participants with Parkinsons were randomised to either a high-carbohydrate or low-carbohydrate diet for 8-weeks. Ketone levels were measured during weeks 2, 4 and 6. Each diet provided a different amount of calories and protein. A target of 20 grams of carbohydrate per day was provided for the low-carbohydrate group.

Outcomes: the low-carbohydrate group demonstrated enhanced cognitive performance in aspects of executive ability and memory. There was no benefit observed for motor function in this trial.

For those on the low carbohydrate diet, calorie intake declined significantly with reductions in weight and waist circumference observed. In contrast, these measurements were unchanged for those on the high-carbohydrate diet.

Limitations: the short duration of the trial and small sample size were limitations noted by the authors who also suggested benefits in motor function may have been observed with a longer intervention period.

The observed change in body weight was strongly associated with cognitive benefit.

Unplanned Weight Loss Or Weight Gain

Parkinsons Disease and Low Carb Diets

The medications that people with Parkinsons disease usually take can cause the side effects of either loss of appetite or an increase in hunger . This can then lead to unintentional weight gain or weight loss both of which can cause issues to health.

As well as looking at the specific macronutrient distribution of the ketogenic diet, one must also be mindful of the calorie content.

Furthermore, as ketone bodies increase, they can elicit a natural appetite suppressing effect so further care must be taken to ensure adequate calories are consumed.

Feel free to use our keto calculator to find out how much you need to eat to maintain, lose, or gain weight.

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Ketogenic Diet In Neuromuscular And Neurodegenerative Diseases

Antonio Paoli

1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 3, 35031 Padova, Italy

2Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, University of Palermo, Via Eleonora Duse 2, 90146 Palermo, Italy

Academic Editor:


An increasing number of data demonstrate the utility of ketogenic diets in a variety of metabolic diseases as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. In regard to neurological disorders, ketogenic diet is recognized as an effective treatment for pharmacoresistant epilepsy but emerging data suggests that ketogenic diet could be also useful in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer, Parkinsons disease, and some mitochondriopathies. Although these diseases have different pathogenesis and features, there are some common mechanisms that could explain the effects of ketogenic diets. These mechanisms are to provide an efficient source of energy for the treatment of certain types of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by focal brain hypometabolism to decrease the oxidative damage associated with various kinds of metabolic stress to increase the mitochondrial biogenesis pathways and to take advantage of the capacity of ketones to bypass the defect in complex I activity implicated in some neurological diseases. These mechanisms will be discussed in this review.

1. Introduction

2. Inside the Ketogenic Diet

Blood levels

3. Ketogenic Diet Simulates Fasting and Its Molecular Effects

5. Mitochondrial Disorders and Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic Diet And Parkinsons Disease

In recent years, the Ketogenic diet has gained a lot of interest for its positive effects across a variety of conditions. The Ketogenic diet was first used as a treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s. Over the past two decades, there has been a burst in research and in the use of the Ketogenic diet for many conditions.

There is supportive evidence from research studies that the Ketogenic diet can offer symptom relief, and also protect the nerves in neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinsons disease.

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Function In Cardiac Diseases

Heart failure is characterized by metabolic abnormalities. Therefore, augmenting cardiac ATP production in a bioenergetically efficient manner is of significant interest to the HF field.

Zhang et al. have constructed mice with cardiomyocyte-restricted deletion of subunit 1 of MPC . The mice develop age-dependent pathologic cardiac hypertrophy, transitioning to a dilated cardiomyopathy and premature death. The KD could increase the availability of non-glucose substrates in vivo and reverse the structural, metabolic, and functional remodeling of non-stressed cMPC1/ hearts. Although concurrent short-term KD did not rescue cMPC1/ hearts from rapid decompensation and early mortality after pressure overload, 3 weeks of the KD before transverse aortic constriction is sufficient to rescue this phenotype.

