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Ketosis Depression

The Ketogenic Diet And Mental Health

The Ketogenic Diet And Mental Health

Inflammation is one of the most powerful factors which determines health and illness. Levels of inflammation in the body are very strongly influenced by dietary choices. In my holistic practice of psychiatry, one of the most important conversations which I have repeatedly with my patients, is the fundamental importance of following a non-inflammatory diet. This conversation must be had repeatedly, because diet is one of the very hardest things for most people to change. For optimum health, I believe that a Ketogenic Diet, one that is high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrate, exerts the most anti-inflammatory effect. This combination changes the way energy is used in the body; instead of deriving energy from carbohydrates which convert to glucose, energy is sourced from fats which convert in the liver into fatty acids and ketone bodies. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, is correlated with myriad health benefits. In contrast, elevated levels of glucose leads to inflammation, insulin resistance and accelerates aging. Research on the impact of a ketogenic diet for Cancer, Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Sleep Disorders, Headaches, Bipolar Disorder, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease is emerging, and I anticipate that we are going to be hearing much more about its health benefits and novel applications. The ketogenic diet was used very effectively to treat epilepsy in the 1920’s, until anti-convulsant drugs were introduced in the 1940’s, when it fell out of favor. It’s easier to take pills than to follow a restrictive diet, and the pharmaceutical industry’s lobby is very influential. Pharmaceuticals, as opposed to dietary changes, remain the standard of care Continue reading >>

Ketosis For Depression

Ketosis For Depression

Depression is so common these days that it seems hard to meet anyone who hasn’t experienced it in some degree. While this has perhaps become the new normal, it doesn’t need to be. Our eating choices not only affect our physical health but our mental health as well—so if you’ve been wondering whether the ketogenic diet can positively impact your emotional state, read on for the use of ketosis for depression. Diet and Depression It’s no secret that most people are overworked, under-rested, and living on a poor diet. It’s also no coincidence that the modern advice to eat a diet high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and with constant snacking or small meals throughout the day has coincided with a rise in diabetes, obesity, and mental issues like anxiety and depression. Let’s take a look at why this difference in diet could be causing these problems—and how ketosis and a ketogenic diet can help. Ketogenic Nutrition and Depression Most of us can agree that a high intake of sugar has a negative impact on mood. Just think of the sugar highs and crashes that result from eating high-carb foods. What follows is feelings of crankiness, low-energy, and maybe even depression. Now, think about how a steady intake of fats from a ketogenic diet could have a positive impact on mood and endorphin levels. Many people who start eating keto have come from a background of eating the Standard American Diet and not exercising enough. Starting a ketogenic diet, removing high-carb refined foods, losing weight, and eating whole foods is bound to help with mood and make you happier. This alone could have benefits for those with depression. In addition, there are some interesting links between ketones and many conditions of the brain similar to depression, including epilepsy and Alzheim Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diets For Psychiatric Disorders: A New 2017 Review

Ketogenic Diets For Psychiatric Disorders: A New 2017 Review

If you have a brain, you need to know about ketogenic diets. The fact that these specially-formulated low-carbohydrate diets have the power to stop seizures in their tracks is concrete evidence that food has a tremendous impact on brain chemistry and should inspire curiosity about how they work. I first became interested in ketogenic diets as a potential treatment for bipolar mood disorders, given the many similarities between epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Ketogenic diets have been around for about 100 years, and have proved to be invaluable tools in the treatment of stubborn neurological conditions, most notably epilepsy. They have also shown promise in the management of other brain-based disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, and chronic headaches, as well as in metabolic disorders like obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. But where does the science currently stand on the ketogenic diet and psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s Disease? How many human studies do we have, and what do they tell us? If you are struggling with mood, attention, or memory problems, should you try a ketogenic diet? If you are a clinician, should you recommend a ketogenic diet to your patients? A recent review article “The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry” by researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia [Bostock et al 2017 Front Psychiatry 20(8)] brings us nicely up to date on all things ketogenic and mental health. I summarize the paper below and offer some thoughts and suggestions of my own. [Full disclosure: I am a psychiatrist who studies nutrition and eats a ketogenic diet.] First, some basics for those of you who are unfamiliar with these special diets. Definition Continue reading >>

