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How Keto Diet Treats Multiple Sclerosis


  • How Keto Diet Treats Multiple Sclerosis

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system in which the body’s immune systems targets myelin sheath covering nerve axons and destroy it.

    The disorder is characterized by numbness and muscle weakness, along with problems related to bladder control and vision. The myelin sheaths are attacked by the immune system, which leads to disruption in the transmission of signals between the body’s brain and peripheral body parts.

    Video: The Ketogenic Diet, Multiple Sclerosis and Quality of Life

    The disease is in general classified into two kinds i.e. primary progressive multiple sclerosis and relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. In primary progressive type, progressive worsening of neurological functions occurs, which is indicated by consistent symptoms, though these can change with time.

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    On the other hand, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis involves clearly defined events of disease followed by the duration of remission in which there happens to be a full absence of MS symptoms with no evident progression of this disorder.

    Advocates of keto agree that this diet can play a role in reducing weight and may reverse the process of degenerative disorders. The recent research on the ketogenic diet and MS treatment explains that the low-carb nutrition supports and enhances the pathways for mitochondrial energy and alleviates factors for detrimental energy pathways and nerve cell impairment that contribute to multiple sclerosis.

    Video: The Benefits of the Keto Diet and How it Helped Montel Williams

    This means that the nerve cell potential for making less detrimental energy for itself is increased once it is in the state of ketosis. Keto does provide advantages in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

    Keto is low in carbs, high in fats, and moderate protein diet. It puts the body in the state of ketosis, which tricks it into a starvation mode.

    The diet is not only about losing weight, although that is certainly the major reason a lot of people opt for it today. Its development dates back to the 1920s when it was used as an approach for treating epilepsy. It is still utilized today also by some for epilepsy, especially children, whose seizure activity does not get controlled with medicines.

    However, according to research, dietary treatment for epilepsy tracks back for about 500 BC. The diet was well known for 2 decades before the advent of antiepileptic drugs.
    Many investigators have revisited this diet in the last few decades, and have found it to be useful not just in treating epileptic children. A recent study on examining neuroprotective and disease-transforming effects of keto has revealed its benefits in many neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis.

    Video: Reversing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Through Low-Carb Nutrition

    The main idea behind keto is to force the body to break down fat instead of carbohydrates for obtaining energy.

    The human body usually converts carbohydrates from the food into glucose (sugar), which is then used as a source of energy or stored for later use. But if the body gets starved of glucose by eliminating carbs from the diet, it will shift to use fat as an alternate fuel source instead. This process of adaptation is referred to as ketosis.

    Since the preferred energy source for the body is glucose, a shift in metabolism takes place when you limit carb intake. The liver in the body starts synthesizing ketones that protect nerve cells, the site for damage in multiple sclerosis.

    Experts do not completely understand the reason behind this protection offered by ketones. It is likely to occur due to increased energy within the cells. Now this enhanced energy can result in the strengthening of neurons against possible damage from inflammation or oxidation.

    There occur to be many benefits of eating a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein diet. As discussed above, keto reduces the body’s blood glycemic levels and results in the production of chemical byproducts known as ketones by the liver.

    Whether it is the restriction of carbs or the spike of ketones in the body, the keto diet can lead to the following benefits:
    • Keto has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.
    • It protects the cells against various kinds of cell death.
    • It helps in weight loss.
    • It lowers the levels of physical stress.
    • Ketone bodies are an alternate source of energy during metabolic stresses.
    • Ketosis lowers glutamate acid’s toxic effect, which is a byproduct caused by brain injury.
    The various changes that occur at a cellular level can be particularly advantageous for all those who are suffering a neurological disease like multiple sclerosis.

    Role of ketosis in Multiple Sclerosis
    Many researchers do not completely understand why the low-carb nutrition plan possesses neuroprotective properties.

    One theory explains that ketone bodies produced in the liver offer greater fuel to brain cells. These ketone bodies can offer these neurons the potential for resisting any harm that can occur due to multiple sclerosis inflammation.

    Multiple Sclerosis and Keto Diet
    One significant effect that ketones bring about in the body is protection at the cellular level. Thus, this potential advantage can help some people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

    Improvement in Colonic Microbiome among MS patients
    According to a scientific study published in the Frontiers in Microbiology journal in 2017, researchers examined the colonic microbiome of ten people with multiple sclerosis before they went keto and after following the ketogenic diet for 6 months.

    Researchers noted that the gut biofermentive function was significantly impaired in multiple sclerosis patients and before following the ketogenic diet, the subjects showed a lower concentration of biofermentive bacteria.

    After 6 months of following the ketogenic diet, their colonic microbiomes matched with control (healthy) group’s colonic microbiomes of the study.

