Lifestyle modification is a key component of Schizophrenia treatment and care. Along with medication, patients have to strictly abstain from any form of substance abuse – it could be cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. Combining with physical activity and diet modification, there are many recorded instances of symptoms showing considerable improvement. Among the diet modifications, the one that is catching up is the Ketogenic Diet or the Keto Diet.
What is Ketogenic Diet?
Keto Diet is a new diet that recommends high fat, low-carbs, and enough protein. When you reduce the carb intake and increase it with a higher amount of fat, the body begins to burn the fat and convert it into energy. The Keto diet also turns the fat into ketones in the liver, which is again converted to energy. As the fat burns, Keto aids in weight loss and subsequent reduction in sugar levels.
Keto diet and schizophrenia
Making the change from a typical diet to a Keto diet will be a challenge considering that many with Schizophrenia could also be suffering from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Medication used to treat Schizophrenia can have side effects ranging from high blood sugar and obesity.
A Ketogenic diet, however, is safe. When a person is on a low carb diet, Ketones are produced. Random trials indicate that Ketones have a positive effect on the brain.
Studies show that the Ketogenic diet helps Schizophrenia patients in:
- Weight loss
- Reduced hallucinations
- Mood improvement
- Increase in concentration
The effects of the Keto diet on a patient’s body too can be easily tracked and recorded. Studies show that patients who moved from high sugar and high carb diet to a low carb, high protein and high fat Keto diet experiences significant weight loss. It also improves metabolism. One of the biggest advantages of the Keto diet is that because of the low carb diet and weight loss, there is a positive impact on sugar levels. If one continues with a Keto diet, it is immensely possible that the sugar levels could be reversed. If the sugar levels continue to be within prescribed limits, it also reduces the risk of heart and brain-related conditions.
Keto diet also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can inhibit inflammation in our body cells. Schizophrenia patients have low BDNF levels and a Keto diet can improve and increase the levels of BDNF. Fasting also helps the BDNF levels to increase and directly impact the reduction of symptoms of Schizophrenia.
Many of these findings are based on randomized trials and more research has to be done to see a conclusive correlation between diet and Schizophrenia. However, if a patient wants to move from a regular diet to a Keto diet, they should speak with their team of doctors and nutritionists. They will consider your overall health condition before sanctioning the change. A low sugar, low on trans-fat and high on protein and fiber is a good option but do not start one without consulting your doctor.
There is hope that in the coming days or years, more experiments will be done and there will be conclusive evidence on Keto diet’s impact on Schizophrenia.