Fig. 6

Improvements and mechanisms of the functions of the KD exert on cardiac diseases. The KD increases levels of -HB, promotes histone acetylation of the Sirt7 promoter and activates Sirt7 transcription in cardiac fibrosis and increases the availability of non-glucose substrates in cMPC1/ hearts

Disorders Of Glucose Metabolism: A Predisposing Factor For Ad

Ketosis & Parkinson’s Disease: Improving Symptoms with a Ketogenic Diet

In AD, glucose metabolism is impaired at the nerve cell level. There is an association between the occurrence of type 2 diabetes and the progression of neurodegenerative processes. Increased risk of AD correlates with hyperinsulinemia, a component of insulin resistance. Insulin receptors are located in areas of the brain that are particularly vulnerable to neurodegeneration. However, insulin must be delivered to them with blood because it is not synthesized in sufficient amounts in the brain. This hormone plays a significant role in the regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the formation of neuroplastic and neurotrophic factors, which are essential for memory processes and the disposal of amyloid beta from the brain. Insulin deficiency in the brain leads to dysregulation of these mechanisms .

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How Long Should I Be On The Diet

We at the Charlie Foundation believe that a 3-month commitment to the diet is a minimum commitment to allow your body to fully acclimate to the new fat based fuel source. Since most people following a western diet are not proficient at metabolizing fat optimally, this period allows the body time to become fat-adapted, utilizing dietary fat efficiently and effectively. There are a variety of nutritional plans that will enable a ketogenic lifestyle, and flexibility is one of the hallmarks of the diet that make it easy to adopt as a life-long tool to enhance your health. Our nutritionists can help figure out both the short and long-term options best suited for you and your lifestyle.

Side Effects Of The Kd

Keto-Adaptation and the Keto-Flu Phenomenon

When inducing a state of ketosis, a number of side effects can occur due to changes in metabolic levels, which appear a few days after the diet is first introduced. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as keto flu and passes spontaneously after a few days. The timing of adverse reactions is individual . The most commonly cited side effects include nervous system disorders such as trouble concentrating, as well as muscle pain, feelings of weakness and lack of energy, and bloating or constipation .

Side effects of MCTs can include gastrointestinal ailments, such as diarrhea or abdominal pain which, like the other symptoms, pass after a few days. The addition of MCT oil to the diet accelerates the efficient use of ketone bodies by the body, so that the discomfort associated with keto-adaptation lasts shorter .

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The Cause Of Parkinsons Disease

Due to the complexity of Parkinsons disease, the cause has yet to be elucidated. However, we do know that it results from a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors that affect numerous cell processes.

In general, most of the issues that are experienced by people with Parkinsons disease seem to be caused by nerve cell damage and cell death as a result of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage. More specifically, the mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage cause the deterioration of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra, a part of the brain that plays a vital role in reward-seeking behavior and movement.

As the dopamine-producing cells continue to get damaged, the person will experience many of the common symptoms of Parkinsons disease, like:

The disease is usually diagnosed once the first motor symptoms are noticed . As the disease advances , the non-motor symptoms become more troublesome than the motor symptoms as the patients cognitive function and will to live deteriorate.

However, not every patient follows the same course after they are diagnosed. There is a great variability between patients in the progression of the disease. The one consistency between patients is that the current drugs available to treat Parkinsons disease lose their effectiveness over time and can cause undesirable side effects.

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Ketogenic Diet Dramatically Improves Parkinsons Disease

People with Parkinsons disease can experience a variety of motor difficulties and non-motor symptoms, such as cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

Current pharmacological treatments often have little or no effect on these non-motor symptoms, and dietary approaches are gaining interest as potential add-on strategies for managing Parkinsons.

The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a type of low-carb/healthy-fat diet with limited protein intake. A previous small trial showed that adopting a keto diet for 2.5 months was associated with greater reductions in patients non-motor symptoms relative to those assigned to a low-fat diet.

While the underlying mechanisms of these benefits remain unclear, the induced switch in the bodys energy source from standard glucose, or sugar, to fatty ketones may sustain energy demands for the brain and reduce systemic and inflammation, especially in older persons with PD , the author wrote.

Ketones are the fat-derived molecules produced by the liver to serve as an energy source when glucose is not readily available.

A researcher with A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, in Arizona, described the case of a 68-year-old woman with mild Parkinsons whose motor and non-motor symptoms were eased with the keto diet.

She was on standard Parkinsons medication.

A Keto-Mojo device was also provided for daily at-home measures of fasting glucose and ketone levels in the blood to help assess dietary compliance.

