Keto diet and MS: How does ketogenic diet help in treating Progressive Multiple Sclerosis?

Keto Diet and MS

What do you do if you have MS or Multiple Sclerosis? First, what is MS? Multiple Sclerosis is a dysfunction in the myelin. [1] Myelin is an outer covering or sheath, a fat layer around the nervous system. [2] It is an insulator of a wire. In the condition Multiple Sclerosis, a person loses the viability of myelin. Once this occurs, it will lead to a lot of neurological problems. This illness has the same process as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis means the hardening of the arteries. [3] The word “sclerosis” comes from the Greek word which means hardening. There are theories that the condition comes from an infection, or microbes.

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Some will say MS is due to genetics or inheritance. But, MS is a dysfunction in the lipids. The production of myelin actually has a connection with cholesterol. It takes cholesterol to make myelin. The synapsis that communicates and connects together in the brain and nervous system depends on cholesterol.

What is the first thing that happens when you have a lesion or some type of ulcer? An inflammatory process occurs. The white blood cells and inflammation in the body will create plaque. A plaque is collagen based and made up of fibrous tissue. The cholesterol will come in to heal. Another thing is there’s impaired glucose supply to the brain. And there’s insulin resistance too. This degrades and breakdown myelin. When you lose myelin, there is impairment of glucose in the brain.

When a person is a under stress, the body releases cortisol, this results to an increase in insulin. This might come as another deeper origin. Because there is a connection with antibodies like adrenal that arises. When there is high inflammation, insulin, and plaque formation and you have MS, it is advisable to do Keto.

Ketogenic diet and MS

Why do you need to do Ketogenic diet when you have MS? The regimen would feed the body and brain with ketones of fuel. [4] Also, it would create a relief from the starvation of glucose which will make the brain active and alive. The relationship between MS and ketogenic diet comprises of studies that show improvement. When we cut down inflammation in the brain by running the body on ketones, and not on sugar… Also, do remember that sugar triggers inflammation… If we can fix insulin resistance, we can drop the inflammation too. And we can improve the brain function.

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How can Keto cure MS?

The ketogenic diet isn’t only for losing weight. Although this is a big explanation why so many people practices it today. Fasting was a therapy for epilepsy in the 1920s. [5] Doctors noticed that it decreased seizures. Its foundations, may go back much further. There are some evidence in the use of ketogenic diet to help with epilepsy during ancient times. There are patients with epilepsy that follows the diet today. Mostly are kids and are not managed by medicine.

The ketogenic diet, often known as the keto diet [6], is rich in fat, low in carbs, and mild in protein. Eating little amounts of carbohydrate helps burn fat for fuel instead of glucose. This results in the production of molecules known as ketone. The ketogenic diet gets its name from the fact that following it leads the system to produce ketones. Ketosis refers to the action of disintegrating fat and producing ketones.

As mentioned, MS is an inflammatory illness that creates central nervous system dysfunction. According to studies [7], the keto diet reduces inflammatory and oxidative stress. And this affects MS manifestations. Furthermore, fat is a more effective source of power for the brain than carbohydrate. [8] This may be especially essential in a brain that is fighting inflammation, like in MS. Inflammation, yet is not the main source of MS manifestations. Neurodegeneration occurs in people with MS, which leads to increasing impairment. One of the issues with MS is, what’s harming the nerves? One probable reason is that mitochondria are not functioning well.

Mitochondria are the cells’ “energy generators.” In patients with MS, they may not use glucose. The major fuel generated from carbohydrates is glucose. These individuals may be more sensitive to ketone bodies, which is a result of ketosis. When the body is in ketosis [9], it generates other energy producers like ketone bodies. The ketone bodies cross the blood-brain barrier and gain access to the brain. And then they may become a power source.

Moreover, diet is beneficial because it usually results in losing weight. Obese persons who consume a bad diet appear to be at a higher risk of getting MS. If you have MS, obesity and a bad diet can lead to greater progressive impairment. So being overweight may raise the chance of acquiring it or impact the course of it. A normal body weight is essential, whether attained via the keto diet or some other way. Many MS concomitant complaints, like pain, tiredness, and mood problems, can improve by losing weight.

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Research

A research investigated reasons why a ketogenic diet may have neuroprotective characteristics in MS. The study concluded that it is worth investigating as a potential therapy for advancing MS, when neurodegeneration is the major concern. According to one proposition [10], ketones generated by the liver offer additional energy to brain cells. This extra power may protect neurons from oxidative or inflammatory damage. As per a review of the research [11] on progressive MS, the keto diet may also assist enhance mitochondrial function.

