Ketogenic diet may improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis

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A study published in Clinical Nutrition has revealed that a ketogenic diet (KD) might offer benefits for people with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).

The research, led by Emma Wetmore and colleagues from the University of Virginia, evaluated patient-reported outcomes from 52 participants over three months following a six-month KD trial.

Key Findings

Adherence: 21% of participants continued a strict KD, and 37% followed a less restrictive form of the diet.

Body Mass and Fatigue: Those who experienced significant reductions in body mass index and fatigue during the trial were more likely to continue with the KD.

Symptomatic Improvement: About half of the participants believed the KD improved their MS symptoms, including numbness, balance issues, and headaches.

Medication: 23% were able to reduce or discontinue previously prescribed medications for symptomatic treatment.

Benefits Beyond MS

The dietary patterns of participants, regardless of the type of diet they followed post-trial, shifted towards greater protein and polyunsaturated fats and less carbohydrate and added sugar.

Sustainability and Limitations

The study provides evidence that KDs can be sustainable in the short term outside a clinical setting.

However, the authors note that the improvements in symptoms were slightly less robust three months post-trial compared to during the six-month KD trial.

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry, which might present potential conflicts of interest.

Conclusion and Implications

The study suggests that a ketogenic diet could offer promising benefits for individuals with MS, not just in terms of symptom relief but also in potential medication reduction.

However, more long-term studies are needed to establish the effectiveness and safety of the KD in this patient population.

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The research findings can be found in Clinical Nutrition.

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