Your Food And Your Mood: Carbs, Depression, And Cognitive Decline

Your Food And Your Mood: Carbs, Depression, And Cognitive Decline

We are all too familiar with the obesity and diabetes epidemics that plague our society. These are not the only epidemics we are facing. The United States spends about $215 billion annually on orthopedic surgeries, cancer is catching up to heart disease as the number one killer in the U.S., and we also suffer from chronically low moods and neurodegeneration as we age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of antidepressants is up 400% when compared to the last couple decades, and Alzheimer’s disease costs this country $100 billion annually. That is not a typo - 400% and $100 billion. Could it be that our current recommended dietary guidelines are a contributing factor to this epidemic? The answer is most definitely yes. Disclaimer: I do not think that diet is the only underlying issue here. We are chronically overstressed, sleep deprived, vitamin D deficient, sedentary, and tend to spend a lot of time alone. Those are all contributing factors to the decreased mood seen in this country. However, for today we are going to focus on nutritional aspects that are major contributing factors. The Possibilities of Eating Low Carb We are encouraged by the USDA to eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat. A study performed in 2012 and published in the Journal of Neurobiology and Aging put 23 older adults on a six-week diet that was either low carb or high carb. Although depressive mood was unchanged, there were reductions in weight, fasting glucose, waist circumference, and fasting insulin, as well as improvements in the verbal memory test of the low-carbohydrate group.1 This study lasted only six weeks, yet showed increased cognitive ability for an older population with mild cognitive decline. What would happen if we ate like this al Continue reading >>

Gestational Ketogenic Diet Programs Brain Structure And Susceptibility To Depression & Anxiety In The Adult Mouse Offspring

Gestational Ketogenic Diet Programs Brain Structure And Susceptibility To Depression & Anxiety In The Adult Mouse Offspring

Abstract The ketogenic diet (KD) has seen an increase in popularity for clinical and non-clinical purposes, leading to rise in concern about the diet's impact on following generations. The KD is known to have a neurological effect, suggesting that exposure to it during prenatal brain development may alter neuro-anatomy. Studies have also indicated that the KD has an anti-depressant effect on the consumer. However, it is unclear whether any neuro-anatomical and/or behavioral changes would occur in the offspring and persist into adulthood. To fill this knowledge gap we assessed the brain morphology and behavior of 8-week-old young-adult CD-1 mice, who were exposed to the KD in utero, and were fed only a standard-diet (SD) in postnatal life. Standardized neuro-behavior tests included the Open-Field, Forced-Swim, and Exercise Wheel tests, and were followed by post-mortem Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to assess brain anatomy. The adult KD offspring exhibit reduced susceptibility to anxiety and depression, and elevated physical activity level when compared with controls exposed to the SD both in utero and postnatally. Many neuro-anatomical differences exist between the KD offspring and controls, including, for example, a cerebellar volumetric enlargement by 4.8%, a hypothalamic reduction by 1.39%, and a corpus callosum reduction by 4.77%, as computed relative to total brain volume. These results suggest that prenatal exposure to the KD programs the offspring neuro-anatomy and influences their behavior in adulthood. Introduction The ketogenic diet (KD), a known treatment for intractable epilepsy, has been recently found efficacious in treating and/or managing a variety of other conditions; from type-II diabetes, to Alzheimer's disease and cancer (Veech et al. 2001; Van der Continue reading >>

Quieting The Bipolar Mind: Can A Ketogenic Diet Stabilize Mood?

Quieting The Bipolar Mind: Can A Ketogenic Diet Stabilize Mood?

Disclaimer: Please note that I am in no way endorsing nutritional ketosis as a supplement to, or a replacement for medication. There is very little data actually supporting the use of a ketogenic diet as a treatment for bipolar, and a well-documented case where a bipolar patient on valporic acid developed full-blown mania with psychosis after starting a ketogenic diet (thanks to @neurocritic for pointing me to this report; read about it below). This post talks about the theory behind using keto for bipolar disorder and a few recorded clinical cases. Bipolar disorder is often described as a dizzying, sinister and emotionally draining roller-coaster ride. It is marked by dark periods of severe depression interspersed with mania or hypomania – insane energy levels, difficulty concentrating, distorted thinking, euphoria and thoughts that tumble around and around in the brain. To date there is no cure for bipolar disorder, but mood swings can be managed effectively with lithium or anti-seizure medication, such as valporic acid. While effective in many cases, these drugs unfortunately come with a price: in some women lithium may lower thyroid levels causing rapid cycling of depressive-maniac cycles; valporic acid may increase the level of testosterone in young women leading to disruption of menstrual cycles and excess body hair. Many drugs also suffer from the “rebound effect”, where suddenly stopping the medication may worsen bipolar symptoms. In many cases, using a lower drug dose may minimize side effects, but sometimes at the cost of decreased efficacy. What if there’s an alternative way –say, a diet – to stabilize mood in conjunction with drugs? Lucky for mood clinicians, there is in fact a successful pre-existing case: the use of the ketogenic diet to treat Continue reading >>

Do High-fat Diets Cause Depression?

