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October 3, 2016
Health Conditions Treatable by a Ketogenic Diet – Part 3
#11. Traumatic Brain Injury.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) most commonly results from a blow to
the head, a car accident or a fall in which the head strikes the
ground. It can have devastating effects on physical function, memory
and personality. Unlike cells in most other organs, injured brain
cells often recover very little, if at all.
Because the body’s ability to use
sugar following head trauma is impaired, some researchers believe the
ketogenic diet may benefit people with TBI.
#12. Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple
sclerosis (MS) damages the protective covering of nerves, which leads
to communication problems between the brain and body. Symptoms
include numbness and problems with balance, movement, vision and
One study of MS in a mouse model found
that a ketogenic diet suppressed inflammatory markers. The reduced
inflammation led to improvements in memory, learning and physical
As with other nervous system disorders,
MS appears to reduce the cells’ ability to use sugar as a fuel
source. A 2015 review discussed ketogenic diets’ potential to
assist with energy production and cell repair in MS patients.
Additionally, a recent controlled study
of 48 people with MS found significant improvements in quality of
life scores, cholesterol and triglycerides in the groups who followed
a ketogenic diet or fasted for several days.
More studies are currently underway.
Bottom Line: Studies about the
potential benefits of a ketogenic diet for treating MS are promising.
However, more human studies are needed.
#13. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver
Disease. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most
common liver disease in the Western world.
It is strongly linked to type 2
diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity, and there’s evidence that
NAFLD also improves on a very low-carb, ketogenic diet.
#14. Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia
characterized by plaques and tangles in the brain that impair memory.
Interestingly, Alzheimer’s disease
appears to share features of both epilepsy and type 2 diabetes:
seizures, the inability of the brain to properly use glucose and
inflammation linked to insulin resistance
#15. Migraine Headaches. Migraine
headaches typically involve severe pain, sensitivity to light and
nausea. Some studies suggest migraine headache symptoms often
improve in people who follow ketogenic diets
Bottom Line: Some studies suggest that
migraine headache frequency and severity may improve in people
following a ketogenic diet.
Take Home Message
Ketogenic diets are being considered
for use in several disorders due to their beneficial effects on
metabolic health and the nervous system.
However, many of these impressive
results come from case studies and need validation through
higher-quality research, including randomized controlled trials.
With respect to cancer and several
other serious diseases on this list, a ketogenic diet should be
undertaken only in addition to standard therapies under the
supervision of a doctor or qualified healthcare provider.
Also, no one should consider the
ketogenic diet a cure for any disease or disorder on its own.
Nonetheless, the ketogenic diets’
potential to improve health is very promising.