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Ketogenic Diet In Parkinsons Disease

by Jo Mak | 4 May, 2020 | Dietetics

A ketogenic diet means high-fat and very low-Carbohydrate diet. It is a type of metabolic therapy which means the body is using mainly ketones as an energy source instead of glucose. The aims of metabolic therapy are to optimize neuron metabolism, growth and repair, and protect neurons.

A pilot randomized controlled trial in 2018 had compared the effects of a low-fat diet and ketogenic diet on Parkinsons Disease. The low-fat diet consisted of vegetables, meats, whole grains and fruits with ~25% calorie intake from fat. Whereas the Ketogenic diet consisted of vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, oils and nuts with ~80% calorie intake from fat. The results showed that both diets improved the motor symptoms of Parkinsons Disease. Interestingly, the ketogenic diet also showed significant improvements on non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons Disease, e.g. Urinary problems, pain, tiredness, cognitive impairments and daytime sleepiness. In conclusion, the ketogenic diet is feasible and safe for Parkinsons Disease and it showed greater improvements in both motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinsons.

My Rehab Team Dietitians are able to help people with Parkinsons Disease to develop a tailored nutritional program. Contact us on or for more information.

Study 2 Phillips Et Al

The second study, conducted in 2017, randomised 47 participants with Parkinsons to either the keto diet or low-fat diet for 8-weeks to determine if symptoms could improve on either diet. 38 participants completed the study. Blood ketones were measured daily by both groups. Each diet was designed to provide a similar amount of calories and protein. Protein intake was approximately 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The keto diet contained 75-80% of total calories as fat whereas the low fat diet contained 20-25% of total calories as fat.

Low-fat diet
279 grams total carbohydrate 27 grams total carbohydrate

Outcomes: both groups showed small but significant improvements in motor and non-motor symptoms. Those on the keto diet experienced a greater improvement in non-motor symptoms especially for urinary problems, pain, fatigue, daytime sleepiness and cognitive impairment. The average participant in both groups lost 4-5 kg but remained overweight at week 8.

Limitations: the group on the keto diet experienced a transient exacerbation of tremor and/or rigidity which resulted in 2 participants dropping out of the study after week 1. This adverse effect was improved or resolved in many participants in weeks 5 to 8. Study authors speculate the abrupt change in fat intake may have accounted for this effect.

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Keto Diet Brando Carter

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How Do I Get Into Ketosis

Keto Diet & Parkinson’s Disease with William Curtis

There are two methods to make the metabolic shift from using glucose to ketones as your main source of energy.

Fasting the method of complete cessation of caloric intake for a prolonged period of time has been used to treat disease as far back as 400 B.C. when Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, employed the method for a myriad of ailments. Though this should be done under medical supervision, fasting is a safe, effective way to get into ketosis, quickly. For the average adult, a 48-hour fast will generally result in ketosis. After this fast, adopting a Ketogenic Diet will allow you to stay in ketosis. We recommend starting the fast at least 3 hours before bedtime on the first day, and eating at the same time 2 days later. While fasting means many things to many people, we define it here as the total restriction of macronutrients. We recommend boosting water consumption in order to avoid dehydration, and many find black coffee or plain tea to help maintain focus and performance during the fast. Children go into ketosis much faster and therefore can be started on the diet without fasting.

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More On Fasting And Keto For Individuals With Pd

Its slightly too early to claim that the ketogenic diet dramatically improves Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers. But this approach, as well as fasting, is quickly showing some strong potential. Since its outside the realm of drugs and medications, its a very gentle method that is gaining attention.

Both diets rely on our bodies switching to an alternate energy source ketone bodies. Keto diet for Parkinsons patients can increase ketones fourfold, whereas fasting has been shown to increase ketones by up to twentyfold.

Researchers assume that the positive effects seen in mice could be rooted in evolution. The transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies meant that people no longer had to go long periods without eating. However, back then, our bodies favored those who could survive with long breaks between meals.

Our bodies are dependent on glucose as an energy source that we receive from carbohydrates in foods. It lasts for about 12 hours after we eat, and then our bodies switch to ketones. These chemicals also fuel our organs, including the brain. Higher ketone production has been linked to improved thinking, learning, and memory.

Other reasons Parkinsons and Alzheimers patients are recommended fasting are:


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