How the keto diet could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease

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A study from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences found that eating a keto diet could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.

The research was published in Cureus and conducted by Melanie Tidman et al.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Population prevalence of PD increases from about 1% at age 60 to 4% by age 80.

Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, rigidity, and difficulty walking; cognitive decline is common at later stages.

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich eating plan that has been used for centuries to treat specific medical conditions.

The keto diet is distinctive for its exceptionally high-fat content, typically 70% to 80%, though with only a moderate intake of protein.

The keto diet has become quite popular as an alternative or adjunct to medication therapy for Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Traditional medication therapies often fail to produce desired improvements in Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

They can have little or no effect on symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

In the current study, researchers reported a case study involving a 68-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease stage I and a history of mild symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The woman ate a traditional ketogenic diet (fats 70%; protein 25%; carbohydrates 5%) for 24 weeks.

The researchers found strong improvements in all health biomarkers, including a reduction in HbA1C, C-reactive protein (CRP), triglycerides, and fasting insulin, along with weight loss and a reduction in heart risk factors.

They also saw better high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol) levels at 12 weeks and 24 weeks, along with reduced anxiety symptoms at the 12-week and 24-week mark.

The team found minimum improvement in depression symptoms at 24 weeks.

Based on these findings, the team suggests that the ketogenic diet is safe and effective for improving biomarkers of health, symptoms of anxiety, depression, and Parkinson’s disease symptoms in patients with stage I Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers recommend further clinical trial studies for more generalizable results.

If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about Vitamin E that may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about a new way to treat Parkinson’s disease, and results showing flavonoid-rich foods could improve survival in Parkinson’s disease.

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