AAN: Ketogenic Diet May Reduce Disability With Multiple Sclerosis

Participants also report less fatigue and depression and improved quality of life while on the diet

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WEDNESDAY, March 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- A ketogenic diet may be safe and beneficial, reducing some symptoms for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 2 to 7 in Seattle.

J. Nicholas Brenton, M.D., from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues assessed the safety and tolerability of a ketogenic diet in patients with relapsing MS. The analysis included 65 participants with relapsing MS enrolled in a six-month prospective ketogenic diet intervention.

The researchers found that 83 percent of participants adhered to the diet for the full study period. Overall, there were reductions observed in fat mass from baseline to six months for individuals on the diet (41.3 versus 32.0 kg) and a significant decline in fatigue and depression scores. There were also improvements in MS quality of life physical and mental composite scores associated with the diet. Furthermore, the investigators observed improvements in Expanded Disability Status Scale scores, the 6-minute walk test, and the 9-hole peg test. At six months, fasting serum leptin was lower and adiponectin was higher for individuals on the diet.

"More research is needed because there are potential risks associated with ketogenic diets, such as kidney stones, digestive issues, and nutrient deficiencies," Brenton said in a statement. "It is important that people with MS consult with their doctor before making any big changes to their diet, and that they be regularly monitored by a physician and registered dietitian while on a ketogenic diet."

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