Can a Keto Diet Relieve Symptoms of Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, and Other Mental Health Issues?

Can a ketogenic diet relieve symptoms of mental illness?

Most people who have looked into keto diets have already learned they were originally developed to treat medical conditions, like epilepsy and diabetes. However, more recent research studied the impact of restricting carbohydrates on various mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s. Can a keto diet relieve mental health symptoms? Let’s dig into the research to see what scientists have discovered.

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Does a Keto Diet Relieve Mental Health Symptoms?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) published a study that examined existing studies that looked into the impact of restricting carbs on people who suffer from various psychiatric disorders. The study participants selected 14 studies that met their criteria. Even though the dietary plans in different studies varies somewhat, they all had the same basic goal of inducing ketosis through carbohydrate restriction.

The studies tended to return positive results, even though it took several weeks to notice positive benefits. The study linked above makes a pretty easy read, but here’s a quick summary:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: One study found significant decreases in both physical markers and typical signatures that indicate this disease. Sometimes, improvements in behavior took up to 12 weeks.
  • Anorexia: Study participants reported decreases in obsessions and compulsions around eating. These lasted for the six months of the study.
  • Autism: The research found improvements in intellect within six months that lasted the 10 months of the study.
  • Bipolar: Improvements in mood stabilization improved, and one study said the results were better than with medication.
  • Schizophrenia: Hallucinations ceased, and the participants continued to enjoy an improvement for the 12 months of the study.

This research certainly sounds positive. On the other hand, the study sizes were relatively small. The researchers cautioned that they could not reach a general conclusion, and any individuals who are considering a keto diet for themselves or a loved one should work with their doctors to ensure it’s the right path for them.

Also, many people who benefited from a low-carb lifestyle will say that transitioning from their former diet presented a struggle. They needed to take more care with food choices and educate themselves about the best practices for maintaining health and sometimes, deal with transitional symptoms.

People who already struggle to manage their mental health may also need strong support from doctors, dieticians, caregivers, and friends. At the same time, successfully achieving goals with proper guidance and some discipline generally find this diet rewarding enough to stick to long enough to succeed.

One thought on “Can a Keto Diet Relieve Symptoms of Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, and Other Mental Health Issues?

  1. I can’t say if it would work for everybody, and individuals must feel receptive to the idea. However, I have a cousin who suffers from bipolar disorder. He says adding keto and exercise were the treatments that helped the most, plus gave him more confidence to cope. He did rely on a supportive doctor and a dietician to get started. Hopefully, this summary of medical findings will encourage interested folks to dig deeper.

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