Do High-fat Diets Cause Depression?

Fat-Phobia Strikes Again Earlier this month, the following headline showed up in my inbox: HIGH-FAT DIET LINKED TO ANXIETY, DEPRESSION It was distributed by Medscape (a widely-read e-news source geared towards medical professionals), as well as a variety of other media outlets, including Science Daily. The study itself 1) was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology and is entitled High fat diet-induced metabolic disorders impairs serotonergic function and anxiety-like behaviours in mice. We have been (wrongly) told for decades by public health officials that dietary fat is unhealthy, so we tend to take articles that support this belief at face value, without question. But before you clear your cupboards of all fatty foods, hoping for eternal happiness and tranquility, let me tell you why the results of this MOUSE study need not cause you any additional depression and anxiety. Of Mice and Mental Health Researchers fed one group of mice a low-fat chow and another group a high-fat chow. After twelve weeks, the mice eating high-fat chow had gained more weight. They had also developed high blood sugars, high insulin levels, and glucose intolerance. Sixteen weeks into the study, these mice also showed more signs of emotional distress. Poor meeces. Furthermore, when the high-fat mouse group was treated with the antidepressant Escitalopram (brand name Lexapro), the antidepressant failed to work. The study’s authors concluded that high-fat diets may lead to type 2 diabetes, and that type 2 diabetes may then lead to depression and anxiety symptoms which respond poorly to antidepressants. Hmmm. As a psychiatrist with a special interest in nutrition, I understand how important dietary fat is to the health of the brain, and I know that fat doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes. Continue reading >>

Is The Ketogenic Diet The Cure For Depression And Anxiety?

Is The Ketogenic Diet The Cure For Depression And Anxiety?

>>Shop Amazon!<< I discuss the effects of a Ketogenic Diet with Alternate Day Fasting on Mental Health. My experiences with anxiety and depression during periods of Ketogenic Fat Adaptation. Intermittent Fasting and Keto are very powerful weapons in the arsenal against mental health issues. I believe it may be a cure for mental illness at least in my situation. I also go over Tryptophan as a building block for Serotonin. So a bad diet may cause depression as well. Stress reduction and dopamine regulation are also key factors. Support this channel and more content… New Music by Wes Derrickson Like me on Facebook >>Shop Amazon!<< Continue reading >>

Low-carb Diet = Depression??? Not So Fast!

Low-carb Diet = Depression??? Not So Fast!

I’ve noticed a few blogs on the internet recently and posts within our Community from people asking about the effects of Atkins on their sleep or whether doing Atkins would increase their risk of depression. I’ve addressed this topic before, but I thought it would be a great time to revisit it. One study that was well publicized in the past followed a group of adults who were separated into two weight-loss groups: a very low-carb plan and a restricted-calorie, moderately high-carb plan. Both groups lost about the same amount of weight over a year—30 pounds. But, according to the researchers, the low-carb group reported higher levels of anger, depression and confusion vs. the higher-carb group. The researchers suggested a link to better serotonin (a neurotransmitter involved in mood) synthesis with the higher-carb group while the low-carb group had lower levels of serotonin. Concluding that higher carbohydrate intake can increase serotonin concentrations in the brain, while fat and protein reduce concentrations. But it’s just not that simple. Even the researchers suggest that more studies need to be done to support this theory. Let’s start with this indisputable fact: The body needs tryptophan to make serotonin. No one denies this—tryptophan is an essential amino acid, and we need it for all sorts of things, including making serotonin. Tryptophan is a good guy. But no one knows just how much is needed; nor does anyone know exactly how much serotonin we need to make in order to “not be depressed”. What we do know: Depression is a function of an Internet-like maze of interrelationships between serotonin, dopamine, beta-endorphins and other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and epinephrine. The making of any of these chemical messengers can be influenced Continue reading >>

