There is no specific diet for narcolepsy. However, there is anecdotal evidence that the ketogenic or “keto” diet may reduce symptoms. This diet plan involves eating a low amount of carbohydrates and getting energy from fats instead.
The scientific evidence supporting the keto diet for narcolepsy is limited, but some people report that it helps them.
Dietary changes may also help with maintaining a moderate weight. Narcolepsy does not only affect sleep — doctors also link it to weight gain and obesity, even when a person consumes a typical amount of calories.
People may also find it helpful to avoid specific foods that can disrupt sleep, such as those containing caffeine or alcohol.
Continue reading for more information about narcolepsy, diet, and how nutrition may help with narcolepsy symptoms.
Some individuals believe that certain dietary changes help them manage their narcolepsy symptoms. Anecdotal reports suggest the keto diet may benefit some people with the condition.
However, there is a lack of clinical research proving that the keto diet reliably reduces symptoms or is safe to follow over the long term.
Keto diets are typically very low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Eating this way puts the body into ketosis, meaning the body uses its own stored fat for energy instead of carbohydrates from food.
One small older 2004 study of nine people found that a keto diet improved daytime sleepiness by around 18% after 8 weeks. However, this study involved a low number of participants.
Researchers are not sure how the keto diet benefits people with narcolepsy, but it may have to do with the regulation of blood sugar levels.
Hypocretin is a chemical that regulates sleep patterns. People who have narcolepsy with cataplexy, or sudden muscle weakness, often have low levels of this neurotransmitter.
By keeping blood sugar low, a keto diet may increase neuronal activation and reduce tiredness during the day. However, research has not proven this claim.
Another potential benefit of dietary changes for narcolepsy is weight management. People with narcolepsy are more likely to have obesity than those without the condition. The keto diet may also help with reaching a moderate…