    Keto reduces Depression and Fatigue
    Another study was published in a journal named Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation in 2019, which revealed the role of the keto nutrition plan in multiple sclerosis.

    The results found that the modified Atkins diet, which is a kind of ketogenic diet, improves depression and fatigue among people suffering from MS. According to the first author of this study, J. Nicholas Brenton, assistant professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Virginia, this diet also resulted in improved stamina along with reducing weight and lowering the proinflammatory leptin levels.

    However, the study involved only 19 people, but according to Dr. Brenton, the ration appears safe for MS patients and that this disease didn’t get worse in any participant while on this diet.

    Protection of brain, in at least murine model with MS

    A study was performed to study the keto diet’s effects on memory dysfunction and the central nervous system’s inflammation among mice involving a murine model affected by multiple sclerosis (called EAE).

    This study was published in a journal named PLoS One. The results revealed that the ketogenic diet reversed both memory dysfunction and motor impairment in EAE mice.

    Keto has a satiety effect and reduces inflammation while enhancing lean mass
    A scientific study was conducted for examining the satisfying (satiety) effect of the ketogenic diet along with its influence on oxidation state and muscle mass in 27 multiple sclerosis patients.

    This study was published in a journal called Nutrients in 2019. Oxidation is a regular process for cell decay that occurs in the body, however, excessive oxidation levels or also known as oxidative stress may result in tissue damage and inflammation.

    The researchers concluded that participants showed reduced perception for hunger after following keto for 4 months prior to and following dinner and lunch – though not prior to and following breakfast. Moreover, this resulted in enhancing lean mass, reduced fat mass, along with reduced inflammation and oxidation levels.

    Benefits include less fatigue, weight loss, improved exercise habits

    According to a study (follow-up) published in a journal named Neurology in 2019, dietary intake has considerable influence on a person’s immune response and profile.

    This study observed the experiences of the participants with the ketogenic ration, which included their perceived advantages of regularly following it. Out of the eighteen individuals, 83% of them picked losing weight as the diet’s advantage, 72% picked less fatigue, just above 55% picked improved exercise habits, 45% reduced MS symptoms, and 50% more stamina.

    All the participants agreed on recommending the ketogenic diet to other people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

    Keto is capable of treating the neurodegenerative portion of Multiple Sclerosis

    A review in the year 2015 investigated the potential favorable influences of the ketogenic diet in people with multiple sclerosis. The researchers noted that keto seems to possess the capability of treating the neurodegenerative portion of progressive multiple sclerosis.

    The results of all these scientific researches on the keto diet appear promising for multiple sclerosis, and the investigators call for further studies.

    Theories regarding why the low-carb nutrition might benefit people with Multiple Sclerosis

    The experts do not know yet the specific reason for the ketogenic diet that results in the changes observed in study groups with multiple sclerosis – which will possibly be the main focus for future researches. However, there are some theories for explaining this:

    Decrease in Inflammation
    Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder that has damaging effects on the body’s central nervous system. Studies note that keto lowers inflammation along with oxidative stress levels that can help in alleviating multiple sclerosis symptoms, as per Dr. Brenton.

    He further explains that fat, in contrast with carbohydrates, is a greater energy source as far as effectiveness is concerned for the human brain, and this can be specifically significant for a brain, which is fighting an inflammatory process, as in the condition of multiple sclerosis.

    People with Multiple Sclerosis show a better response to Ketones compared to Glucose
    However, inflammation is not the only factor that brings about multiple sclerosis symptoms. Mary Rensel, a staff neurologist plus director of pediatric MS at Ohio, pointed out that people with multiple sclerosis experience neurodegeneration as well that plays a contributory factor in progressive disability.

    According to Dr. Rensel, one question in multiple sclerosis is what is hurting your nerves? One of its likely explanations is that the mitochondria aren’t working properly.

    Mitochondria play the function of producing energy in the cells. As per Dr. Rensel, they might not utilize glucose properly among people with multiple sclerosis. These individuals might show a better response to ketones that are produced by the process of ketosis when following keto.

    Rensel explained that when a person goes in the state of ketosis, the body synthesizes varied energy markers called ketone bodies or ketones, and these enter the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain along with getting utilized as a fuel source.

    As discussed above, an article was published in a journal named Multiple Sclerosis International in 2015, which investigated the reasons behind the ketogenic diet’s neuroprotective qualities for the MS patients and concluded that this diet is worth considering as a likely progressive MS treatment, in which the main problem is neurodegeneration.

    Loss of Weight can improve the Wellbeing among people with Multiple Sclerosis
    Another possible reason for keto is that it most often results in weight loss.
    According to Dr. Rensel, obese people and those with poor dietary habits can be at a raised risk for developing multiple sclerosis and, when a person has MS, poor diet and obesity can result in greater progressive disability.