The ketogenic diet may also help with MS issues. Following 3–6 months on the modified Atkins diet, a less stringent variant of the ketogenic diet, subjects in one small study [12] reported lower levels of fatigue and depression. The keto diet help modify the digestive system. An article [13] released in the research paper Frontiers in Microbiology in June 2017 looked at the gut micro biota of 10 people with MS [14] pre and post they adopted the keto diet for six months.

Prior to the keto diet, the experts discovered that the concentration of “numerically significant biofermentative bacteria” was low in patients with MS. Their gut microbiota matched that of the healthy control sample in the research following six months on the keto diet.

A former experimental research released in the paper [15] PLoS One studied the impacts of the keto diet on cognitive impairment and central nervous system inflammation in mice with a rat variant of MS (called EAE). The keto diet reduced motor and cognitive impairment but did not deter the start of EAE in mice that adopted the keto diet before being treated with a chemical that induces EAE in mice, according to the investigation.

A research issued in the publication Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation in July 2019 [16] discovered that a form of keto diet known as the configured Atkins diet [17] reduced tiredness and depression in patients with multiple sclerosis. As per the research’s main investigator [18], an assistant fellow of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the diet also resulted in increased endurance, reduced weight, and lower levels of pro-inflammatory leptin [19]. The research was small (19 persons); however it looks that the keto diet is suitable for people with MS and that none of the subjects’ condition worsened while on the diet.

Losing weight, decreased fatigue, and improved physical activity are among the advantages. A further study released in the journal Neurology in May 2019 [20] examined the patients’ reactions with the keto diet, notably their reported advantages from adopting it. Of the 18 respondents 83 percent picked losing weight as a diet benefit, 72 percent picked tiredness relief, slightly more than 55 percent chose increased activity levels, 50 percent greater endurance, and 45 percent reduced MS complaints. Everyone who took part indicated they would suggest the keto diet to a coworker.

Keto diet helps reduce appetite and inflammation while increasing lean body mass. A research [21] looked at the satiating (pleasing) impact of the keto diet, and its influence on muscle mass and oxidation levels in 27 patients with multiple sclerosis. Although oxidation is a common event of cell breakdown, severe oxidation, or oxidative stress, can cause inflammation and tissue injury. Implementing a ketogenic diet for four months decreased individuals’ feeling of hunger pre and post lunch and dinner — but not without and after breakfast — and also resulted in an elevation in lean mass, a reduction in fat mass, and decreased rates of oxidation and inflammation.

Research Limitations

It is crucial to emphasize that these advantages are hypothetical. There is insufficient evidence on the ketogenic diet and MS in individuals to validate these findings. Experts are still uncertain how long such changes will continue and whether there will be any other lengthy consequences.

However, the findings of these trials on the ketogenic diet are promise for MS, and the experts urge more study.

Foods to eat

Consuming a high fat diet may seem contradictory to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The trick is to include different kinds of fat.

Below are some suggestions for eating good fats, which are advocated in a ketogenic variant of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Avocados, which are high in healthful fats and potassium, are delicious in guacamole, salad dressings, and shakes. Mashed avocados might also be used as a spread on bread or sandwiches instead of mayo.
  • For salad condiments and food prep, use olive, sesame, or avocado oils.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in salmon and mackerel, as well as some other fish and seafood.
  • Monounsaturated fats can be found in almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios.
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Chia seeds and crushed flax seeds are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.
  • The classic ketogenic diet encourages saturated fats like coconut oil, duck fat, and butter. This allows you to ingest adequate total fat on a regular basis.
  • The ketogenic Mediterranean diet advises a modest amount of saturated fat and a larger amount of plant-based unsaturated fat.

Foods to avoid

To reduce the carb consumption, people must first understand which meals include carbohydrates. To reach and sustain ketosis, generally individuals must reduce their carb consumption to fewer than 50 grams per day. Carbohydrates are classified into two types: simple and complicated.

Simple carbohydrates can be present in all sweets or sugar-containing food, milks containing lactose, fruit and vegetable beverages, desserts, jellies and jams.

Complex carbohydrates can be seen in pastas, pastry, and bean, potato, cereals, and grains are examples of starchy veggies, fruits in their entirety.

Complex carbohydrates include more fiber and minerals, making them an excellent choice for consistent energy and general health.

Author: Idrees Samih

Founder, Certified Ketogenic Diet and Ketosis Health Coach.

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