The Current Status Of The Ketogenic Diet In Psychiatry

The Current Status Of The Ketogenic Diet In Psychiatry

Go to: Abstract Background The ketogenic diet (KD) has been used in treatment-resistant epilepsy since the 1920s. It has been researched in a variety of neurological conditions in both animal models and human trials. The aim of this review is to clarify the potential role of KD in psychiatry. Results The search yielded 15 studies that related the use of KD in mental disorders including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These studies comprised nine animal models, four case studies, and two open-label studies in humans. In anxiety, exogenous ketone supplementation reduced anxiety-related behaviors in a rat model. In depression, KD significantly reduced depression-like behaviors in rat and mice models in two controlled studies. In bipolar disorder, one case study reported a reduction in symptomatology, while a second case study reported no improvement. In schizophrenia, an open-label study in female patients (n = 10) reported reduced symptoms after 2 weeks of KD, a single case study reported no improvement. In a brief report, 3 weeks of KD in a mouse model normalized pathological behaviors. In ASD, an open-label study in children (n = 30) reported no significant improvement; one case study reported a pronounced and sustained response to KD. In ASD, in four controlled animal studies, KD significantly reduced ASD-related behaviors in mice and rats. In ADHD, in one controlled trial of KD in dogs with comorbid epilepsy, both conditions significantly improved. Conclusion Despite its long history in neurology, the role of KD in mental disorders is unclear. Half of the published studies are based on animal models of mental disorders with limited generalizability to the analog Continue reading >>

How The Ketogenic Lifestyle Reversed My Depression

How The Ketogenic Lifestyle Reversed My Depression

I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I had to. I had to go to work, which, for me, on this particular day, meant walking 10 feet to my desk and opening up my laptop. The alarm on my phone had just gone off, so I knew it was 5 AM. By sheer force of will, I got out of bed and started my day. The previous day was the same as the one before it and the one before it and so on. But the tedium wasn’t the worst of it, the worst of it was that I had spent all of the previous day (and countless ones before it) angry, sad, and frustrated. And I knew that this day was going to be the same. I didn’t enjoy life. I didn’t enjoy anything. I didn’t know it at that moment, but in a little while, I would realize that I was depressed. And I had been depressed for a while. My job wasn’t particularly stressful, but it was unchallenging enough to make me dread it. I was also coming off a failed business start, one that I had spent way too many hours on over the past 10 months, so I was feeling like a particularly huge failure. I don’t know what was different about that day, but a couple of hours after I started work, I came to an emotional crossroads. Sitting there, I decided I had two choices, I could either give up or I could change something. I couldn’t give up, because I had a family to support. So I really only had one choice, and that was to change something. Sitting there, at my desk, with my head resting in my hands, I decided…and this may sound odd to someone who can’t relate, but I decided to change the most immediate and fundamental thing I could. I was going to change what I eat, and I was going to get back to being ketogenic. I had tried the ketogenic lifestyle before, but without any real determination or discipline. I decided that day that I was going to go Continue reading >>

Why A Low Carb Diet May Not Be Best For You

Why A Low Carb Diet May Not Be Best For You

Does Low Carb = Low Energy? I have yet to meet a woman on a long-term, low carb diet who is loving life. I’m here to explain why I think this may be the case. While we have, collectively, reacted to the low-fat brainwashing of the past half-century, with a defiant, “Fat rules!” attitude, this zeal may be taking us too far astray. I am passionate about the ancestral diet and everything implied by “going back to our roots”, but I also raise a brow at more rigid interpretations, assumptions, and academic flourishes about true replication of a Paleolithic diet. We’ve relinquished Darwin and redeemed Lamarck, so the truth is that we can evolve (or devolve) within one generation. Adaptations to stress and environmental exposures can change our biology and impact our grandchildren. Thanks to the work of Weston Price, we may not have to go back as far as the Paleolithic to send the body a signal of safety. As recently as the early 1900s, he found traditional cultures flourishing, many with incorporation of agricultural foods like grains and legumes. That said, we also know that the microbiome plays a powerful role in adaptation to these foods, and that some of our guts may not be up for the challenge. Back in my self-experimentation days, I spent two months on a carb-restricted diet, kicking starchy veggies, fruit, and grains to the curb. I felt great for two weeks, and not a day after. I felt cloudy, tired, and started obsessing about moisturizer and conditioner. Perhaps this is most relevant for those with a history of compromised thyroid function, as the Jaminets have discussed, but I believe it’s relevant to many women. Many Body Types = Many Right Diets I look to the Hadza whose women foster gender-distinct microbial profiles, ostensibly related to their cons Continue reading >>

