Nearly six months of a ketogenic diet, one low in carbohydrates and high in fat, eased motor symptoms and anxiety and depression while improving cognition in a woman with mild Parkinson’s disease, a case study found.
These findings suggest that a ketogenic diet may offer an additional, non-pharmacological way of addressing Parkinson’s motor and non-motor symptoms, and support its further evaluation in appropriately controlled trials, the study’s author noted.
The case report, “Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Symptoms, Biomarkers, Depression, and Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease: A Case Study,” was published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science.
People with Parkinson’s disease can experience a variety of motor difficulties and non-motor symptoms, such as cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
Current pharmacological treatments often have little or no effect on these non-motor symptoms, and dietary approaches are gaining interest as potential add-on strategies for managing Parkinson’s.
The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a type of low-carb/healthy-fat (LCHF) diet with limited protein intake. A previous small trial showed that adopting a keto diet for 2.5 months was associated with greater reductions in patients’ non-motor symptoms relative to those assigned to a low-fat diet.
While the underlying mechanisms of these benefits remain unclear, the induced switch in the body’s energy source from standard glucose, or sugar, to fatty ketones may “sustain energy demands for the brain and reduce systemic and [brain] inflammation, especially in older persons with PD [Parkinson’s disease],” the author wrote.
Ketones are the fat-derived molecules produced by the liver to serve as an energy source when glucose (sugar) is not readily available.
A researcher with A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, in Arizona, described the case of a 68-year-old woman with mild Parkinson’s whose motor and non-motor symptoms were eased with the keto diet.
The woman, who could still move and perform daily activities without help, had slow leg movements, moderate hand…