    Hence being obese can indeed spike the risks for developing it or influence its course negatively, she explained.

    Dr. Brenton also agrees that having a good body weight, either achieved by keto or some other way, is advantageous. He explains that reducing weight can positively influence a lot of comorbid symptoms related to multiple sclerosis, including pain, mood disorders, and fatigue.

    Foods to Eat
    Keto permits people to attain the state of ketosis and maintain it by consuming fat and protein and restricting carbohydrates.

    Look for Good Fats
    Consuming a diet that is high in fats may appear counterintuitive to normal living. Generally, most people can tolerate the low-carb diet well.

    But, people who go keto should know that all fat containing items are not the same. The main thing is the type of fat that you include in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding the use of hydrogenated oil and trans fats along with increasing unsaturated fats in your diet.

    Here we offer you some tips regarding the intake of healthy fats, which are encouraged for consumption in the keto Mediterranean diet:
    • Go for olive, avocado, or sesame oils for meal preparation and salad dressings.
    • Avocados, which a good source for healthy fats along with potassium, are excellent in guacamole, smoothies, and salads dressings. Or use it as a substitute for mayonnaise for spreading on toasts or sandwiches.
    • Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are all versatile sources for monounsaturated fats.
    • Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and other fish are rich in omega-3s.
    • Ground flaxseeds and chia seeds provide fiber, vitamins, omega-3s, and minerals.
    • Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are a great snack that provides polyunsaturated fats.
    Saturated fats such as coconut oil, butter, and duck fat are preferred in the actual version of keto, for helping you to eat sufficient overall fats each day.

    Keto may include proteins from both animal and plant sources.
    • Meat
    • Eggs
    • Dairy
    • Nuts, like cashews and peanuts

    Foods to Avoid
    You need to pay attention to what food products contain carbohydrates for restricting your carb intake. The low-carb diet limits both simple plus complex carbs.
    Simple carbs are present in:
    • All sorts of sugar
    • Vegetable juices
    • Fruit juices, sweetened teas, sodas
    • Milk that is rich in sugar lactose
    • All sorts of candy
    • Jams and jellies
    • Desserts
    Complex carbohydrates are present in:
    • Pasta
    • Bread
    • Beans
    • Baked goods
    • Starchy veggies like corn and potatoes
    • Whole fruits
    • Grains and cereal
    Moreover, people with multiple sclerosis should also use alcohol and caffeine in moderation.

    An Example of a Basic Keto Meal Plan

    An individual can consume the following foods on the low-carb diet:
    • Black coffee
    • Bacon strips
    • 2 fried eggs
    Morning Snack
    1/2 seasoned avocado
    • Meatballs in a spaghetti sauce
    • Sliced squash
    Afternoon Snack
    • Nuts such as almonds
    • Steamed cauliflower along with butter
    • Roasted salmon
    • Baby spinach
    Drinks that can be consumed all through the day can include water, herbal tea, or sparkling water along with lemon.
    This is only 1 example of an entire day of intake. There happens to be a lot of ways for making keto appear less limiting and more delightful, relying on an individual taste.

    Side Effects the Ketogenic Diet
    As discussed above, many studies reveal the potential benefits of the keto ration.
    But it is notoriously challenging for adhering with.

    According to Dr. Brenton, keto requires effort to be consistent. Another meta-analysis was conducted to study the patient compliance and efficacy of the low-carb diet in people with intractable epilepsy and was published in a journal named Journal of Clinical Neurology.

    The results revealed that across twelve researches, only 45% of adults were capable of adhering to the diet – it is very difficult for people to refuse carbs, change their lifestyle. Many cannot cope with their carbohydrate addiction. They cannot and do not want to give up bread, sweets, potatoes, rice, etc.

    In Dr. Brenton’s study, the most prevailing adverse effect of the ketogenic ration among participants was constipation, and roughly 25% of participants reported being affected. This is temporary until the body adjusts to use fat as its main source of energy. More details you can find in this article.

    Moving Forward
    The scientific studies conducted to see the success of the ketogenic diet in people with multiple sclerosis has been promising.

    It has been shown that the ketogenic ration is safe, well-tolerated, and feasible in people with multiple sclerosis and has neuroprotective qualities that have been directly linked with satiety effect, improvement in fatigue, depression, colonic microbiomes, exercise habits, and reducing inflammation while also encouraging weight loss.

    Researchers have backed the adage for a long time that if you wish of being healthy, then you should eat healthfully. And keto does focus on eating healthy fats.
    Last edited by Amy Harris; 03-08-2020, 07:40 AM.

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