Your Brain On Ketones

Your Brain On Ketones

Ketogenic diets have been prescribed for seizures for a long time. The actual research diets used in the past were pretty dismal and seemed to involve drinking a lot of cream and eating a lot of mayonnaise. At Johns Hopkins, pediatric patients were admitted to the hospital for a 48 hour fast and then given eggnog (minus the rum and sugar, I'm guessing) until ketosis was achieved (usually took about 4 days). In addition, ketogenic diets were calorie restricted to just 75-90% of what would be considered a child's usual calorie intake, and often they were fluid-restricted too (1)! If we're talking soybean oil mayonnaise, you could see how someone could get into trouble with mineral deficiencies and liver problems pretty quickly. To understand "dismal," some of the latest research showed that a "modified Atkins protocol" was just as good as the classic ketogenic diet, and so much more liberating, as the patients were allowed up to 10 grams of carbohydrates daily, and they didn't begin with the fast, and they weren't calorie restricted (2)(3). While the classic ketogenic diet was 4:1:1 fat to carbs to protein. If you use MCT oil for 50% of your calories (have to add it in slowly though to prevent vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping!), you could increase the carbohydrates and proteins to a 1.2:1:1 fat:carb:protein and still get the same numbers of magical ketones circulating. And while "MCT oil" sounds nice and yummy when it is gorgeous coconut milk, this MCT Oil 100% Pure 32 fl.oz doesn't look quite as appetizing, especially when that is going the be half of what you eat for the foreseeable future (4). You can see why researchers consider ketogenic diets (especially the original versions) to be extremely difficult and unappetizing (they were), whereas seasoned low-carbers (who Continue reading >>

Does Anyone Else Get Depressed/anxious On Low Carb?

Does Anyone Else Get Depressed/anxious On Low Carb?

When I was first starting out with Paleo, I tried to it low-carb. Everything seemed to be well, but after about a month and a half, I started getting*very anxious and stressed out*. What ends up happening is your body must break down protein for glucose needs, and it releases a lot of cortisol to make this happen, leaving you feeling anxious, and stressed, which inevitably leads to depression. Do some carb refeeds. Around 250 grams twice or three times a week. Make your first one today. You'll still be "fat-adapted" with infrequent carb refeeds, but you won't suffer from low glycogen stores. I go through phases, during a low-carb streak... At first: I'm tired, a little depressed, a little cloudy, just sort of feeling overall like I'm missing something. I do get a little anxious after the tiredness passes, I feel that I have more energy than I know what to do with; I usually don't sleep more than five hours a night during this phase. This lasts the first couple days. After that: I break through a wall (low-carb flu) and start feeling really, REALLY good. I'm elated, I'm giddy, I'm clearer than I've been in a long time, I feel like I've figured it all out. A fatty meal makes me feel like I'm flying on several illegal substances. Still sleeping five - six hours a night, but could care less because I have energy. I mean I have ENERGY! This lasts another three or four days. At this point I'm seven - ten days in, and I start noticing that I'm snapping at people here and there. Irritability sets in; I'm not seeking trouble per se, but if anyone shows any sign of weakness or stupidity at all around me, I have ZERO patience and I pounce like a starving lion aiming to rip the throat out. If I continue in this phase, I feel like I might lose my job; it requires both patience and t Continue reading >>

This Reddit User Swears The Ketogenic Diet Made Him Less Depressed—but Is That Possible?

This Reddit User Swears The Ketogenic Diet Made Him Less Depressed—but Is That Possible?

People swear by the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet for plenty of reasons—they say it can help lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, and help you lose weight. But now one Reddit user says the ketogenic diet helped fight his depression, too. Under the title “Depression is gone,” Redditor willilikeit writes, “Six months on keto. Have lost 40 pounds. But the best result is how I feel. I've gone from waking up with dread and fighting suicidal thoughts off and on most days, to feeling energetic, positive, and only a rare, passing, suicidal thought. It is night and day! Omg. Thank you for all of your posts and support!" Several other people said in the comments that they experienced similar results with ketogenic diets. “So true, I sleep less, wake up ready for the day instead of dreading it. I have energy and want to actually do things now. So glad you feel it too!” Sea_Hag wrote. “I’m right there with you,” writes EffectedCat. “I don’t constantly think of how much I suck or constantly ask what I’m going to screw up today. …Anger and sudden emotional outbursts have dramatically decreased and everyone around me can notice the difference in my mood. This diet has changed my life.” Does the Keto Diet Really Fight Depression? It actually might, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. “Your diet can absolutely have an effect on your mood,” she says. “Many studies have shown a clear link between diet and a person's state of mind.” The keto diet in particular may cause certain bodily processes that can help fight depression, she says. I Tried It: Keto Diet Here’s how it works: For some reason, when you're on a ketogenic diet, your body produces more GABA, a major neurotransmitter that helps the brain function Continue reading >>

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